Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Toddlers In Tiaras

I'm not exactly sure how to begin or even how to word most of this post.

I have found that most little people who are entered in pageants aren't entered because it's something they're dying to do because, let's face it, what 2 year old can difinitively tell you "Mommy I want to model, enter me in a pageant" and know 100% what they're talking about without having first received "coaching" from a parent.

Granted, there are some little girls who are genuinely excited at the prospect of pageants and winning and all of the glitz and glamour that goes along with them, and that's fine... but the little girls who can't stand them, and only pull it together so they don't disappoint their parents, that's not fine.

Why are we making our children up to look like they're adults? Why am I seeing 6 year olds who are wearing more makeup on their face for one pageant than I have ever worn in my entire life? Why are we telling them that they have to compete against other little girls to prove who's prettier? How is it that a 2 year olds greatest ambition is to become Miss USA? I mean SERIOUSLY. Do they even know WHAT Miss USA is?!?

If you go here and watch through to... clip number 4 I think it is, this woman doesn't even have girls. She has boys. And she's entering her boys into pageants, because she wishes they were girls. Really? It's got nothing to do with these kids and EVERYTHING to do with their PARENTS.

Like I said, I know there are some kids who do enjoy pageants so if you have one of those children, this is not directed at you, so please don't take offense.

But to force your children in to competition because you're living vicariously through them when they don't even want to DO it, or when they're too young to even understand what's going on.... there just aren't really words to describe that. Now I know that the television show Toddlers In Tiaras is not all of the children who join pageants. I know that it's just a small handful. But that show makes me sick to my stomach. Why does a 4 year old need an adjustment from a chiropractor?!?!? And to bribe them with video games if they win? Whatever happened to an "I'm proud of you, you were wonderful and you did your best"? When did it become "I promised her the game if she won queen, because I knew she wasn't going to win the high point"?

I know I'm all over the place with this one, but this sort of thing makes me angry. I'm angry for these little people. I'm angry at their parents who push them into this just because it's something THEY want them to do. It really does make me sick watching this sort of thing. It's absolutely horrible.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

What is the Christmas Holiday for you?

For my family, Christmas represents the birth of Christ. The beginning of our road to salvation. Now, while this should be something that's taught to our children throughout the year, it still provides the perfect opportunity to teach our young ones about Jesus. That Christmas isn't all about presents.

Now, with that being said... I do enjoy some of the more commercial aspect of Christmas. Decorating the Christmas tree with my kids. Buying them a few gifts that they've been asking for all year. Christmas means time with family. It means Christmas dinner with relatives I didn't know I had. It means Christmas specials on TV....

Christmas Carols/Hymns/Songs (traditional or not)....

Christmas is a time for giving. For being together. For excitement. For being humbled.

It's no one thing to everyone. It's different things to so many people.

What is Christmas to you?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Get The Hugs While You Can

Something you don't think you'd really have to be reminded about right?

You'd be surprised.

I know you love your kids. I'm not saying that you don't.

But when you're busy busy busy... how often do you stop just to hug them. To sit with them for a minute. Smile at them. TELL them that you love them, and always will.

We all think we'll have forever to do these things, but, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

AND... even if we have YEARS of tomorrows... it's no secret that all too soon they won't WANT to hug you anymore. They won't want to sit with you or hold your hand. And telling them "I love you baby" will result in "MOOooom.... not in front of my friends".

They won't always be young and innocent. You won't always be their superhero.

Kind of bleak and depressing, but just trying to make a point.

I know I've done a similar post before... but I just think it needs to be stressed. In BOLD, italics, and underlined even.

Take time out of your day for a game of pretend. What's "One more story, please?" when that story is only 5 minutes long. They can never hear "I love you" enough. And, on the opposite end of the spectrum, what parent can ever hear too much of "I love you mommy" or "I love you daddy". Take a minute just to sit down and give them a big huge hug. Just because you feel like it. There doesn't need to be any other reason.

There's no guarantee that you'll be able to tomorrow... and, if you are, they may not want you to.

In Dreams Begin

So a while back I was sent a book called In Dreams Begin by Skyler White for review. I had read her first novel and falling, fly and was very excited to read her second.

Skyler writes books that make you think. Not that do the thinking for you. And I totally dig that. Makes you wonder if the things she's writing about are actually possible in the real world. So I was totally excited to receive her second book in the mail.

In Dreams Begin is a book unlike any other I've ever read. Modern girl, just married, being transported over a century BACKWARDS when she falls asleep. And the kicker is... when she arrives in the past, she takes over the body of an Irish freedom fighter named Maude Gonne, and falls in love with poet W.B. Yeats. And he with her.

Great story. There were a few parts where I had to go back and read a few paragraphs again to figure out what exactly I was reading. Who was who and where were they. It kind of moved around a bit quickly so there were times when it lost me. But her writing is smooth. Melodious. If that makes sense. She doesn't try to be hip and with it. She doesn't use vulgarity and slang in an effort to draw in a particular group of readers. It's as if she's writing solely for the characters int he story. It's poetic. And Elegant.

Description of back of the book from

"“Close your eyes tightly—tightly—and keep them closed . . .”

From a Victorian Ireland of magic, poetry and rebellion, Ida Jameson, an amateur occultist, reaches out for power, but captures Laura Armstrong, a modern-day graphic artist instead. Now, for the man or demon she loves, each woman must span a bridge through Hell and across history . . . or destroy it.

“Every passionate man is linked with another age, historical or imaginary, where alone he finds images that rouse his energy.” W. B. Yeats

Anchored in fact on both sides of history, Laura and Ida, modern rationalist and fin de siècle occultist, are linked from the moment Ida channels Laura into the body of celebrated beauty and Irish freedom-fighter Maud Gonne. When Laura falls—from an ocean and a hundred years away—passionately, Victorianly in love with the young poet W. B. Yeats, their love affair entwines with Irish history and weaves through Yeats’s poetry until Ida discovers something she wants more than magic in the subterranean spaces in between.

With her Irish past threatening her orderly present and the man she loves in it, Laura and Yeats—the practical materialist and the poet magus—must find a way to make love last over time, in changing bodies, through modern damnation, and into the mythic past to link their pilgrim souls . . . or lose them forever

I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a refreshing new read.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

There's Bubble Gum in the Baby's Hair

When I was a single mom of 1... I'd hear things like this. "You never go anywhere." "Just find someone to watch the baby." "Put it in daycare" (yes, someone really said IT). "It can't really be that hard." "How can you be tired? All you do is stay home all day."
I've been on both sides of the spectrum. For the better part, I have been a working mom. With the exception of the last 2 years, it's been part time work. But I did stay home with my kids for 6 months (I know, I know... not that long to be a SAHM (of 2 anyway.... I stayed at home with just Alanna for a while after she was born), but it was winter.... in MAINE... and gas was almost 4 dollars a gallon, my husband worked an hour away and I had to drop him off/pick him up so I only had enough gas left over to take Alanna to and from school during the week).
Being a SAHM is NOT an easy job. At all. And if you think it is, please feel free to click the X in the corner. It's exhausting and taxing and tiring and sometimes it's irritating. Depending on the day. Hehe. Unlike other jobs, however, you can't quit. You don't get fired (unless you're a REALLY bad parent). You don't get paid time off. It doesn't provide insurance. There's no training guide that can actually prepare you for everything that is parenting. You don't get mandated breaks throughout the day or a guaranteed hour long lunch break. You don't get paid over time if you're up late into the night with a baby who doesn't want to go to bed.
On the flip side... how many other jobs pay you in hugs and kisses and "I love you"s. How many jobs crawl in to bed with you because they're scared of thunderstorms or just want to be near you at night (ok, so this could have been worded differently at the beginning of the sentence, but whatever... I don't feel like re-writing it, hehe). How many jobs draw you pictures where your head is the size of a grape and the rest of your body is the size of a watermelon, but they did it just for you, and they're so proud of it. How many jobs look at you at 6 in the morning when you're wearing a ratty tshirt and sweatpants full of holes as your pjs, hair sticking out every direction, big black circles under your eyes and say to you "I think you're pretty" and mean it.
Ok so I kind of got off track for a bit.
But really... staying at home with children, or heck, even one child, is not easy. It gets easiER. It's like with anything you do though. The more you do it, the better you get at it. But there are still days when you feel like you'll scream if you don't get a break. Or you have people talking to you from all different directions and it seems like your head is going to start spinning in circles. A lot of people run on little to no sleep for a long time after their babies are born. And yet, they still manage to get out of bed when they need to, get dressed, and get things done. They don't have the luxury of "I'm tired, I think I'll sleep in an extra hour tomorrow morning." It's "Holy crap I'm so tired I think I'm going insane." Me? I've fallen asleep in the tub before. And, I'll be honest, I've even fallen asleep on the toilet. That's how tiring it can be. But I tell you what, most moms, even from a stone cold dead sleep will bolt upright and wide awake if they hear something coming from their babies in the middle of the night. No matter how tired they are.
Again, I digress.
So if you have friends who have children, and they don't drop everything the second that you want to go out to the bar, or have a girls night out, or whatever it is you normal people do (I'm a recluse, what can I say) please get over it. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. It's not you (unless of course, it is... and then I really have nothing else to say). Don't take it personal. Mom is probably tired and delirious and when you called her she probably started talking into her tennis shoe before she realized that it wasn't actually the phone.
Now, don't get me wrong, I know this isn't true of all moms. Believe me. I'm wicked jealous of all you moms who have so much energy and are always up and around and excited about doing things. You homeschool and make crafts and build things and run errands and have playdates with other moms and make dinner etc. I would pass out after the first couple minutes of a list like that. Ok, so not really... but I'm just not the go-go-go type of mom.
But really, no... it's not always easy to find a babysitter. As most other people have lives that they are not inclined to drop whenever the fancy suits you. No, I personally don't go anywhere because I'm lucky that I function during the day. And put IT in daycare? Did I give birth to a child-eating clown? Didn't think so. IT is actually a baby, and baby has a name. And just for that stupidity you can leave me alone.
It's common sense.
It is hard to understand and comprehend the situation when you're not in it, I know. But still people... use your noggin. There's a sun, and planets, and stars, and galaxies in that great big sky of ours and none of them revolve around you. So if you have a friend who has kids and they tell you NO to a mani/pedi or lunch or a movie or whatever... it's "not you, it's me" basically.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Secret Garden

I watched The Secret Garden (or most of it) with Lydia the other day. Truth be told, at 27 I'm still more impressed with that movie than she was. I saw it for the first time when I was 10 years old. It sucked me right in when I heard the music from Edward Scissorhands playing in the trailer. But when I saw the movie I thought it was completely magical. It quickly became my favorite movie.

No seriously. I memorized every single word from that movie that Mary said and I can still repeat most of them today. Is that bad?


So I wanted Lydia to watch it. I think maybe I should have waited and steered the viewing to Alanna instead. She's a little bit more on the understanding level for that movie. Honestly though? I wanted to watch it too. So we did.

Since seeing that movie, another dream of mine (I know I have way too many that will never come to fruition) to create a garden space (on a somewhat smaller scale) like the one in the movie. With the high hedged walls and the ivy all over. Roses and tree swings. A small coyfish pond (ok so that's not really in the movie, and it doesn't really have to be coyfish). Pretty bird feeder. Tulips. Foxgloves. Lillies (oh my!).

Watching this movie as an adult has no different effect on me now than it did when I was 10 years old. I still love it. I know the books a classic but this version of the movie is a classic in my eyes. And there have to be at least 3 or 4 versions. It's one of the sweetest movies I've ever seen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This Is Halloween

I can't tell you how irritated I get around Halloween time (if I offend anyone during this post, I apologize in advance, just sayin). I can't tell you how many parents I hear say "It's the devil's holiday, my kid won't be trick or treating". Really? So your kids dressing up like Spiderman and Barbie then going from door to door begging for teeth rotting candy is all just a front for devil worship?

Halloween originated as a Druid/Celtic/Irish practice called Samhain. The beginning of their year was the 1 of November, so they celebrated Samhain on the night of October 31. That was the night that they believed spirits came back to mingle with their people. The Celtic people would wear masks (which is why we have present day costumes) to either mingle with the good spirits or scare the bad ones away (they were also trying to disguise themselves so as not to be mistaken for human). The fact that those spirits "came around" helped the Priests of that day to make predictions for the coming year. Masks and costumes were also used to tell stories around the giant bonfires that were lit, bonfires that they believed would help them during the winter, so they took bits of the bonfire home and lit them in their own fireplaces.

Samhain was then meshed with a Roman holiday that was put in place to commemorate the passing of their dead. And also a holiday that celebrated the goddess Pomona who's symbol was the apple (bobbing for apples, candy apples). The Pope came around years later to make November 1 All Hallows Day (or All Saints Day). The night before became All Hallows Eve (Halloween). There were bonfires and costumes (just like with the Celtic celebration of Samhain) and parades. In the 1800s it was turned in to something more for communities and families. Parties and get togethers.

Trick or treating started out as a way to keep the spirits happy. For lack of a better way to put it. People would put food out on their porches as treats in order to avoid tricks. In medieval England it was called "souling". Starving people would go door to door on All Hallows Eve and say prayers for those that had died in exchange for food. There's an old Scottish/Irish tradition called "guising". Sending their disguised children door to door for money and food. They would only receive their "treats" in exchange for doing "tricks".

Halloween is what you make it. If you think it to be a miserable holiday full of devil worship and cult activity, then that's what it's going to be. If you think Halloween is just an overly commercialized holiday that's a ruse to make dentists money, fine, don't let your kids go trick or treating. Spare them from the cavities and possible sickness from eating too much candy.

But remember, what YOU believe is not always what everyone else believes. For me, Halloween was, is, and always will be about the fun decorations, interesting costumes, and candy for kids. It's fun. I mean heck, people go all out on their Halloween decor the same way they do for Christmas. And to be honest... I always liked going to haunted houses and being just a tad bit scared, wondering what was going to pop out of the dark behind me. But come on, the kids (unless they're raised differently ... but I won't get in to that in this blog) are in it for the candy. They're in it for the costumes. They want to have the coolest (or scariest/prettiest/most sparkly etc.) costumes and get the MOST candy out of all of their friends. Regardless of whether or not they're going to be able to eat it all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Everywhere You Go a Smiling Face

I have a confession to make...
My children are victims of my nostalgia.

Some of their favorite cartoons to watch.... were my favorite cartoons to watch. Lydia loves Scooby Doo and Care Bears. Alanna had Rainbow Brite drawn on her wall (courtesy of ME, uh-thank you). They both are (or at least were, Alanna's a tad too old now) head over heels for My Little Pony.
Heck, Lydia and I spent hours once online trying to find names for the ponies she has (many of which were passed down from her sister) that we either couldn't remember, or never knew the names to. And I really wish I had written some of them down, because I don't remember where I found them or what they were... so if she asks me I'm gonna have to look again.

Granted the cartoons aren't the same as they were back in the 80s/90s... but that's ok. As long as they like everything that I like (totally kidding). It makes it fun to watch together. Because they can't figure out how Mommy knows the songs from beginning to end in the brand new movies that they've just gotten and haven't ever seen before.

Maybe it's because I know these cartoons are safe. Because I've seen them. Maybe it's just because I miss being a kid, and watching them with my parents. Maybe it's because I want to watch them with my kids the way my parents watched them with me. I don't know. Maybe it's a mix of all 3 of those things together. I'm trying to live the best parts of my childhood vicariously through Alanna and Lydia. Guilty as charged.

I miss the times when things were simple. When watching cartoons was the hardest part of my day. Haha. So maybe it's me trying to bring some of that simplicity back into my life. Honestly, I don't know. But my children reap the benefits of DVD buying binges with cutesy 80s cartoons so there's not really a whole lot to complain about there.

What was your favorite thing to watch as a child? What do your kids watch now that you loved when you were little?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

Oh wait. I didn't really mean to start singing it.

Fall is by far my favorite season of the 4. Oh. My. Gosh. I love it. It's one of those things there it's hard to explain why I love it... I just do. And just because you guys are special, I'm going to show you why.


Watching my kids play in leaves

Carving pumpkins


Halloween costumes/makeup

Candles that smell like spices and food

I love fall. I love love love it.

There's only ONE thing that would make this season better for me...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why So Serious?

I decided to write this after reading a friends diary.

Lots of moms have self esteem issues.

They don't think they're pretty. Or they're overweight. Your singing voice isn't the greatest. You don't feel comfortable out in public in anything but jeans and a tshirt.

To your little person, you are the world.

You don't think you're pretty? Why not let your kids be your mirror. Look in their eyes when they look at you. You may not be runway model material, but to them, you're more beautiful than anyone else they've ever seen.

Overweight? They don't care. It makes you more comfortable to lay on. It makes you cuddly. More snuggly.

You don't think you're singing voice is the greatest? Your little person would be happy to sing a duet with you any time (unless they're trying to be the center of attention, then NO ONE can sing with them). I can't tell you how many times I've been told "You sing so pretty mama" by both of my kids when I was told "Don't quit your day job" by any adult that was listening to me (seriously though, I don't think I'm THAT bad).

You may feel like you're substandard. But your kids think you're a superhero.


Batman, Spiderman, Superman? Gisele, Tyra, Heidi? They've got nothing on mom.


I've got my own button now! Yes, I know it's not the greatest in the world, but I made it so it's definitely an accomplishment for me!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Closing Time

So fall is officially here.

With fall comes cooler temperatures, changing leaves... Halloween and Thanksgiving. Kids are all back to school. It's my favorite time of year. Time to break out the spice scented candles and all the jewel toned decorations (if I had any, heh). It's time for football season (not saying that I LIKE football, but it's on). Time to head out to the pumpkin patch and carve your pumpkins. Load up on Halloween candy.

Soon it'll be time to rake the leaves (or jump in them... whichever you prefer, me... I like jumping). Time to head to the pumpkin patch and swing in the rope barn and go on a hay ride. Maybe try your luck at the Maize Maze. Time to break out the hooded sweatshirts (or big chunky sweaters... no one needs a coat yet, I tell you. Not cold enough). Maybe go to a football game or 2 at your old highschool. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate and a blanket and cheer on your team (and I say highschool because I never went to a 4 year college, so I'm not partial to any college team).

This is my favorite time of year. Bundle your kids up in long sleeves and a jacket and take them outside to play! Go for walks at night. Start a leaf collection. Have them find leaves in every different color and then use them to make wreaths for your front door. Or maybe placemats for the dinner table. Pick up acorns and throw them in a bowl as a centerpiece. You can decorate without having to buy anything. :-) That's definitely a plus for me. Haha.

Ok, so this didn't really have a point. I just wanted everyone to know I'm excited that it's officially fall. I just don't look forward to how dark it's going to start getting soon!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moment for Mom

Every once in a while I have to have an adult moment.

If anyone has noticed, my posts this month have been kind of few and far between.

It's been a busy month and a stressful one. My youngest turned 3. My oldest had strep throat and was missing school. Work has become increasingly hard to stomach. Literally almost. Migraines and anxiety are never good when you work at a job where you have to listen to people complain all day.

If I could find a job where I could be home at a decent hour in the evening and I actually made a DIFFERENCE with someone I would be so much happier. But I make no difference to anyone. You hang up the phone and within 30 seconds can't remember my name (if you even got it right to begin with). Only time I get remembered is if you have to call back in... then I'm "I talked to one of your representatives a few days ago..."

I used to want to be a teacher. Had gone so far as to do my student teaching with my senior English teacher, who was the biggest reason I wanted to be a teacher. English was my FAVORITE class in school and she made senior English fun. I want to make a difference to people the way she did for me. I want to be remembered 10 years down the road as the person who made English fun and exciting. As the person who made you want to do something more with yourself.

I know that sounds completely selfish and egotistical. But I'm tired of dreading my job. Of counting down the hours in between breaks just so I can make it through the day. I miss being home with my family during the day and eating dinner with my kids at night. Being able to put them to sleep.

I've got a lot of decisions to make. And none of them are easy. But I'm a mom. My kids are more important to me. My sanity is more important to me. And I'm currently missing both. :-P

But there are so many things I want to do, I can't pinpoint just one thing. I want to be an English teacher. A writer. An artist. A photographer (I do get to take someone's senior pictures this afternoon so it's a step in the right direction). Whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing, I hope I figure it out soon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Let Me Educate You

Since becoming a mom I have learned several things. I'm sure I've already made a post similar to this in the past, and because I can't remember exactly where in my blog it is, some of these may very well be repeats. I'm sorry.

I have learned:

Your kids generally prefer your bed. Not because it's bigger, softer, fluffier, or has better blankets. They wouldn't care if it was a sofa or a sleeping bag. Wherever YOU are is fine with them.

Not to expect your kids to be like you. Because they are their own people. And if you try and turn them in to miniature versions of you (on purpose or subconsciously) you will be disappointed. And they will be upset to disappoint you. So let them be their own person.

It doesn't matter where you are, if your kid wants to put their head up your shirt, they will, at least, make the attempt. Whether this be in the privacy of your own living room, or in the customer service line at Walmart.

If you let your kids wipe water or shampoo out of their eyes with your shirt, they will proceed to wipe everything ELSE on your clothes as well. So you may end up going to work with a frosted handprint on your back and not know it.

Kids are incredibly Is that a word? Anyways. Don't let your feelings about a person negatively effect (affect?) how your CHILD views that person. Your kids don't have to hate everyone you do. Because I can guarantee you, they won't know why they do.

A little dirt never hurt anyone. If you're outside playing with your kids (and believe me, this one was hard for me) it's ok if they get a little dirty. I was covered in grass stains from the time I was 5 until I learned how to do my own laundry. Dirt isn't going to hurt anything (unless of course, that dirt is actually dog poop, because people walking their pets down the sidewalk infront of your apartment don't pick up after them).

So, that is all the wisdom I have to impart upon you all today. I am almost done with my lunch break so it's back to work for me. Then only 4.75 hours and I'm off for 2 days!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Apple Has Jumped to Another Tree

Be still my beating heart.

The day before yesterday, my 7 year old told me...

Sorry, gimme a minute...

::takes a deep breath::

That... she hates.... to read.


Imagine that. My child. My offspring. Heart of my heart. Flesh of my flesh. My first born...

She doesn't like to read.


She says that its... get this... BORING.

Well, duh... I hated reading when it came to schoolwork TOO. Took me THREE WEEKS to get past page 1 of Les Miserables. Well, not really to get past it, but to remember what had happened after the first page. And I couldn't STAND 1984. Course, I didn't read all of that one either. I skimmed through it. I can't stand it when something I LOVE becomes a chore... or work.

So I don't know if it's just the fact that she has to read as homework for school or what.

But seriously.

Me. I have a child that for the moment, does not like books! Can you IMAGINE the horror.

After getting her all those Junie B Jones books and The Velveteen Rabbit and I don't know how many countless other's she's gotten, she tells me NOW that she doesn't like to read.

I keep trying to convince her that she secretly loves it.

I don't think I've been successful.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall Reading List *Edit

So, I'm a book junkie. You all know this. I'm reading new books and re-reading old books, and just burying myself in stories all together. It's what I do when I have free time. Honestly, I do think I'm addicted. Think they have a program for people like me? Hope not. :-)

A few books on my read/to be read list are MUST READS for you too. No really, I will follow you until you have picked up and read every single one of them and reported back to me.
Just kidding.
Or am I?
Anyways, figured I'd give you all a run down of the books I'll be picking up this fall. Some of them for the first time, some of them for the 2nd, 3rd, or maybe even 4th time. Just incase you were looking for some new reading material. You can tell whoever you have to when you go to the store to buy them that they come HIGHLY recommended.... by me. Cuz I'm that cool.

and Falling, fly by Skyler White. It's a debut novel for Skyler that I was lucky to win in a contest on The Cozy Reader's website. Jess always has awesome giveaways. It's something completely different than any other book I've picked up. Which is always good. I like the "run of the mill" fantasy/paranormal books. The ones where you can predict what's going to happen, but it makes you happy because you can. But it's always refreshing (that word still sounds so weird coming from me) to read something new. Something that no one else has ever done before. In the first couple pages of this one I was hooked. It had me wondering "What the heck?" And then laughing a few minutes later at a dinner conversation gone bad.
Amazon's summary: White's debut is a trippy urban fantasy, an esoteric battle between myth and science told in floods of evocative prose. Olivia, a fallen angel cursed to eternity without pain or pleasure, feeds on the blood of those who desire or fear her. Dominic is her polar opposite, a skeptical scientist explaining away the paranormal as mental illness. He immerses himself in neuroscience to seek a cure through selective memory removal; haunted by images of his past lives, he begins experimenting on himself. Looking for research subjects, Dominic finds Olivia. She longs to be set free by love and returned to heaven, but at what price? Reeking of blood and sex, the swaths of atmospheric text sometimes overwhelm the story. Despite the story's enormous plot holes, longtime paranormal fans will appreciate White's willingness to take chances and try something new. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I know, I know. I've already posted about this one... right? I think I have, in my Summer Reading list post. Anyways, I was all set to try and compare Sam to Jacob Black... but this book couldn't be compared. Again, another new concept to the way we look at the things we've heard so many stories about, over and over and over. Don't get me wrong, New Moon is one of my favorite books, but it's like apples and oranges when the 2 are put side by side. This one kept me on the edge of my seat and had me crying at the end, and if any of you know me, you know I absolutely cannot stand to cry. Because I blubber. Seriously.

Amazon review: Praise for Shiver: "A lyrical tale of alienated werewolves and first love... Stiefvater skillfully increases the tension throughout; her take on werewolves is interesting and original while her characters are refreshingly willing to use their brains to deal with the challenges they face." -Publishers Weekly, starred review "Readers will be able to enjoy Stiefvater's fast-paced storytelling and dedication to the old-fashioned art of creating a believable and enduring romance. Shiver is beautifully written, even poetic at times, and a perfect indulgence for readers of all ages."

To Be Read:

Torment by Lauren Kate. Sequel to Fallen. Fallen was a good book. The ending didn't seem to really go with the rest of the book, but it was a great read. Can't wait to hear more about Luce and Daniel's "past".
Amazon description: Hell on earth.
That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.
It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.
At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.
What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?
The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick. Sequel to Hush, Hush. Hush, Hush drew me in because of the cover (I know, never judge a book by its cover, but I can't help it). And then because it was set in Maine, which is where I live. So some of the places were familiar to me. Patch is the bad boy that you love to hate at first and then can't help but just love later on.

Amazon description: Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.
The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

In Dreams begin by Skyler White. Yes, the very same. Your eyes do not deceive you. Wicked excited about this one. Not ONLY because the 4th word in the description says IRELAND (and I love all things Irish... you wouldn't know it by my married name, but I am Irish) but because again, it sounds like one of those stories that you just haven't heard before. Unpredictable. I love period stories, and this sounds like one with a twist. Because it's a modern day tale as well.
Amazon description: From a Victorian Ireland of magic, poetry and rebellion, Ida Jameson, an amateur occultist, reaches out for power, but captures Laura Armstrong, a modern-day graphic artist instead. Now, for the man or demon she loves, each woman must span a bridge through Hell and across history . . . or destroy it.
"Every passionate man is linked with another age, historical or imaginary,
where alone he finds images that rouse his energy." W. B. Yeats
Anchored in fact on both sides of history, Laura and Ida, modern rationalist and fin de sicle occultist, are linked from the moment Ida channels Laura into the body of celebrated beauty and Irish freedom-fighter Maud Gonne. When Laura falls--from an ocean and a hundred years away--passionately, Victorianly in love with the young poet W. B. Yeats, their love affair entwines with Irish history and weaves through Yeats's poetry until Ida discovers something she wants more than magic in the subterranean spaces in between.
With her Irish past threatening her orderly present and the man she loves in it, Laura and Yeats--the practical materialist and the poet magus--must find a way to make love last over time, in changing bodies, through modern damnation, and into the mythic past to link their pilgrim souls . . . or lose them forever.
Some other books that I'm interested in, but can't post for lack of time currently are (and not all of them come out this fall):
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Temptest's Legacy by Nicole Peeler
Lady Dragon by Jewell Mason (which I actually picked up at work off the book swap table!)
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (I'm going to have to WAIT FOREVER for this one)
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Dark Divine by Bree Despain
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Darklight by Lesley Livingston
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Perchance To Dream by Lisa Mantchev
Luthiel's Song: War of the Mists by Robert Fanney
So there you have it... probably not the entire list, but definitely most of the books that I would like to read in the coming months.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Three's Company

So in less than a week, my youngest will be three years old.

I went through a lot when I was pregnant with her. Car accident and a subsequent full arm cast, kidney stones... was told by docs that because I had delivered via c-section with my first baby I HAD to deliver the same way the second time. ::sigh::

But here we are, 3 years later. No binky, fully potty trained, still learning sign language... my beautiful little girl who loves music and dancing, Barbie, flowers, hayrides and cows, and drawing. It's hard to believe that it's been 3 years. Makes me feel kind of old. I've got a 7 year old who's just started the 2nd grade, and a 3 year old that will possibly start preschool this fall.

Sleeping next to me on my EXTREMELY uncomfortable sofa bed... she still has me astonished at the fact that I'm a mother. It STILL amazes me that 2 beautiful little girls call me mom. I love you girls!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stranger Danger

I took Alanna in to Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts one day with my friend Colleen. I had walked to the counter to order and told Alanna that she could go sit at the table about 5 feet away from me to my right. She was 3 or 4 at the time. I picked up the ice cream (or was it donuts, I don't remember that part) and turned to go sit with her, she was gone. I scanned the store quickly and she was no where to be seen. My heart literally felt like it had slammed to the ground. For about 2 seconds my world flipped upside down... and then I heard her. She was under the table.

Even though she was absolutely fine and there really hadn't been anything to worry about, she was where I told her to go, just under the table not in a seat, my brain automatically registered the worst possible thing that could have happened. And you all know what I mean. One of every parents' worst nightmares.

This wasn't the real deal obviously, and I did have a talk with her about hiding from mommy in public places. But at some point, and I hate to say it, many of you will have the same scare. Unfortunately you will, at some point, experience that same feeling of incredible panic that I felt for 2 seconds in Dunkin Donuts. It's not a feeling that I wish on anyone, believe me. But as a parent you need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

You also need to prepare your child. Equip them with the tools they need so that if they ARE ever put in a situation you hoped they won't have to face, they will have at least some idea of what they need to do. Even at a younger age, they need to know this. I went over it numerous times with my oldest. I think I watched too much Law and Order SVU and Criminal Intent and too much CSI and I was terrified of something happening to her.

Safety Tips:
  • Teach your children not to talk to strangers. I know it seems simple and I'm sure a few of you will even be thinking "Well, DUH". But I'm serious. You can tell them "Don't talk to strangers" all you want, but they need to be taught WHY. Because, let's face it, sometimes kids need an explanation and reasoning before they'll care enough to listen, and this is one of those situations where you don't want to just say "Because I said so" and leave it at that.
  • Tell your child NOT to be afraid to scream and yell if someone ever tries to take them somewhere and they don't know the person. Tell they to kick and scream and do whatever it takes to try and get away. I told Alanna to stick fingers in eyeballs, scratch at faces, kick at private parts, pull hair... whatever she needs to do.
  • Make up a codeword. A word that only trusted family and trusted friends know. Say that you're not able to pick your child up from school, but they're expecting you. You've asked a friend to get them instead, one they might not know well... tell your child to ask them for the codeword to verify that they did, in fact, have your permission to pick up your kiddo. Make sure you tell your child NEVER to give that word to other people, that if it's someone you've trusted their care to, they will know what it is. And if they can't tell them the codeword, no dice. I don't care if they knew and then forgot it... if there is any doubt at all, stay put.
  • Help your child learn their home address, home phone number, and your work number. But again, make sure that this is not information that they give to people. Make sure that they know their full name (younger ones might know their first, but not last). If they are ever lost or wander away from you, God forbid, they will be able to find someone who can help them find you. But make sure they know what adults to go to in situations like those. And teach them to dial 911 in emergency situations.
  • Always go with your kids if they are doing anything door to door. This means trick or treating as well as fundraisers. Number one, you never know who's going to be out and roaming about. Number two, you really never know who's answering the door.
  • Don't ever leave your kids alone out in public. If you go to the bathroom, take them with you. If you don't want them in the stall, have them stand next to it with a foot near the door so you can see where they are. If you're trying on clothes, bring them in the dressing room if you have to.
  • Tell your kids NOT to believe ANY adult that asks them to keep a secret from their parents.
  • Tell them that if an adult comes up to them and asks them directions to say "I don't know" and walk away. Even if the adults intentions really are innocent, they should be asking other adults. Not your child.
  • Teach them about the "Do you want to come and see the puppy I have in my van" or "Do you want some candy" ploys. As stupid and cliche as they might sound, they are that way because they have been used before.
  • Even though this one might not necessarily be just to prevent abduction, make sure they know that if someone ever touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, they need to tell someone. No matter what's said to them about it.
  • If they go somewhere, don't let them go alone. Tell them not to walk near isolated areas or take short cuts. Always go the normal way and the way that's traveled by lots of people.
  • And one of the age old "no nos", tell them that if they ever answer the phone DO NOT SAY "No my parents aren't home right now". Have them say "They can't come to the phone right now, can I take a message."

Alot of these tips can be found on KidSave. Go there to read more and to find out what to do in other situations.

I know it's not something any parent wants to think about. But you need to. In some cases, ignorance is NOT bliss. And you and your child need to have a plan and need to know what to do if they are ever in this kind of scary situation. I pray that they aren't, ever. But you need to be prepared.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm A Government Nanny

No, not me.

Nanny McPhee.

Has anyone seen that movie?

I think it's more for the older kiddies, Alanna loved it when she was 4-5. Lydia can't be bothered with it. Haha.

Me? I didn't want to watch it. My mom had actually gotten it for Alanna and was going to watch it with her but mysteriously had something come up and so I had to play stand-in for a bit. I ended up LOVING the movie. Go figure.

The color scheme is completely gaudy, but it works. It's.... whimsical in a way. I LOVE Emma Thompson in this movie. And Colin Firth. It's just a great story over all. And I loved it, maybe more than Alanna did.

So if you're looking for something for your kiddos to watch, and they've never seen it before, I'd go with this one. Who knows, you might enjoy it too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pete's Dragon

I have come to realize that children's movies now a days are a lot friendlier than they were back then. Yes, some of them also seem way too grown up, but that's beside the point. I didn't really notice it until I watched Pete's Dragon the other day with my Lydia. Two minutes into the movie it seems, there's a little musical diddy. Harmless at first, it seemed... of course, at first to me was when I was the age of my oldest and watching this for the first time ever.

Watching it now? Um... wow.

Here's an excerpt from the very first song in the movie:

Gonna snag him, gag him, drag him through town
Put his head in the river, let the pup drown,
Trap him, strap him, wrap him in a sack. Yeah!
Tie him screaming to a railroad track.
...Gonna paw him, claw him, saw him in half,
When he cries out for mercy we'll just laugh,
Beat him, heat him, eat him for dessert. Yeah!
Roast him gently so the flames won't hurt.

Yes. You read that correctly. They are talking about maiming and killing poor Petey.

And the Dark Crystal? One of my favorite movies of all time. Yes, I am that weird. But again, that's not the point. I would not let Alanna watch that until she was a few years older. It was another one of the movies I watched around 7-8 years old (of course, I also watched movies like Terminator and Predator... cuz I was that cool) that I just think is WAY too scary for her. Not to mention Lydia.

I mean really... if you were between the ages of 2-7 and you saw something like this:

...would it give you nightmares?

This is the bad guy in one of Alanna's favorite movies, Quest for Camelot:

Tame by comparison right?

It's so weird to put in the movies I watched as a kid and then have to worry about whether or not I should keep them playing because I'm worried about what it's going to do to my kiddos.

Another one of my favorite movies that I would not let my kids watch now, Legend, was rated PG in the US (G in Ireland).

Yeah, would not stick that one in the DVD player now. Of course, it's still one of my favorite movies... it's even where I got the FIRST name that I had chosen for my youngest. But was overruled in the end. Lydia's just as pretty though. Anyways, I wanted to name her Oona. And I almost won, but... well... nevermind.

A lot has changed since I was a little person.

What are some movies you loved that you might not want your kiddos to watch until they're older?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Britney VS Miley

Ok ok.... I will have to admit. For the LONGEST TIME (just like with Barbie) I could not STAND Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus (yes I know they're the same person), Jonas Brothers, Wizards of Waverly Place... all those new hip teen sensations (Justin Bieber *gag*). I didn't want Alanna watching the TV shows. Didn't want to buy the dolls, backpacks, lunchboxes, toys, fake hairpieces, clothes, movies, NOTHING.

And then recently I realized (please don't laugh at me because it took me this long) that Miley and the Jonas Brothers and Justin.... they're the "modern day" equivalent of Nsync, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys.....


::sigh:: I know when I'm defeated. I do.

I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE watching the Mickey Mouse Club because I thought Justin Timberlake was SO STINKIN HOT. I even went and saw 2 Nsync concerts, bought a Hanson video tape for their Middle of Nowhere album (ok, I know I'm seriously going to get roasted for that one)...

I'm big enough to admit when I'm wrong.

I watched the Hannah Montana movie...

I didn't hate it.

I mean really is this:

Really that much better than this:

They're kinda the same. Well, not really the same... but are they any less.... teenybopper ish?

What about:


Other than the fact that I feel like an old fogey in saying I'm still partial to the music I listened to when I was younger (long live "I Want You Back" and "MmmBop" haha).... there's not a huge difference in music. Just the people. Obviously my models got older and could no longer be considered teenybopper anymore so they had to be replaced.

My parents probably hated Nsync and Hanson just as much as I can't stand Justin Bieber and Jonas brothers (sorry Mom and Dad!). I had my walls covered in Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Mike Vitar, Jonathan Brandis, Brian Austin Green, Taylor Hanson, and Justin Timberlake. I was just as bad as all these tween and teen girls are today. Excuse me while I go hang my head in shame.

Heck, even in my 20s I had a live sized cardboard cut out of Orlando Bloom as Legolas, a poster of him on my wall, and a 12 inch tall motion activated talking Jack Sparrow doll (hey that thing was awesome, you hush).

I guess we've all got a bit of teeny bopper in us. Don't be ashamed, you know you do too. So while you're sitting there thinking of how much you can't stand listening to Miley sing "Party in the USA" just remember how often you replayed "Hit Me Baby One More Time". If you think your ears are going to bleed if you have to hear one more Justin Bieber song (believe me, mine are close) you just have to think of all the times you danced in front of the TV trying to be NSYNC.

Remember the saying? Put yourself in their shoes? You were there already. :-P

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Time After Time

Time Savers.... You know, those little round candies that can taste like fruit or.... wait. Those aren't time savers? OOOOH. Life Savers. Right. Got it. Is there a difference really?


Moving on.

Tips for saving time.

Have you ever gotten up in the morning and you've gotta get your kiddos ready for bed, and they really just don't want to buy lunch? Well, this one's a kind of obvious one. Make their lunch the night before. Pack everything in their lunch box and put it in the fridge. That way, in the morning just pop it in their backpack and send them out the door. Or, drive them to school. Whichever one you do every morning.

Same goes with getting the kids ready in the morning. Have them bathe or shower before bed, and set their clothes out on a chair or in the bathroom. That way they get to sleep a little later so they get more rest, and they don't have to scramble around and search for clothes when they wake up.

Hang your keys on a hook somewhere in your kitchen. Why the kitchen you ask? Just because. As soon as you walk in the door, hang them up. Next time you leave the house you don't have to hunt for the keys, because let's face it, how many people actually think to look for the keys an HOUR before you have to go anywhere? Not me. I don't look for mine until I've walked out the door and realized that I've forgotten them.

When you are making meals at night, make two or three times the amount you're actually going to need. That way you can refrigerate or freeze and serve again later. Saves on cooking time on two or three seperate occasions.

When you're out shopping, if you have a few extra dollars, pick up some scented candles, gift cards, small trinkets. If you need to, buy them with a particular person in mind. Even if that person's birthday or anniversary or whatever - special - date isn't for months. When it DOES roll around, go to wherever you've stashed the gifts, wrap it up, and there ya go. You don't have
to go to the store the day before/of and wonder what in the world you're going to get for them.

If you're in the house alone and trying to clean... turn off your television. But it makes the job go by quicker! No. It doesn't. It distracts you from the job that you are doing and ends up taking much longer than necessary. Listen to music if you have to. That way you're still entertained, but not distracted.

Don't wait until the end of the day to pick up. This one took me a while to figure out. When I was babysitting my nieces, those 2 little girls along with my Alanna could trash a room with toys in NO time flat. If I left the toys on the floor and let them play all day, then tried to clean up after my sister got back... geez... took for ever. But if I picked up the toys they weren't playing with at the time, or, I cleaned up while they were eating, it left less for me to do at the end of the day. Less overwhelming.

Again with cleaning, if you're used to nailing every room every day... kudos to you. If not, pick one room a day. That way the task seems less daunting. Clean the kitchen. Then the living room. Then the bedroom and so on. That way, you only have to maintain the previous ones while you're cleaning the new "room du jour". You're not trying to tackle every single dust bunny in every room in your home all at the same time.

When you go grocery shopping, plan ahead. Not just for what groceries you need to buy, but what meals you're going to make. If you plan meals and then shop for just the items you need to make each meal (plus some snacks, I mean, come on... but plan which snacks will be given on which days). You save money NOT buying food you DONT need and won't eat for however long. And then you don't have to walk UP and DOWN every SINGLE aisle in the grocery store searching for items that may or not be there. You know what you need and can go right for it.

Dishes. Oh how I loathe thee. Start this with an empty dishwasher, obviously. After you use your dishes for whatever meal, immediately rinse them (if your dishwasher SUCKS like mine, if it doesn't ignore step one), and then stick em in the dishwasher. You won't end up with a sinkful of dirty dishes that you don't want to touch, but have to put in the dishwasher all at once.

This one is not a time-saver so much as a money saver (I can't help myself... I get SOOOO many calls from people who pay WAAAAAY too much for calling)... instead of DIALING 411 for phone numbers, send a text message from your cell phone to the number 466453, which is GOOGLE spelled out on a regular keypad, with the "listing. city. state" and you will get a text message BACK with "Listing. Address. Phone Number." Here's the time saver tip (ok, so this one is a money saver one too), if you HAVE to call, and know you're going to have to call back with another number request as soon as you hang up from the first one.... TELL THEM YOU NEED MORE THAN ONE NUMBER. You can ask them up to 3 things per call. AND you can request the info to be sent to your phone in the form of a text message, so you don't have to call again when you forget.

Write down how much time you want to spend on each task each day. And stick with that time frame. Use an oven timer or an egg timer if you have to. But once the timer goes off... STOP. Move on to the next thing. Don't just work for hours non stop (again, trying to do everything all at once). That makes it seem like it's taking up more time and like it's a more difficult task than it really is.

Another one I'm guilty of NOT doing... be organized. "A place for everything and everything in its place." You don't waste time looking for things because you know where it is.

This one kind of goes along with number one. Instead of seperating your laundry by type (shits, jeans, socks) and putting them in their own designated drawers, when you're folding your clothes and putting them away, group them together in outfits.

So there you have it. Some time (and a tad bit 'o money) saving tips. There's no need to always be frazzled and stressed out.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Is The BFG

Ok, so I find myself with a 7 and a half year old (you've gotta add the half, cuz you know she's not just 7, lol) who is no longer just in to Disney picture books. Or the Little Golden Books. She's more or less left those behind and has graduated in to "Chapter Books" (dun dun dunnnnnn).

And I know (I KNOW OK?!?) that I've been writing WAY more about books recently than I ever have before (can I help it if I'm a booknerd?) but I just figured I'd share some "Chapter Books" that I used to read when I was younger, as well as some of the ones that Alanna is reading now. Just incase you're looking to graduate your little one from what he/she's reading now.
And if I DONT do it now, I probably won't remember to do it later, as I am currently running on about 6 hours of sleep in the last 3 days. All of those hours being in one night, so .... do the math. :-)

Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park is a series of chapter books that follow Junie through Kindergarten and First grade (the first grade series being titled Junie B First Grader). Good for readers between the ages of 4-8. I must admit I have never actually read one of these books, but Alanna seems to love them, so I buy them for her. One of these days I'll either have a sit down with her and read one to her, or have her read it to me. From the descriptions of the books and from the webpage, they look totally cute and easy to learn with. Go visit the webpage here and check them out. There are TONS to choose from. One of the most recent purchases for my Alanna was Junie B Jones is a Party Animal. Description of the book:
"Junie B. is spending the night! Lucille is having a sleepover party -- at her richie nanna's big giant house! Grace and Junie B. can't wait to see all the rich stuff in that place. Sleeping over at the nanna's is sure to be a dream come true!' Cause what could possibly go wrong?"
What could possibly go wrong indeed. You know whenever those words are uttered that probably EVERYTHING has gone wrong.

Ramona Quimby books, by Beverly Cleary. One of my all time favorite series. Everytime I went to the library in elementary school I had to snag one of these. And If I recall correctly, long long ago there was also a TV show staring miss Ramona that I was always captivated by. Description from Ramona Quimby, Age 8:
Ramona feels quite grown-up taking the bus by herself, helping big sister Beezus make dinner, and trying hard to be nice to pesky Willa Jean after school. Turning eight years old and entering the first grade can do that to a girl. So how can her teacher call her a nuisance?

These were always so much fun to read (and watch). Definitely a must have on the book list when you check stuff out at the local library.

The Baby-sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. This was one of my all time favorite book series EVER when I was younger. I bought as many of the regular books as I could, was always WICKED excited when I found one of the Super Specials or the Mysteries. This will definitely make your little girls wanna start their own babysitting club (even if they can't technically babysit yet). I might have to venture back to VA and go through my mother's garage to see how many of these bad boys I can find, and give them to Alanna. I had to have at least 50-75. And that wasn't even HALF of what was out there. This one was a TV show too, and there was even a movie that came out way back when. And I was tickled pink when I saw the BSC ice skating once during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Fancy Nancy books written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser have got to be some of THE CUTEST books I have ever seen. I love the brightly colored illustrations and the adventure in the books. They're totally fun to read (even Lydia likes this one!). In this particular book (it's not a chapter book, oops) Nancy and her friend go exploring. They explore trees, leaves, birds, bugs, wildflowers, and butterflies. And they have a secret clubhouse that is "to die for"! I wish these books had been out when I was little. The website is just as awesome to browse around as the books are to read. Very interactive and fun.

Honestly, anything by Roald Dahl is a great read for someone of the... younger persuasion. But one of the books that sticks out in my mind the most is The BFG (I had to throw one in that I thought little guys would like to read as well... sorry, I only have little chickies, I don't know what boys like to read!). It was one of the stories that was read to me first, and then I read on my own later on.

Sophie discovers that giants not only exist, but that there are a great many of them who like to guzzle and swallomp nice little chiddlers. But not the Big Friendly Giant. He and Sophie cook up an ingenious plot to free the world of troggle-humping -- forever.

Like I said, anything by Roald Dahl is a great read. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. James and the Giant Peach. Matilda. All tons of fun to read by yourself and to your little ones! All filled with fun adventures and magic!

Well, there you have it for now. Books for the older kiddies.

But chillens, my tank runneth on empty I fear. I'm about to sputter and die. So I must bid you all, adieu!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Dish - Summer Reading List


So, I'm participating in another Dishing It party over at Serenity Now and the topic of this par-tay is "Summer Reading List". Um... hello? Perfect topic for moi considering how much I love to read. WOo.

1. List of top 5 books for summer reading.
-Wow, that's gonna be a hard one... I might have to cheat a little bit.

  • Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. Absolutely amazing books. I was stupid and read them WAY too fast and now I have to wait a YEAR to read the final installment. I'll give you the summary for Shiver since the 2nd book JUST came out and I don't want to spoil it. "Grace is fascinated by the wolves in the woods behind her house; one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. Every winter, she watches him but every summer, he disappears. Sam leads two lives. In winter, he stays in the frozen woods, with the protection of the pack. In summer, he has a few precious months to be human ...until the cold makes him shift back again. When Grace and Sam finally meet, they realize they can't bear to be apart. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human - or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever." I'm serious. This book made me cry. And books NEVER make me cry.

    Here's the book trailer for Shiver. I've already posted the one for the second book, so you should check this one out too.

  • Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler. There is another book in this series as well, but I haven't been able to read it yet. Soon though. Very soon. It's humorous and has just about every fantasy creature you could imagine packed in to one book. AND it takes place IN the state that I currently live in. Which is awesome. "Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human. Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures that are terrifying, beautiful and deadly - all of which perfectly describe her new 'friend' Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire. It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never - ever - rub the genie's lamp."

    Here's one of Nicole's videos with a short summary of Tempest Rising. It's wicked cute.

  • Impossible by Nancy Werlin. I actually read this one quite a while ago. I hadn't really given any thought to the song the story derives it's plot from until I read it. Once I finished though I did some research and it's actually got a really cool "legend" if you will. Completely original concept and I loved reading it. I'll let the trailer for this one speak for itself

  • Alanna (and the rest of The Song of the Lioness series, but this is the first) by Tamora Pierce. I'm sure you can figure out why I first picked up the book. Because the title of the book is oddly similar to the name of my oldest child. Ok, so it's exactly the same. It ended up being really cool to read. "Noble girls are sent to convents to learn magic, but Alanna wants none of that- her plan is to become Tortall's first Lady Knight. Enlisting the help of her manservant Coram, and the handsome Rogue George Cooper, Alanna dresses as a boy in order to fulfull her quest. In the ensuing training, she will discover many things about herself- her strength, her courage, and her ability to love." And of course, I don't have a trailer for this one, so you'll just have to go read the book.
  • This last one was hard to choose, but I had to pick one so... The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer. I liked seeing things from "the dark side". You know... the NOT Edward and Jacob side. "Bree Tanner was a fifteen year old runaway before she became a vampire. Now, a three-month-old vampire, Bree has to find ways to stay alive, to feed without getting caught, and to find the truth about her new life. But Riley, the leader of this gang, is spurring them to war."

2. What genre makes you want to pick up a book and read? Well that's easy. FANTASY!!
3. If you had to be stuck on a desert island with a fictional character, who would you choose? Crap. That's a hard one. Either Sam from Shiver/Linger, Jacob from The Twilight Saga, or..... or..... Devlin from Radiant Shadows.
4. How do I make time to read my books? Sometimes I read on my hour long lunch break at work. Sometimes I read at night before I go to bed. Or when Lydia's occupied watching Noggin.
5. Next on my "to read" list: I am currently reading Fallen by Lauren Kate.

Ok, so I almost stuck to the 5 books only rule. Alas, I have betrayed the rest of my library of fantasy novels (which is kind of puny since my boxes of books are missing from my move back in February :-() But, I shall survive to add more.

So, there you have it. This mommy reads waaaaaaaay too much.

Oh who am I kidding. There can never be too much. And reading keeps me sane. I hope my children carry their love of books through to older ages like their mama did. I don't know what I'd do if they didn't enjoy to read as much as I did.

Disown them?

No... to harsh.

Oh well. :-)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh What A World

So, I was looking around at the templates and stuff in my editor, and accidentally hit something I shouldn't have hit. And I've completely ruined my blog. I think I need to just delete all of my HTML and start from scratch. If anyone has any tips or a good website where I can get free blog templates please let me know! I wish I could get the template back that I used before, but it's wicked old apparently and Blogger doesn't have it anymore. ::sigh:: Cue frustration.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Welcome Home

I came in from work tonight at around 12:30. Walked in to the bathroom and found that my Lydia had torn apart almost the entire paper towel roll and put it in the toilet.

LUCKILY I had purchased rubber gloves for dishwashing (yes, because seriously, my dishwasher is HORRIBLE (I've run the dishes that are in there about 5 times, still dirty) and I can't stand touching food that's gotten wet and gross and.... nevermind ::shudders::) and was able to fish them out and deposit them in to a handy dandy Walmart shopping bag just in time to hear....

"Moooooommmmmyyyyyyy..... I have to pooooootttttttty!" Ah, the tired whine mixed with the urgency of a leaking bladder. You gotta love it.

It's the first time she's ever woken herself up in the middle of the night to pee.


And it's been over 2 weeks since she's even wet her diaper at night.


So, after the potty success came the hysterical crying. She was either really tired or... well, I don't know what. And then the... "I'm hungry! I'm hungry! I'm firsty!" Followed by "But I'm scared of my room!" And the killer... "But mommy I want you! PLEASE!"

So I'm a pushover.

She was hungry. She's a picky eater and generally tries to wait until bedtime to decide "Oh yeah, maybe I should have finished my dinner." So, mommy made sandwiches. And we ate them while we finished Harry Potter on HBO. She snuggled up to my side. She likes the fact that I'm squishy. Makes me a comfortable pillow. And the next thing I knew... eyes were closed.

I sat for a minute longer and then....

"Mommy you should sleep too. Like me."

So I close my eyes.

"No! Not like that!"

And then her eyes closed. Again.

She opened them up again long enough to hop back in to bed and say "Good night mommy... I wuv you."

Sometimes it's ok to let them stay up just a little bit longer with you.

And I'll never get tired of hearing "I want my mommy" or "I love you".

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Allow Me To Introduce.... Myself

So, I'm a few months into this blog without an actual formal introduction (in which there will be nothing really formal about it, but I like how it sounds).

My name is Tara. Which is definitely visible over there on the side of the screen in my short but sweet "profile". I'm 27 years old and I have 2 beautiful little girls. Perfect, glowing little angels. ::cough:: Ahem. What was I saying? Oh yes... little angels.

My oldest is Alanna Noël. She was born in January of 2003 making her a whopping 7.5 right now. Still hard to believe. She's just finished up the first grade and has an affinity for board games like her mama. And loves loves LOVES to watch iCarly, Victorious, Suitet Life On Deck, Big Time Rush, and (this one is totally my fault) America's Next Top Model. She can sing almost word for word every song from Phantom of the Opera (also my fault) and has proclaimed her new favorite movie to be Avatar (do I really even need to own up to this one?). She took ballet and tap for 2.5 years, dabbled in gymnastics, and went and watched jiu jitsu once. She loves to be in the water and acts way too grown up for her own good. Oh, and it's her fault I know all the Barbie songs I sing on a now daily basis. Yep.... alllllll her fault.

Lydia is my second oldest. Also known as my youngest. She will be in just under 2 months and I believe is now completely potty trained. Yay! Anyways. SHE is obsessed with Wow Wow Wubbzy, LazyTown (which I don't mind, because Sportacus is hot), Little Bear, and Barbie. Unlike Alanna, she never really got in to the Disney Princesses all that much, or the Wiggles (and believe me, I was just HEART broken over that one... I don't think I could have "done the monkey" one more time without keeling over). She likes to make towers out of DVDs and toilet paper. LOVES eating yogurt with her finger. Considers cheese a meal (ok, so that's my fault too). And it's always "sing me one more song" when I put her to bed at night.

So, back to me. Yes, I'm that selfish. I work in a T-Mobile call center. And believe me, it is the most stressful job I have ever worked in my entire life. I love the people that I work with, but the people that I have to talk to on the phone? Most of the I can live without. Not everyone has figured out that you get more flies with honey than with vinegar (although, if I was a fly, I'd go for the vinegar, I'm strange like that....just sayin). Most days I dread going in to work, but that could also be because I have a phobia of being on the phone. Seriously. I used to be one of those girls that could talk your ear off for hours. Now? No thanks. You can text me. Picked a great job didn't I?


I'm a nerd. It's still up in the air as to what kind of nerd, but I'd consider myself a book nerd. And a band geek. Even if I haven't played in an actual band since about 2004. I played the clarinet from the time I was 11 to the time I was 21. It used to be one of my aspirations to play in an orchestra. I'm good, but I'm not that good. Marching band was fun though. More fun than I wanted to admit for the longest time, but it was great. Lots of good friends came out of that.

I'm a Christian. I currently attend Faith Evangelical Free Church here and I've never felt like a church was more my home until I found this one. And it wasn't always that way. I didn't start regularly attending church until last August. And believe you me, getting motivated to get up early every Sunday, even if it's to the later service, was HARD. I hadn't been to church more than a few times a YEAR before that since I was probably 19? 20? Can't remember.

Here's the part that people sometimes have trouble reconciling with the bit of information I shared in the last paragraph. I love tattoos. I currently have 8 of them. But every single one of them is special to me and important. They all have a story that goes along with them. Even if it was done as a spur of the moment thing, there's still meaning behind it. My tattoos, in order from my first back in 2001:

Winged Unicorn on my right ankle, Flowers/Ribbon on my lower back, Celtic Shamrock between my shoulder blades, ALANNA (in grafitti) on my ribcage, the world "Forgiven" on my left wrist, a Phoenix on my right shoulder, DogTags (in memory of my older brother, Jeff) on my left foot, and Matthew 11:28-30 and Psalm 34:18 (not the verses themselves, just the reference) on my right wrist.

I have plans for so many more but obviously they are also require paper that has monetary value and I am currently not overflowing with that sort of paper.

I am obsessed with spicy foods and with sour things. I dip buffalo chicken strips in extra buffalo sauce because it's not hot enough without it. I eat ONLY hot and spicy pickles, I have not had a regular dill pickle since.... WAAAAAAAAAAAAY before I had Alanna. I love sour skittles. I will eat the sour skittles and then make sure I get all of the sour-y salt at the bottom of the bag after the skittles are gone. And war heads? Eat em 2 of 3 at a time. Yum.

I read a lot. A LOT. Like I said, I'm a book nerd. I have 10 books at least on my desk at work and have picked up 4 new books in the last 2 weeks (I've already finished 2 of them). I can go through a 600 + book in just a couple days. That's one of the things I love about myself. Is that I can never pass up a good book. Ever. I know people who can't STAND reading and I just cannot fathom the concept of never sitting down and opening up a hardcover or paperback and just reading. Even if it's only for a couple of minutes.

I am not a cat person. I'm a dog person. I've had dogs my entire life. I left behind 4 rottweilers when I moved from VA to ME. And now? I have 2 cats. And I love them. I don't know if I'll ever like anyone else's cats still.... but I love mine. They're names are Vasper (he's about a year and a half old) and Cinderella (she's about 3 monts? maybe a bit less...). They love each other (after a few days of Vasper HATING her and HISSING at her and Cinderella hiding under the sofa until someone came to save her.

I'm not a very good spectator when it comes to sports. I can't stand to watch them on television. But I love to watch them in person. Of course, I'd rather be playing than anything else. I played roller hockey and ice hockey from the age of about 14-23. Greatest sport I've ever played. I've also played softball. Middle school, highschool, and then a church league. I've attempted soccer. I played for a "spoof" team called "Team Combat Boots". We wore red camoflauge jerseys and our team, all but 1 person just about, was made up of roller hockey players who had no idea what they were doing.

I loooooove singing comedians. Heck, I love any comedian who is actually FUNNY. I don't care where they got their stuff from, as long as it makes me laugh when they say it. Stephen Lynch, Jeff Dunham, Dane Cook, Jim Gaffigan, Dimitri Martin, and Red Skelton are some of my absolute FAVORITES. Seriously, anyone who can make me laugh until I cry is a hero in my book.

So yeah, that's my "intro". It's still a little bit abridged. But I figure I've give you all enough information to skip over for now. :-) I'm sure I'll be revealing more in later entries.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Though We're Far Apart... You're Always In My Heart

Kudos to anyone who can tell me what song my title came from, and why the song is relevant to the following entry. :-)

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was in shock at first.... and then absolutely terrified.

I had never wanted kids. My plan (although it was quite stupid) was to adopt a teenager and then send them off to college. Like I said. Stupid. I did not deal well with children as a general rule. Unless they were family or belonged to good friends of mine, I had little patience for ankle biters.

I still don't do well with a lot of other people's kids, especially unsupervised kids on a playground.... but that's another topic for another day.

Anyways. I was absolutely terrified. I was unmarried and had just turned 19. I was in my 2nd semester of my freshman year in college and was without a doubt the most immature person (even worse than I am now) that you could possibly have ever met. Ok, so maybe that's stretching it a bit. But still... I was not the greatest decision maker (I'm still not, but at least I've got the right thought process down and experience to back it up). Didn't care about anything or anyone really. I had JUST come out from a REALLY bad depression and was still on quite shaky ground.

All the makings of a good mother right? Meh.

I had every reason to be terrified. I didn't know the first thing about being a mother. I'd babysat my nephews, but that was it. I would have NO clue how to take care of a baby. No clue.

Then I joined an email "loop" filled with girls in the same situation or similar situations. And the panic died down a bit. We all shared horror stories and experiences. We fought, we complained, we vented to each other. But what was best was that, even though it was online and we were all hundreds of miles apart, we supported each other. We didn't always agree with each other, but we supported each other.

When I joined that group I felt a little less alone and a little more like I could do this whole "mom" thing.

It's ok to be scared. Everyone has fears/worries/doubts. It's ok to admit that you have ABSOLUTELY no idea what to do. That you're not up on all the hippest trends or you haven't read up on all of the parenting info and what not. You don't have to be supermom the second the little one finds its way down the birthing canal.

Find people like you. Look online. Shoot, facebook now a days has groups for just about EVERYTHING. Go to Cafe Mom and find people that way. Once you know what you're looking for, you begin to notice that there are a WHOLE lot more people in your shoes with you than you ever thought possible. It's also really easy to find people who have been in your shoes and would love to answer any questions or help quiet any concerns that you have.

You don't have to be alone.

It helps to have people to complain about backpain with. It helps to know that you're not the only one with really strange food cravings (for me it was hot and spicy pickles with Alanna, and cheese ravioli with Lydia). It helps to know that OTHER people feel just as terrified and alone as you do. Because while you may not always get along or "feel the love" for each other. You have the support of someone who knows that you're also giving your support for them. You've "got each others' backs" so to speak.

Most of the girls from my email loop are now friends of mine on Facebook.

I "met" them all back in 2002.