Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Vermont Visits

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Historical Fiction Review & Giveaway - The Lady of the Rivers by Phillipa Gregory

First I want to thank Phillipa Gregory, and this book, for reminding me why I love reading and why I especially love historical fiction. I've been having a really hard time getting into books lately. Not so with this book. I was instantly in love with the characters and completely lost in the time period.

The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins' War) is the third book in Phillipa Gregory's War of the Roses books. It focuses on Jaquetta, a young woman from the first family of Luxembourg. During her time, Luxembourg was contested land between the English and the French. Jaquetta is married off to the English duke whose duty it is to protect the land from falling into French lands. She is sucked into court politics, playing a role in the Cousins' war, and eventually becoming grandmother to "the princes in the Tower". While her role isn't talked about much in the history books, her life was central to the history of the time and of the present. The current royals are in fact her descendents.

Jaquetta's family claims to be descended from Melussina, a water-goddess. Because of this, the women in her family sometimes show a propensity for somewhat magical powers. In this time period, being anything but a quiet and demure wife is a dangerous thing for a woman. Jaquetta learns this when her family becomes the hosts for Joan of Arc. She watches as Joan is made a martyr for her thoughts and ideas. When Jaquetta is married off to the duke, she learns that he is interested in alchemy and has married her mostly for what he hopes are her magical powers.

I loved the magical element in this book. While Jaquetta tries to deny it and be a simple wife, the places she finds herself don't allow her to do so. The magic isn't crazy and over the top. It is very simple and gently done. I read some reviews that complained that the magic reduced her from a strong and powerful woman to just a woman who survives through her magic. I didn't find that to be true at all. She displayed some powers, usually only when forced. The rest of her life was driven by her own ambition and will to do what was right.

Jaquetta accomplished a lot of things in the royal court of England. While she was simply a dowager duchess, she was a close friend to Margaret of Anjou and so had a great influence. It is amazing to see how big a role she played at court considering she spent a good part of her life pregnant. She eventually had fourteen children.

While this is the third of the Cousins' War books, it can be read as a stand-alone. I have no idea what happened in White Queen, even though I read it a few years ago, and I was able to read this one just fine. If you've read the first two and didn't love them, I still think you should give this one a chance. It is a lot more character driven and fast-paced. It is a quick and easy read, with a lot of good history in it. I gave this book four stars on goodreads', so I'd definitely recommend it.

I'd recommend it so much, I want to share it. So I'm going to do a giveaway for my paperback copy. It is in almost new condition. I dog-ear books to keep my place. Horrible habit, I know, but what can ya do? So to enter, just use the rafflecopter below. Good luck!

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Gatsby & Menu Plan

Have you seen the preview for the new Great Gatsby movie? The book is in my top five favorite books of all time and the movie with Robert Redford is one of my top five favorite movies. So I'm not impressed so far with this preview. I don't see the point in messing with perfection. It has a lot more glitz and glamour than the book evokes. And I am not really impressed with DiCaprio anymore. His facial expressions don't change no matter what emotion he is trying to evoke. It always looks like he's trying to poop. The only good thing I can say is that the movie will hopefully inspire more people to read the book. I'll probably wait until this comes out on DVD and then rent or netflix it, but we'll see. My curiosity and book nerdery might get the best of me. Check it out.

Here's what we are going to eat this week.

Monday - Hummus, tabouleh, falafel
Tuesday - Black bean and quinoa salad
Wednesday - Pot roast
Thursday - Leftover pot roast
Friday - Baked chicken
Saturday - Some sort of bbq because Craig got a new fancy grill
Sunday - Not sure yet. Pin It

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Things to Accomplish This Week

Other than teaching sign language on Sunday, we have a nice open week this week. Finally. So I'm making myself a honey-do list. Unless I put things down, I never get them done. My brain is just too discombobulated to keep it all straight. So I'm going to share my weekly plans with you all on here. Hopefully they'll give you some ideas. There will be crafty things, educational things, and reading things.

Bloggy Stuff
1. Finish Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) by the Bloggess.
2. Review the above book and some children's books reviews.
3. Set up another awesome giveaway. (Would anyone like some jewelry?)
4. Make a page with all my reviews linked on it. Would make life a lot easier.

Skirt to alter.
5. If I can find some fabric that goes with it, I'm going to take apart my favorite skirt so I can add a panel in the back so it can fit me. Let's be real, I'm never going to be a size 8 ever again. Possibly going to make it a ruffle bum skirt. We shall see. I bought it in Egypt and I can't bear to part with it so I shall make it something new.
6. Hem Craigle's pants. I have had a pile of pants to hem for quite some time, so I hope to get to it.
7. Sew CJ a couple pairs of shorts. Possibly using this pattern.
8. Finish Aunika's fairy tale blankie.
9. Make name banners for Aunika, Angelina, and Ida. Kind of like CJ's here except girlier.
10. Start making letters from leftover fabric.
11. Start the turn shirts into pillows project.

Crafting with CJ
12. Make CJ a batman mask. Find fabric for the mahna mahna Muppets costume.
13. Paint a city scene on cardboard for CJ's cars.
14. Alphabet magnets.
15. Start CJ's corner fairy garden.
16. Paint rocks. I'd like to paint some ladybugs, strawberries, owls, and rocks with words on them. Possibly a few gnomes and toadstools. Depends on the shapes I can find.

Source: via Lindsey on PinterestOther Craftiness
17. Make a book page garland for Angelina.
18. Make a painting with the Be Not Afraid quote on it.
19. Put fabric over corkboard, add pins = Necklace holder
20. Start cutting Craig's shirts for t-shirt quilt.

21. Paint CJ's room.
22. Continue to clean backyard.
23. Make garden/walkway.
24. Start gallery wall in living room.
25. Finish emptying boxes out of dining room.
26. Work on compost heap.

27. Menu Plan for the month of June.
28. Start planning CJ's party for realz.
29. Things to start collecting for projects : Wood, rocks.

I feel like I need a 30th thing to make it nice and round and even. Hmmmm. How about 30 is to make it a nice happy week for the whole family. Sounds like a good final goal to me. :)

Obviously, I doubt I will get even half of this done. But I know that without putting it all down for myself, I will never get it done.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Ultimate Memorial Day Safety Guide for Children

The Ultimate Memorial Day Safety Guide for Children

Description: MemorialDayKids.jpgMemorial Day is the time of year when we honor and remember the sacrifices of fallen soldiers who have died fighting for the country we hold so dear.  Kids are unfamiliar with the true meaning of this special holiday because it’s just another day for them to spend quality time with family and friends.  For most kids around the country, this day of the year signifies the unofficial start to summer.

When growing up as a child, do you remember which season of the year you were injured the most?  My best guess would be the summer.  According to “Pediatrics,” the American Academy of Pediatrics journal, Memorial Day is the holiday ranking second on the child injuries list, with Labor Day taking first place.  In this article we will discuss all of the dangers associated with the summer months, and provide you tips on how to avoid them.  Hopefully you can start taking immediate precautions starting this Memorial Day and have an injury free holiday.

Have the “coolest” baby on the block with these 5 simple sun safety tips:

Depending which part of the country you live in, May can be an exceptionally hot month.  Every father and mother knows that a hot baby is a cranky baby.  Not only will you keep your baby cool and safe, but you’ll also relieve yourself from stress by having a quiet and comfortable baby.

1.       Carry around a compact, portable, battery operated fan.
2.       A large hat that is wide brimmed
3.       Apply sunscreen – preferably something non-chemical and safe for babies under 6 months of age
4.       Placing a baby under a sun tent, canopy, or umbrella will keep your baby out of the sun’s harmful rays
5.       Dress your baby in a UV protected sun suit, or a light weight long-sleeved shirt.

Now that we’ve had our fun in the sun, let’s cool off and jump into the pool

According to SafeKids.Org, in 2008, 745 children ages 14 and under died from unintentional drowning.  Eighty-four percent of drowning deaths among children ages 5 and under occur at a home, while 45 percent of fatalities among children ages 5 to 14 occur at a public pool.  This is a staggering amount considering all the information available to us.

Here are some tips and information you can use to have the safest pool party ever:
  • Make sure there is a dedicated adult to supervise your children around the pool at all times.  Having a phone nearby is good idea in the event of an emergency.
  • Having a fence installed with a self closing latch will prevent a child from wandering into the pool area unsupervised.
  • Never swim in a pool that has a broken, loose or missing drain cover.
  • It’s always good to have someone in the family who knows CPR in the event of an emergency.
  • Advise your children early on to never go near or in water without an adult present.

Now if your kids are going to playing in the sun all day, it’s essential to keep them hydrated.  Children can easily become dehydrated while playing or participating in any sort of physical activity.  Dehydration makes a child more vulnerable to a heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion, or a heat stroke.  

Here’s what to look for if you think your child is showing signs of dehydration:
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Thirst

Here are 4 Tips You Can Use to Prevent Your Child from Dehydrating:

1.       Children under 90 pounds should drink 5 ounces of water every 20 minutes during any activity.
2.       Drink 12 ounces of fluid 30 minutes before any physical activity.
3.       Don’t wait for your child to let you know he/she is thirsty; make time for set drink breaks.
4.       After a physical activity, children should drink fluids to make up for fluid loss during the physical activity.

There’s a lot to look forward to in the summer months. The most important: fun with the family.  Make your summer a safe and enjoyable one to remember!

This guest post was written by Kevin Raposo, a blogger for SimpliSafe.  Kevin covers issues related to home security, crime, safety, and consumer issues.  Kevin is a dedicated writer and musician, spreading the word through music and blogging.  SimpliSafe is a leader in the wireless home security field.
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Memorial Day

I just want to remind everyone what this holiday weekend means. Please remember the fallen.

Dirge for Two Veterans
Walt Whitman (from Leaves of Grass, first published in the 1867 edition)
clr gif

   The last sunbeam
Lightly falls from the finish’d Sabbath,
On the pavement here—and there beyond, it is looking,
   Down a new-made double grave.


   Lo! the moon ascending!
Up from the east, the silvery round moon;
Beautiful over the house tops, ghastly phantom moon;
   Immense and silent moon.


   I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key’d bugles;
All the channels of the city streets they’re flooding,
   As with voices and with tears.


   I hear the great drums pounding,
And the small drums steady whirring;
And every blow of the great convulsive drums,
   Strikes me through and through.


   For the son is brought with the father;
In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell;
Two veterans, son and father, dropt together,
   And the double grave awaits them.


   Now nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive;
And the day-light o’er the pavement quite has faded,
   And the strong dead-march enwraps me.


   In the eastern sky up-buoying,
The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin’d;
(’Tis some mother’s large, transparent face,
   In heaven brighter growing.)


   O strong dead-march, you please me!
O moon immense, with your silvery face you soothe me!
O my soldiers twain! O my veterans, passing to burial!
   What I have I also give you.


   The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music;
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
   My heart gives you love.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae (1915)
clr gif

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun Meme Friday

That Friday Blog Hop

I feel like I haven't done fun meme Friday in forever. Here goes.

1. Are you a napper? Helllz yes. I could sleep all day everyday. I am a sleep connoisseur. I am the queen of sleep. I nap with CJ for approximately 2 hours every day. If we don't nap, we get grumpy. 

2. What was your favorite subject in school? Most hated? I loved English and Latin. I love learning languages. I really wish I had the time to continue to learn Latin and Arabic. My least favorite subject was usually history or science. I am a huge history and science nerd, but most of the teachers I had were really boring. Plus I hated learning just the books' version of history. I despise biology. It just grosses me out. 

3. Did you have something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue at your wedding?  I did, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. I think the something new was my dress, the something old was an embroidered handkerchief, the something borrowed... I don't remember, and the something blue, I think my flowers were wrapped in blue ribbon. You would think I'd remember that stuff huh?

4. What is one thing you are determined to do this summer? Not waste it. Here in New England, we don't always get a really long summer so we have to take advantage of it while we can. I'm also determined to get my driver's license, but that requires people's help and that isn't always easy to depend on.

5. Ice cream or popsicles? Ice cream definitely. I love ice cream. I could eat it everyday all day. Yum yum yum. 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. We will be enjoying the lovely green mountains of Vermont and attending the wedding of one of Craig's old college friends. Enjoy your weekend, and don't forget to remember the fallen soldiers who this holiday is in memory of. 

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

When the Child-less Attack

My Drill Sergeant from military school is a wonderful man. He's a Captain in the US Army. He has served bravely overseas. In college, his car had the bat signal in the rear window. He has done many amazing and wonderful things. You know what he hasn't done? Had children. And yet every single time some sort of thing comes up on the news about children or babies or mamas or breastfeeding or anything, he has an opinion. An opinion that he shares with the world. That's fine I guess, his prerogative. But sometimes it drives me nuts when people without children are so quick to judge parents.

The latest thing he had an opinion on was a woman whose child ate one of those detergent packets thinking it was candy. He said that she should have her children taken away from her because she's obviously an unfit parent. Then he went on to say, and I quote  "I swear to God if I ever came home to find my kid dead because my wife didn't think to child-proof the laundry detergent, I would drag that [expletive deleted] into the front yard by the hair, shoot her in the gut, and watch her bleed out. Then I would happily go to jail for the rest of my life!"

First of all, classy right? I asked him if he had any responsibility towards his future child, to which he replied "Well I'm not a [expletive deleted] idiot, so I would child-proof everything. The assumption being if something was left out, un-child-proofed, then it was her. Plus this woman was a stay-at-home-mom, so obviously making sure dangerous substances in the home remained secure would be one of her primary duties. AND I'm not having kids, so this is entirely hypothetical."

Thank God for that last part.

My thoughts on this are the following. I think that most parents have their child's best interests at heart. Although the news is rife with stories about horrible parents, I think the majority of parent's want what is best for their children. Most parents would NEVER knowingly put their children in danger. So I'm giving this mom the benefit of the doubt.

It is so hard to baby/child-proof everything. We have all the fancy child-proofing mechanisms, and CJ still gets hurt. He is almost two. Two year olds are notoriously sneaky. I can turn around for a split second and when I turn back, he is on the table. He's like the butler from Mr. Deed's "I think you underestimate the sneakiness sir." I'm not saying parents shouldn't be accountable. I am saying that kids are going to get into things.

My main point of this post isn't that though. My main thought is why the heck do people without children always have an opinion? They are so quick to judge. It drives me insane. They've got an opinion on breastfeeding, they've got an opinion on spanking, they've got an opinion on child leashes. Until you've been "in the trenches" you have no idea what it is like. I had so many ideas about how I was going to raise my son. My biggest thought was that I would never let him watch tv. Our TV is like 7-11. It's not always doing business, but it is always open. Just sit back, relax, and unless a child is being physically or emotionally abused, trust that the parents really do have their best interests at heart.

And let me step off my soapbox now. No CJ's were hurt in the making of this post. Just proving my point that he is a tricksy false climbing on top of chairs baby.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I don't have my usual Wordless Wednesday available this week. Nikon still has possession of my camera. It was on a parts hold for almost a month, but now it finally says that its status is "in the shop" so hopefully I'll get it before my birthday at the end of June. But here are a few pictures that made me laugh this week.

I hope you got a laugh or two. 

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bagpipes & Brave

I used to hate the sound of bagpipes. I was an insult to my Scottish heritage. They've slowly grown on me over the years. Check out the latest clip from the new Disney movie Brave, featuring all the greatest bagpipes tunes.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu Plan Monday & Busy-ness

So this month is crazy busy, but all in a good way. We went to a baby shower on Sunday for one of our college classmates. This weekend we are going up to Vermont for the wedding of another classmate. Life changes all around! We are also still settling into the house. CJ lets me empty out about one box a day. Other than that he needs my attention 24/7. The hubby is working 12 days in a row. IN A ROW. So we haven't seen much of him. I'm excited to spend the weekend as a family up in Vermont. It should be beautiful out. If you've never been to Vermont in the Spring, it is gorgeous.

Here is our menu plan for this week. Since we are going to be busy, I'm planning some quick and easy dinners. I'm going to get a rotisserie chicken and use that in a couple of meals. But anywho, here's the plan, along with links to where I got the recipes. Thank you Pinterest

Monday - I ordered subs. 
Tuesday - Sloppy Joe's.
Wednesday - Chicken Caprese.

Oh, I also wanted to mention that there was a turkey in our yard today. A wild freaking turkey. It just strolled right on up the drive into the woods like it owned the joint. It saw me and slowed down just strutting its turkey self. I will eat you turkey. I will cook you in the oven. I don't like birds in case anyone was wondering. The first thing I saw was its leg go behind Craig's car and my first instinct was OMG THERE'S A VELOCIRAPTOR IN THE DRIVEWAY! Completely normal reaction right? But no, it was just a stupid wild turkey.
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Signing Sunday - Sexy and I Know It

Sorry that I haven't done this in a while. With the move and everything, I just haven't had time to put together a video to teach y'all. If you are in the Merrimack Valley Massachusetts area, I'm teaching ages 2-5 every Wednesday in May at Newbury Town Library in Byfield. Come check it out!

So I found this video on youtube and I just had to share it. I love the song, and their rendition of it is hilarious. All rights belong to the creators of the video. I just found it hysterical and had to share. Pin It

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pami Pocket Review & Giveaway

CJ and I like to go on walks, but I don't like carrying my purse. I need to have my phone on me in case of emergencies though. I also don't like leaving it in my pocket because then it could fall out. So what to do? Well Pami Pocket is a great new product that solves my problem. 

The Pami Pocket is a small zippered pouch that is the perfect size to hold just exactly what you need. It can fit your cell phone, keys, maybe a few cards. It has a long handle that can be used over the shoulder or across your body. It currently comes in either hot pink or black. They are working on making it in other colors, such as teal and green. I would have loved a teal one so I look forward to that. 

The product came about for the same reason that I now love it. The creator, Pami, loved working in the garden but never had anywhere to put her phone. She was constantly missing calls and losing her cell phone. She eventually put her phone in an old coin purse she had lying around, but it eventually wore out. She then had her husband go rustle her up a new one with some fabric in his upholstery shop. She got so many compliments about it that she decided to expand and begin to sell the Pami Pocket. 

The PamiPocket is usually $14.99, but it is currently on sale for $9.99. Or would you like to win one? Just fill out the rafflecopter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Mom Blog Society. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers Pin It

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Post - Make Reading Cool

I was the sort of kid who thought reading was cool. I looked down on other kids who would rather play sports. I was kind of a brat. If you know a kid who would rather not read, check out this guest post for some tips on helping them learn that reading is fun.

Make Reading Cool: Tricks for Getting Kids to Read

I like being helpful, which is why I agreed to help my girlfriend with the summer camp curriculum she's writing for a local kids' museum. We were out to breakfast when she brought it up, and before I knew it, I was scribbling down her ideas in crayon on a place mat.

It's a wellness camp, and she wants kids to learn. It's also a summer camp, which means that, unfortunately, a lot of kids won't want to read. The trick is making reading fun. While she was designing and organizing the program itself, I happily agreed to figure out how to make reading cool. I've worked with kids before, both in and out of educational settings, and I've picked up a few tricks that work to get kids reading quickly and painlessly.

Reading is a practice-makes-perfect kind of subject. The more experience reading children have, the better. The biggest stumbling block for kids struggling to read is that they don't want to struggle, so they declare that reading isn't cool, and they stop doing it. Working with tablet computers and apps is great, but when the technology isn't available, you want reading to be cool on its own. Even students learning entirely through online schooling will need to pick up physical books, papers and magazines.

3 great tricks for getting kids to read

Here are some tips assembled from research and the experience of myself and others, including the SMATOOS website. These tried-and-true methods can make reading cool for camps, classes or your own kids.
  1. Make it exciting. This is a participation sport. If you're trying to get kids to read more, you have to play too. Be seen reading. Be seen enjoying, quoting, learning, sharing and laughing. If you look thrilled to be reading, kids will pick up on it. You may have to battle with kids calling you a nerd, so be ready, and try to avoid reading subjects that don't interest the age group you're working with.
  2. Make it subtle. When you first start getting kids to read, run with it. For the summer camp, we're using short snippets with flashy pictures and encouraging the kids to read nutrition facts on their snacks for comparison purposes. Asking questions like "Which snack has more salt?" tricks kids into reading and using information they've learned. Any games that incorporate a little reading can also be helpful.
  3. Cultivate enthusiasm. First, take a field trip to a cool place, like a zoo or a planetarium. Next, get the kids as excited and intrigued as possible. Then take them home and feed them books. If they're asking you questions, pretend you don't know and direct them to the books.
  4. Keep it low-key. When kids are reading, don't jump in and regulate or censor. Try a popcorn reading exercise where everyone takes turns reading in a group, and keep an eye out for difficult words or sections that you can read to save kids from mispronunciation embarrassments. Reading out loud can be stressful, so make sure you have a non-judgmental atmosphere. With help from the universities in Chicago, a project called Sit Stay Read has shown that reading out loud in a non-judgmental situation helps young readers improve, and they've done it by having kids read to dogs.
Be creative, and be excited about reading. The kids might not follow suit immediately, but they'll come around -- and you'll get in some great reading on the side.

About the Author
Karl Fendelander doesn't have an early childhood education degree, but he's been a teacher and camp counselor for years, trying to make reading cool all the while. When he's not curling up with a good book, Karl can be found biking about town and hiking and climbing throughout the West.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Books on Books - Review and Giveaway

Where do you find awesome new (to you, not necessarily just published) books to read? Besides my lovely blog of course. Reviews are a great choice, goodreads is another one. What about books about books? It sounds silly, but reading books that are about books can help you find some great new books you otherwise would never have heard of. One of my favorites is the Book Lust series. There is Book Lust, More Book Lust, and Book Lust To Go, all by Nancy Pearl.

Soooo many books. Each book has a million different categories like Books About Teaching, Books that have female protagonists, Books about dinosaurs, Mothers and sons, Historical fiction for kids. I really like Southern Fiction and there is actually a section on that in the book. It lists Bastard Out of Carolina, The Prince of Tides, Charms for the Easy Life, and a ton of other books that are now on my to-read list. The great thing about the lists is that most of these books aren't extremely well-known. You are going to find lots of unknown book gems that I promise that you would never have heard of otherwise. 

Since I have way too many books on my to-read list already, I am giving away my copy of Book Lust. To win, just fill out the rafflecopter form below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PS. In other news, The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition is currently on sale on amazon for $12.19. This is the edition I have because we are big Tolkien nerds in this house and you should probably have it on your bookshelf. That is all. Pin It

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, aunts who fill in as mothers, etc! You rock my socks!

I was very lucky to grow up surrounded by very strong and amazing women, so I'd like to take a second to thank them and wish them all a happy mother's day.

To my mom. You and I haven't always gotten along. You weren't always the best mom, and I wasn't always the best daughter. We've had our struggles, and our ups and downs, but I've never doubted that you loved me. You had me very young, almost too young and in some ways, we had to grow up together. I love you and I appreciate all that you did for me. I am very proud of how hard you are working to get your life to where you want it to be. Love you Bumma.

To my Aunt Sue. I sometimes joke that when I write my memoirs, I'm going to call it "Dropped the Ball". It'll be about all the people in my life who dropped the ball in raising me. You will not be a part of that book. When there was no one else around to take care of me, you took me into your home. You made me your daughter and a part of your family when you were thousands of miles away and could have just let someone else handle it. You've always been there for me and have been a great shoulder to cry on. I love you Auntie Sue Sue.

To my Grammy. From the day we met when I was three years old, you've never made me feel like just your step-granddaughter. You've always made me feel like I was a true part of your family. You gave me my faith and probably single-handedly had the most influence on my resilience and strength. You've always been a pillar in our family, in our church, and in my life. You've never been afraid to tell me when I'm making a mistake or doing something stupid, but you've never made me feel judged. I love how much I've come to understand and appreciate you so much more now that I am older. I love you Grammy.

To my Nana. How you've managed to survive all these years in our family with those children of yours, I don't even know. Eight kids. Eight!? Thank you for letting me live with you in high school when I had nowhere else to go. Thanks for scraping together money so I could have a class ring. Thank you for being nicer to me growing up than you were to your own kids. I hear you were a terror. Even when I didn't see you for many years, I never forgot how good you smelled and your blue checked housecoat with the white mother of pearl buttons. Thank you for taking care of me when I was really sick and thought that I was going to lose my mind. I hope you stick around forever. I love you Nanabanana.

To my mother-in-law Lisa. You are seriously the best mother-in-law anyone could ask for. The way you love your children inspires me everyday. We may not agree on some things, but we both know that everything we do comes from a place of love. Thank you for raising my husband into the amazing man he is today and thank you for being the best Nana CJ could ever hope for. Thank you for welcoming me into your family with open arms and never making me feel like an outsider. Thank you for always being there to help out. I hope you know how much I appreciate all that you do for CJ and for us. 

And there are two men I'd love to thank on this mother's day.

To my husband. I love you so much. Thank you for trusting me to carry and raise your son. Thank you for letting me stay home with him for the last 2 years. Thank you for making me a mother. Thank you for all of your hard work. I appreciate everything you do for our family. I hope that we have many more children together, but even if we don't, our family will be wonderful.

To my son, CJ. You have brought so much joy to my life. Thank you for putting a smile on my face everyday. I love everything about you, even when you are in the middle of a temper tantrum. I love that as you fall asleep, you wrap your arms around me and sigh "mama" like that is the happiest place in the world. I love that in the morning when I go in your room, you light up and yell "mama" when you see me. Though your labor was terrible, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I love you stinkypoo.

Happy Mother's Day everyone! Pin It