Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book #4-Mind Over Labor

This is a re-read for me because I found it helpful in preparing for childbirth last time. I would highly recommend it to anyone in their last trimester, whether they plan a "natural" childbirth or not. It took me 2 months to read it for several reasons.

First, Keith & I are involved in a pretty good Bible study at church that involves homework 5 nights a week, plus a weekly group meeting. We're really glad to be doing it, but it is time consuming.

Second, we've been learning some Japanese together using Rosetta Stone. This was supposed to be in preparation for a project Keith was going to be on at work for the next 5-7 years, but then the terrible earthquake & tsunami hit Japan and everything's been on hold.

Third, I'm tired!

We're getting ready to celebrate Josiah's 3rd birthday next week! Check my facebook profile for pictures of his birthday cake. I sure hope it turns out the way I'm envisioning it in my mind. We're also making preparations for baby Rachel, obviously.

I'm also hoping to wrap up Isaac's preschool year next week or the following. No regrets at all. Homeschooling has been a good decision for us so far. Isaac can print his first and last name, as well as our house number. He knows our address and both my and Keith's phone numbers, letters, numbers, shapes, colors, can count to at least 20 without assistance and to 100 with assistance, plus he knows the basic sound each letter makes and has begun learning how to read. According to his Hooked on Phonics software he can read something like 80 words (like dad, mad, hat, rat, lit, sit, not, pot). He's learned how to button, snap, zipper, go potty completely by himself, make a phone call, and put his own toothpaste on his toothbrush. I'm already making some plans in my head for next school year when I'm working with both Isaac and Josiah.

I'm not sure what book(s) I may pick up next. I'm thinking either Baby Catcher, to get geared up for labor some more, or Physics for Dummies, because I've always wanted to learn Physics and I know I won't have time to learn something new like this for a while after the baby is born. I've also been thinking of reading more about missionaries too, like Amy Carmichael. But it's probably gonna be Baby Catcher!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book 3-Lone Survivor

I laughed, I cried, and I learned a lot of new things. Lone Survivor is the true story of a Navy SEAL operation gone horribly awry, with a bit about the atrocious Rules of Engagement and the outrageousness of the liberal media too. I cannot imagine how a man tries to go on with his life after what this author has experienced. In addition to gaining an even greater respect for the SEALs & all members of the armed forces, I've also come to the firm conclusion that the movie G.I. Jane, starring Demi Moore, was a bunch of crap. No woman could ever endure SEAL training.

While I have cleaned my house a bit between books here, I have not done anything with my scrapbooking, as I had wanted to. I also haven't touched Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Homeschooling either in a couple of months.

Keith & I are beginning a 16-week Bible study at church that involves some homework and scripture memorization every week. I know that the next book I read will be Mind Over Labor by Carl Jones, in preparation for baby #4, who I think we've already named Rachel.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book 2-Leota's Garden

Another great novel by Francine Rivers. And once again, I found myself staying up way too late to finish it, then being unable to wake up in the morning when my kids woke.

Between Far From the Madding Crowd and Leota's Garden, I chipped away at the gigantic Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling. I don't know if I'll ever finish that one. I may just now be at the halfway point. While informative, it's a bit overwhelming, and just altogether way too large for a "getting started guide" to anything. However, I never leave books unfinished, so I'm sure to complete at some point this year.

Right now I need to take a short break from reading to get some sleep. On a positive note, I managed to clean my house two weeks in a row. That's a first. Also, I may resume my scrapbooking instead of reading for a time. I would love to get Isaac, Josiah, and Elizabeth's baby books done before I have a new baby to take care of.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Glad We Don't Have Cable

Yesterday I made a big turkey dinner with all the fixins: stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, etc. Since it was an 18.5lb. turkey I invited my parents over for dinner. (Still have LOTS of leftovers!) Afterwards, while I was doing the dishes, I got to enjoy one of the greatest sounds on earth: laughter coming from the family room. Keith, Isaac, and Josiah were playing with the balloon-powered vehicle set Isaac had received for his birthday. They were making big hot dog shaped balloons and letting them go. They made a really loud noise as they flew around the room. They made balloon-powered helicopters and cars too. Watching Isaac and Josiah squeal with delight made my parents laugh too. It was really a pleasant evening. My family was interacting and enjoying one another's company.

Now, if we had cable, as soon as dinner was over someone would've turned on the TV, and everyone would've sat in a semi-catatonic state on the couch watching something completely mindless that wouldn't add anything to their lives. Rather it would steal 30 minutes from them that they could never get back.

This is part of the vision I have for my family. This is why we don't have cable. We can interact, converse with one another, and enjoy being with each other. Sure, I miss some of those The Universe shows Keith used to like watching on SciFi or History channel. I definitely miss Stargate Universe. But you know what? We can catch those on DVD when the seasons are over, on our own schedule in our own free time after the kids go to bed. We've now been without cable for, I don't know, at least 6 or 8 months. Do I regret our decision? No, and I never have. After last night, I'm more glad than ever we don't have it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book 1-Far From the Madding Crowd

A very good story, with a very abrupt and in some ways disappointing ending. I don't think I'll be reading any more Thomas Hardy books for a while. If I had kept a notepad, pen, and dictionary next to me I could have learned at least 50 new vocabulary words. I'm talking about words that I have never, ever heard or seen before in my life. Here's one I did look up though: desultorily. It means in a random way, disorganized.

Since I was only halfway finished with this at the end of 2010 I put it on the list of books for 2011. I don't think I'll do very well with my reading this year, though. I find myself so engrossed in my book that I stay up way too late, or neglect my housechores. I also want to make more time for Bible study. If I finish at least 12 books this year, 1 per month, I'll be happy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Isaac's First Composition

My firstborn, Isaac, just composed his first story. He recited it to me, & I'm just now recording it. Here it goes!

When I went shopping I met a friendly name named Mommy.
When I went to the grocery store I met a friendly name named Daddy.
When I went to the store I met a friendly name named Mommy.

I like how he put Keith at the grocery store, where all the food is, and not me!

I love my kids.

The irony is Monday was one of those days I threatened to put them in daycare and go back to work! I'd never do it. That's just one of my sayings for when I'm having a really bad day with them.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Book #22-My Antonia

I've had My Antonia on my bookshelf since I was a teenager and always passed it by when trying to decide what to read next. Finally, upon my father's recommendation, I picked it up. I loved it! One half of me wishes I'd read it long ago, but another part of me knows that I would not have understood everything implied in it. For instance, one less significant character in the book is Wick Cutter. One of the many villainous things Wick does, it is told, is he "ruins" a girl and then sets her up in another town to run the only business anyone would ever go to her for. In not so many words, he basically set her up in another town to run her own "house of ill -repute." At least that's how I understand it. Honestly I'm not sure I would have picked up on things like that when I was a teenager.

While this is not what I'd call a "bonnet book," I still cried at times! There is at least one instance when the main character, Jim Burden, is in between colleges and decides to visit his old friends and stomping grounds once again. At this point he reconnects with his childhood memories that he kind of pushed into the background of his mind because he was learning so many new ideas and philosophies in college. He actually becomes heartsick for his childhood. I distinctly remember a time like this in my own life, in my first marriage. I simply began sobbing uncontrollably for my childhood, my youth, once again! It was some sort of awakening that I had to grow up now and do my own housework, laundry, and ironing because if I didn't do it, nobody else would. Hindsight is always 20/20 of course, but looking back I can clearly see that my ex-husband was not the only immature one. I was pretty immature myself, mentally and emotionally.

I also loved the parts of the story where Jim Burden is describing how much he adores, admires, and respects the "hired girls," the eldest daughters of immigrant families who come to the town to make a living, and of course send money back home so their fathers can pay their debts and own their lands. Throughout the story I wondered why didn't he marry one of those girls he admired so much! At a point during his adolescent years he even despises the other boys his age because they don't see in the hired girls what he does! He seems to despise the American girls because they don't have the vitality, strenth, personality, or zeal for life the immigrant girls do. Yet back in those days people stuck to their own kind. American boys married American girls, and the immigrants for the most part stuck to their own kind. What a shame! And how unlike it is today!

Of course, Antonia Shimerda is the main object of Jim Burden's admiration throughout the entire book to some degree (hence, the title). She is a wonderful character who most women would probably like to emulate one way or another. I relate to her character in the sense that I've always been one to land on my feet out of any crises or struggle. I like to think that I'm a survivor, that no matter what circumstances I might face in life, I'd pull through, myself & my children. It bothers me that I depend on my parents as much as I do to help me with the kids. I'm always looking for ways to not rely on them, as silly as that may sound. I'm sure mothers out there who don't have their family nearby would love to be able to rely on their parents more. But Keith & I both kind of pride ourselves on standing on our own two feet, so to speak. We don't like to take help, but sometimes we have to.

Of course an overall theme of the book is the hardships the early pioners to the West had to face: the first winter, farming unfamiliar land, the language barrier, homesickness, etc. Antonia, I think, at least partly represents or symbolizes those pioneer women, specifically.

To conclude, if you haven't read My Antonia yet, read it! I'm actually going to give it to Keith to read next time he leaves the country, which won't be too long from now! I think this book appeals to men & women alike. It is not a "bonnet" book.