Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Book Review: Glamping with MaryJane

Glamping with MaryJane: Glamour + CampingGlamping with MaryJane: Glamour + Camping by MaryJane Butters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I love it nonetheless. Where to start?

First, I wish that it had more GLAMPING in it. I would have loved a book of nothing but gorgeous campsites and trailers. In that regard, the book was a bit of a tease. It provides loads of inspiration and definitely set me daydreaming.

The author really wants to share a lot of information tho. Like how to hitch a trailer, how to change a tire, why it may be a good idea to carry a firearm, etc...Things that are undoubtedly important when camping, but this is hardly the resource I think anyone would go to to try and learn those things.

There's also a lot of use of parenthesis. (It gets a bit much. Why not just have another sentence. When I keep seeing things in parenthesis it makes me want to whisper. Used excessively it makes me think of Mare Winningham's Mother in St. Elmo's Fire).

It's not quite a manual. Not quite a coffee book. It's some bizarre mix in-between and I wish there had been a bit more focus one way or another.

So why 4 stars? Because 4 stars means I really liked it, and I did, despite it's shortcomings. I am making plans to glamp up my back garden now. And this season when I take something pretty on our camping trips, I will feel a tad less silly.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Is it Friday yet?

One of those days that I am so blind tired.

Oz woke up saying his belly hurt. I thought he was just whining. Then he walks up to me in the kitchen and throws up all over the floor. Mom fail.

Matilda has spent the last 2 days going though a growth spurt. Cluster feedings galore.

There is a horrible pain in my jaw. I need to get to the dentist.

My glasses are scratched beyond repair. I'm going to need new ones.

Our main bathtub is going to need replacing. I don't even know where to begin.

I know I'll look back and miss this time one day, but right now I just feel overwhelmed with how long and exhausting the days are.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Oscar's Book Nook

Like so many other ideas, when we bought our home this past September, I wanted to blog as we decorated and renovated. But things moved quicker than I could keep up with. I will probably still blog renovations when we start them (and believe me, there are plenty of renovations to be done!), but I can go ahead and share a few things we've done decoration wise.

Surprise, surprise---books nooks are a big deal to us. We have a plan for one in the living room, and I want a small one in our bedroom. But as it is, it was easiest to start with Oscar's room.

Inspiration came from this much shared pin on Pinterest:
But let me tell you....those IKEA spice racks are sold out most of the time. So it was frustrating waiting for the moment that the internet would say they were in stock and then plan a trip to Charlotte and hope they weren't again sold out. Thankfully, tho, IKEA is ever so kind, and puts the dimensions of all their products on their pages. So Griff was able to buy the wood and cut the shelves himself. It also meant that Oz could pick the color that he'd like for them to be.

It's also worth noting that when we told Oz he was going to have his own room, we asked what color he would like it to be. His answer was "RAINBOW!!!". Every time. I found some interesting rooms painted rainbow that was a bit more effort than I was wanting to put in. So I resolved myself as many colorful accents to make it a rainbow room for him....but this is about his nook. FOCUS.

I think it's quite a comfy little nook. I want to buy a little rainbow rug for in front of the chair. The lighting is quite harsh (photo was taken with my camera phone), but the shelves are actually a bright green. My mom bought the chair for Oz ages ago and it's been at her house. It was a challenge convincing him to let us bring it home.
And of course, for Christmas we decorated the nook as well. I changed out all of the book with holiday ones.

I'm happy with how much he uses his space. Sometimes when he's having a rough moment and I take him to his room to calm down he will climb in his chair and grab a magazine. Usually he forgets he's even upset and then will rejoin me when  he's done having a read. And sometimes I find him there just of his own. It makes my heart sing that he loves his books. I think this nook has a fair few years to go before we have reorganize the room to make a shared bedroom for him and Tilda. We will see what we come up with then.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Itsy Bitsy

So, if you know me at all, know me just a little bit, you know that I am terrified of spiders. I hate them. They move in a way I call "unnatural" (although, obviously...they are natural. They're just disgusting and creepy as fuck).

While I've tried hide my fear from Oz, because I don't want to teach him to be afraid as well, he has become somewhat interested in them and frequently reminds me that they are "our friends".

Leading up to Halloween Oz had been telling me he wanted to be a ghost. I would ask him every couple of weeks, I had pinned ideas...I knew that even with a new baby, I would be able to throw together a decent ghost costume for him. He had also decided that Dada was going to be a bat. I wanted to be a witch, but he told me I had to be a zombie, the baby was going to be a witch. I would beg and beg, could I please be a witch, but no. He was firm on this point. I was going to be a zombie, the baby was a witch.

So one day, we're putting out spider webs for Halloween decorations and Oz tells me:

"I want to be a SPIDER for Halloween"
"Uh, I don't think so buddy."

Oz stops what he is doing and looks at me, square in the eye.

"You want to be a witch?"

Evil. Evil. EVIL. My kid is 3.5 and already figuring this shit out.

After making sure he really, really, really, wanted to be a spider (Spiders? Why did it have to be spiders), I took to the internet to find the least scary, least offensive, handmade spider costumes on the web. And with the help of Aunt Deba, we pulled off a pretty damn cute spider costume. In true Oz fashion, he opted for his rainbow boots. I do love that little evil genius.

And the costume is really easy enough. He's wearing a black long sleeve top and leggings. I bought a black knit hat and just glued a load of different sized googley eyes to it. 

I really wish I had saved the link of the blog I found the inspiration for it. The only sewing required was for his back piece. I picked an orange polka dot and Deb sewed it up for me and we stuffed it. The legs are 2 feather boas cut into 4 pieces and are attached together with black yarn and his writs with black elastic hair bands. Even I had to admit he was freakin' adorable. 

Sadly, I couldn't take him trick or treating. I was so sore and tired still, so I opted to stay home and pass out candy. Apparently we live next to the popular street...we only had 4 trick or treaters. I was pretty sad for that. But when Oz came home...pure bliss. He was so excited and happy and Griff said he had had the best time, and had decided on his own that it was time to head back. He was very proud to show me all his "treats!". Oz has had pretty much no candy, so it was a lot of fun seeing him try all of these things for the first time. Dots were the clear favorite. 

Working Mummies

Working MummiesWorking Mummies by Joan Horton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Since going back to work, Oz has had some anxiety. Now when I leave I hear a lot of "I miss you" and "Don't go"'s. It breaks my heart, but I love my job and it's only part time, so I know he'll be fine. And in the long run, it's important that I keep doing what I love.

So while I was shelving children's books the other evening I found this and it couldn't be more perfect for us. It's Halloween ghoulish, and it's talking about something on both our minds.

Overall, I love it. The illustrations are fantastic, the rhyming cute. I want it for my collection of children's ghoulish books. The only reason I'm giving it an "official" 3 stars is because the jobs are...well, a bit on the traditionally female side. I would have loved to seen a bit more diversity (a Police Officer, a Lawyer or Judge...).

And personally, I loved that it included a librarian (even though title is librarian assistant, but who knows? One day I just may get that Masters and official title!).

"This mummy's a librarian.
She has a great selection
Of rare and wiggly book worms
In her specimen collection."

That page alone was what I needed to share with Oz. And the illustration is of a Mummy with short hair and glasses. So pretty darn close to perfect.

View all my reviews

Friday, 3 January 2014


I don't even know if the last postings I had last year I knew I was pregnant. Or if I posted about my pregnancy at all. Once upon a time, I thought if I ever was pregnant again I would blog about the whole run of it. About trying for a VBAC. But no such luck. I felt like I was pregnant forever and ever and ever. I was sick and so exhausted for about 7 months of it. I am done having babies. So I won't get to do that blog series. But at the end of 9 months (she was 3 days overdue), after 26 hours of labor, I had my baby.

She was 9 lbs 11.5 oz. I won't share all of the details of her birth story here, because it's not the forum for it. But it was one of the strongest moments of my life. I was tired, and after 5 hours of pushing, I was exasperated and wanting it over with, but then she was there and all the pain and exhaustion was gone. And she was in my arms and perfect and god how you love them in that instant.

I've now had a c-section and a vbac. What I know is that birth, any way you do it, is labor. It's hard. It's a mountain.

October 19, 2013. Our little Halloween Pumpkin.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The 2013 Book List

So I made a quite manageable goal of 25 books for 2013. At some point I realized it was filling up with Graphic Novels quite quickly, so I quit officially adding them.

1. Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood by Naomi Wolf. --I finished reading this before I found out I was pregnant. Interesting. That or I just don't remember.

2. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White--My sister and I are still working through our "list" of books you should have read in school but probably didn't. I never read this one. I loved the cartoon. And I'll be honest, I didn't care much for the book. Wilbur is an annoying little pig. I have no idea what Charlotte friended him. He's a whiner. I wonder what my impression would have been as a child tho? I'll be curious to hear what Oz and Tilda think when they are older and reading.

3. Water Witches by Chris Bohjalian- I really wanted to like this one, but I was just bored by it. It took me ages to finish it. I just didn't care like I had hoped I would.

4. Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir-- It's not brilliant writing, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Love Cyndi. LOVE. HER.

5. The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury---This is the first Bradbury book I've read. I fell in love with it. The story, the illustrations...it's magic. I had to buy the cartoon DVD and add it to our collection as well. This is something I hope to make the whole family fall in love with.

6. Walking Dead 14: Way Out

7. Walking Dead 15: Find Ourselves

8. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney---I anticipated that I would enjoy the illustrations of this, but I was surprised at how moving the story was. I have found other works/memoirs about depression to be overly indulgent and I get frustrated with the author. Instead, in this one I feel like I learned a lot. I hope to find more of Forney's works to read.

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling--So, the plan was to read all of the Harry Potter books while I was pregnant. No such thing happened! But I enjoyed revisiting the first. I will always remember how magical it was the first time I read it, and none of the magic has faded. It's such a complete world. I wish I could go there.

10. How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran---LOVED THIS. I took this out at the library, and I want to add it to my collection. Laugh out loud hilarious.

11. Everyday is an Atheist Holiday by Penn Jillette---I may not agree with all of Penn's views, but the man makes me laugh.

12. Banished: Surviving my Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain-- Meh. They're horrible people, no surprises. Drain was kicked out of the church, but she's making money out of it. I don't think she's terribly sorry for the practices she took part in.

13. Stitches by David Small---another graphic novel memoir. Enjoyed.

14. Walking Dead 16: A Larger World

15. The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings---This was a fun read while we spent some time discussing whether or not we'd be homeschooling Oz (answer? probably not. Unless he asks us when he's older). But Cummings investigates all the different styles and goes "undercover" to get better ideas of how and why people homeschool, while trying to figure out how to school her own daughter. It was a good read.

16. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris--A lot of fans of Sedaris do not like this particular book. I saw him read one of these stories for a BBC Radio 4 recording, so I think I feel a bit nostalgic. I enjoyed it. It's not a sit down and read through book tho, and that's probably the mistake people are making. They are fables. You need to read one here and there.

17. Help! I'm a Prisoner in the the Library by Eth Clifford--Loved this as a child. I checked it back out when I started working this year. Definitely need to either find my copy packed away in my parent's storage, or I'm going to need to buy it. I'm starting to become a bit obsessed with children's books set in a library.

18. Batgirl Vol 1: The Darkest Reflection----Batgirl has small boobs. This was incredibly important to me. She can fight crime because she doesn't have a ridiculous chest. I'm excited to watch this story unfold.

19. Y: The Last Man. Vol 1: Unmanned---Another new comic obsession coming on! I started by checking them out, and I've come to a standstill as we don't have Vol 5 in the system. I may just have to start buying them once I've caught up on Walking Dead. It's a fantastic story.

20. Batman: Noel---It's a Batman version of A Christmas Carol. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE!?!? Griff bought it for me for Christmas and it's a great addition.

21. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury---Another book on the sister's reading list. And I got Griff to read it with me as well. He actually tore through and read it quickly. It took me a bit longer to get into it, but once I did I fell in love. It had been awhile since I had to sit with a pen next to me so I could underline as I read along. So many amazing passages. It's a new favorite.

22. The Plain Janes #1----Graphic Novel about a group of high school girls (all named Jane) who begin to art bomb their community. It's such a lovely concept and idea. It made me wish I had been that clever in high school.

23. How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life by Paul Kropp---A lot of the resources are dated, but I think the bones of information are still relevant.

24. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin---Griff started reading these and it had been a long time since I had seen him so excited about a book. He was talking to me about them non-stop, and I found myself asking more and more questions. So I started reading the first one, and I found myself really enjoying it. I won't be reading the series back to back like Griff has. I need to break it up a bit, otherwise I'll burn out and never finish. Plus, I really enjoy being surprised by the show. So I don't want to read ahead.

25. The Great Gatsby---That's right. Another from the sister list. This is one of Meghan's favorites, and I missed this one in high school. Crazy, right? It took a little while to get into the rhythm of writing, but once I did, I found myself enjoying it. But it was so sad. I did not expect it to end so sadly.

26. Illustrated Classic's A Christmas Carol--After having a baby, I didn't think I could sit and read the book. So I decided to read the graphic novel version.

So there ya go! Here's to a lot more reading in 2014. Griff's on first shift now, so we can go to bed together at a "decent" hour and lay and read for a bit. Also? Nursing a baby gets boring and there's nothing to do but read. Working in a library is good for encouraging a bit of reading too :) So more, more, more in 2014! I've set a higher number this year (50) because if I'm going to read a load of Graphic Novels, I'm going to count them. Ready....set....GO!

If I were a pony, a My Little Pony...

So it's not the 2014 intro blog I've been writing in my head, but I had fun playing on a pony generator tonight. I went with Joker colors and a basket of yarns cutie mark. I wasn't sure if I should go with that or a book. But seeing as I could set myself in a Library...yarn it was! This shit was important today.