Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hello, this thing still on?

I think the last time I blogged Carys was a baby...and she'll be starting kindergarten this fall. I wish I'd been writing about the kids over the last five years, but it's something that fell by the wayside. I realized that writing is something that always makes me feel good, and I want to do more to document our lives in the moment. So, I'm going to try to do this more.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Books of 2011

I think I forgot to do this last year (maybe I'll have to go back and post 2010's list, too), but here's what I read in 2011. My pace slowed considerably after October. A lot of them were audio books this year -- I often found myself consuming three books at once, with one book in my bag, one going in my car, and another on my iPhone or on one of the digital Playaway devices from the library.

1. Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph
2. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. I tore through this epic, the first part of a 20th century trilogy weaving stories of families in Wales, London, the U.S., Russia and Germany. I can't wait for the second installment.
3. Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. If there's one word for O, it's spirited.
4. Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland. I loved this piece of historical fiction about the stories and craftsmanship behind the gorgeous Tiffany glass lamps.
5. Sick of Shadows by Marion Chesney
6. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin. This is a neat little book about the art world.
7. Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag. Creepy.
8. Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. I'm requesting this one from the library again.
9. At Home by Bill Bryson. Ever wonder why your home is the way it is? This book traces the genesis of every nook and cranny in a modern home.
10. The Three Weismanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine. This book had traces of Sense & Sensibility as its roots, but didn't come close to matching the original.
11. The Journey that Saved Curious George by Louise Borden. A colorful look at the harrowing journey the Margaret and H.A. Rey took out of WWII France with the ideas for Curious George in their bicycle baskets.
12. I Think I Love You by Alison Pearson. This is a fun read for anyone who ever owned an issue of Teen Beat.
13. The King's Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi
14. The Adults by Alison Espath
15. True Grit by Charles Portis
16. You Know When the Men are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
17. Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal. OK, it's pure fluff, but I couldn't resist. Does it help if I say I breezed through it in a couple of days?
18. The Union Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini
19. Star by Peter Biskind. I have a new appreciation for the career of Warren Beatty after listening to this audiobook. I particularly loved the story about how the perennial bachelor up and decided one day that he was going to marry Anette Bening, and how she agreed.
20. Almost Astronauts by Tonya Lee Stone. This was a piece of juvenile nonfiction about the women who trained for NASA but never got to space.
21. Bossypants by Tina Fey. So funny. She seems like someone who would be a really great friend to have.
22. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. This was my favorite book of the year, a masterful telling of the incredible -- truly unbreakable, as the title says -- spirit of Louis Zamperini.
23. I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
24. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClurg. This one has prompted me to pick up the Little House on the Prairie series again and plan a trip to the Wilder sites in Wisconsin, Minnesota and DeSmet. I'm even reading some of them to Little C!
25. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. See above.
26. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I actually read this one to O in an attempt to help him get to sleep easier. It didn't work, but he still enjoyed it.
27. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Wow. The Ingalls family rivals Louis Zamperini when it comes to an unbreakable spirit.
28. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. This piece of nonfiction is a good companion to A Thousand Splendid Suns, as Lemmon tells the story of how women in Afghanistan fought to earn a living and support their families in the unimaginable suppression of women under Taliban.
29. Something Blue by Emily Giffin
30. Silencing Sam by Julie Kramer, whose books are fun escapist reads for anyone looking for a good mystery with Twin Cities angles.
31. Baby Proof by Emily Giffin
32. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen. None of the knockoffs can compare to the masterpiece.
33. Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina
34. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This offered an interesting premise - the author tried to live a better life by trying to adopt certain habits -- but it seemed like she was trying too hard. I'm just attempting to live in the moment more myself.
35. The Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. I don't know what drew me to Giffin's books this year, but I listened to all of them on audio, which was a good way to consume them.
36. Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky.
37. Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario
38. Untold Story by Monica Ali. This book explores the premise of what would have happened if Princess Diana had faked her death and gone off to live as a 40-something single woman in the U.S.
39. State of Wonder by Ann Pachett. This is the runner up as my favorite book of the year. I don't know what it was about this book, but I couldn't put it down. (Maybe it was the fact that part of it takes place in Eden Prairie?)
40. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
41. 56 by Kostya Kennedy. I now believe no one will come close to reaching Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. This was a great story of the game-by-game pressure DiMaggio faced, along with a season played with war looming, the death of Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams' .400 season.
42. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
43. Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington. A coming-of-age story of loss and love, and the personal toll of the war in Iraq. Keep some Kleenex handy.
44. What's Eating Your Child? by Kelly Dorfman. A real eye-opener about how food affects a child's mood, development and overall health.
45. If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster. Make sure you have a copy of Sixteen Candles to watch as you read this humorous novel about a couple who buys Jake Ryan's house on Lake Michigan.
46. Miracle Beach by Erin Cellelo. Erin is a good friend, and she's crafted a taut piece of fiction about family. You won't be disappointed.
47. Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
48. City of Thieves by David Benioff. I keep finding my way to WWII fiction, and this was a great adventure story about the siege of Leningrad.
49. Sarah's Key by Tantiana de Rosnay. More WWII-related fiction, but the story was a tough one for the mother of a small child.
50. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
51. Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
52. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. Terrifically funny. Like Tina Fey, I'd love to have Mindy Kaling as a friend.
53. Escape by Barbara Delinsky
54. Honeymoon With My Brother by Franz Wisner. My book group -- Based on the Novel, where we read books that will be or have been made in to movies -- chose this one about a groom who's left at the altar and decides to honeymoon with his younger brother. I can see this one making a decent movie -- it's a nice little story about brotherly love and picking yourself up from rock bottom.
55. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe. This was among my favorites for the year, too, and this is also why my book group is the coolest. Rob Lowe is like the Forrest Gump of Hollywood, having worked or crossed paths with just about every working actor in the business. I could have listened (I had the audio version, read by the author) to another six hours of stories.
56. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
57. The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer
58. How the World Makes Love by Franz Wisner. Wisner attempts to compare the approach to love around the world, but I found that part less compelling than his story about finding love himself back home.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


After much wavering, O decided this year to be the Cat in the Hat. He was lobbying for Colin and me to be Nick and Sally, the two kids who accompany the Cat on his adventures, but he had to settle for his little sister as the Cat's fish friend.

We started the Halloween fun with a party and parade at O's school, then went to Channel 3 for some trick or treating around the office. O loved handing out candy to trick or treaters who rang our doorbell (every night since he's asked if more kids are going to come by) Colin got home from work, the two of them went to a couple of houses in our neighborhood.

(Here's a photo of the originals -- how did I do?)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Future footballer?

It's no surprise that Owen already loves soccer. He gets a healthy dose of it at home. Throughout the winter, we entertained ourselves with many many many games of living room soccer, using the fireplace as on of our goals. As soon as the snow melted, we were at the field at our park, practicing dribbling, shooting and taking corner kicks.
Most "organized" soccer groups start with kids who are 3 years old - O is just shy of that. My friend Polly decided to put together an informal group though, and when I asked O if he wanted to go, his "Yes!" couldn't have been more emphatic. Then he proceeded to have a five-minute discussion with himself about what he should wear. "Maybe I'll wear Liverpool. Or Roma. Or Liverpool. I'll wear Liverpool."
Having all the right gear is very important to him. When we play T-ball, he has to wear a pair of purple gardening gloves for batting gloves. So, knowing this, I took him to get a pair of shin guards and size 3 ball, and we found a bag that would work for his stuff. He was so proud walking out the door with the bag on his back, all ready to play.
After some initial trepidation, by the time his coaches got to a game of "Red Light, Green Light," he was having a ball. He's gotten pretty good at passing and dribbling, so all our home practice must be good for something.
Then again, maybe he'll decide hockey is his game. This morning I got out of the shower and discovered he had emptied all the diapers from his drawer in to a pile in the hallway.
I asked him what he was doing with them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Leaving for work

As I was heading out the door for work, O stopped me.

"Mom, I want to tell you something!"

I came back to where he was eating breakfast to listen.

"I love you a whole much!"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good start to the day

It took the little man a long time to settle down last night, and I actually had to rouse him this morning to get him ready.

He got out of bed and crawled in my lap, then hugged me sleepily and said, "I'm so happy you're here."

Friday, May 13, 2011

From the backseat

O: "I don't have a Joe Mauer bobblehead. Let's look for one online."