Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Pics

So I actually finished the costumes, though I was still working until right before they left. But all the kids are happy and only one tummy ache at bedtime.
These are the pumpkins that we put out on our tree house . They look like they are floating there once it gets dark.
One very satisfied ballerina princess. Tip for next year, never try to sew a tutu, it is harder than it looks.
A slightly confused cowgirl. Her ankle did fine, though she was hurting by the end of the night. But no way was she going trick-or-treating with crutches.
So what is he? Mad Cow Disease? Bull with a vendetta? nope, a minotaur. And he even liked the feeble efforts of his parents to portray such a thing. AS he learns more esoteric things, like Greek Mythology, his costumes get harder.

Some form of ghost, I'm still not sure what kind. He was so excited to go get candy that he forgot the glow-in-the-dark paint we got for his hands and face.
B. refused to let me take her picture until she came home. And then only because J. was getting his picture taken. Thanks to my sister for the Magenta costume that required nothing more of me than to find it in the costume box.
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Gathering Storm


I have been waiting for this book for approximately four years. That's when the last book in this series came out. Then the author died and I gave up. Then a spectacular new author picked up the burden and delivered and oh boy did he deliver.
I have been waiting almost two weeks to write this as my local bookstore evidently thinks release dates are for sissies. Not that I am complaining. I read this 740 page novel in around six hours. It was that good. And more than just good, it was satisfying.
So often when you read books in a series, often in this series, you get to the end of the novel and there is no real conclusion. There might be some sort of ending, but no conclusion. It makes me want to throw the book and send nasty letters to the author for stringing me along. It also doesn't help that I am a sucker and get drawn in this way on a regular basis. (On a side note, this is one reason I like Brandon Sanderson so much. He writes stand alone novels, which is getting to be a lost art in sci-fi/fantasy.)
This book ended so well that even though there are two more books to come, I was content to just be at the place the story ended. Until next October anyway.

The Gathering Storm. Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson. Tor. 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nurtureshock


I usually avoid parenting books. Most of them cherry pick studies, or just make stuff up, to agree with their own personal theories, then try and convince everyone else they are right. I also have a long-standing conviction that you should not be allowed to give parenting advice in the media unless you have two or more kids. The reason I read this book in spite of these previously held rules is that the format of this book is different. Rather than being a prescriptive book (telling you what to do) it is a descriptive book (telling you what four decades of child research has discovered).
I trusted the authors a bit more when I heard one confess, in a radio interview, that he had to rethink some of his own parenting ideas after doing the research for the book. Once I knew the author wasn't just finding excuses to preach about why his way was the best, I was much more interested.
The book is broken up into broad topics and describes the sum of years of research. I really liked how they took a large number of studies, and even included those whose results didn't necessarily agree with the mainstream. In fact, I was surprised at the number of times the total of scientific ideas conflict with the stuff you get from the talk shows and parenting magazines.
I would recommend that every parent should read this, not necessarily to change how you parent, but to give you some new ways of looking at your kids and your family dynamics. I truly appreciated the tone of the book. Too many parenting books imply that if you do not follow their advice, your family will be a complete wreck. This one offers you new ideas and lets the reader decide how (or if) to implement them.
Look! Look! I read a whole book! I love the second trimester.

Nurtureshock: New Thinking About Children. Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman. Twelve. 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reality Check


As the mother of five children I get a lot of comments like , "Wow, you must be busy" or "I couldn't keep up, my two are all I can handle," and similar comments. They are all meant to politely express the speakers astonishment that I seem to be sane and at least moderately intelligent and yet have so many kids. (I can't wait until my pregnancy is obvious to someone other than my husband.) I don't mind and for the most part I feel that these concerns are overblown. I don't feel nearly as busy as a lot of mothers I know who spend all their time shuttling kids to activities and volunteering and working and a multitude of other things. My days are pretty much open and its not that much more work to feed 7 than 4 or 5.
Then we have weeks like this one has been. My children tend to have problems one or maybe two at a time. This week we counted four and one an extra time consuming and worrisome event. I honestly think this is one of the few times I've really felt as harried as others seem to assume I must be all the time.
With all the waiting rooms and driving I've been doing I've also had time to think about the large family stress I have been feeling. And my conclusion is, I'd rather have this type of stress than the self-induced busyness that I see around me. B. will figure out her bathroom timing issue; E will heal eventually, even if the doctors can't figure out what is wrong; J.'s eyes and teeth are all repaired now, at least for another year and R. will probably not have another fight at school (I'm praying on this one, and on all the others really). All these things will pass. It was only coincidence that it all is happening at once.
But my family is forever. Right now things are a bit labor intensive, but nothing worth doing is easy. The work and stress I put into my "job" will all be paid back 100-fold in the days, years and even millenia to come. I'm grateful for the waiting required for many a crisis, it helps get my mind out of the frenzy and panic and looking forward to the (usually brief) time before the next problem.
Thanks for reading all the way to end. I am trying to post every week, but sometimes I only have my own mental circles to comment on.

Monday, October 5, 2009

applicable meme

Wasn't conference great?
So I have a goal of writing at least once a week but my brain is not working properly, so I stole this meme from another book blog.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
If I eat alone I read. But I also like to eat while I read. I would probably be skinnier if I could not do this.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
If I am studying I do and I have often been tempted when I read a really good quote, but I rarely have a highlighter with me.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
A random piece of paper if there is one handy, otherwise the following:

Laying the book flat open?
Yes, though I know it is a terrible thing.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
Usually both, though recently only light non-fiction and fiction I've already read.

Hard copy or audiobooks?
I don't have the patience for audiobooks. I can read so much faster.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
I am frequently forced to put books down suddenly, so I can now.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
No, never, though I usually can guess the word.

What are you currently reading?
I started Servant of a Dark God by John Brown, Alcatraz vs The Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson and The Magicians by Lev Goodman. Finished none of them. There are many good books coming out this month that I might not read until April.

What is the last book you bought?
Servant of a Dark God is the most recent of my pre-orders that has arrived. I am also waiting for Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett and The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
I always have books scattered around the house. Whenever I read I put the book down and then need another in another location.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
I try for a time when my brain works and my children are busy or sleeping.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
Either, as long as it is good.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
Brandon Sanderson, Terry Pratchett

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
Wherever they fit on my overcrowded bookshelves.