Archive from February, 2015
Feb 27, 2015 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Some Things Get Better the Fourth Time Around (And Some Things Don’t)

Some Things Get Better the Fourth Time Around (And Some Things Don’t)

Last weekend my two-year-old was sick in one of the worst possible ways.  It was bad enough that he had whatever cold virus was going around at the moment–he was coughing pretty badly already–but when a child gets a stomach bug on top of that, the 24 hours or so of relative dehydration is a nightmare.  My poor boy coughed all night long last Sunday night, and when it got so miserable he would just cry that pathetic it-hurts-and-I’m-sick-and-I-hate-this cry I went in and snuggled with him while he coughed.  And when, an hour or so later, I got up to feed my baby girl after being liberally coughed on by a sick, sick toddler, I figured the chances of the baby staying well weren’t great.

She didn’t.  And none of us are really surprised.  And I’m afraid that having a sick baby, in and of itself, is one of those things that doesn’t really get better–it doesn’t matter how many kids you have.  On the other hand, managing the sick baby situation does get better with practice; here’s why.

1)I know how to suction.  My oldest had RSV at 6 weeks old and spent 5 days at Primary Children’s Hospital; the nurses there taught me how to suction a baby’s nose correctly.  (I often wonder if we could have avoided the hospital if I had known that several days earlier.)  Suctioning didn’t work for my middle two,  which was frustrating, but this baby is like my oldest.  I can suction her before I feed her and get gobs of green stuff out, and I know it makes a difference in both her breathing and her eating.  I LOVE having something I can do to help.

2)I’ve had sick babies before.  No, it doesn’t get a ton better, but at least I know that babies do get sick–and they also get well.  It’s tiring, and they’re fussier and won’t eat as well, but that 5 days at Primary’s was the exception, not the norm.

3)It’s easier to accept that it takes time.  A virus is a virus, and it has to run its course.  That’s not fun, but repetition does get you used to it, so to speak.

You may have guessed that this post is my way of staying positive; managing it does get better, yes, BUT…

I still really wish my 17-day-old baby girl weren’t sick.


Feb 25, 2015 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

My Mother

Let me start off by saying that I know my mother isn’t perfect.  We do things differently, and some days the way she does thing is SO different from the way I do that it frustrates me just because (I got the OCD/perfectionist gene from both sides, in case you were wondering).  But my parents have been staying with us since just under a week before the baby was born, and my mother has spent the vast majority of that time (three weeks or so) asking how she can help me.  She has quietly done most of the laundry and almost all of the dishes; she has showered my girls when I’ve asked her to; she has bathed my sick and grouchy son when I’ve needed her to; and she has fed and burped and changed the baby when I’ve needed her to.  She has encouraged me to run errands by myself, she has picked up the kindergarteners from school, and she has run errands for me whenever I have asked.  She is unfailingly patient with my children and incredibly good at working with my two-year-old.  She made sure my hubby and I had a night out together after the baby was born.  I came home from an exceedingly rare opportunity to watch my oldest during her dance class to find my son bathed and my mother cleaning my bathroom counter.  She has set her own alarm so that she can wake up my girlies in time for school and get them started getting dressed, and she has done ALL of this three months shy of her 70th birthday.  And so I sit here, tears running down my cheeks, not CARING that we do things differently, because this incredible woman has done nothing but serve me for close to a month.

My parents leave tomorrow.  And I will be crying then, too.  Because even at 35 years old, sometimes you just really want your mom.

Feb 23, 2015 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Ambivalent


That’s about how reading Unless It Moves the Human Heart:   The Craft and Art of Writing made me feel.  On the one hand, as a teacher, I could appreciate some of Roger Rosenblatt’s discussions; on the other hand, as a writer (but not of fiction), I had a hard time relating to his views on writing.   To be fair, I’ve always known that my approach to writing is perhaps the exception rather than the norm.  Writing may actually be the mystical process Rosenblatt describes for the majority of writers, or perhaps the majority of writers of fiction.  Still, as a teacher, I don’t think he spent enough time acknowledging that his own views on what writing is–and on what GOOD writing is–are not the only views to be had.  (I also had a hard time with how seriously his students took those views…although he absolutely acknowledges that he wrote about the sense of a writing class, rather than the actual words of his students, so perhaps it wasn’t really as bad as it seemed.  Who actually asks a writing teacher, no matter how critically acclaimed, questions like “Where should writers live?” and “Should writers be friends with other writers?”  How are you original enough to be a good writer if you’re looking to someone else to tell you where you should live and who your associates should be?)

Anyway.  My friend Britt picked it for Book Club, and it spoke to her more than it did to me (of course, she DOES write fiction).  And there’s always the effect of post-pregnancy hormones and sleep deprivation to be considered.  All in all, however, I found it interesting…but I wouldn’t have picked it up on my own.  And while it was an interesting read–and it did provide some food for thought–I would have been okay if I hadn’t read it.  I’m also,  you understand, okay that I did.

Hence the ambivalence.

Feb 21, 2015 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Is This Day Over Yet?

Is This Day Over Yet?

It seems selfish to complain about today, really, because while yes, I have an 11 day old baby, I also have my parents staying with me to help out. Still, my hubby ended up feeling icky the second half of the day, which changed our evening plans, and then my poor two-year-old boy, who’s been coughing up a lung all day, threw up all over my shoulder.  (Although at least we were standing on the laminate.)  And the last thing he ate was about the only food I feed my children but dislike intensely enough that I don’t touch it myself–raw bell pepper.  (I can’t abide bell peppers, but hey, my children like them; far be it from me not to take advantage of a vegetable they all enjoy!)  Oh, the smell!  He was fussy or sleepy (or both) for the rest of the day.

Here’s the thing.  My parents cleaned up most of the mess; the last load of gross laundry is in the washing machine as we speak; and my son, despite two brief naps today, went happily to sleep at bedtime.  It could have been SO much worse, and I know it.  The problem is, of course, that my personality is all about anticipation.  I was DESPERATELY looking forward to going out with my hubby tonight (however cheaply and briefly), and when those plans changed, my personality joined forces with the post-pregnancy hormones and the sleep-deprivation to make it feel like the end of the world.  And THEN there was the vomit, and let’s be honest–if there’s a worse way for your day to be derailed than with unexpected child vomit, I’m not sure what it is.  (I am, of course, excluding injury and real tragedy here.)  And so I say–is this day over yet?

I can’t end on such an overly dramatic note, though, because yes, I KNOW I have help and I am blessed and the day could have been so much worse.  And so I leave you with a quote that is possibly overused but still very, very applicable.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

So said Mary Ann Radmacher.  Goodnight, folks!

Feb 19, 2015 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning…

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning…

Because that, my friends, is exactly when I finished Sarah Addison Allen’s First Frost.  After all,  you’ve got to have SOMEthing to do when you’ve put the baby down and you’re waiting to see if it’s safe to go to bed yourself!  I did doze off many times during the last few chapters, but that is in no way related to the quality of the book (and in EVERY way related to being in the newborn stage of life again).  The important thing is that I thoroughly enjoyed First Frost; it’s a sequel to the author’s first book, Garden Spells, picking up 10 years later.  (And yes, you really need to read Garden Spells first.  It’s my favorite of hers, however, so it’s no hardship.)  The theme of sisterhood is revisited, but it’s joined by an exploration of heritage and what it means to be family, as well as how our decisions (including the decision to decide for ourselves) create our future.

 Okay, perhaps that makes it sound more philosophical in focus than it really is (this whole ‘writing reviews on Percocet’ thing is tough, I tell you what.)  It’s also a story about a family whose members are all more or less going through a time of upheaval, and how they figure out what changes need to be made and how to make them to (more or less) everyone’s satisfaction.  Mostly, it’s a lovely book with likable characters and a family streak of quirky magical traits.  I would love to be friends with these women.  And isn’t that what makes a book enjoyable?
Feb 17, 2015 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Our New Arrival

Our New Arrival

It occurred to me shortly after I posted my review of The Crossover that doing so before I officially announced the baby was not particularly well done; my excuse, I suppose, is that I’m still on Percocet and I wanted to review Crossover before it went back to the library.  We are, however, VERY proud and happy to announce that our newest girlie is safely here.  She weighed in at 8 lbs, 7.8 oz and measured 19.5 inches long, and she is beautiful.  (Yes, I know, I’m her mom.  But she is.)  We’ve been home from the hospital for a few days, now, and the sleep is getting better, which is good (especially since, on our first night home, she didn’t settle in bed until 4 am).  I’m sporting a fabulously purple stomach–I did NOT bruise like this with my other c-sections–and still moving slowly, but that is also getting  better.  In other words?  All is as it should be.

Anyway.  I don’t stay awake enough to type for very long right now, so I’ll close this by giving a quick shout-out to The Princess in Black.  This (fairly) new chapter book offering by Shannon Hale is the perfect length to read to my middle (provided it’s a longish reading session).  The story is fun, the illustrations are fun–she loved it, and my husband and I both read it to her more than once.  If you’ve got a 4-5-year-old and you’re looking for another read-aloud option, this is a good one.

The Princess in Black

New From: $6.50 USD In Stock

Feb 15, 2015 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on I’m Back–For a Minute

I’m Back–For a Minute

As much as I’d like to be back to normal, of course, I’m still sporting an amazingly purple bruise on my stomach, and I only managed two hours of sleep in my bed last night.  That said, however, I did finish Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover while in the hospital, and I really enjoyed it.  It is a book built on basketball, yes, but the plot is more coming of age than anything else.  (I was actually looking forward to it anyway; a college friend of mine reviewed it on her blog, Gator Book Chomp, and she was impressed by it.)  I will say that I wasn’t quite expecting it to end up where it did, but that was in no way a bad thing.  The description made it clear that the twin brothers’ changing relationship was a major part of the plot; the catalyst for some of that change, however, was more complicated than I’d realized.  (It also struck some interesting nerves with me–I could relate to different parts of the plot in different ways.)

Anyway.  It’s a verse novel about twin brothers who are both basketball stars; saying more might just spoil it for you.  (Saying more coherently might also require more sleep than I got last night.)  To sum up, then:  I liked it, and it probably deserved its Newbery (even if, as usual, it’s quite a stretch to call it “children’s” literature.)

The Crossover

New From: $6.30 USD In Stock

Feb 10, 2015 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on By the Way, Folks…

By the Way, Folks…

I’ll be taking a break for a bit, because I’m having a baby today!  Wish me luck!

Feb 8, 2015 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on I Get Around to the Promos Eventually…

I Get Around to the Promos Eventually…

When I first started at Borders, I spent a year or three grabbing up every free book available to me (as well as buying a good many books just because the price seemed too good to pass up).  Somewhere in my ten year stint there, of course, I figured out that wanting to read books and needing to own them were not the same thing (also that any living space is at least somewhat limited in its capacity to store all of the books you can acquire for little or nothing as a bookstore employee).  Some time in those first few years, however, I saw an arc (advanced reading copy) of Uncle Boris in the Yukon and Other Shaggy Dog Stories; the topic itself didn’t jump out me, but the author did.  I remember, during my YA Lit class in college, having to choose books to read in a number of different genres and share our experiences with the rest of the class; someone in that class read a book by Daniel Pinkwater, and he went on and on about how hilarious and wonderful he was.  Oh, hey! I thought.  Daniel Pinkwater’s supposed to be really funny!  And so I took the arc.

Since advance reading copies, by definition, come before the book is actually out, that had to have happened around 2001; I haven’t gotten around to choosing it as my book to read until now.  I have to say, though–I’m honestly glad I did.  (And not just because I can now pass it along to someone else.)  It starts out bizarre, in a ‘wow, your family life was insanely dysfunctional’ kind of way, but as it settles into its main topic, it becomes an enjoyable little bit of humorous memoir about dogs in Pinkwater’s life.  It meanders a bit, but after all, cohesive plots are often not the strong point of memoirs; this one is funny enough that I didn’t particularly mind.  If you like memoirs OR dogs, this book is worth taking a look at.  (And if you’re itching to read it, you can comment and I’ll get it back from my friend Brittany when she finishes it and send it on to you!)

Feb 6, 2015 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Changes Coming

Changes Coming

I was contemplating what to write about tonight, since I am plenty tired and haven’t tried any new recipes since the pancakes (or finished any books since Saving Lucas Biggs), and I decided I ought to officially announce on here that come next week, regular posts will not so much be happening for a while.  My 3rd c-section is scheduled for Tuesday, and since c-sections come with a four-day hospital stay, well, I won’t be saying much next week.  And after that?  Well, I will then have four children at home, and I imagine that will require some adjustment (this is me understating, by the way).  I would like to try and keep up, mind you, but I’m not crazy enough to think that’s going to happen right away.  For now, then, I’ll post at least once more before the baby’s born, and we’ll just see where it goes from there.  In the meantime, suggestions for baby girl names will still be considered through Monday…