Monday, June 30, 2014

Chubby Bubby

Ford took a three-hour and eight-minute nap this afternoon (unheard of), so I figured he must be growing. Then I proved myself right when I compared a picture I took of him yesterday: a picture I took a little while ago:

He obviously gained at least three pounds in 24 hours. No, it could not possibly be due to camera angle or his position or a too-full diaper--it was all the nap.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lorelei, according to my iPhone

Time for Lorelei's iPhone picture dump!

Syd actually took this picture. Isn't it sweet?

I guess you can call this a bit of a sneak peek of their room (I REALLY need to post house pictures!). I've tried to break out of my comfort zone regarding wall hangings at this new house, and this is a perfect example (although part of the reason I hung their names so high is because I don't want them tearing the letters off the wall). And she's wearing toddler work out gear.

She's a pretty good eater, most of the time (she might not be my child since she doesn't simply devour sweets). She also no longer sits in this high chair (which we got for Ford, used)--she has graduated to Sydney's Sweet Seat (a type of booster seat), and Syd has graduated to a regular chair.

Wingnut (wearing Syd's night gown).

Chet was feeding Ford some baby food (not sure why they were sitting on the couch for that), and Lorelei announced she wanted to help. She retrieved a baby spoon and a Croc, and commenced "feeding" him. It was equally hilarious and disgusting. (Don't worry, we shut down the operation pretty quickly.)

She loves making play messes. Sydney never really did that (DEFINITELY my child), but Lorelei has taught her well, and now they both do it. Here is an every day scene in our house.

Peeking out of the playhouse Chet built.

Her "passport" pictures from the two weeks she and Syd went to camp.

Chet wanted to visit Trader Joe's on Father's Day.

At Syd's gymnastics class.

Sacked out on the couch later the same day (gymnastics meant a missed nap).

At her camp sing-a-long--she was so little and cute (and was thrilled when she spotted me in the crowd)!

Having a snack outside of the library (in her bathing suit--in her/my defense, there IS a fountain nearby).

See! A fountain! Her hair is completely out of control, by the way. She has always had baby-fine hair, but now there is TONS of new growth, causing all of that fine hair to stick straight up and make her look like a troll. Watch, she'll probably have thick, luscious hair some day, more than all of us combined. And I will be completely baffled as to where it came from.


We love you, Lor! (Try not to covet the peach-colored tile in our bathroom.)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Books: "The Giver" Edition

***WARNING: This post is long, and quite possibly boring.  But I've been wanting to write about books and such for a while now, so I'm indulging myself.***

I haven't been posting often because I am on a reading kick, and I'm afraid it will fizzle if I devote time to other things, like blogging.  Also, life hasn't been terribly interesting around here, so perhaps subconsciously I am saving my dear readers from boredom.  ;-)  (Although this post may very well be boring.)

But, seriously, I've been on a reading kick.  If you read my blog on a real computer (not a smart phone), you may have noticed two reading lists on the left side of the page: "Current" and "Completed." I keep those lists updated, even when I'm not writing blog posts.

***Side note: Since May 2003 I've kept a list of books I read (including the date I finish the book).  But I only list books I read on my own, nothing I was assigned for school (something I now regret since I was an English major and therefore read many, many books for assignments).***

If you look at the "Completed" list right this moment, you may notice I'm specifically on a Lois Lowry kick.  She's the author of The Giver and Number the Stars, both Young Adult novels that won The Newbery Medal.  You may or may not know that The Giver has been adapted into a film (click here to see the trailer), set to release August 15, 2014.  I can't remember if I first read The Giver on my own, or for school (I think on my own, then again for school); either way, I've read it several times.  I love it.  Lois Lowry's writing style is simple and straightforward, something I like, and it was the first novel I read about Utopian/dystopian societies (also something I like).

Bless my soul if I didn't recently discover that The Giver is now a quartet of books!  (Perhaps this would not be breaking news if I was still in middle school.)  I immediately reserved the next three titles from my local library, as well as The Giver (the last time I finished The Giver was February 26, 2006...eight years ago!).  I knew I would want to re-read The Giver after finishing the quartet.

I finished the final book of the quartet, Son, Thursday morning.  It was fantastic, and the perfect ending to the story that began with The Giver.  I'll quickly say that the second book of the quartet, Gathering Blue (published in 2000) did not seem to be related to The Giver story, but it was definitely a member of the same genre.  The third book, Messenger (published in 2004) picked up a few years after Gathering Blue left off, and linked Gathering Blue to The Giver.  Son (published in 2012) started right where The Giver started (a fact that thrilled me to no end since I am such a huge Giver fan), but was told from the viewpoint of another character.  Son successfully and beautifully tied up every loose end and answered lingering questions (questions I didn't even know I had), leaving this reader completely satisfied.  I can't wait to read The Giver again, at the risk of overindulging myself (I'm taking a little break from Lois Lowry by reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsioswn).

Why do I love The Giver so much?  There are three (main) reasons.  The first reason, as I stated earlier, is that it introduced me to a theme I enjoy reading about: Utopian/dystopian societies.  Books and movies with such themes are hugely popular right now: The Hunger Games trilogy, the Divergent trilogy, The Park Service trilogy.  The theme is nothing new; George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1949 and Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1931.  (By the way, I'll take Brave New World over 1984 any day.  Is that blasphemous?)

The second reason is that Lois Lowry writes an interesting and important book that is easy to understand, without overdoses of action and science fiction.  The newer books (The Hunger Games, etc.) are a lot more action packed than The Giver, and all of the Utopian/dystopian stories contain at least a small degree of science fiction.  "Action" and "Science Fiction" are not, in and of themselves, genres I generally gravitate toward, but pretty much any Utopian/dystopian book (or movie) interests me, even with high levels of action and science fiction.  However, I think books where the author uses a simple, straightforward writing style are often underrated.

The third, and most important, reason is that The Giver sends an important message: that we must think carefully about the future.  We must be deliberate about what we (and government authorities) choose to do today, because it can greatly impact (quite possibly in a negative way) the way we live tomorrow.  We must voice our concerns and opinions, even if they are unpopular.  It is risky and takes courage, but such a risk may be worth avoiding a life lacking in choices and freedom.  Just because the majority is going along with it and just because the government tells you to do it doesn't mean it's right.

The next three books in The Giver quartet contain those themes, but also focus on acceptance of differences, the importance of kindness and integrity, and sacrifice for the greater good.  In fact, I think there are strong Biblical references throughout all of the stories, and I would love to read up on whether others agree...I haven't read anything written about the quartet (reviews, message boards, etc.) for fear of getting completely sucked in.  :-)

About the film version of The Giver: I'm usually pretty forgiving when books are adapted into films (even my favorite books).  I realize that certain things have to change in order to get the same point across on the screen, and that parts have to be left out in order to keep the film at a reasonable length. However, based on the trailer, I'm afraid the movie will disappoint me because it seems a lot more action-packed than the book (and I think the book is perfect).  I suppose as long as the message of The Giver remains in tact, I shouldn't worry.

I sort of feel like I just wrote a paper for school (and because I am a huge nerd, it was fun).  I totally forgive you if you skimmed this post or skipped it completely.

Have you ever read The Giver?  Did you love it?  Hate it?  Feel indifferent?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Baa, Baa Black Sheep

When we read books and sing songs with the kids, we often leave out the last word in a line, and let the kids fill in the blank.

For example...

Us: "Twinkle, twinkle, little _____."
Kids: "Star."

I was singing "Baa, Baa Black Sheep" and leaving out words, testing Lorelei on a nursery rhyme she doesn't know very well.

She knew the main part okay, but when we got to this part...

Me: "One for the _____."
Lorelei: "Wizard." (Actual answer: "Master")
Me: "One for the _____."
Lorelei: "Shorts." (Actual answer: "Dame")
Me: "One for the _____."
Lorelei: "Little kid who lives in the town." (Actual answer: "Little boy who lives down the lane.")

But I'm going to go ahead and give her credit for that last one. And perhaps bonus points for summarizing using her own words.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What the...?!

If you're on Facebook, you've probably seen the quizzes: Which Disney Princess Are You? (I'm Belle), Which Character of "The Big Bang Theory" Are You? (I'm Amy Farrah-Fowler--a result I LOVED), What Country Are You? (Switzerland--a result I got twice despite choosing different answers the second time around. Apparently I am a pacifist and didn't know it).

(By the way, you too would take tons of Facebook quizzes if you found yourself struggling to stay awake in the middle of the night with a baby in your arms and a smart phone in your hand.) 

Today's quiz was Which State Should You Live In? (California--a result I would like to officially dispute). These quizzes are quite silly, and I usually roll my eyes at the questions and my choices. This one particular question had me stumped for a full two-and-a-half minutes though:

Um...I am not "comfortable" confronting ANY of those (especially with my horrible night vision)! I'm sure probably no one is, but I found myself seriously weighing which of these awful choices was the best. How fast are alligators? Can I outrun one? Are grizzly bears fast? Can I outrun one of THOSE? (Note to self: start running for exercise.) Would either an alligator or grizzly bear chase me for no good reason (I hate being chased!)? Is an alligator or a grizzly bear more dumb? Am I smarter than either of them? I knew "mugger" was the last thing I would choose (hence the reason "New York" was not my test result).

I ended up choosing grizzly bear. I suppose the fact that alligators slither is what ultimately turned me off. And choosing the bear is probably what sealed my fate. I mean, there's a bear sewn on the California flag for crying out loud.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Not sure why, but this week felt really long, and I am really glad the work week is through! 

Here are some random thoughts on a Friday:

--Our main nickname for Sydney when she was a baby was "Boogin' Head." It was the brand of her pacifier clip, and it seemed like a good nickname. Sometimes it was "Boogin' Bear" or even just "Boogin'."

--Lorelei's nickname as a baby, because she was born in October and is therefore my Fall baby, was "Bumpkin," as in the classic country song "Country Bumpkin." I love that song and it screams "Fall" to me because of the line "Hello, Country Bumpkin/Fresh as frost out on the pumpkin." "Bumpkin" was quickly shortened to "Bump."

--It's no secret that Ford's nickname/probably forever name is "Bubby."

So, happy Friday from Boogin', Bump, and Bubby! Apparently we're just a bunch of hillbillies living life in our nation's Capitol!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

5-Months Old

Happy 5 months (and one week) to Ford!

I took these pictures with my phone, but I also took some with our "good" camera. (Honestly, I think the phone pictures turned out better anyway.) We got a new computer over the weekend, and it may take me a while to copy our pictures onto it from the external hard drive, and figure out exactly how everything works (that makes me sound like a bit of an electronics dunce, which I am).

Without further ado...
Let's see, what's Ford up to these days?

He's still not too athletic, because Mommy is still a bit lazy about tummy time, etc. I'm just never in a rush for my babies to reach physical milestones. I know they'll do it eventually, and that's good enough for me. He enjoys playing on the floor, and loves to roll over to his side and grab things and put them in his mouth. He's very dexterous (Lorelei was/is too).

Ford caught a cold about a month ago, and I stopped feeding him solid foods while he was sick. I haven't resumed. I had hoped more food in his belly would help him sleep better at night, but that turned out not to be the case (I feel like I should know that by now, since he's our third baby). A hungry belly is not the reason he is not sleeping well, so I'm not in a hurry to resume solids.

Sleeping: we're working on it. I transitioned him out of the sleep suit:

Now he just sleeps like a regular baby:

But not very well. I borrowed the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth from my neighbor and am trying to read it as quickly as possible so that I can finally teach Ford how to sleep. I thought I knew a lot about babies and sleep, but lately I feel like I know next to nothing. (I think the problem is that Ford doesn't know how to fall back asleep on his own when he wakes up,  during nap time and at night. I wish he took a pacifier.)

Despite his sleep issues, we've decided to keep him. ;-) Ford is a delightful addition to our family; I feel like I've known him forever.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tennis Camp

This is a bit of a lame post, but I've not been posting much lately and wanted to share SOMETHING. Syd and her friend next door are doing tennis camp this week, in the mornings. The camp is held at the gym where my neighbor works out (and also plays tennis herself--they are a cute little tennis family).

Here are the girls, future doubles partners:

Friday, June 6, 2014

Whole Foods

(Has it already been over a week since my last post? I blame our computer, which lately has decided it's too much effort to stay turned on. I started a post on my phone, but forgot to save it, so...)

Do you shop at Whole Foods? I did today.

I did not fully appreciate a good grocery store until we moved to south Mississippi. In Jacksonville (FL) we had Publix, which, again, I did not fully appreciate until I realized grocery stores like Publix do not exist everywhere. I'm sure there was a Whole Foods in Jacksonville, but Fresh Market (basically the same as Whole Foods) was closer to where we lived. In Mississippi, the closest Whole Foods was 80 miles away, in New Orleans. I actually made the trip once, with a girlfriend, because our husbands were deployed and we needed to get out of town for a few hours (our kids did not accompany us).

I just read what I wrote, and it sounds like Whole Foods/Fresh Market-type stores are what I prefer when I grocery shop. THEY ARE NOT. I cook most of our meals at home, but they are pretty simple (because I would rather not spend the majority of my time in the kitchen) and we are just not super picky about organic food, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I like Whole Foods because they have gorgeous fresh flowers, beautiful produce, heavenly salad and olive bars, and exorbitant prices that make me gawk. 

Tangent: Syd is out of school, but her school/our church (they are one in the same) holds "camp" every week of the summer. Syd and Lor went this week, so I have had 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to myself (and Ford). I have used this time to explore the area and/or schedule errands that are hard to accomplish with more than one child in tow. Hence the reason I went to Whole Foods today. It was more of an adventure than a grocery shopping trip.

Anyway, the store is in a pretty posh part of town, but thankfully I wore a flowy skirt and cardigan today, and carried ("wore") Ford in an ergonomic (whatever that means) baby carrier, so I fit right in. You couldn't see Ford's super absorbent, bad-for-the-environment disposable diaper, and no one heard me call him "Bubby," otherwise we might have been asked to leave. (Kidding, of course. It's just that I am fascinated by stereotypes.)

I bought an organic dark chocolate raspberry mocha (nonfat, but not decaf) to sip on while we walked around. I contemplated buying several items that are not available in regular grocery stores, but mostly refrained. We did buy a few staples that I thought were reasonably priced (sour cream, Greek yogurt, bananas), and some baby sunscreen (Badger brand) that was on sale and that I had been meaning to order from Amazon anyway.

So...I guess that's all I have to say about Whole Foods? I really should have taken a picture of the bell peppers, they were beautiful. But such a touristy action would have blown my hippie mama cover.