Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ahhhh…. Warmth (and Memory Loss)

We’ve been having so much fun that I haven’t had time to even think about posting.  It’s kinda sad.  And so I don’t even know where to start.

Our life since my last post:

Monday: Maybe I had Noah?  And we played outside.  Or was that Tuesday?  Wish I hadn’t deleted all my calendar info on my phone to make room for new stuff.  If I hadn’t done that, I’d know what I did last week.

Tuesday: We had fun?  Or we played with Noah outside?  Or both?

Wednesday: Still don’t remember.  Oops.

Thursday: I had class.  And Emma and I did stuff.  I’m sure we did. 

Friday: Emma pushed herself to sitting for the first time.  I remember that.  Don’t know what else we did.

Saturday: Weekend.  Matt was home.  I’m sure we did wonderful things.  (Is it terrible that I don’t remember any of this at all?)

Sunday: Matt went golfing for the first time this season.  It was very cold.  Emma & I took a good long nap, I do remember that!  After golf, we dropped Emma off at Grandma & Grandpa’s and went out to dinner with Joe, Nina, Anna and Michael.  The new BW’s is not so good.  Also, it was silly of us to go to a bar during the MSU game. 

March 391March 393 






  Monday: Butterflies!  Emma and I drove up to GR and had lunch with Matt.  Then we all went to the Meijer Gardens to see the butterflies.  It was wonderful.  I love it every time we go.  Emma was so cute, watching the butterflies and trying to touch/eat the plants.  Next year will be so much fun with her walking around and trying to catch them.  March 398March 417March 407

March 410

March 418March 419

March 423 March 427 March 428 Tuesday: I don’t really know what Emma and I did yesterday.  Oh!  Noah was over and we colored eggs.  Emma’s first egg coloring was fun.  Noah had a lot of fun and Emma kinda just relaxed in her high chair.  I love coloring eggs.  I really wanted to hide them and have Noah look for them, but he’s not quite old enough for that yet.  Next year, of course!  The kids were wonderful – we all took a nap, which really helped my mood.  It’s so interesting watching Noah develop.  He’s at the point where he’s just starting to use his imagination.  He was talking to a toy fish and having it talk back – so cute!  Plus we found out that Emma loves bananas.  Yum!  And I started to teach Noah the “Apples and Bananas” song.  :)

March 429Today: Matt & I had dentist appointments this morning.  We went together and took the Monster.  He watched her while I had my cleaning and then the sleepy girl and I came home while he had his.  Then I convinced him to “work from home,” so he was here all day.  Wonderful!  Emma & I almost had a picnic with Aunt Jessie, but she didn’t feel well so that didn’t happen.  Instead I got a lot done around the house, we played with Daddy and even went outside.  It was a good day.  Plus we had (local pork) brats on the grill.  And then Matt said “Okie-dokie Artichokie” while he was playing his computer game.  Which is worth posting in my bliggity-blog.  Plus we’ve had the windows open all day and it’s warmer in my house than it’s been since October!  I love it.

Tomorrow we’ll go to Baby LapSit at the library and I’ll take Emma over to Aunt Ashley’s before class so I can get started on my next paper (four weeks left of class!).  Also, Dad is going to get into Michigan tomorrow at some point.  I can’t wait to see him again.  I’m sure he’ll have great stories.

So that’s what we’ve been doing.  I wish I could remember more of it. 

And in case you didn’t see it on my FB page, here’s the video of our trip to see the butterflies:

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to know how many of the food items in my house had the dreaded HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP in them.  Because I didn’t want to know.  Normally, when I don’t want to know the answer, I don’t ask the question.  It’s a good way to live.  But lately, my food choices have plagued me.  I eat terribly for the most part – I crave fast food, candy, sweets and carbs.  But for Emma I want the best.  So really I should only put the best into me.  And I buy organic.  A lot.  As much as possible.  I mean, if there’s an organic option, I buy it. 

And after ranting last night about the high amounts of HFCS in school lunch and having a general understanding that HFCS is everywhere and impossible to get away from, plus reading that there are people out there who remove it from their diet completely, I decided that it’s time to ask the question.

March 388So how much HFCS food do I have in my house?  The answer surprised me.  In a good way.  Here it is.  Everything in my house that has HFCS or just plain corn syrup.  Not that much.  And even better, this is all stuff I don’t eat that much.  I’m proud of myself.  Apparently I’m a pretty good shopper.  And we’re healthier for it. 

Now.  If only I could kick that fast food habit.  I’ll keep the candy for now.  ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This is what I’ve been doing for most of my day: reading Fed Up with Lunch.  It’s amazing.  It’s (obviously) taken off since January 1st when she started the project.  And it’s about it.  So here’s the deal: Mrs. Q has decided to eat school lunch every (school)day for a year.  (Poor woman.) And then she posts it.  And now she has guest bloggers who talk about school lunches around the country and around the world, nutrition information, and school lunch news.  This is all related to something that’s really interested me lately.

Here it is: We all have anecdotes that prove to us that sugar makes kids impossible to deal with.  So why so much high fructose corn syrup in their meals?  And we all know that good nutrition helps students succeed in school – why else would we preach to them that it’s important to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal before the Test?


So here’s a way you can help: Email your Representatives & Congressmen in one (or a couple) clicks.  It’s easy.  Do it here.  And then do it here to send a fax!

Revamping the School Lunch Program works really well with Michele Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.  As does making sure that your schools don’t get rid of recess.  (Because they’re doing that now!)

This Farm-to-School Improvement Act sounds like a great thing too.  Did I tell you about Jamie Oliver’s TED speech?  Have you watched his new show on ABC?

Well, I know there’s more to say, but I’m trying to watch Survivor (yes, that’s right) and my daughter is banging around in her crib even though it’s 9:42 pm.  (Thank God for DVR!)


PS – We had a great day today and even went for a walk in the park.  Emma has proven that she loves to try to eat grass and leaves.  She also played on the swings for the first time (big smiles!) and almost fell down a slide.  More on that some other time.  :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

37 (or 40) Things That Make Me Happy

March 1551. Emma took three naps today.  THREE.  And they were all over 45 minutes long.

2. Emma’s cloth diapers drying in the sunshine.

3. (While we’re on the subject of pretty, colorful things) Fiestaware in my cupboards.IMG_2279



4. Talking to my best friend.

5. Knowing that my best friend and her family will be here in May and she’ll finally get to meet my girl!

6. Spending time with my family (Mom, Jason, Matt & Emma) up north.

7. Emma letting me sleep in (7:30!) and still getting to see the sunrise over the Bay. 

March 3118. Flowers blooming in my backyard: crocus (lots of them!), violets, and the pretty purple flowers that cover the lawn.

9. The teaser photos from Emma’s shoot last Friday. (My favorite is the black & white one – she’s sucking her thumb while holding HoneyBunny.  She doesn’t get much cuter than that!)Valerie Ott Photography

10. The fact that Emma can nom on a celery stick for over 45 minutes and still be excited by it.

11. Happy babies who talk to themselves in the backseat.

12. Bath time.  More specifically, my daughter, bath toys, and splashing. Valerie Ott Photography

13. Kitties in the sunshine.  How cute!  Wish I could join them or be them.

14. Jamie Oliver.  Glad I found his TV show.  You should watch it.

15. Getting my essay done even if it’s shorter than the page minimum.  So many of my essays have been over the page minimum that it should all even out.  Right?


Valerie Ott Photography 16. My high score on Mahjong Dimensions: 2,635,650.  Beat it.  I dare you.  (Ha!  You’re too scared to even try!)

17. Working out, washing the dishes, and straightening the house while the baby is sleeping.

18. My copy of Rethinking Schools.

19. Matt texting me to say he’s “omw".”

20. Saying out loud, while Emma’s asleep, “Daddy’s such a good daddy” because Matt helped me with laundry the night before.

21. Remembering (again) to do laundry.  And then putting it off for later (again).

22. Going out with Emma to Applebee’s for lunch and ordering the 2 for $20 so I could have leftovers for dinner.

23. “Around here almost = good enough” (thanks Dawn!)

24. Co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and breast-feeding – even when my daughter thinks I’m a pacifier.

25. Having play dates.

26. Having play dates rescheduled – I didn’t have to do ANYTHING today!

27. Blogs I follow: Enjoying the Small Things, Fuck Yeah, Motherhood!, and The Bloggess (among others).

28. My life.  Yep.  That’s a big one.  But really, I’m a stay-at-home mom with an awesome baby and an amazing husband.  I’m busy and sometimes I feel like going crazy, but this is where it’s at.  Honestly.

March 32429. LLL meetings. 

30. Sunny days. 

31. Happy, playful little boy cats (Dylan & RP to be exact).

32. Deciding I’m buying a new breast pump.  Because technically it should help me.  And it’s not like I won’t use it.

33. Ending this list on a weird number like 33.  Even though I know I’m forgetting something…  (Ok.  A lot of somethings.)

March 332 34. Remembering what I was forgetting: Playing outside with Emma and Noah.

35. Emma’s face when she eats puréed carrots and/or applesauce, especially when I switch between the two.

36. Emma rocking on her hands and knees as she gets ready to crawl.  She’s not there yet, but it won’t be long.  And I’ll be Ok with that.  Sooner or later.  :)

37. Ending on 37 instead of 33.  But keeping 33 the way it is.  Because I can.

(38. The fact that 21 of my 37 things have to do with my Monster.)

(39. And the fact that she’s my Monster.)

(40. Oh!  And Girl Scout cookies!!!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And a Good Time was Had By All

I feel like I’ve just had a vacation.  And it’s nice. 

Friday:  Emma had her first professional photo shoot.  I tried to reschedule it because she decided against napping and I thought she’d be too cranky, but it worked out really well.  Valerie, the photographer, was great.  She took a ton of photos in Em’s room (in the crib, on the floor, on the dresser, in the dormer, of us together in the glider) with the Monster in two or three outfits.  Then we went downstairs and took some in the sunroom and then some more outside.  Emma decided to have her meltdown then, but Valerie took it in stride.  She started packing herself up while I fed Em.  Then she came upstairs and took some photos of Emma nursing and then sleeping.  Yay for sleeping baby photos.  :)  The photos will hopefully be on her website on Tuesday – I’ll be sure to include a link and the password so everyone (all three of you) can look through them.

March 283 After that, Em took a short nap and then we went outside to play.  She really only wanted to play immediately next to me – the moment I moved to take a picture or something she freaked out.  So we went back inside and she helped me get ready to go up north.  Matt was at the Toyota dealership taking care of his car and so we drove over with his laptop and spent some time with him there.  Emma took another short nap and then once we were all packed, the three of us piled into the car and March 276drove up north.  We stopped in Big Rapids to have dinner (yummy bacon & avocado bison burger and strawberry lemonade).

It was great to see Mom, Bill, and Jason.  It took a little while for Emma to warm up to the new location and “new” people, but she had a great weekend. 

Saturday: Emma woke up early-ish and spent some time with her grandma while Matt & I slept in.  My brother made Matt & I eggs, bacon, and hash browns for breakfast!!! Emma got to have some applesauce, which she liked, I think… Then we all just relaxed around the house – Grandma showed Em the new toys she bought for her and Em & I showed Grandma the hats we just got in the mail for the little girl.  After a nap for the Monster, Grandma, Em and I dropped Matt off so he could get some work done, and then we went to go visit my fifth-grade teacher.  :)  I love small towns.  It was great to show off my baby and talk to her and Jeff.  Very nice.

March 294 When we got back Em got to see her uncle for a bit and then played some more.  I wrote half my paper too!  Not quite sure where the day went but pretty soon it was dinner time.  HOMEMADE LASAGNA!  Wonderful.  Delicious.  Amazing. 

Once Emma finally fell asleep, we watched the most recent Star Trek, which was good until I started getting queasy from the headache I had that wasn’t going away.  So I went downstairs and fell asleep while everyone else (Mom, Matt & Bill) finished the movie.

Sunday: Emma and I woke up by 7:30 – actually, I woke up before she did.  Then we went upstairs and played.  Mom made a lot of progress on Emma’s new hat!  I can’t wait to see what happens with those.  She bought this amazing little book on how to knit and crochet flowers which will be perfect for the hats.  After breakfast (waffles, French toast, and bacon!) we got ready to leave and were out the door by 10:30.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Jon – Saturday slipped by so quickly and he didn’t answer when I called Sunday morning.  But anyway, Emma was asleep by TC and I was asleep before Buckley.  We both woke up after Big Rapids when she decided she was starving.

So we stopped at the next exit.  FYI – do not stop in Morley, MI.  I think that was what it was called… anyway, the gas station was 2 miles down the road, was a combination gas station/hardware store/grocery and didn’t have a changing table in the unisex bathroom.  So Emma & I made do with the car… Then it was time to continue on, but not before the Monster demanded that I sit in the back seat with her.  Luckily Matt understands.  :)

So we got home, unpacked, relaxed, Emma took a quick nap, we had pizza and watched the last movie (Whip It, which was really good).  And now Emma’s finally asleep and Matt’s playing his new game.

In the future: Emma started doing that rocking thing that’s the immediate precursor to crawling.  Look for a post on how amazing and crazy that will be.  :)

I realize now that I didn’t take enough pictures this weekend.  Hopefully Grandma will post some on FB so I can steal them.  *HINT HINT*  So I’ll leave you with Emma & her horse, who needs a name:

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Don’t Mothers Get Mental Health Days?

It’s hard for me to admit when I can’t do it anymore.  I’m a perfectionist and my standards are impossible.  Intellectually I know this.  Emotionally, I feel like a failure when things don’t go smoothly.

Em’s been nursing every 45 minutes to an hour for over a week.  I don’t mind it really, except when we’re late for a doctor’s appointment and have to reschedule because they’re jerks.  But ever since she had her shots on Tuesday, she’s been very cranky.  Impossible to please.  Impossible to get along with. 

March 267 She hates sleeping.  She barely likes playing.  She doesn’t want to be left alone for more than two seconds.  I haven’t gotten anything done since Tuesday.  It’s killing me.

Sadly, this is taking its toll on me.  Yesterday I had a mini breakdown.  I put Emma in her crib, screaming, and went outside.  Then I was scared to go inside because what if she was still crying?  (She was.)  It took over three hours to get her to go to sleep last night.  And then she woke up two hours later and it took another 45 minutes to an hour to get her back down again.  It has just taken 45 minutes to an hour of her crying to get her to go down for a nap.  This is not working.

I finally broke down and gave her a bottle after nursing her three times in an hour.  There goes the milk I’d set aside for tonight.  Never mind the fact that I don’t have any milk reserved for our trip this weekend.  We’ll just have to stop and nurse.  Or maybe it’ll be late enough at night that she’ll sleep through the four-hour trip.  I doubt it.  I’m trying to pump enough for my Thursday classes, plus the eight-hour stretch on the 10th when I’ll be away from her, plus have a back-up supply in case heaven-forbid Matt & I want to go out on a date or something.  Or in case I want to runaway for a while.

Which I do.March 257

Luckily, I can forget all my troubles when she’s happy.  Because she’s cute and amazing.  I just want my old Monster back, the one who’s happy more than she’s cranky.  The one who eats every 2 hours and lets me pump.

Tonight I have class.  Matt’s going to try to come home early, but if he can't, we’ll see if the grandparents can take her for me.  Tomorrow we're going up north where there’s a grandma who’s more than happy to snuggle a happy Emma or a cranky Monster.  And some day I’ll stop feeling like I’m having a breakdown.   March 251March 254









Of course, during the happy times I take pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures.  269, to be exact, for the month of March alone.  That’s almost 16 pictures a day.  I should probably take more.  :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gardens. I love them.

March 240 Well, aside from the problems this morning with the doctor’s office, we had a great day today.  Actually, I should probably say that I had a great day today because I doubt Emma would agree with me.  The poor girl got four shots and an oral vaccine.  Mostly because the doctor knows how to put the fear of God into me about vaccinations.  I was trying to refuse the flu shots – she doesn’t need them: we stay at home, we have a cart cover for shopping carts and high chairs, Daddy washes his hands when he comes home, its the end of the flu season – but when the doctor started saying stuff like “she could die or become brain damaged” I caved.  Also, the little girl is remaining little.  She’s growing, but not at the pace the doctor recommends.  I’ve been reminded that she’s solely a breast-fed baby and the growth charts are for formula-fed babies.  I’m trying not to worry.  At any rate, she continues to be a tall, skinny baby with a not-huge head.  I love her and she’s wonderful.

(PS – I’m searching for a more like-minded doctor.)

After the doctor’s appointment, I took Emma to campus so I could go meet with my advisor.  It looks like I’m closer to my Masters degree than I thought: four or five classes left.  I’m taking one right now, and have plans to take one in July/August and another in the fall.  That means that I’m so close to being finished.  It’s crazy.  (By “so close” I probably mean 2012 or 2013.  More likely 2013 or 2014 when Em’s sibling comes around…)

And then it’s on to my Doctorate.  Go team.March 241

The rest of the day with Emma was great.  She got tired and cranky quickly, so I fed her more carrots, took a bath with her, and then we nursed again.  By 5:30 she was asleep and I got to do stuff for me.

That included working out, playing in my gardens, and painting my March 247toenails.  (I was going to post a photo of my pink toes, but after looking at it, I realized that toes are ugly.)  Here’s the proof that I accomplished great things in the garden.  Also, after spending an entire summer and fall away from my gardens, I now see the results of the neglect.  I need to power wash the fence and reclaim my side garden from the ivy.   But it was great to be outside this evening, getting my hands dirty.  I love my flowers and can’t wait for the daffodils to bloom.  They’re my March 246favorite.  I’m also considering transplanting some of the 29 crocuses that I counted.  That way they’ll surprise me when they come up next spring.  I love it when that happens. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

It’s Been 6 Months (You’d Think I’d Have Learned By Now)

Emma and I took a great long nap after Noah left this morning.  Actually, it ended up being over two hours.  Very wonderful.

One slight problem, though.  I’d forgotten to change her diaper first.  So she leaked through.  Like C R A Z Y.

Oops.  My fault.  (This is why we sleep on top of a waterproof pad.  That and the spit-up.  And the drool.)

So the bed was saved, and all I had to do when we woke up was carry the waterproof pad with the baby on top of it into her bedroom and change her.  She was still in jammies, so it wasn’t like I was upset that her clean clothes were dirty.

I think I mentioned that lately I’ve been letting her pick out her clothes?  So after I got the soaked jammies and diaper off and washed her down with some wipes, I carried her over to the closet and let her grab whatever she wanted to wear.

And then there was a warmth on my side, and I realized that she’d peed on me.  Yep.  Well that one’s my fault too.  I mean, she was naked.  I deserved it.

March 210So I grabbed some clothes for her, took her back to the changing table and stripped.  Then I ran into the bedroom to change and back downstairs to grab the camera so I could take this photo.  The whole plan was to blog about the experience and say something like, “But you can’t get upset with this face.”  Because you can’t.  Also, it wasn’t her fault.  I’m the stupid one who had her on my hip without a diaper on.

I took some photos, playing with flash v. no flash and then I realized that, well...  She'd peed again.  Yep.  Again.

I wiped her up, picked her up, took the changing pad cover off the changing pad, wiped down the pad, and put Emma on the floor so I could put a new cover on.  But before I did that, I put her diaper on.  Because I didn’t want her peeing on her carpet.

Honestly, though.  A leaky diaper, a soaked shirt, and the changing pad too?  I thought I was better than this. 

Apparently I’m still an amateur.  Of course, it’s only been six months.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Today Emma Grows Up

Last night, on the eve of Emma's half-birthday, I got all teary-eyed and said it out loud: "Emma's growing up tomorrow."  Matt laughed, and then said the best thing he could have said, ever.  "She will still need you for other things."

We've waited to introduce solids until today.  And what I was mourning yesterday - what I'm mourning today - is the fact that she will no longer get all of her sustenance from me and me alone.  Of course, we'll still nurse.  We'll nurse as long as she wants to - or as long as I can stand it.  (I know that it'll be impossible for me to let her nurse while I'm pregnant because I'm so sensitive about pressure on my pregnant belly.)  But introducing solids seems like such a big step for me.  She's no longer an infant - she hasn't been an infant for a long time.  Today that hits me hard.

Ever since I started thinking about babies, nursing, and feeding, I knew we were going to wait to introduce solids until the baby was 6 months old.  For the most part this has worked (except for the vanilla wafer Matt let her suck on and the green bean my mom tried to give her).  But when she turned five months old, I wanted to prolong baby-hood for as long as possible.  So I asked Matt if we could wait until she's older - much older.  He humored me, knowing I'd come to my senses sooner or later.

And I did.  Emma is so interested in our food, in us eating, in playing with spoons and sitting at the dining room table with us.  And this last week, she has transformed from an every 2-3 hour nurser to an every 45 minutes nurser.  So I was ready for today.  For the most part.

IMG_2246On Wednesday I made Emma her first baby food.  Following the directions of who-knows-how-many baby food recipe books that I own, the advice of one or two good breastfeeding books, and my instincts, we started basic.  I steamed and pureed the carrots I found last week at the farmers' market.  I froze everything using the two containers we have (going to figure out which I like best and buy more of that one).  And then I went out and bought her some good spoons and a splat mat for the floor.  We were ready.

March 166



And boy, was Matt ready.  He was excited - got the carrots out of the freezer, defrosted them, put them in her bowl.  





March 161



I made sure he took a picture of the last official breastfeeding-only session.  (I did my best to savor it, even though she wasn’t that hungry and Daddy was distracting her by taking pictures.)



March 167


And then I got out a bib and brought her downstairs to the dining room.

It was fun.  Emma was not impressed.  She wanted to play with the spoon and the bowl and the mushed carrots that ended up on the highchair tray. 



March 179



She spit more out than she kept in.  She learned to push the spoon away and turn her head.  She made an absolute mess, including somehow getting carrots on my jeans. 



And I survived. 


March 194


My baby is still a baby.  She didn't sprout into a toddler, despite my fears.  She barely ate anything, which is exactly what I knew would happen.  I'm ready to try again... tomorrow.




Too bad Matt can't be around when the diaper happens.  I'll let you know how much I love my BG3.0s now that they contain more than water-soluble breastmilk. 

I cannot believe she's already six months old.  I cannot believe how quickly this happens, even though I knew it would happen oh-so-quickly.

Happy half-birthday, Emma Jayne.  I love you.

Don't grow up too fast.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Other People's Adventures

Well, I dropped Emma off at Ashley's so I could get a head start on the paper that's due at the end of the month. But so far I've only managed to eat dinner, talk to my dad, update his FB page, and register for the MCTE conference. Actually, that's pretty good. And now I will blog, which is not homework but which is still good for me.

Dang it! I forgot to ask Dad something! And here's what: I found this site of this guy who interviews other people's parents and then posts them on his blog. It's a great idea. So at the bottom there's this email link asking for ideas of other parents to interview. I immediately thought Dad would be perfect. I mean, how many parents ask for 6 weeks off in the winter so they can go sail the Bahamas? So I emailed David and he's interested in talking with Dad while he's in the Bahamas. So. I need to make sure that I remember to tell Dad that he's doing it. :) Ok, that's more of a I forgot to tell Dad something, but still.

Speaking of Dad, being his FB secretary is pretty interesting. I have to filter what he tells me and only post what he wants other people to know. I mean, what if he didn't want everyone to know that he said "Getting out of the marina was amateur hour"? (FYI - he told me it was Ok to say that.) So whenever he calls, I take notes. (Notes on a conversation with my father!) And I make sure to say, "So what do you want me to post?" Today what I would have posted pretty much aligned with what he wanted me to post. But maybe not always. We'll see.

How cool is it that my Dad's sailing in the Bahamas? (Ok, technically he's not in the Bahamas yet.) Here's the story for those of you who don't know it: He started thinking he'd be temporarily laid off this winter. He came up with this great dream that if he was laid off, he would drive down to FL, buy a Cal-20, and sale the Bahamas. But then when he talked to his boss about it, he found out that he wasn't getting laid off. It broke his heart, so he asked for the time off. Nice. And now he's going. It's so exciting.

Also, I wish I were there with him. In the Bahamas. Or at least in FL.


Other things that have interested me today:
1. The Diane Rehm Show had this great interview today with a former Assistant Secretary of Education from the second Bush administration. She used to support No Child Left Behind, but now she's fighting against it AND against Race To The Top. She said that public schools are failing because of the emphasis on testing. (Where have I heard that before???) I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of her book.

2. Matt sent me this video on FB. It's interesting overall, but the focus on schools was the best part for me. (Wonder why?) Jamie Oliver knows what he's talking about. "The food that your kids get every day is fast-food, is highly processed, there's not enough fresh food in there at all. The amount of additives[...] there's not enough veggies at all, french fries are considered a vegetable." (See segment starting at 11:14!) I'd like to see a local foods initiative happen in schools. "There needs to be a new standard for fresh, proper food for your children." Volinia has maple syrup, so why can't schools also have gardens! I'm not just talking elementary either (which would really help with the kids who don't know about vegetables - see the segment starting at 13:10 on the video.) As Jamie says in the video, "We've got to start teaching our kids about food in schools - period."


In household news, I made Emma's first batch of homemade baby food yesterday. (I'll post pictures here tomorrow - I don't have my camera with me here at Panera.) Yummy local carrots. We'll see if she likes them when we start solids on Saturday. (I feel the need to let you know that giving her the spoon to lick after making the carrots does not count as starting her on solids.) (Also, she loved licking the spoon. Actually, it was more like chewing on it.)

She's also learning to use a sippy cup. Growing up so fast. As always.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Early Morning Book Review

Both kids were sleeping, and as I was cleaning up the living room, I decided it'd be a great idea to share some of our favorite library books.

Emma & Noah enjoying some early morning reading.

Emma and I checked out eight board books on Friday when we went to KPL Central (after missing Baby LapSit at Washington Square) - four books for Emma and four books for Noah. Here they are in alphabetical order (of course).


A Day at the Market
by Sara Anderson

I first picked up A Day at the Market because I thought it'd be a story about a farmer's market, and I'm jonesin' to take Emma to our local market this summer. But I was VERY happy to realize that the market in the book is not just any market - this amazing book tells the story of a day at Pike's Place market in Seattle. Having been to Pike's Place twice myself, I can tell you that A Day at the Market is a perfect example of the beautiful hustle and bustle this famous Seattle institution.

March 131 "Black-eyed Susans / Sweet Surrenders / Pink Perfection / Golden Splendors."

Sara Anderson's illustrations steal the show, but Noah seemed to like the short rhyming stanzas that tell the story. Of course, it is possible that the reason he was sitting still was because he was so interested in the vibrant pictures. I cannot wait to be able to take Emma to Pike's Place ourselves in a couple of years, but for now this book will be a great substitute.

Verdict: A Day at the Market is definitely on our purchase list.


My Very First Book of Colors
by Eric Carle

My Very First Book of Shapes
by Eric Carle

I am in love with Eric Carle books. If you don't remember, Eric Carle is the genius behind The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We love that book in this house (and all stuff they've spun off of it, like Emma's onesie that no longer fits her and the big stuffed caterpillar we got her for Christmas). So when I saw these books I thought that Noah would probably enjoy them. Each book has a top flap and a bottom flap, which you match to practice colors and shapes.

The books are pretty basic - on the left page is the word (either the color or the shape), on the right are pages to match. Unfortunately there's no story, so to keep Noah's attention I had to walk him through it:

March 142

Circle. Is that a circle? No, that's a triangle.

March 144 Circle. Yes, the sun is a circle!

March 138

Is the umbrella blue? No, the umbrella's black.

March 139

Blue. The bird is blue.

He quickly went back to his tractor book. Maybe he's a bit too young at 22 months. If we borrow them from the library again when he's older, I'll let you know how it goes.

Verdict: Cute books, but not very interesting for this crowd. Maybe when they're older.


The Very Busy Spider
by Eric Carle

Yes, another Eric Carle book. I told you I'm in love with his books. Emma & I read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? often - I love using the animal signs as I read it. I even had to look up new signs just so I could sign the whole book to her. Anyway, back to The Very Busy Spider. A spider floats into the farm yard on the wind and lands on a fence. She spends the entire book too busy spinning her web to play with the farm animals. At the end, she catches the fly in her web and goes to sleep. I do enjoy this book. The illustrations are beautiful (of course, it's Eric Carle!) and the story is cute. Each page presents a new farm animal and the noise it makes.

"’Cock-a-doodle do!’ crowed the rooster...”

But I do have to confess that my favorite thing about this book is that the web, the spider, and the fly are textured. As the spider weaves her web, you can feel (and see) it growing bigger and bigger. Neither Emma nor Noah were impressed by this, but I have a feeling that someday they will be.

Verdict: We will own this book some day.


Inside Freight Train
by Donald Crews

I obviously had the train-freak in mind when I picked up this book. I knew that it'd be a hit with Noah, who says "Thomas" as soon as he walks in my door. I was right. As soon as he saw it, Noah wanted to read it. Actually, we didn't read it, but we looked at the pictures. Uncle Matt tried to read it him, but by that time I'd shown Noah that the pages opened, which meant that reading the book wasn't high on the kid's priority list.

"The purple box car carries..."

" and books."

Obviously Noah loves this book. He loves everything to do with trains. Opening the trains up to see what's inside is fun, but unfortunately it's very difficult to close the book back up. Noah's gotten frustrated a couple times already and almost had a break-down about it just before nap time. But he still loves the book. And maybe someday he'll let me read it to him.

Verdict: Fun book, but difficult to put back together. It'll be around the house until it's due back at the library. I probably won't check it out again - unless we have a boy. :)


Big Stuff: Tractors
by Robert Gould

This book was built for a boy. What is it about tractors, large equipment, and fire trucks that make little boys so crazy? I will never know. Luckily, I do understand that the phenomenon occurs, and I'll always embrace it. I grew up with a little brother, remember?
So I got this book for Noah. I think I read it to him at least five times in the first 30 minutes he was here. It's the best thing we have here, according to him.

Actually, the book would be so much better if it were only photographs of tractors. Sorry, Robert Gould. I tell it like it is. There's no story, just statements about tractors on every page. It'd be tolerable if it stopped there, but there's also these comments by the kids at the bottom.

Maybe if the kids weren't trying to be such hams, I'd like the book better.

See their crazy poses? I don't know them, but I can't stand them. On one page, they actually say they built the tractor. (And I don't believe for one minute that the girl really cares about these tractors. Sorry. I know that somewhere out there is probably a little girl who LOVES tractors. But I still don't believe the girl in this book.)

Verdict: Just another tractor book. We'll exchange it for something better soon.


Silly Suzy Goose
by Petr Horáček

Oh Silly Suzy. I'll tell you right now, I can't get enough of this book. Silly Suzy is a goose who wants to be different from all the other geese. She wants to flap her wings like a bat or swim under the water like a seal.

"If I were a giraffe, I could STRETCH up high."

Not only is the story great (when Suzy meets a lion, she tries to roar but it comes out "Roarrrrrhonk!"), but the layout of the words on the page is amazing. This is the kind of book that makes me want to teach... something to do with page layout. :) And who doesn't love saying, "Roarrrrrhonk!"?

Verdict: I will definitely check this out again. And it's going on our wish list.


Ten Sleepy Sheep
by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by Susan Gaber

Emma and I first found this book at the Eastwood branch and kept it for a week or so until we went back for Baby LapSit. After that, I added it to her Amazon wish list. This will quickly become a bedtime classic. (If not across America, at least in our house.) It's time for bed for ten lambs, but none of them are tired. They go scampering across the farmyard to play, but one-by-one they lay down to sleep.

"Sleep sheep..."

My favorite part is at the end when the last sheep says, "Mama, I can't sleep," and Mama tells him to try counting sheep. Children's book clichés such as rhyming and counting are skillfully executed here. The only problem is trying to say "sleep sheep" on every page.
Verdict: The illustrations are gorgeous, the story is adorable. The day we brought it home I was scouring Amazon for my own copy. We'll keep checking it out until we have our own copy.

Verdict: The illustrations are gorgeous, the story is adorable. The day we brought it home I was scouring Amazon for my own copy. We'll keep checking it out until we have our own copy.