Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Little Acorns

I have been singing this a lot lately. Considering my last post, I'm sure you can follow along and see why :)

Sunday, 1 February 2015

January Wrap Up

January, you have not been kind. I'm hopeful for a kinder February. Here's what happened in January:

  • We moved in with my parents while our kitchen has been worked on. It flooded the weekend between Christmas and New Year's, and we were hoping the floors would dry out and be fine. NOPE. Thank Maude, for homeowner's insurance. But it's not as easy as putting a kitchen in and moving back. No, we had to move everything out of the kitchen and living room, since they share floor space and the floors have to be stained to match. And we figured if we're doing that much of our space, we'd do all of it. So we have moved THE ENTIRE HOUSE into cubes. I moved into our home thinking we wouldn't be moving for years. HA!
  • Costco sold me a bad tire and now won't take responsibility for the fact that they sold a tire that could cause possible damage to my car. The whole thing has been baffling. Costco gets so much press for being a reputable, ethical company, but when it has come to this issue with them selling me the wrong tire, they have been unconscionable. Seriously, some of the worst customer service I have ever dealt with. I would never recommend anyone *ANYONE* buying their tires from Costco (especially drivers of Subaru, Audi, and/or Volkswagen).
  • My car had to be worked on from where it was hit in December. So we were a 1 car family for a little over a week. Which is just a hassle (never mind the fact that they kept the car for 5 days longer than they said).
  • EVERYONE WAS SICK. Whatever hellish bug has taken over Greenville, we got. It was Tilda's first stomach bug too, which was awful. I think I washed every towel in my mother's house. 
  • My mother had an awful fall. She tripped in my sister's yard and spent the evening in the ER as a result. I sweat, I thought her hand was broken when I saw the photos. And of course, we were all scared for her back as she's still recovering from back surgery in September. 
  • Oscar had an ear infection, Tilda has been S-L-O-W-L-Y cutting molars, and it was confirmed with Oz's ENT that he's going to need tubes in his ear and an adenoidectomy (both scheduled for February).
  • Tried to get Oscar's cavities filled, only he couldn't breath through the gas mask to get any effect. So that's been put on hold till after his previously mentioned procedure. So we'll have that to look forward to in March.
There's been some good tho. Like my kitchen is now PINK, and I'm very excited (pics once it's finished). We're moving the kids into 1 room together. And I went to yoga this morning and that was pretty amazing.

I've been off facebook about a month. I feel like my anxiety has dropped significantly, even with all the other stressers going on. I don't know why (I have theories) why facebook is stressing me out, but it's been nice to just take a break. 

Things we're looking forward to:
1- Haircut next week
2- Wicked the 13th
3- Ringo the 17th
and fingers crossed, we may have 2 credit cards paid off this month. I have a lot of exciting plans and lists to work on the house and take it a project at a time. I'm feeling hopeful. Self care is hard, it's hard when little people depend on you, it's hard when you're trying to be a fair partner, but we are plowing through. January may have beat us, but we have 11 months to go. I am determined.

Saturday, 10 January 2015


So I started working on my list of house goals the last week of December. I was thinking, yes we can totally budget for all of these things and slowly work toward some bigger goals (like painting the outside, and completely redoing the laundry aka "murder" closet outside. But I came to a realization this week.

Much like in Harry Potter, where the wand chooses the wizard....


Or so it seems with this house. For example, we did not want our first major project to be the hallway bathroom. But the bathtub and leaks demanded it. So we started. And I fully intend on that project being finished this year. But the house had other ideas.

Over the holidays, between Christmas and New Year's, our kitchen/dining area flooded. We were hoping we were quick enough and there would be minimal to no damage to the floors. The House said HA! Luckily, we have insurance.

So currently, we are staying at my mom's while our kitchen floors are being completely ripped out and dried. Then will begin the process of putting the floors back down. AND THEN, because our kitchen dining has open doorways to the hallway and living room, those will have to be refinished to match the kitchen. So EVERYTHING will have to be moved out.

Not the project I wanted to start the year off with. Not the project I wanted to do this year even. But here it is and we're rolling with it. I'm hoping the entire process will be done by the end of the month, but you never know, do you?

Is anyone else ready for spring cleaning? There's so much I want to get out of my house, and give it a good dusting. AND FINISH THE BATHROOM.

I'm feeling very Charlie Brown at the moment.


Friday, 2 January 2015

Personal Goals 2015

I like the word "goal". You can cross it off. It has objective. Resolution always feel like you are trying to change something about yourself. And there are just some things you can't change. Or it's too hard, and then you end depressed. But a goal is something you work toward. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. So many fall off the resolution wagon as soon as there's a bump or mis-step, "I've already messed up so I'll give up". To me, goals don't feel that way. But maybe it's just word play? Whatever works for you....

So here's my goal list for 2015:

1. YEAR OF LUNCH- Lunch is a hard meal for me to figure out. I'm ashamed to say that we eat way too many PB&J sandwiches and Mac n' Cheese for lunch because I just can't figure it out. I know how to make big dinners, but small meals are a struggle. And also, I need to get Oz eating some different foods, because come fall he's going to be going to school until 2 and having lunch there. He will need some variety! So this year, I'm learning about lunch and expanding all of our tastes.

2. KNIT FOR MYSELF- Sounds simple doesn't it? But it's actually very hard because it always feels selfish. But this year I would like to make a few things for me. If I accomplish 2 things (that are not cowls or scarves) I will be very proud indeed.

3. RECONNECT WITH GREENVILLE- This one is HUGE for me. Once I left Greenville, I never saw myself coming back. Growing up, I couldn't wait to leave. Don't most people feel this way about where they grew up? And I made it to London, and I love London....I honestly thought I would never leave. To this day, I don't think there's a more beautiful site then seeing London at night. I was always grateful and thankful to be there...

O wait, I'm supposed to be talking about Greenville. Back on track... We moved to the States to be closer to family, and so the kids would grow up having a proper Halloween (that's right). But to be honest, I never got around to reconnecting with Greenville. I was always a bit embarrassed to say that's where I live, and lots of teen angsty scowling--from a 32 year old woman.

But the thing is, Greenville has changed so much since I left it. Downtown is COMPLETELY different and ever evolving. There's a lot to do here, a lot of great food to be eaten, a lot of independent businesses that are thriving. I need to enjoy it and embrace it. So that's what we're going to do!

4. CROSS STITCH--- I had a go at this during the summer and made half a lady bug. Now that Tilda is a bit older I think I may be able to actually sit down and do some. And with craft nights happening once a month, there's no reason not to give it a good try! Hopefully I won't suck and I can make ALL THE THINGS.

5. PAY OFF CREDIT CARDS- This could actually happen. In December I went ahead and transferred my balance to a one year, no interest, credit card, and after the one year it's a low interest rate. So that will help, for sure. Griff has his card he's paying down. I think we can do this! And he starts paying student loans this year, so the more debt that's out, the easier those payments will be to manage. OOF. Always paying something....

And of course, there's the always, LEARN TO SEW (why am I so afraid of that machine!?!), and CAMP MORE (actually possible now that Matilda is older and loves to be outside)...

Now our goals for our home, that's a separate list entirely, and one I will share shortly...

The Book List 2014

It was a pretty good reading year, especially towards the last few month. Oz and Tilda are finally able to play together for longer stretches. I will grab a cup of (HOT!!!) tea, curl up my arm chair in the bedroom, and read, read, read, until someone needs me. And then I wait for the next read break. It's been pretty great. This year I also tried to review more of the things I read, so hopefully there will be more of that next year.

I also read a lot of comics, which filled in a lot of the numbers here. I also started listening to audio books and I'm obsessed. It's hard to listen to music in the car anymore if I have a good book to listen.
 I set my Goodreads challenge for 50 and ending up going a bit over 60. So for 2015 we are aiming for 75!

1. You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs 
2 Wonder Woman: Love and Murder by Jodi Picoult- hated this one. Just awful.
3.Y the Last Man: Ring of Truth vol 5 by Brian K Vaughan - I started this series, but I have yet to finish it. My library system doesn't carry the whole of it, I was tired of waiting for it on ILL, so I've decided to start buying it. But it's going slowly. 
4. Catwoman Vol 1; The Game by Judd Winick- This is the NEW 52 run of Catwoman and I hated it. I was very uncomfortable with how young they made her. She was too much sex kitten and not enough bad ass in total control.
5.Y the Last Man: Girl on Girl
6. Glamping with Mary Jane: Glamour + Camping by Mary Jane Butters
7. Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, from Cleopatra to Princess Di
 by Kris Waldherr --Some interesting info, but the writing was a bit dry. I enjoyed the illustrations.
8. Damned by Chuck Palahniuk-- after some awful recent books, I was *really* pleased by this one and enjoyed it from start to finish. Look forward to reading the sequel this year.
9. Wonder Woman Vol 1 Blood by Brian Azzarello
10. Y the Last Man vol 7: Paper Dolls by Brian Vaughan
11. Walking Dead vol 17 Something to Fear by Robert Kirkman
12. Walking Dead vol 18 What Comes After by Robert Kirkman
13. Batman Vol 1 Court of Owls by Scott Snyder
14. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Alexie Sherman- LOVED IT. BOUGHT IT. Trying to get everyone to read it. It was an instant new favorite. 
15. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
16. Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets and Growing up in the 1970s by Margaret Sartor
17. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (audio book)- So hilarious to listen to!
18. Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music by Marisa Meltzer
19. Y the Last Man vol 8: Kimono Dragons by Brian Vaughan
20.Batman Vol 2 City of Owls by Scott Snyder
21. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (audio book)- Another fantastic listen. 
22. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (audio book) 
23. Walking Dead vol 19: March to War by Robert Kirkman
24. Batman Vol 3 Death of the Family by Scott Snyder
25. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - Another new favorite! Thank you to my friend Christie for urging me to read it this year. It was brilliant.
26.Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth Jr.
27. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (audio book)- This was the first one I read that was not narrated by the author. And with audio books the narrator makes or breaks it. I was hesitant to read this book because of the "spider" aspect of it...but the narrator is fantastic and made it a great experience to listen to this book. 
28. The Dark Tower; The Gunslinger by Stephen King- this was drawn from my book jar this year! Griff adores this series, and I've always been hesitant to start. I'll admit, it was tough to get through. But I'm not giving up on the series!
29. Oz: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower
30. Wonder Woman vol 2 Guts by Brian Azzarello
31. Salem's Lot by Stephen King (audio book)- I was so happy that the audio adaptation was good!
32. The Good Body by Eve Ensler (audio book)- Absolute fucking garbage. This is total white feminism at it's privileged worse. It made me insanely angry. If you enjoyed the Vagina Monologues, do not ruin it for yourself by listening (reading) to this one.
33. Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth: New Poems by Alice Walker
34. Mistress by Mistake by Kim Lawrence- I had a go at reading a Harlequin Romance for a summer reading challenge and it was awful. Just not sexy at all. Disappointing!
35. How to Make an American Quilt by Whitney Otto- I love the film, the book was equally good.
36. Batgirl Vol 2: Knight fall Descends by Gail Simone
37. Wonder Woman Vol 3 Iron by Brian Azzarello
38. Batman HUSH vol 1 by Jeph Loeb - Loved it. Bought it.
39. Wonder Woman Vol 4 War by Brian Azzarello
40. Batman Private Casebook by Paul Dini- I have no memories of this one, so it can't have been that good.
41. Night of the Living Dead: Behind the Scenes of the most Terrifying Zombie Movie Ever by Joe Kane-- pretty interesting. 
42. Batman Vol 2 HUSH by Jeph Loeb
43. Getting the Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald
44. Batman R.I.P by Grant Morrison
45. LARGE PRINT (Unshelved #8) by Bill Barnes--library humor. Love it.
46. Batman The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb -favorite
47. Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch 
48. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
49. The Stand by Stephen King (audio book)- I had heard this was a good one, and I enjoyed it, but it was great. I was glad that I had already read the book years ago, because I did tend to drift in and out but had a good idea of where I was. 
50. Smile by Raina Telgemeier
51. The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman
52. God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian by Kurt Vonnegut
53. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes - possibly made me love one of my favorite movie even more. 
54. Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch 
55. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
56. A Matter of Life by Jeffery Brown
57. Rooms by Lauren Oliver- It was supposed to be a ghost story, but it was just crap. Absolute crap.
58. Thanksgiving by Sam Sifton 
59.  11/22/63 by Stephen King (audio book)- This was my other favorite for the year. I was never interested in sitting down to read this one. But my co-worker had listened to it, so I decided to give it a go and I was instantly hooked. The narrator and this story are MAGIC. I would find myself looking for excuses to drive, or sit in the car, so I could just listen. 
60. Batman: Gotham Underground by Frank Tieri- didn't like it. 
61. Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
62. Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween by Melissa Atkins Wardy- You can see my previous blog about this one.
63. How to Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran- LOVE. LAUGH OUT LOUD. LOVE. I'm such a fangirl over Caitlin Moran. 
64. The Art Of Asking: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer- I am such a fan of hers, and I was not disappointed in this book at all. I cried several times, I couldn't tear myself away from it. Must get it to add to my home collection. 

WHEW. That was a lot of typing. I'm quite impressed with this list *pats self on back*. I'm ready for 2015! 

Thursday, 1 January 2015


I love this silly holiday.

I love the anticipation of a New Year and what it could bring. Sure, there's going to be some hard times and struggles and some months are going to be a total beat down. BUT there's that glimmer that some awesome things are coming too.

I can't tell you the last time Griff and I went out for New Years. For as long as I can remember now, we stay at home and watch Twilight Zone and maybe cook, but we definitely play a game or 2 of Scrabble. Right now I'm waiting for the kids to settle and be asleep so we can start a game. Tradition, it can be a beautiful thing.

I also seem to blog the most in the New Year. Last year was a great year, blog wise. I'm hoping I can post more this year *fingers crossed*. I just have to make myself. I'm online enough, so it shouldn't kill me to blog a bit more.

I also love the New Year because it means lists. Goals, To-Do's, and my favorite- sharing the book list (so you'll be seeing what I read 2014 tomorrow!). I started my goals for 2015 and realized I want to get a lot done in the house. So I think GOALS and HOUSE GOALS are going to be 2 separate things.

So tomorrow is the day of LISTS and putting away Christmas decorations.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Book Review: Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween

Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to TweenRedefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween by Melissa Atkins Wardy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was more curious as to how this information would be presented, rather than looking for a new resource. I've been reading and actively analyzing gender stereotyping for a long time. I think this would a be a great resource for someone new to the arena. Because as the author correctly states, "once you see it, you can't unsee it". How the media and retailers are dictating childhood is awful. What's terrifying is how many parents follow along, sometimes even accepting it even tho it makes them feel uncomfortable ,especially when it comes to the way girls are becoming objectified at younger and younger ages).

There's a lot of this that I think works for raising boys and girls. Many of these approaches I've used with my son since his birth. Gender neutral clothing and toys, encouraging arts and sciences rather than superhero/princess play (not that it's not present. I am a Batman fan, raising a Batman fan), being outside and playing hard, etc...these are things all kids need. There's also a lot of emphasis on the importance of boys and girls playing together, and making sure they are in environments that encourage this and how to deal with spaces- schools, daycares,doctors offices, etc- that can fall into the rut of separating by gender.

But there are definite problems with the book. First, Wardy skirts around slut-shaming often. She talks a lot about having open dialogues with your daughter, about how to deal with circumstances when she wants to wear clothes that may not be age appropriate. But instead of emphasizing just that, it can become a discussion of "what sort of attention do you think you'll get?" or "Do you understand the message an outfit like that gives?" Wardy's daughter is not a teenager, and I'd be curious to see how these conversations go when she does have one. I guess we will see on the blog?

She also doesn't seem to talk a lot about body confidence, other than the fact that we should encourage healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. The one time weight is mentioned, it's that we should be worried about the rise of obesity. Young children, girls in particular, will go thru phases of thinning out and gaining weight. I felt like there could have been more discussion as to how to help with body confidence,again, other than healthy eating habit and active lifestyle! You can be both of those things and it does not ensure that you will have a physical physique that will safeguard your confidence.

One thing that caught me off guard is her absolute hatred of Monster High Dolls. Yes, she hates Barbie, and Bratz are awful, but Monster High Dolls ("Meanie Monsters" she calls them) had their own special write ups several times. Here's what bothered me "Girls that dress like that often don't have full and happy hearts, and they use clothing like that to get attention and make themselves feel full". I like Monster High dolls because they are so far from human reality. They are complete fantasy. But I feel like her conversation with her daughter is actually teaching her how to view people who are different, or alternative, as something to fear or that they mean.

I was also uncomfortable with Wardy's idea of "Branding". How she "branded" herself and how to try and find your child's "brand". I don't feel like you can really go up against companies trying to brand themselves to your child, and then turn around and try and do it yourself. It felt unnecessary. Encourage your child without trying to pigeon hole them. They are going to go thru phases and try out new things, sometime to push our buttons, and other times to test their own limits and levels of comfort. I think it would be ridiculous to try and keep them "on brand". So parents, toss that idea aside because it's trash. You can have a happy, thriving, adventurous kid without "branding".

Again, I didn't hate the book, but I'm sure you can see there was more I disliked than liked. But if I were approached by a parent or family member who was testing the waters, I think this would be a good starting off point of noticing the world around and how to engage in conversations with family, friends, teachers, doctors, dentists, retailers, etc... to try and be part of enacting change.

View all my reviews