Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CJ's Top Ten Pirate-Themed Books for Toddlers

We absolutely love pirates in our house. CJ's nursery has been nautical and pirate-themed since before he was even born. The very first book I bought him was How I Became a Pirate in French. We've since added a bunch of pirate-themed books to our collection.  The slideshow has tons more pirate books, but I thought I would highlight just a few of our favorites. Check them and hopefully find a couple new books for your little one.

Pirate Potty - We just got this book from CJ's older cousin and it is our new bedtime favorite. It is an adorable potty-themed book for your potty training toddler. If you buy it new it comes with a reward chart and stickers, but ours didn't.
Pirates!  - This is a cute little introduction to pirates for your little one. It is a board book so your baby can chew on it and it will be no worse for the wear.
Pirates Go to School - Did you know pirates and parrots have to go to school? You and your kid can explore all the ways that pirates learn math and science and how they celebrate recess.
That's Not My Pirate - This was one of my favorites from when CJ was a baby. It is one of those touchy-feely books with the different textures for your baby to feel. CJ used to love it and chew on it.
Pirate Pete's Talk Like a Pirate - Pirate Pete is interviewing a new crew, and everyone gets the boot! Will he ever find anyone to help him crew his pirate ship? This hilarious rhyming story will crack your kiddo up. It is a sequel, but I haven't read the first one, Pirate Pete.
Do Pirates Take Baths? - An adorable look into the private lives of pirates. Do they take baths? Turns out that when they get especially stinky, the just jump right into the sea. You can get your kid to the same next time you go to the beach.
Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC - A pirate crew has to pillage the entire alphabet or else they'll have to walk the plank. I love this addition to our ABC books. All the pirates are different animals and the illustrations are adorable.
How I Became a Pirate & Pirates Don't Change Diapers & Pirates Activity Book - I love these ones. How I Became a Pirate was the first pirate book we bought for CJ. We have it in English and French. It is adorable and hilarious. It is all about a pirate who joins a gang of pirates while his mom is busy with the baby. I love the illustrations.
The Great Pirate Activity Book - We just got this one so we haven't explored it completely, but it has some adorable piratical activities to do with your little ones. Some of the reviews say it is geared more towards older kids, so you might want to check it out at the library before you buy it.
The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers and Rogues - This one isn't for kids, but it is a must-have for any moms and dads who are raising their own swashbuckling renegade.
Port Side Pirates - I got this one from Barefoot Books and CJ looooves it. It comes with a musical CD of the Portside Pirates song. You can watch the video here. Once you watch it, your kiddo will demand you play it for them over and over again. You'll never be able to read the book without singing it. It also has some of the most beautiful and child-like illustrations that I've ever seen a kid's book. This is probably my personal pirate favorite.

Does your little one have a favorite pirate book? Which one? 

Pin It

Monday, July 30, 2012

Paper Mama Photo Challenge - Love

Here is my submission for the Paper Mama (love her) 's weekly photo challenge. This week's topic is "love". I am in no way a professional or even an amateur photographer. I just love my baby and so I take way too many pictures of him. Let me know what you think of this one. That is my godson Caleb that CJ is smooching. He loves his baby cousin.

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge
Pin It

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Can I recover from the fear?

Two weeks ago was my sons 2nd birthday. My plan here on the blog was to finally write his birth story. And I couldn't do it. I've tried many times over the course of the last two years to write down what happened before I forgot. I am realizing now that I am never going to forget. The parts I was lucid for are forever ingrained into my memory.

Over the last two years, different people have asked me about CJ's birth. That is one of the first things a new mom asks you at a playdate when you have a young baby. “How was your birth?” It seems like such a simple question. I would always shrug it off and say, “Well, it was kind of tough.” and leave it at that. Even with my OB/GYN at my yearly physical (she wasn't my doctor when I gave birth) I would abbreviate everything. My description of my birth would sound something like this “Uhmmm... well I was induced but it didn't go very well and uhmmm I eventually had an emergency C-section and... there were some complications...”. I'd always end it with, “But CJ and I are both fine now” and add a smile. I will never tell a pregnant woman my birth story. Those who have asked I've told, “Well, what happened to me isn't the norm and I don't want to scare you, so I'll tell you when you are done giving birth”.

So for two years, I've kept silent. I've pretended that anytime I think about my son's birth I don't immediately get chills. I've pretended that I can't vividly remember what it felt like when the doctor cut into my stomach. I've pretended that I don't remember feeling completely violated by doctors and nurses and midwives. I've pretended that I didn't almost die. I've pretended that I can't remember the horrified look on the doctor's face when I casually mentioned that I felt a crackle in my chest every time I took a breath. I've pretended not to remember the nights spent away from my newborn son. I've pretended not to remember the nurse telling me I wouldn't be able to breastfeed because I'd been separated for to long. I've pretended that I don't have nightmares at least once a week.

And I just can't pretend anymore.

When I was in the Army, I was a Mental Health Specialist. My main job was to treat soldiers with Post-traumatic stress disorder. I could recognize the signs right away - nightmares, shaking, flashbacks, denial. Yet I kept trying to lie to myself about what I was feeling and I just can't anymore. I am shaking right this second, covered in goosebumps, trying very hard not to cry as I write this out. I hope that finally getting all of this out of my head might help in some way.

Part of me feels ashamed. How could I be traumatized by the act that gave me the most perfect creature I've ever known? How can I not just be thankful that I'm still alive? I remind myself how lucky I am, since childbirth used to be the number one killer of women.

I am thankful. I am thankful for my son, my life, and my family.

This doesn't change the facts. I desperately want to have another baby. Hubby and I planned from day one on a huge family. Yet the idea of actually giving birth makes my stomach get all tied up in knots, goosebumps appear, and my hands start to shake. I pray daily that I will be blessed with another child. I pray daily for the courage to endure another labor. I pray that if I am blessed with another pregnancy, I will have the courage and the strength to be in charge of my own body and not allow things to escalate out of hand again. What else can I do? 
Pin It

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Things I Found on the Interwebs (4)

7 Healthy Snacks to Keep You Full and Fit

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Jurassic Park

"Real mom" Confession A humorous look at those perfect moms we all know. 
A Letter To Kids on Facebook - I Was Here First
Awesome Playroom Re-do I love how it is nice for the whole family, not just kids.
Three Brothers Who All Became Priests Their sister says that they swear more than she does. Cool story.

Ideas for Hanging Home Decor  I love these walls! 
DIY HoneyComb Bookshelves Looooove them.

Why You Should Get Rid of Captcha I freaking hate captcha. HATE IT. Here's why you should get rid of it and how.

How to Streamline Your Classroom Library Great tips and an awesome freebie. 

This kills me. She's got swag.
So what was the best thing you found on the internet this week? 
Pin It

Friday, July 27, 2012

Darkening Dream Book Review & Giveaway

The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin is a really hard book to define. I found myself struggling while trying to tell my husband what it was about. But I guess I have to try in order to write this review. The Darkening Dream is about a young Jewish girl named Sarah, who is growing up in Salem MA during the turn of the century. Some strange things start to happen after a young boy is found murdered and Sarah experiences a series of strange dreams and visions. When a young man moves to Salem from Greece, Sarah starts to learn about her past and question what her future holds. Oh, and there are vampires, Egyptian gods, angels, demons, witches, and pretty much every other paranormal entity you can think of.

I honestly can't tell you what genre this book is. It is definitely paranormal, and there is just the right amount of romance, and it would definitely appeal to YA. Yet I don't think it should be strictly defined as a YA or paranormal romance. It is way too much more to be defined by any of those genres.

Andy definitely did his research with this book. He managed to get almost every major and minor religion in there without it being overkill. There were Egyptian deities, Judaism, Christianity, Greek gods. All of it done in a way that wasn't over the top, but somehow managed to mesh together and actually make sense with the story.

I love books that are set in Salem MA since that is where I was born. Most books set there are either set during the witch trials in the 1690's or are contemporary. I loved that this book was set just after the turn of the century in 1913. It was the perfect time period to use to show the blending of the old world and the new. It was really interesting to read about some of the places that I've been that are very old now, but were brand-new during this setting.

I was absolutely shocked by the ending of the book. I am usually really good at predicting the end of books and I honestly did not see this one coming. I got a little worried because I was nearing the end of the book and I didn't feel like things were going to get resolved. Then BOOM it all got resolved in a crazy way that I never would have guessed. It'll shock you. Seriously. There had better be a sequel, that's all I'm saying.

I highly suggest this book if you like paranormal books, horror, or just are looking for something new and different.

I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and I was not compensated in any other way. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway Pin It

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Who is that guy? Black Death Edition

Are you ever watching a movie and you recognize an actor's face? I do it all the time, because I am a big movie nerd and I never EVER forget a face. Then I wake up at 3am from a dead sleep because I remember where I remember that face from. Well now you don't have to worry about that happening to you. I'm going to help you out. Instead of scouring through IMDB trying to figure out where you've seen their face, you can come here. So the next time you are watching a movie and you think "Who is that guy?" let me know, and I'll answer.

For the inaugural edition of 'Who is that guy?' I am going to do the movie Black Death with Sean Bean. I'm doing this movie because while watching it, I saw about a million faces that I recognized from one place or another. Also, it was really hard to tell what the characters names were, so if you looked this one up, you might have a hard time figuring out who is who. 

Cast image courtesy of horror-asylum.com
Let's start with the main character Osmund. He is played by Eddie Redmayne. He may look like a baby-faced newcomer, but he is actually 30 years old and has been in many things. 
  • In the 2005 mini-series Elizabeth, he played the Earl of Southampton. 
  • In Elizabeth: The Golden Age, starring Cate Blanchett, he played Thomas Babington.
  • In The Other Boleyn Girl, he played William Stafford. 
  • In the 2008 mini-series Tess of the D'urbervilles, he played Angel Clare.
  • In the 2010 mini-series The Pillars of the Earth, he played Jack.
  • In My Week with Marilyn, he played Colin Clark.
  • Coming up, he is going to play Marius in the new Les Miserables. 
Do I have to tell you who Ulrich is and why he looks familiar? If so, we can't be friends. Sean Bean is not only Boromir in Lord of the Rings, he is also Ned Stark on Game of Thrones. He's always in the news for fighting people, usually in self-defense. He's also the love of my life... little known fact for you. (I kid of course, but he is lovely.)

One of Ulrich's men is Swire, played by Emun Elliott. He's only been acting since 2005, and was actually also part of Game of Thrones. He played Marillion, the musician in season 1. He is absolutely gorgeous, so I bet he will be in quite a few period pieces to come. 

Now & Then
The next character, I almost cried when I saw him. For serious. The character Wolfstan was played by John Lynch. Who is John Lynch and why does his face bring tears to my eyes? Because he was the face of my childhood. He played Lord Craven in The Secret Garden. That is one of my absolute favorite movies. I wanted desperately to grow up and have him be my father. I have never seen him in anything else, so I was really happy to see him here. 

Did you recognize the Abbot (head priest)? I won't go through everything he has been in, but if you did, it is probably from Titanic. He played the jerk who locked Leonardo DiCaprio to the pipe. 

Finally, there was the blonde witch, Langiva. I don't want to say that the actress, Carice van Houten, has been typecast but.... if you recognized her, it is most likely from Game of Thrones. Where she plays a witch. Only difference that I can tell is that on Game of Thrones she has red hair. She is the Lady Melisiandre, the red priestess, the paramour of Stannis Baratheon. 

So what other movies do you need me to check on for you? Any movie where you saw a face that looked familiar but you can't place it? Just let me know. 
Pin It

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Cousins!

Cheese face!!

Can you handle the cute? Can you?

Pin It

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings in Books

This week's top ten Tuesday topic is near and dear to my heart. My favorite books are those that take you to a different place. As a child growing up in the ghetto (for reals) the only way out was through books. It was my only escape from the world. It was (as cliche as it sounds) what allowed me to dream of a better life. My favorite books today are the ones who made me feel lost in another time and place. So without further ado, here are my...

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds (or Settings) in Books

  1. The Other Realm in A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. The book's setting of Victorian England makes an interesting juxtaposition with the fantasy fairy realm that the girl's visit. The book managed to make the idea of another realm accessible only through magic believable and yet fantastical at the same time. This book makes it onto almost all of my book lists because it is just wonderful. 
  2. I'm sure most people who do this topic will have this answer. The Wizarding World of the Harry Potter series of course! JK Rowling completely brought this world to life. Even before the movies, it was easy to imagine things like Quidditch, Hogwarts, and Voldemort. 
  3. No list of vivid settings would be complete without a nod to the master, JRR Tolkien. He was the king of creating complete worlds. Before he even started writing the Lord of the Rings, he spent years making up maps, languages, lands, and different races of beings to populate Middle Earth. I honestly believe that any fantasy writer worth his salt has to study Tolkien.
  4. My current favorite is of course The Seven Kingdoms from George RR Martin's Song of Fire and Ice/ Game of Thrones series. Like Tolkien, he's invented new languages, races, and maps. He isn't yet to Tolkien levels, but I think he will be someday. 
  5. Geatland from Beowulf. Technically this is an actual place, since it believed to be set in Denmark. Whoever the person is who first put down the story into writing managed to bring it vividly to life. If you've never read it, I highly recommend it. It is a lot more than just a horrible CGI movie.
  6. Ben Hur by Lew Wallace is an amazing look at the time period when Jesus Christ was born and lived. Ben Hur is a rich Jewish man who is born about the same time as Jesus. Their lives keep crossing but Ben Hur doesn't become a believer until he is a poor man and he finally meets Jesus.
  7. You knew it was going to be on the list people. Let's be real. I love me some Gone with the Wind. No one can bring the American South before, during, and after the Civil War like Margaret Mitchell did in this book. 
  8. Afghanistan in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. This book is not for the faint of heart folks. It not only shows life before and after the Taliban takeover, but it shows some real portrayals of war. It has one of the most vivid portrayals of human evil that I've ever read. Like I said, not for the faint of heart, but an amazing book.
  9. Lisa See is a wonderful storyteller. She is absolutely one of my favorite contemporary authors. Her focus is mainly China. Her historical fiction books like Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, and Shanghai Girls are so good. So good. Peony in Love had me in tears for almost the entire duration. Her description of foot binding in Snow Flower almost made me sick. Extremely vivid and beautiful descriptive writing. 
  10. You all know I love me some Neverland. I've been dreaming of running away with Peter Pan for as long as I can remember. Well, admittedly, I want to run away with Captain Hook. "All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust."
Pin It

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mad for Mad Men

Look at those dresses! To die for.
I know that I am a little late to the party, but my latest obsession is Mad Men. Everyone has recommended the show to me since it first started. I'm not really sure why it took me so long to finally get around to watch it. I knew I would love it. I think maybe I was waiting til it had run its course so I could watch it straight through. Here's what I think of the show so far. Keep in mind, I just finished season 1.

The Drapers
I was fully prepared to hate Don Draper. Everything you read in magazines is about what a egotistical piece of sexist trash he is. And he is, don't get me wrong. But he isn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. His wife however, is a piece of work. I hate her. All she does is complain. Your life isn't so tough. You are a grown ass woman. Go raise your children, cook dinner, and quit your bitching. Also, keep away from the 9-year old boy. What is that all about? It is creepy that's what it is.

Pete Campbell
I may have had this poster on my wall as a kid.
Thanks Teen Beat. 
I will not hate Vinnie Karthieser. I won't do it. You can make Pete Campbell the biggest douche in all of douchington and I refuse to hate him. He's the kid from Alaska! He's Angel's son Connor for goodness sake!! He had a baby with Cordelia! He found an Indian in the Cupboard!

He is a manipulative little jerk though. He knows exactly what to say to Peggy to get into her head. When he said "I don't like you like this." I wanted to smack him. You shut your mouth Connor!

Peggy & Joan
Blown away by the finale. Did not see that one coming. I'm glad that Peggy and Joan are able to show what it was like to be a woman in this time period. They are obviously very different women and the dichotomy between the two shows the different ways that woman coped with their situations. Joan's clothes and curves are to die for, but I love Peggy.

My favorite character is Paul. He's one of the other ad execs. He is the not blond exec who doesn't wear glasses. I hate how he blends in, I think that his character has a lot of potential. I think he could be viable love interest for Peggy. They both deserve decent relationships. He didn't do much in season one, but from what I gather, he becomes increasingly important.  

Paul on the right. Love the facial hair. I think the producers
realized that he and Harry (on the left) were too alike.
I also love that John Slattery is on the show. He is just yummy. He's on my list of older men that I love. He's what my friend Tina calls a "gray fox". I love him in those car commercials and now on the show. He just oozes sophistication and class. Yum.

My hubby doesn't get the appeal of the show. I'm not really sure what it is that I like about it. It is smart and sexy and everything that people have been saying about it for the last 5 years. I'm glad I finally gave it a chance. I say by the end of July I'll be completely caught up. I love spotting different actors and actresses from other shows on it too. I can't wait until Alexis Bledel shows up. 

Did you ever wait to watch a show and then fall in love with it? Which one? 
Pin It

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Things I Found on the Interwebs (3)

I don't know where I came up with this, but it has
been my mantra since I was a kid. 
The Devil's Carnival is going back on tour. If you are a fan of camp, opera, Repo, or Rocky Horror, you will love the show. Here's a taste of what you will see there. (If the devil scares the crap out of you, like he usually does to me, you may not want to watch it. I can only handle it because I met him and know what he really looks like. Uhmmm, the actor Terrence, not the devil.)

Where Are They Now? Sweet Valley Twins, Super Fudge, the Killing Mr. Griffin teens.
Pride & Pyramids Darcy and Elizabeth in Egypt. Say whaaaaaat?! 

Awesome illustrated Robert Goddard "Rocket man" quote
"Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure" illustration.
A blogger's pictures from Paris.  Gorgeous. The bread looks amaaazing.

Very Hungry Caterpillar Nail Design
Becoming Your Inner Khaleesi 

How To Start a Garden For beginners. Desperately needed this. 

Noms (Food)
Triple. Chocolate. Rice. Pudding. Amaaaazing.
Chocolate Cake Batter Milkshake Made this already. Amaaaazing.

Toddler DIY Chore Chart I love this way to teach responsibility with money and chores. 

My favorite blog of the week : Blissful & Domestic - She is a budgeting goddess. 

My hubby said we can't name our son Sparta
because we aren't Greek. Semantics.

Pin It

Friday, July 20, 2012

Too Close to Home

We have been dealing with a lot here lately. I wasn't going to write about it because a lot of it is very personal. However, last night's shootings were just a little too close to home. I used to live in Colorado and my aunt and uncle are still there. The children of my husband's friends were at the movie theater when the shooting occurred. They are fine, they were in a different room and were not injured. I apologize for the quietness as of late, but promise a bunch of posts forthcoming. Thank you for understanding. Pin It

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - More from CJ's Birthday

Pin It