Friday, September 23, 2011


So, for as long as my kid has been able to say "Mamaw" and she's been known to run around the house calling for her Mamaw, but she has never once specified which of the three she wanted.

Last night around 5pm she started running around the beach house calling for a mamaw, but this time she was saying "Mamaw Reesie," her name for my Grandma Reese. I looked at Greg and he just shrugged, she's never done that before. And Grandma Reese is the one she'd be least likely to call for, since she's the one she's spent the least amount of time with. It was just plain weird.

I sent my mom a text to tell her about it, since Grandma was still in ICU but doing better and I figured that might give her a giggle. She always thought it was funny that Kaycie called her Mamaw Reesie. Mama responded a few minutes later that she was with Grandma and that Grandma smiled when she told her.

The next text I got was 4 hours later, from my dad, telling me that Grandma Reese was gone. She'd had another erratic heart episode like the one the night before but didn't recover this time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Traditional Packing Post With a Twist

So I'm in panic packing mode tonight, trying to get not only clothes but toys, child safety devices, and a box of food items packed, as well as cleaning out the fridge, running the dishwasher, and blah blah blah when I get a text from my dad saying that Grandma is in ICU.

They think it's heart issues. Next text says things aren't looking good. Do I need to go there tonight? No, let's wait and see. A little while later I get another text that they were able to medicate her and she's doing better. Meanwhile I'm trying to text my cousins to keep them informed and keep up the crazy packing pace, wondering if it's all in vain.

But I keep packing because it's better than worrying. Right now, at 11pm, I have all our clothes packed, the dishes washed and the food box packed. Some of the toys and gear are packed. Everything else will have to wait until tomorrow morning. Greg has spent the entire night trying to figure out a way to fix some issues with Kaycie's video player and load videos onto our tablet for her to watch during the drive. He's still working on that. It's been a bit frustrating. Right now he's talking to himself. I fear he may be losing it.

I haven't heard anything else from Dad so I'm hoping that means she's somewhat stable. He and mom (as well as my in-laws) are supposed to join us this weekend at the beach house. I really hope they make it, but right now I'm afraid if Grandma is still in ICU they will need to stay home. My mom had a rough week last week and was desperately looking forward to the break. I was looking forward to having them around and introducing them to some new seafood places, since my dad is a huge fan and has talked constantly about the place we ate last time they stayed with us at Ft. Morgan.

MicroTot Update

Forgot to mention that I had a doc appointment this morning. I gained six pounds, which is good because now I'm at +5 total. Sigh. Amazing how much I can gain when I stop throwing up. Anyway, next visit we'll have another sonogram and do my glucose test (BLAH!) and that kind of stuff. Which means I really need to desugarfy over the next 4 weeks. But not until after vacation! And I'm stoked to be getting more pictures on the next visit. With Kaycie we didn't get any after 20 weeks. This time I'm old, so I get bonus pictures!

Magical Update - I'm a Shark!

"I'm a shark. Aren't I awesome? " (From I'm A Shark! by Bob Shea)
 After reading that quote two hundred times in Kaycie's favorite book, we now use "I'm a shark," as a synonym for "I'm awesome," in everyday conversation.

I'm a shark.

And it accidentally ended up being 15 things for Kaycie and 15 for MicroTot. Fair and square. And now I must quit procrastinating and start packing. I have to leave in 25 minutes to go pick Greg up from work, then make dinner, then put Kaycie to bed, then it's going to be so late I don't want to think about packing, but since I haven't started...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Finding My Magic?

It was 3 years ago that I first wrote this post about Mom-Magic, and how I didn't have it.

Now that I am a mom, I think I might be finding it. And I was right back then, I think I'm developing the sale magic!

I've mentioned before that we picked up quite a few things as Borders went out of business at pretty good clearance prices. That was great. And I always hit up the semi-annual sale at my favorite consignment shop, but that's not magic so much as scheduled six months in advance. Then I mentioned yesterday that I stumbled into a huge clearance sale at J. C. Penney. Literally, I was walking through the kids department just to glance around on my way out of the store into the mall when an employee called out to me saying, "We're marking things down right now, lots of stuff for less than $2!" As it happened, I was on the way to Gymboree to look at their clearance rack because Mom and I had found some steals at the Vicksburg Gymboree outlet store on Sunday. But even those prices weren't as good as I got at Penney's yesterday.

Today I ran by Toys R Us in search of one specific thing. A Melissa and Doug latch board that I've had on Kaycie's Amazon Wish List for a while but was waiting on a special occasion to buy because M&D specialty puzzles can get a little pricey. Today I had a $5 off coupon, so I figured it'd be a good vacation fun box toy. I like to throw in a few new things she's never seen before to keep her occupied in a new house and in the van. Anyway, I went to buy the puzzle and discovered that they were having a buy two get one free sale on all M&D products. Have I mentioned how much I love Melissa and Doug? We have a ton of their puzzles and wooden toys and art supplies and they are consistent favorites. And awesomely educational as a bonus.  Anyway, I went ahead and picked up 3 items, the vacation latch board that I had gone to buy anyway, some magnet alphabet letters for her birthday, and a set of lacing beads that will be for Christmas! All were on my list to be bought at some point, AND I got to use my $5 off coupon! I need to update her wish list. I've bought several things off of it now!

Moving on, Kaycie and I walked over to our neighborhood Dollar General (aka DG) to pick up a box of band aids this afternoon. That was all we were going to get, one box of $1 band aids. Uh huh. They were having a sidewalk clearance sale! Kaycie gravitated to the rack to I went over to see if any of their summer outside water toys might be good for the vacation fun box. Everything was half off AND buy one get one free. I let her pick out a couple of $1 items, which ended up being 25 cents each. We went inside and I found a table of more clearance, where we nabbed a couple of PBS character coloring books (Curious George and Cat in the Hat) and a couple of other clearance items. All in all I got my box of band aids, a pair of shoes for Kaycie, 2 coloring activity books and 4 vacation fun toys for $6. That's less than $1 per item. I did walk away from the half off giant set of sand bucket toys. It was $6 and more than we needed. It would have doubled my tab and thrown my average.

So maybe I can find a sale or two after all. Maybe. It could just be residual magic from being with my mom on Sunday.

Monday, September 19, 2011

To Do and Do and Do

We leave for the beach on Thursday to celebrate our 5th anniversary the next week. Normally by this point in the preparations I have list after list after list made - things to take, things to do, things I know I'll forget (like electronic chargers or laundry detergent!). And I've inventoried our clothes and determined if anybody needs new socks or whatever. And I have a box of snack food and other non perishables put together over the past few weeks of grocery trips. And the van cleaned up and out. And our mail hold set up. And check to see if we need the oil changed in the van. And... Sigh. I've done nothing.

Between being so sick the past couple of weeks and so busy getting ready for BFF Sharonda's baby shower this weekend that I haven't even started thinking about the trip. Right now I'm not even 100% sure what we're doing with the dog. I think he's staying with the in laws, but I'm not sure if that's been confirmed or when we're dropping him off. I haven't picked up any new car toys or made a vacation fun box for Kaycie. We haven't loaded the portable hard drive or the tablet with movies and tv shows to take with us (I refuse to go on a week and half long vacation without s stash of Mickey Mouse Clubhouses and Sesame Streets!). I haven't started my pre-vacation house cleaning. I haven't even looked too see what amenities our beach house has to see if there's anything else I need to plan for (it's 2 stories, so I need to contemplate Potamus-boundries). AAARRRGGG! 

So I need to start making some lists. I tried to do some shopping today but failed pretty miserably. J. C. Penney is having a crazy clearance sale and I wanted to pick up a couple of extra pair of cheap shorts for Kaycie, since she's been outgrowing her summer things pretty steadily over the past few weeks. Despite racks of clearance as far as the eye can see, I bought nothing for Kaycie. I did grab a few things for the baby at less than $2 each, but Kaycie started grabbing handfuls of clothes and flinging them, then planting herself in the floor when I held her hand and fought me like a banshee when I tried to pick her up and hold her. I miss the stroller days. Sigh. I'll try to go back Wednesday while she's at school, but I have my OB appointment that morning and don't know how much time I'll have after.

Right now I guess I need to go start making some lists. And start dinner. And work on some laundry. And start thinking about clothes to pack. And did I mention I've lost a pair of Kaycie's shoes that I bought a couple of months ago and put away until fall? Her old shoes broke last week and she needs sneakers for school. Before Wednesday. Guess that'll be on tomorrow's list.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Updates and Controvery

You may recall that my grandma fell a few weeks ago and had a spiral fracture in her leg. She's been in swing bed rehab at the nursing home since her discharge from the hospital. Yesterday Mom got her 3 days notice that Grandma was going to be discharged from rehab due to lack of progress/participation. This wasn't a shock and Mom had already made arrangements for a permanent room in the regular nursing home. It's been obvious since she arrived at rehab that Grandma doesn't really have any faith that she'll get better, and isn't interested in doing the work to get there. I get it. She's been a seriously strong independent woman for 85 years and she's tired. She's never going to live in her house again, and she's depressed. It makes me sad to see it, but it is what it is. Her fracture is healing great, but she doesn't even want to try to walk on it. The PT people have been making her walk some but she fights it. At this point she will likely not walk again, even assisted, and won't even try to build the strength to transfer herself from the bed to the wheelchair. I'm hoping she'll do better once she gets settled, but I'm not holding my breath.

In other news, remember how we moved Kaycie to her new room and I was having major regret about doing it so soon because she wasn't adjusting well? Well, she's doing better. She's going to bed with a minimal of fuss now and there's no more screaming for hours. However, she's still getting up anywhere from 1-3 hours earlier than she used to. This is killing her mama, who isn't sleeping well due to a number of factors including but not limited to being sick and coughing myself awake multiple times a night. And despite the bed situation improving, she's going through a thing. I'm guessing it's a massive developmental leap, because she's showing the classic signs - crying for no reason, uber-clingy, and basic regression in any number of areas. I suspect when this works itself out she'll start doing multiplication tables.

And I recently mentioned my BFF Sharonda was having yet more issue with her pregnancy. This week she'd progressed a bit further despite the meds and bed rest and the doc said she hoped to get another 1-2 weeks before Baby Mason arrives, but she's made it to 34 1/2 weeks now so it's not quite as panicky as it was. All I know is that I'm leaving for the beach next Thursday, so Baby Mason has 7 days to arrive or else he better make himself at home for another week! Meanwhile, we're having her shower on Sunday and I'm stoked about it. I kinda like baby showers when I'm not the guest of honor. And she's getting some good stuff, just based on what's piled up in MicroTot's room right now!

And finally the controversy. I should start with a disclaimer - I don't watch Dancing With the... er... Bumping and Grinding with the Stars. Never have. Won't start this season. When I have 2 minutes of uninterrupted adult time in front of the TV, I'd rather work through season 4 of Battlestar Galactica on Netflix streaming or playing Monopoly on the Wii with Greg. But whatever, people like the show and more power to them. But with the recent Chaz Bono controversy I find myself fascinated; not in the story itself so much as the public responses. I saw this article posted on Facebook today and after seeing a couple of the public comments I felt compelled to read the article. And I won't lie, I agreed with it. If you have a problem with your kid watching it, don't let them watch it. But if you have a moral problem with Chaz being on the show, how could you stomach the Kardashians? Or the outfits? And isn't there an openly gay man on there? And the "air sex"? THAT's ok to have your kids watch, but not a somewhat overweight man that is trying his hand at physical activity? 'Cause let's face it people, most kids won't know who Chaz Bono is any more than they know most of the so-called celebrities on the show, unless somebody explains it to them. And even then, saying, "His mom was a singer about 164 years go," would probably be enough for most kids if the rest of media would let it go. I'm still now sure how Chaz or the Kardashians became celebrities in their own right, but apparently they did.

I did find one of the comments on FB quite telling. In the middle of a religion/hypocrisy debate one woman pointed out that Jesus would probably be found hanging around with Chaz. He was almost always hanging out with the underdogs. Now, I'm not sure that "hanging around" is the best phrase, or "underdog" for that matter, but the overall idea is pretty spot on. Jesus didn't hang out with the "right" people. He hung out with those that needed him the most. Perhaps we should stop slapping people around for their sins and be a little more accepting. Leading people to Jesus does not mean we wash them of their sins, it means we help them get to a place where they ask God to do that. So with that in mind, I don't care if Chaz is on TV or not, but I do hope he has some strong people around him helping him find his way.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Things I Wouldn't Post On Facebook

Men and squeamish women who don't want to hear about the yuckier parts of pregnancy can turn away now and come back for the next post.

Shortly after I put Kaycie to bed tonight I had a bought of yuckiness that resulted in me being sick. While I had my head in the toilet my first thought was - it's kinda nice to throw up without an audience for a change...

Speaking of vomiting, there's just about pregnancy and post-childbirth that gives uncontrollable acts that cause abdominal spasms - such as sneezing, coughing, and vomiting - a whole new twist. You would think the having to pee 487 times a day would leave my bladder empty enough for it not to be an issue, but no.  With the bought of sinus ickies I've had this week, I'm glad I bought a new pair of underwear last weekend.

Speaking of underwear, last weekend I was at Target and bought three things, one of which was a new pack of comfy pregnant-sized undies, because my old ones were, well, old. I got home and discovered that I had somehow managed to purchase the one pack of underwear in the entire store that had been opened and had one pair stolen out of it. How did I not notice that? How did the cashier not notice that?

Furthermore, who would open a pack of plain Hanes cotton underwear and steal one pair? Oh wait, a desperate pregnant woman who accidentally sneezed while shopping at Target. Guess I'll forgive that one.

Apocalypse Now

Kaycie just grabbed Greg's hand while he was sitting on the couch and told him to, "Up." He asked where they were going and she replied, "Nap."

This was over an hour before her usual nap time war was scheduled to begin. I suspect the world has indeed stopped turning. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

FYI - Day 2

And if you were thinking Kaycie's school day #2 might be a little harder than the first (particularly considering that she's been on sleep strike this week), let me assure you it was full of awesomeness. This morning I got her dressed and told her it was time to go to school. She grabbed her lunch box and ran to the door. Woo!

When I picked her up I was expecting to find a very tired baby girl who had refused naps again and was on the verge of major grumps. But no. She was happy girl. I asked her if she'd napped and she even said "Yes." That's not a word she uses often... Turns out she'd napped for an hour and a half and was the first one to pass out! She was kinda happy to see me, told me hi, but wasn't ready to leave. I had to coerce her out the door. Ms. Jill said she'd been her big helper today and was a bit clingy to her most of the morning. Not surprising, she gets a bit clingy when she's tired, but she helped Ms. Jill a lot and was very proud of herself for being a good helper. All that aside, based totally on how filthy she is, I'd say she had a good day. Somebody needs a bath!

It Does A Body Good

File this under Little Details I Should Have Remembered From the Last Pregnancy (But Forgot in the Subsequent Sleep Deprivation of Caring for a Newborn)


That's right. Moo juice.

I thought I had bad heartburn with Kaycie. Frankly, I'd never had heartburn before I was preggers with her and it took me a while to figure it out. This time around it's about 50 times worse. Every stinking time I lay down, somebody flips the switch on the flame thrower in my chest. I've been popping antacids like they're jellybeans. I'd wake up 3 or 4 times in the middle of the night thinking the bed was on fire. Nope. Just my digestive tract. It had gotten so bad over the past few weeks that I would sit in bed, so tired I could barely hold myself up, look at my pillow, and want to cry. It was hard enough to get to sleep with my knees and ankles hurting and causing major restlessness; every time the heartburn woke me up I'd have trouble getting back to sleep all over again.

Then a couple of nights ago I saw something randomly online or something (I don't remember...) and it hit me.


Last time around this block I had a lot of luck drinking milk to calm the fires. Ironically, that same night Greg suggested the same thing. I drank a small glass of milk before bed and BOOM CHICKA BOOM. No heartburn. All night. Tried it again the next night. SHAZAM. Granted, I still have trouble sleeping because now I can't breathe, but that's a whole different can of beef jerky. It's frustrating, but not so much painful (except when the stuffy nose and drainage triggers my pregnancy gag reflex and makes me nauseous, but that's a different post I hope I don't actually write.)

So last night I drank my milk, got to sleep eventually, and slept pretty good from 1am until my psycho kid woke up at 5am. I put her back in bed (which didn't last long) and decided to go ahead and take a Claritin D so hopefully by the time I got up the next time it would kick in and I would feel remotely human. I took it with small glass of tea, maybe 6 ounces. I piddled around a little while, got back in bed, laid down, and within three minutes I shot up in bed looking for a fire extinguisher to swallow.

Seriously. Less than 6 ounces of tea triggered it. Come on.

So I got up again and drank the same small glass of milk. Sweet relief. No more heartburn. Miracle juice. I laid back down and listened to my kid reading to herself in her room, apparently by the light of her nightlight (sound familiar, Alison?). I started dozing off and of course 45 minutes later I had to get up to pee because I'd drank more than 6 ounces of liquid at that point.

And 30 minutes after that my kid decided she was done reading and wanted up. NOW. So we got up for the day and eventually I got her dressed and dropped her off at school where Ms. Jill can deal with her crazy sleep deprived mood swings.

Now the only thing between me and a coma is the decongestant, which has only had a marginal effect on my stuffy nose but has given me a fake wakey. Woo.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mash Up - Bizarreness

I've been sneezing and stuffy for 2 months. I'm tired of it. It freaking summer. I've never had the ickies this long during the summer. And this week it's getting to the point of actually being sick. Grrrr.

My brother is officially getting married. They set a date and his fiance has ordered the dress. It's going to be a really really really cold March, people. Like, snow in hell cold.

In even more bizarre news, my future sister-in-law has in all dead faced seriousness asked me to photograph the wedding. Clearly, she's never seen my photography! I'm going to do it, because they asked and why not, but seriously, I'm not a pro. I don't have pro equipment. I don't have pro skills. I've never really photographed adults before... Deep breaths...

I haven't mentioned this here because it's not so much my thing and I don't like to discuss other people's personal stuff in a somewhat public forum, but my BFF Sharonda has been having some complications with her pregnancy. As in, she went into labor a wee bit early. Like, 32 weeks. She's already further dilated and effaced than I ever was with Kaycie (until they forced her out). She wasn't able to take the shots to help the little guy develop his lungs because she had an allergic reaction to the first shot, which doesn't help without the second shot. She's on meds to stop contractions and so far they're helping, and is on total strict bed rest for the duration. She has to get to 34 weeks to breathe a little easier on the lung development, preferably 36-38. She'll be at 34 weeks on Monday. For those of you so inclined, she could use some extra prayer to get her through the next few weeks. This pregnancy hasn't been easy from the start. She's already been hospitalized 4 times! Hopefully there won't be any more drama before Baby Mason arrives, much closer to full term.

With my luck, that "much closer to full term" will land smack in the middle of the week we're going to be at the beach, which we scheduled around her original "we won't let you go past X weeks" date. I'm just saying, she better keep her legs crossed that week!

I need to go to bed. Not that I'll sleep, because that's something I don't do much these days. It's not for a lack of desire or need, I'm just usually in too much discomfort from a variety of pregnancy and sinus related issues. Like joint pain in my knees that only shows up when I lay down. And massive attacks of heartburn that wake me up in the middle of the night. And of course there's my kid that woke up at 6am this morning. Again. And appears to be on a nap strike, which means I don't get naps either. Tomorrow she's back at school, and my big plan as of right now is to crash and get a nice, long, uninterrupted nap! (No, I don't really expect that to work out.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of School

So Kaycie spent her first day at Mother's Morning Out today. I was a bit concerned about how this would go over, but she enjoyed being there during open house yesterday, so I was hopeful that today would go well.

When I dropped her off this morning we were a few minutes late (in part due to a parking issue that resulted in us having to walk a bit) so we walked into chaos. The kids in her class were already dancing and playing and getting ready for snack, so I kinda tossed her into the fray. She smiled at her teacher, gave me a wave, and that was it. Really? Yep. She's awesome.

I probably had a rougher day than she did. I had planned to run some errands but frankly, I didn't sleep much last night (pregnancy heartburn and joint pain will be the death of me, if from nothing else than sleep deprivation) and woke up with a sore throat, so I was feeling pretty yucky. I ended up resting for about an hour and then going to lunch with Greg and our friend Melanie. I also had a nasty headache for part of the day. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried about how she was doing, or that I didn't feel like I was betraying her by going to lunch with Daddy without her. But I made it until 1:30, then headed over to get her.

And here's where the delima starts. When I picked her up she was laying on her nap mat, but she was wide awake. Ms Jill said the only time she cried was at nap time, and that she hadn't slept despite being so tired she could barely walk. By the time we got home she really didn't want to go to bed, having been laying down on her mat for the past 2 hours, so I let her watch a Sesame Street. She was pretty zombied. But now it's too late to get a nap, and I don't think she'd take one anyway. No nap makes for a long evening and early bedtime. We have to figure out a way for her nap at school. I'm not sure what that's going to be.

But that aside, she'd had a good day. Ms Jill said her favorite part was playing outside (of course) and her note home said she was sweet to others who were sad and she likes to be lovey. Heh. You should see her when I'm sick with my head in the toilet. She's nothing if not compassionate! I'm glad she was a sweet girl. And she didn't really want to leave. She wanted to stand in the hallway and count the fishes in the fish tank. She would have stayed another half an hour to say bye bye to everybody. I didn't think I'd get her out to the van.

So I think she liked school. And I think she'll be happy to go back on Friday. We just gotta work out the naps.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What Have I Done?

I'm at a loss.

My kid is usually quite adaptable to new situations. With that in mind, we decided that we needed to get her transitioned out of her crib and into a big girl bed before the baby arrives, preferably by her birthday in November.

After mentioning that, my mom borrowed a toddler bed from my brother's fiance and for the last three trips to Philly Kaycie has slept in it. The first night was a disaster, but she's been find in it ever since. We decided, based on that, to move forward with the transition at home.

In hindsight, this was not a good plan. This was a bad plan. An awful plan. We had sleep down to a science in the crib. She went to sleep happy, woke up happy, napped for two hours every day... WHY would I mess with this? Why? Did I lose my mind? Yes. I did. And now I'm paying for it.

The first attempt at sleeping in the bed was a disaster, and I ended up putting her back in the crib. We bought a rail to put up on the bed to help her feel more secure, waited a week, spent a weekend at my parents (with her sleeping in the toddler bed there) and then decided to move her for real that Sunday night after we got home. That was one week ago tonight.

We haven't had a peaceful bedtime or naptime since. As a matter of fact, I'd say half of the days we haven't taken a nap at all, which has made for some really nasty evenings.

We were leaving the door to her bedroom cracked (because the HVAC system in our house is so wonky that you have to leave all the doors at least cracked for it to work right) and she would spend hours "peeping" out at us. Toward the end of the week she got brave enough to come out of the room and down the hall, until she saw one of us and then she'd go racing back to her room and close the door. We were putting her back to bed four or five times in a two hour period. I finally started closing the door and waiting until she was good and asleep before cracking it for the night. This resulted in big fat meltdowns when she couldn't peep. We were still having to put her back to bed multiple times, but now she's screaming and crying for two hours instead of peeping.

Tonight we gave her the option of sleeping back in her crib and she opted not to. We put her in it and she screamed. I rocked her for a bit, then put her on the floor and told her to go to whichever bed she wanted to sleep in. She went to her new big girl bed. I read her one more story and the minute I put the book down and told her it was time to sleep she started screaming again. I told her goodnight, closed the door behind me, and let her scream. She tried to get out the door, she screamed. At some point I'm hoping she gets back in the bed and goes to sleep. As of right now she's still crying and whining.

Did I mention she's woken up screaming twice this weekend? Yesterday morning at 6am (she always gets up at 8:30, like clockwork) and then after a short nap this afternoon. That's never happened before. Ever. It took me a while to calm her down both times.

We've tried leaving her lamp on low (she has a dim nightlight). We've tried taking her books away and letting her sleep with them (and she does, literally, sleep with her books). We've given her any stuffed animal she's asked for (there's barely room for her in there at this point). I've taken away the comforter and given her the crib blanket she likes, which helped for approximately one bedtime. We've tried putting her down less sleepy and more sleepy (more sleepy actually tends to be more intense screaming, less sleepy tends to last longer).

In hindsight, we should have waited. But she did so well at my parents' house that I thought it would go smoother. There's no going back now, she's refused to go back to the crib, so we'll just have to see how long it takes her to adjust. I'm terrified of what's going to happen on our beach trip at the end of the month. We rented a house with a bed for her, but I'm questioning whether or not we should take the pack and play just in case. I just don't know what to do with her at this point. Sleep was going so well for so long, and now I feel like I'm the one who screwed this up. And she's starting a Mother's Day Out program this week, which will probably traumatize her even worse and that will be my fault too, so be prepared for me to have a big fat mental breakdown later this week. It's coming.

MicroTot will be staying in his crib until he's four. At least.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Love My Kindle

I don't think I ever posted here that I got a Kindle for Greg's birthday. Don't ask how that works, it's because my husband is awesome.

I was informed that once I had a Kindle I would never use Paperback Swap again. Or go to the library. Having owned it for a little over a month now, I can understand how you get sucked in. But they were wrong.

Don't misunderstand me. I love the Kindle. It's surprisingly easy to use and feels "right." It's way better than reading from the Kindle app on my phone or our tablet. I have no problem reading on it and if the download's free, or cheaper than I can buy it, or not available without a long wait on PBS, then it's perfect.

But I'm still getting books from PBS. You just can't beat free, especially if it's something I can repost and send out quickly for another credit. I've checked a couple of books out of the library, including Ready Player One. It would have been $8 to download and that seemed silly versus FREE. And when I was reading the Song of Ice and Fire series, all of which have long wait lists on PBS, I found the paperbacks were cheaper at Walmart than you could download, by about $2.50 each. I didn't realize this until I was on the 4th one (and they only had 2 of them in stock anyway) so it was the only one I bought in paperback. I've already shipped it out on PBS and got a credit back for it, so double bonus.

The last book in that series is only out in hardback, which is where the Kindle was super awesome. Instead of spending $25-30 for it, it was only $16 to download. Normally I wouldn't pay that much for a book anyway, but when you're 4 books into a 5 book series, you're going to get the 5th book. And thankfully I had $15 in Amazon gift card credit from SwagBucks, so I actually only paid $1 to download it. Score.

In short, I love my Kindle, but I hate paying for books. I have been keeping an eye on the Pixel of Ink blog/FB page to catch free and cheap downloads, but good ones have been a little rare. But if they're free, it doesn't hurt to download some that sound interesting and see. And if they aren't free, I can always download a sample and then buy it if I like it. Amazon has also started a new Daily Deal thing, which POI has been posting about, that I'm hoping will mean more quality books at under $5 prices. I'm all over that.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Summer Reads

I've done quite a bit of reading this summer, considering how bad I've felt. There have been five or six fluff books in between that I won't even mention, but here is the main body of what I've been reading:

(And as a side note, most of my links are to the Paperback Swap listing. If anybody wants to join Paperback Swap, my ID is Casper803, feel free to use me as your referral or just friend me when you get there! Lately I've been using my credits to build Kaycie's library. I'm also on with the same nickname, but the rules there are a little different so be prepared to pay a 50 cents fee per request if you sign up there. Sending them out is free and you can transfer credits to PBS or after your first request.)

One Day by David Nicholls - Yes, this is the book that they're making the big movie out of that should be out later this year. I'd had it on my wish list on PBS since last year and finally got it early this summer. One of my friends recommended it to me because she thought I'd appreciate the unique concept. In short, the first chapter is the story of how two people met on a certain day as they graduate college. Each subsequent chapter picks up their situation/relationship on the exact same day X number of years in the future. I was intrigued by the concept and was excited to get the book. Then I read it. You see, my love of books often centers around strong characters that I want to learn more about. Halfway through this book I simply didn't care what happened to the two main characters anymore. The characters don't really grow. I got tired of reading about the male lead's constant self centered addiction-laced celebrity. Tired of the two characters constantly being in conflict. I just got tired of the story. It's rare for me to abandon a book halfway through, but I put this on down on the plane on the way home from Tampa back in June and was done. I have no idea how it ends, and I have no intention of watching the movie to find out. I just don't care.

The Help by Katheryn Stockett - I know I'm officially the last person on Earth to read this one, so I won't go into the plot. I will say that I thought it was very well done and showed a wide variety of characters instead of stereotyping Southerners of either race. I also appreciated the fact that that the author is from Jackson. You can tell she had some experience with the subject. I liked this book enough to pass it on to my mom, which is saying something because we don't normally have mutual appreciation for books! She loved it too.

And if you'll indulge me, I'm going to put my geek on now...

Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
- FYI, that link isn't to the book but to the Wiki page for the series which does a much better job of summarizing this very complex series. This is what I call medieval fantasy series, even though I'm not sure that's a legitimate genre. The first book in the series is Game of Thrones, yes that's the same book that the HBO series is based on. It's about a mythical realm of kings and knights and treachery and deception and heros and dragons... well, all that stuff you normally find in a good medieval fantasy novel. By the end of the first book there are five different kings claiming the throne, and by the later books the plot is as twisted and complicated as it can get. But it's a good series for those into fantasy. And no, it's not as sexually graphic as the HBO series, but the violence may be a little worse in the novels.

There are currently five books in the series, although Mr. Martin has said there will ultimately be 7 books in the series. So far each book has averaged around 1,000 pages, which means I invested time into reading six thousand pages of this epic. Wow. But once you've read the first few, you kinda have to finish because you've already invested a chunk into it. That's all that got me through the fourth book, to be honest. The first book was good. The second was pretty good but war-strategy heavy. By the third book I began to realize that there are a LOT of characters in these books. So many that the fourth and fifth books were supposed to be one, but had to be broken into two parts to cover all the characters that needed to be covered. The appendix lists all the characters, organized by house/location and is 80 pages long. By the fourth book I was more than a little confused, but I pushed through and was rewarded in the fifth installment, which was just released this summer. It's going to be a loooong wait for books six and seven.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - I geeked out again, but this time it's Greg's fault. He picked this one up at the library and enjoyed it so much I kept it to read myself. If you're into the geekdom of the video game culture of the 1980's, you'll love this book. It also tips the hat to the music and movies the era, just not quite as heavily. In this futuristic look at America society is perpetually plugged in to the virtual reality world known as OASIS. People work, attend school, and play inside this programmed world. When the OASIS creator dies, he leaves his billion dollar fortune and control of the company to whoever can solve his quest inside the OASIS, which is based on clues found within his obsessiveness of the 1980's. It becomes geek vs bad corporate entity as the race is on to find the three keys that open the three gates (think Dungeons and Dragons influence here). I'll admit, it's not the most poetic writing ever. And it does at times become a bit predictable, but it was an entertaining book for those of us who have a little geek in us and loved the 80's. I finished it in about 3 days but would have finished it in one back in the good old days before I had a kid that sucked up 97% of my time and energy. It was a nice fluffy romp after six thousand pages of medieval fantasy!

This post reminds me that I've been meaning to write a post about my Kindle and how much I love it. And why I don't always use it.

And I need to go back and tag my older "What I'm Reading" posts so they're easier to find. There's been quite a few, and if you search for "books" on the blog you might just find a few more posts. I really need to do some blog maintenance in all of my masses of free time.


I'm totally laughing at some people on Facebook today.

Last year's campaign about women posting their bra colors to raise awareness for breast cancer was a bit silly. I never really understood how posting a cryptic message on FB that only a handful of your friends understood would promote awareness for anything. I believe it was Stacey who pointed out that if you wanted to do something to defeat breast cancer, make a donation. Or talk openly about your experience or the experiences of people you know. Posting a cryptic message isn't really going to accomplish anything.

This year it's worse. I got a few messages this week about the new campaign involving a number system where you post a number relating to the month you were born and a food your "craving" based on a chart corresponding a food with the date, so that mine would read something like, "I'm 4 weeks and craving creme eggs." Um. I'm not sure how making people think you're pregnant when your not has anything at all to do with breast cancer.

Furthermore, in a lot of ways this goes beyond last year's silliness. First, you're about to start some rumors about yourself that you're going to have a hard time clearing up. I've already seen a couple of status updates this morning stating "I'm not really pregnant! It's about breast cancer." Um, no, it's not. Really. Bra colors had more to do with boobies than making people think your pregnant. And I suspect some people won't see the updated message and will continue to think you're preggers. Good luck with that. And talk about confusion, can you imagine me posting that, with the world knowing I'm actually 20 weeks along?

The bigger issue for me is the fact that pregnancy is a huge sensitive issue for millions of women. I can't tell you how many women I know who have battled infertility. Or lost a baby during pregnancy. Or who had unwanted pregnancies that ended either in abortion, which has it's on repercussions, or adoption. There's just too many major issues surrounding pregnancies to ask women to make a joke of it. You want to find a ridiculous cryptic message to post on Facebook for awareness, post the number of women you've known who were effected by breast cancer. Post the amount of money you want to raise this year to put towards research. Do something useful, not damaging.