Sunday, August 22, 2010
The title of this post has to do with nursing the baby; we switched Little Dude to formula when he was about six months old (thanks blogger for reminding me). He had been a total crankypants for a while and we realized that he was mostly just hungry. Breastfeeding got off to a much better start this time around and I thought we were doing well. During the last few months, though, I've started noticing little things that made me worry. My baby has been wearing the same clothes for the last three months and they aren't getting any smaller. She has been getting fussier and more clingy. She only nurses for about five minutes on each side and then acts angry when I try to get her to eat more. But she still has fat cheeks, bright eyes, and seems generally healthy so I've been trying to figure out what the right choice is. My work schedule shouldn't interfere with her eating schedule either so that's not an issue.
Last week I had to go to an orientation on Wednesday morning, so Tuesday night I tried pumping some milk to put in a bottle. After a long time on both sides I barely got an ounce. A few months ago I could easily have produced six or seven. Then Mr. Fob told me that the baby happily drank her whole bottle without fighting it. She didn't do that a few months ago either. Then a few days ago she began crying, fussing, and pulling on my shirt only about half an hour after eating. I decided to make her a bottle and her eyes lit up. She grabbed it, drank the whole thing, and smiled happily at me. That made my decision for me; I think we're going to transition to supplementing and then bottle feeding. I knew this was a possibility when she was born, but then things were going so well for a while that I really got into breastfeeding. I breastfed S-Boogie for a whole year, but I've already been through this with Little Dude and I think it's the best choice for all of us.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
This is an interesting book because it is presented as a romance but really reads like a thriller. I thought it was a fun read and I really enjoyed the story. The main characters were complex and the story was unique enough to be engaging without being completely unbelievable. I thought it was fun to read a Mormon version of the genre that was suspenseful and gritty without being explicit or violent.
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
I can think of several books that are quite similar to this one, and in some ways are better than it. It's fairly long and fairly conventional, and I could see the ending coming from a mile away. But I still had a great time reading it and stayed up late just to finish it. It's not the most original book out there but it was a compelling read and worth my time.
Middlemarch by George Eliot
A few months ago my book club read Anna Karenina, and many of the commentaries I read about it mentioned Middlemarch by way of comparison. I had never read Middlemarch before and thought it would be a nice break from the more contemporary stuff I usually read. The book is rather long and dense; took me several weeks to get through. There isn't a lot of compelling action in it; while it reminded me a bit of Austen in its setting the tone is different. That said, I really loved the book a lot. The characters were complex and felt like real people to me, not like characters from a book. The quotidian struggles they faced felt significant and I loved Eliot's writing. I actually found myself marking several passages to comment on in my own writing some day. Reading this book was work, but satisfying work
Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman
This was our book club pick for this month, and while I enjoyed some parts of it I didn't really like it as a whole. The writing style is really old-fashioned and focuses a lot more on 'telling' than 'showing'. It just wasn't my kind of romance novel.
In the Company of Angels by David Farland
I've been wanting to read this book after this review and others recommended it. I admit to a bit of hesitation simply because I've never been a big fan of early Church history (or, to be honest, much early 19th century American history). I'm so glad I read it and I know that this will be making my list of recommended books for the year. Yes the plot is about the handcart pioneers, but the book is about so much more than that. It is about hard choices and faith, and asks hard questions without providing many easy answers. I love books that make me think and I have a feeling that this book is going to stick in my brain for a while.
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
I agree with other reviewers that this book really could be much shorter. And I didn't enjoy the contemporary story as much as the historical parts. But I still enjoyed reading this book a lot and think it's a great summer escape book.
If I am Missing or Dead by Janine Latus
After a few chapters of this book I started wondering 'why am I still reading this?', and then I felt guilty for thinking that because it is the true story of someone's life. It was a difficult book to read, but I learned a lot about what constitutes an abusive relationship and gained a much greater appreciation for the safe life that I live.
Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields
It's been a while since I've read To Kill a Mockingbird, but this book made me want to reread it after learning so much more about the author. It is a unique book and its author is a very unique woman. I thought this biography was very fair and empathetic to its subject but it ultimately felt somewhat flat, most likely because it is written without any input from Lee or her family. Obviously that would be impossible, so as far as biographies of Harper Lee go this is probably the best there is.
The Local News by Miriam Gershow
I decided to read this book because I thought the plot sounded interesting, but what I ended up liking most about it was the protagonist. She is a sixteen-year-old girl who sounds and acts exactly like an average high school student (rather than a character in a book); I thought her voice and the high school scenes were the greatest strength of the book.
Shall We Kiss?
This movie is very French, meaning that if you are used to the way American romantic comedies work you will be disappointed. The best word for it is probably 'charming'; it was fun and clever but not terribly memorable.
I thought this was going to be scarier than it was, but it really isn't a horror film like I had been lead to believe. It's classic film noir, and I love both film noir and Leonardo Di Caprio, so I thought it was a great movie.
Rudo y Cursi
I thought this movie was going to be more funny; it had some moments (especially a hilarious music video), but I wasn't laughing most of the time. I also realized that I don't like vulgar movies in Spanish because hearing the swear words while reading them gets rather tiring after a while.
I was prepared to hate this movie based on all the things I had read that made fun of it. Yes, the plot is pretty much the same as many other movies and the message is blatantly obvious. The characters were still fascinating and the technical achievements of the director are amazing. I really found myself drawn into the movie and would definitely watch it again.
We love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and so we thought this movie was going to be pretty funny. It had a few good spots but overall it was pretty lame.Food, Inc.
This was an interesting documentary but it didn't really tell me much that I had not already learned from several other books and articles I have read on the subject. It simultaneously made me want to grow all my own food and go out to get a cheeseburger.
Friday, August 20, 2010
I attended orientation the other day and now my head is spinning trying to keep track of everything I need to teach writing. Turns out that teaching Spanish was a lot less complicated. Or maybe that's just because I had an entire semester-length class to learn about it and this time I'm just jumping right in. I've received some sample syllabi, but reading through them all just seems to confuse me even more. At least I have a book and a list of required assignments to help me out. Unfortunately the process is feeling pretty overwhelming and I have not even begun to write my syllabus (and now I'm blogging instead). Add that to the fact that S-Boogie is starting school and dance classes, Little Dude has preschool, and I have things like book group and Relief Society activities. Suddenly the extra paycheck and the 'me' time aren't looking so hot after all. I'm sure it will be fine once things get going and I realize it's not so hard.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
As for the rest of us, we had a great time. The weather was a bit cold and windy and we didn't swim much in the ocean. Playing in the sand was still a big hit, and this year the kids discovered the joy of burying people in the sand. We also did some hiking, drove around to see the sights, played in the tepee that my parents have, and went to a naval museum. I loved the fact that all my siblings came this year, and my only regret is the fact that we forgot to bring Settlers of Catan with us. That's something to look forward to next year!
Sunday, August 08, 2010
I don't know if it will happen this week because we're on vacation. Yesterday we drove to Las Vegas and are spending a few days with my parents. Usually the drive to Vegas is fairly quick and we don't like to stop much. This time we decided to take our time and stop more often to enjoy the scenery. I'm still deciding if I like this approach or not. First we had to stop in Fillmore to feed the baby and eat some potato logs. Then we spent a while at Cove Fort for their annual 'Cove Fort Days'. It was a lot of fun; the kids loved the demonstrations of pioneer crafts and the baby got a nice long nap in the front pack. We went for a ride on a covered wagon pulled by mules and ate free hot dogs (not authentic, but still tasty).
After Cove Fort we decided to stop at Saint George to get some ice cream cones with some coupons the kids had for Sonic. As we pulled into town it started raining heavily; then when we got to Sonic we discovered that it had gone out of business. So we backtracked to McDonalds and got our ice cream there. I had a bit of an adventure driving around town in the heavy rain; the kids were fascinated by the overflowing gutters. Then when we were in Nevada we took a nice long detour to go to my parents' house the back way. We got off the freeway to get gas, and after we got off a sign told us that it was actually five miles away in Logandale. After driving down to Logandale we realized that we were in a part of the state we've never seen before and ought to take advantage. We drove on a little highway around past Lake Mead. It was a very lonely road, peppered with ominous signs like "Flash Flood Area". The desert scenery was beautiful and after a while the kids resigned themselves to the fact that there would be a delay in the trip. I'm not sure I'd do it again, but it was a fun little side trip to the desert.
And so we have embarked on our big vacation; so far we are all surviving. Today I'm feeling pretty exhausted because the kids refused to calm down and sleep until late last night, and then this morning S-Boogie decided to wake up at 5:30 (5:30!). Hopefully swimming in the pool will wear them out enough to sleep better tonight. At least we have a few days before we have to get back into the car again.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
And of course the best thing to do when you're stressed is to run a bunch of errands. Between yesterday and today I've been to five different stores gathering stuff for the party and for camping. Thankfully I've found a lot of good deals and it has been rather cheap. Then to top it off I spent the afternoon baking and frosting four dozen cupcakes. Because I'm a masochist. I was going to do that after the kids were in bed, but I relented to their offers of help and I'm glad that was out of the way by nightfall.
Bedtime was the usual fiasco; lately Little Dude is like a jack-in-the-box, popping out of bed a billion times an hour before finally succumbing to sleep. S-Boogie was in and out of her room tonight too, probably due to the excitement of her birthday tomorrow. I wasn't surprised when the baby started crying about half an hour after I put her to bed. Sometimes she puts herself to sleep and other times she needs more help. I got her up and sat down on the couch with her and my book. After a minute or two I looked down and realized that her mouth and hands were all blue. I raced back to the girls' room and turned on the light to discover that for some reason S-Boogie decided to share her plastic cow with the baby. A plastic cow that had been covered in blue marker but was now a pristine white. The crib sheet was covered in blue drool too. After a very stern lecture to S-Boogie reminding her not to put toys in the crib, I gave the baby a lengthy bath and got most of the blue off with a good deal of soap and soaking. Thankfully she went to bed after a little snack.
Hopefully tomorrow will not be this kind of exciting, but I still hear thunder so I have my doubts.