Nerd Pride!

I must admit. I am a nerd. I always knew growing up that many others did not share my enthusiasm for neatly completed homework, books of miscellany, and plastic canvas needlework. Even in my "rebellious" teen years, I was known (if noticed at all) for being very quiet, having a tendency to put more than minimal effort into English essays and enjoying geometry proofs. I have accepted my nerdiness. Hannah, however looks upon nerds with all the disdain a rising fourth-grader can muster - which is quite a bit, believe me. The other day, she was preparing some "micro ravioli" - which seem pointless to me, as the "ravioli" are so tiny that there can't be more than 2 or 3 specks of meat in each one, but I digress - and she commented that they were "microscopic." Then she said, "Wait a minute. Do nerds use that word?" "Why do you ask?" "Because if they do then I don't want to say it." "Then no, they don't." Now, I have told Hannah many times that "nerds rule the world" and that there is nothing wrong with being smart because that can help a lot with getting what you want out of life - although it isn't everything - but she seems to insist on resisting anything she deems "nerdy." I hope she has a good experience in school this year and can find something cool about learning.



I know most every parent probably thinks their baby is the cutest/smartest baby ever, and I guess I am no exception to this rule. In light of this, I will share with you 2 videos.
In this first video, Sam had fallen asleep with his eyes partially open while nursing and I caught him on video waking up. I've also discovered that I have become one of those parents who perpetually puts words in the mouth of their not-yet-speaking baby. Feel free to comment on what you think he might say if miraculously gifted with speech.

In the second video, I finally caught Sam rolling over. This was his 3rd rollover - the first was on the examining table at his 2 month checkup, right before his shots! Unfortunately the doc had turned her back when he did it, but she said he's not really supposed to be rolling over until 4 months. Super Sam!


Monster Blood Tattoo & Lamplighter

I just finished Monster Blood Tattoo and its sequel, Lamplighter, by D.M. Cornish. Young Rossamund Bookchild begins his story as an orphan left on the steps of Madame Opera's Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls with nothing but his name pinned to his swaddling clothes. Constantly made fun of for his girlish name, Rossamund can't wait to be hired away to a ship on which he can use his training for life on the vinegar seas. When he is unexpectedly hired as a lamplighter, Rossamund feels disappointment at what he feels will be the continual drudgery of trudging out each night to light the lamps along the Emperor's roadway and again each day to extinguish them. However, his adventures begin as soon as he sets out, when he manages to board the wrong ship and be pressed into service of an unsavory man named Poundinch. Throughout both books, Rossamund seems to always find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, yet he always pulls through, often to the astonishment of others. I won't spoil anything by saying to much, but I will say I was pleased that the mystery surrounding Rossamund's origins is somewhat revealed at the end of the second book. It irritates me when a book builds up suspense around a certain character and then never reveals enough to satisfy my curiousity. I was amazed by the amount of detail Cornish went into in building the world of the Half Continent in which the story is set. Each book contains a 100-page "Explicarium" with a definition of terms found in the story as well as diagrams and illustrations of various items and characters in the story. I got the feeling of being transported to another world while reading these books, as the characters and situations involved were so intriguing and exciting.


48-Hour Book Challenge

Well, I feel like a doofus. I just looked at the results for the 48-Hour Reading Challenge. I kind of gave up on Sunday because I knew there was no way I could read 48 hours between Friday and Monday, so I didn't even report in today with my totals. Oh well, at least now I know better for next year. Incidentally my totals were 4 and a half books in 15 hours and 45 minutes (when I stopped counting Sunday).

Something Besides Books for a Bit

Now that the Reading Challenge is over, I realized I haven't really written about anything other than books for the last several posts, while I started this blog intended to share some family moments as well. In case I didn't mention, I have a 3-month-old son, Sam, whose favorite pastimes of the moment are eating, smiling, sleeping, pooping, and puking on me :P He is very cute in my opinion, so the more disgusting aspects of motherhood are tempered by his normally sweet face. He is becoming a very big boy - 24 inches long at his 2 month check and now tipping the scales at around 15 pounds. At birth he was 7 pounds 7 ounces and 21 inches long. The comment I get most frequently when showing him off is "look at all that hair!" It is just now starting to fall out, but there's still quite a bit. He's not anywhere near the recommended age for the exersaucer he's pictured in here, but we put him in it to see what he would do last week and he screamed when we tried to take him out. He seemed determined to grab one of those dangly toys, but his motor skills just aren't there yet. He seemed to have fun though.
We are currently breastfeeding and cloth diapering, which are both decisions I made based on health and cost. We have not had to buy formula or diapers at all, although we did have to supplement with formula a bit at first since I had a c-section and my milk was very slow coming in. The hospital gave us 3 free diaper bags and quite a bit of formula samples. A lot of breastfeeding sites tell people not to take the samples or "success packs" because they think it will sabotage breastfeeding, but I think more education and support for new mothers would be more likely to keep new mothers from giving up. Even though I had difficulties the first month, I am a stubborn enough person that once I decide to do something, there is very little that can change my mind. Sam has now been formula-free for a week and the 2 weeks before that he was only getting 1 oz a night before bed. After the first night I didn't supplement and he slept his regular 4-5 hours for the first stretch, I haven't gone back.
I have been very pleased with our cloth diapers, which many people in my immediate environment were very skeptical about before Sam's birth. I would tell people of my intention to use cloth and they would laugh and say, "sure you will." I know the image everyone had in their heads consisted of the Gerber white cloth diapers that require pins and covers, rather than the bumGenius one-size I planned to use. I had to start out slowly building our stash, but by the time he was 6 weeks old, we were cloth all the way. I have 8 bumGenius, 8 Haute Pockets (velcro), one Mommy's Touch (velcro), and 1 Happy Heiny (had to have the cow print:) They are all one-size diapers designed to fit Sam till he's 35 pounds. Hopefully they will last all the way till he's potty-trained. I invested a little over $300 in the whole stash, including cloth wipes and a diaper pail liner (using a regular flip-top garbage can) and should save at least $600 this first year by not having to buy disposable diapers/wipes.
Hannah, my step-daughter, is also a big part of my life. She is 9 years old and I have been helping raise her since she was 4. Recently, we have started arguing quite a bit, which I makes me sad. I asked her the other day why she had to argue with me about everything and she said, "Because you're usually wrong. And sometimes I just want to argue." I try to be as honest with her as I can and have explained to her that I want to have a good time with her, but when she's giving me attitude and arguing, it makes me not even want to talk with her. I'm hoping this is just a phase that will pass soon. I know she is under some stress with having a new baby brother, changing schools this fall, and her mother still being in South Carolina (she's been gone since last January [2007] and Hannah's only seen her about 5 times since then) and having a new baby sister on the way with her mom in August. One minute she'll tell me I'm the best mother in the world and the next she's giving me the evil eye. *sigh* In the grocery story today I didn't want to get strawberries even though they were on sale because all they had were the mutant baseball-sized strawberries that I don't think taste very good, but she really wanted them so I got them so she could see for herself. I made a comment about her thinking I didn't know what I was talking about and she said that she just needed to find things out for herself sometimes. My mother used to tell me "One day I hope you have a child just like you, then you'll understand!" For not actually sharing any genetic material, Hannah is so like me it's scary.


I finished Kira-Kira around 2PM today and I have to say that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't normally read this much realistic fiction, but when I think back, I can't think of very many books I have read that I haven't enjoyed, regardless of genre. Anyway, Kira-Kira shares the story of a Japanese-American family living in the South during the late 1950s. Katie, the younger sister, narrates the family's struggles against racial prejudice, economic hardships, and the mysterious illness of Lynn, the beautiful, intelligent older sister. Both of the parents in this story work long hours at poultry plants in order to buy a house, which they believe will help Lynn get better. This seems to work for a while, but then Lynn takes a turn for the worse and mortgage payments combined with medical bills force the parents to work even more, leaving Katie caring for both her younger brother Sammy and her ailing older sister. The story was very sad, yet not depressing to me in that Katie comes to terms with her sister's death and decides to keep hold her sister's memory close to her heart while also allowing herself to hope for future happiness.
I am starting Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli now, all I can tell as of now is it seems to be about mermaids/sirens.


No Good Excuses

So there's no way I can now complete 48 hours of reading before the end of the challenge. Physically impossible even if I did nothing but read between now and then. Oh well, I'll try harder next year. This doesn't mean I'm not going to read though. I finished Emma-Jean Lazarus Falls Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis and If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko. It was interesting to read these two back to back since they have quite a few similar elements. In both books, the main characters are in 7th grade and deal with bullying by girls. I plan to read Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata next. I don't usually read this much realistic fiction, but I do enjoy it occasionally.


Read on!

2nd Day attempting the 48-hr Reading Challenge: since last post, I have read/blogged a running total of 8 hours and 45 minutes. I finished The Sisters Grimm #4: Once Upon a Crime and have started Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis. Read the previous post for a description of the 1st book. I will comment on the other later, since I am hostess for a shrimp broil here at the house and everyone just showed up.


I finally begin my reading/blogging challenge

Well, I did get to finish Brave Story this morning, but didn't really get to start reading for MotherReader's challenge until about 3PM due to Hannah getting up at 7:30 this morning & being SO EXCITED about her Girl Scout trip to Chattanooga today (she left at 11:30 AM, her first trip without a parent, sniff, she's getting so big), but I did eventually get in 3 hours of reading, during which I read 112 pages of the 4th installment of The Sisters Grimm series (Once Upon a Crime) by Michael Buckley. If you haven't heard of the series, the basic premise is this -After the disappearance of their parents, 11-yr-old Sabrina and 7-yr-old Daphne Grimm are shuttled through a series of terrible foster homes before finally being rescued by their Granny Relda (whom had been presumed dead) and taken to live in Ferryport Landing, which they come to find out is peopled with fairy-tale characters, known as Everafters. The girls discover that they are descended from Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, whose collections of "fairy tales" were actually accounts of real events. The Grimm family has been keeping watch over the inhabitants of Ferryport Landing, which is surrounded by a magical barrier that the original Grimms created to keep the Everafters from leaving the town - a protective measure that has garnered the family no small amount of resentment from many in the Everafter community. Anyway, the girls become entangled in the family business of solving crimes occurring in Ferryport Landing, while also trying to untangle the mystery surrounding their parents' disappearance. In this 4th book, the girls, along with their Granny, Mr. Canis (her butler of sorts, aka The Big Bad Wolf) and Mr. Hamstead (one of the 3 Little Pigs) travel back to the girls' hometown of NYC to find the Faerie kingdom in hopes of getting some magical medical assistance for Puck, who was seriously injured in the last book - I won't spoil it by telling you how. I will tell you that they find what is left of Faerie, but also discover that their mother, Veronica was living a secret life and they must investigate her connections to Faerie in order to find a murderer. If you like fairy tales and/or mysteries/detective stories, you might want to give this series a try.

Now, I have to take a break to go watch a local production of Aida with my parents & co., but when I get back - more reading/blogging.

Summer Reading Challenge for Adults!

I was just thinking earlier today about how Hannah was so not interested in doing the summer reading program at our local library this year - actually ran away from the form when I tried to sign her up at the library 2 weeks ago - and how I wished there was some type of fun summer reading event for adults - not that I need any encouragement to read :) Anyway, I'm online killing time while waiting to see if Sam will wake up and want to eat in the next few minutes (went to bed at 10PM and not up yet!) and what do I find? The 3rd annual 48-hour book challenge from MotherReader! It starts tomorrow - actually I guess it's already the 6th, so today! Yay! I know, I get too excited about reading. Anyway, we're supposed to be cooking out on Saturday, but I plan to start reading/blogging for the challenge around 7AM - I always read while feeding Sam anyway, so I won't have a problem getting started. Now that I'm thinking about this I don't know if I'll be able to go back to sleep..I just had 5 hours in a row, that's way more than I got last night - last night he woke up every 2 hours or so starting around 1AM until we finally just got up around 6:30. I was pooped. Anyway, check out the challenge if you're interested. I don't think it's too late to sign up.


Christening the blog

*sound of champagne bottle breaking* I hereby christen this blog! Prepare to be amused, entertained, or at least slightly less bored!
A little background...at present, I am 26, a new mother to a beautiful baby boy - Samuel Lewis Wheatley, a veteran step-mother to Hannah Alyssa Wheatley (9 yrs old), married to Aaron Lewis Wheatley, and will soon be working at Morristown-Hamblen High School East as a library media specialist. I spent the last 3 years working as LMS at White Pine School, a K-8 school, so this will be quite a major move professionally.
I love to read - a lot - and recently have been spending more time online, particularly on social networking sites ala Facebook and MySpace sharing pictures of my family and whatnot. I'll probably be doing more of the same here, as well as possibly sharing opinions about what I am currently reading.
Speaking of reading - right now I'm reading Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe. In this winner of the Batchelder Award, Wataru undertakes a quest into the imaginary world of Vision in order to change his destiny. Recently, 11-year-old Wataru's life has fallen apart - his father has suddenly left his mother for a woman he dated long ago, claiming that she is his true love. After his mother attempts to kill herself and Wataru by leaving the gas running in their apartment, Wataru embarks on his quest to Vision to find the Tower of Destiny and convince the Goddess to change his fate. He is not alone on this quest, however. A mysterious boy named Mitsuru, who has recently moved to Wataru's school, is also determined to reach the Tower of Destiny. Mitsuru has somehow become a powerful sorcerer and it seems he will stop at nothing, even destroying the lives of many in Vision, to achieve his goal. I have not yet finished this book, but I would recommend it based on what I have read so far. It is very long - 816 pages, but the plot moves fairly quickly once the boys begin their quests. After a quick Google search, I discovered this novel has also been made into an anime movie in Japan and an RPG available on PSP - although I'm sure the book is better, as is almost always true.