Friday, July 1, 2022

What I Read (June 2022)

I read a lot this month! Every evening I would climb into bed and read until I was too tired. It was great, refreshing and wonderful (and yes I stayed up too late...) I also read in the afternoons some, but my kids would bother me often. Enjoy these spoiler free reviews!

Tree by Leaf (6/10 stars)

This was as book I picked up in our local book shop just by reading the blurb on the back and looking at the amazing cover art. It is an historical fiction, written after the First World War, and follows Clothide's coming of age. The writing style is amazing and the narration is fluid. What did I like? The setting, the nature scenes and the real issues that pre-world-war-two peoples might have dealt with. I liked the story, it is well done and kept me turning pages as fast as I could! I enjoyed the nuances; the fact that people were not always as Clothide thought they were. She grew, she learned. 

What did I not like? The voice, for one. I won't give spoilers, but it ruined a perfectly good novel for me. It was wholly unnecessary! The mother. I couldn't get a firm understanding or grasp on Clothide's mother. Perhaps I wasn't meant too, but her mother didn't behave rationally and it bothered me. She was one way in one situation and a few moments later, another way! I felt the continuity of her character was maligned. 

But it was a good book. I want to check out more by this author.

The Way of Kings (8/10 stars)

Yes, I finally read it. I honestly don't know what to think. Sometimes I love the book, other times I am annoyed at how many characters and how much depth there is to this novel. SO MUCH DEPTH. This book, rather than "events" is more characterized by people. Take Shallan, for example.  I think about Shallan a lot, especially with how this first novel ended! AlsoI don't like her. Maybe I will later, but she just seems part manipulative and part snooty, part naive and part helpless and ALL annoying. If I have to hear her internal dialogue one more time about why she will/or won't steal a certain fabrial I will roll my eyes. Shallan, you are unimaginative and dull, but I'll keep reading. I like Jasnah better...

On to Kaladin. The classic wounded boy. I rooted for him (because who can't root for an underdog!) and I hope more of his story is revealed, and the mysteries about who he is and what he can do is answered. I want to know!! I like him, and I like how he helps others. I like how he cares. But he wasn't my favorite character, even though I did like him a lot more than Shallown. 

My favorite character is Dalinar. He's strong, but also sensitive (and what is up with Shshsh??!) he has amazing sons, is clever and most of all, he's moral. I like a good moral backbone in a character and Dalinar doesn't disappoint. Also I am 35 so I relate more to an over-the-hill man than teenage Shallan and her angsty inner sqabbles over theft and falsehoods, or Kaladin's Job-like experience. (maybe Kaladin is more like Joseph than Job, but you get what I mean) 

SO. Book, good. I have already ordered the next two books from thrift books and we shall see how long it takes me to read it. By the end of Way of Kings I couldn't put it down and for 12 or so hours my family was ignored and meals were something prepackaged. Oh well. We all survived and I read the book. 

Also, what/who is Whit? I am intrigued. 

I can't wait to read more. Hope Brandon Sanderson publishes another book before I get done with all four...

The Story of Doctor Dolittle (5/10)

This is something I read to the kids, as it is on Reuben's Year 2 free read list for Ambleside Online. It was weird. And nothing like the movie I saw in the 90s? The kids seemed to like it okay, and it was MUCH BETTER than Mary Poppins. My kids have never seen the movie, so they had no idea. I love how he was an actual doctor who decided to become an animal doctor because he loved animals too much. I liked his little laminations about money. The animals themselves were annoying and too varied and the situations not realistic. Reuben says he loved it, so this is just my review...he's asleep right now. Maybe I will ask him what he really thought tomorrow and write up that. Hmmm. All I really remember is one time we were all sitting for a tea party and Becky and Reuben had a whole discussion about how the Pushme-Pullu uses the bathroom. LOL. Because he doesn't have a bottom. How does the Pushme-Pullu potty? Becky said probably out of his nose, which sounds messy and uncomfortable. 

Fortress of Ice (3/10 stars)

(Includes minor spoilers for Fortress in the Eye of Time

I have read Fortress in the Eye of Time at least three times in my life, but I have never read the sequels. Last month (May) I re-read FitEOT and the three sequels. (I give those books at least a 7/10 stars!) I love Tristan and Cefwyn. They remind me of David and Jonathan. BFFs. That whole series was spellbinding, and I had high hopes for this last installment that is set 16 years after Fortress of Dragons. It was okay...(think "meh") and I feel like it was start of a new arc, one that Cherryh subsequently abandoned for some reason. There must be more!! We never learn what happens to the shadows in the Quinaltine! We never learn what happens to the witches!! We never see the boys grow up. And Tristan, ever amazing Tristan, is flat and one dimensional in this novel. I feel like the author didn't know what to do with him, and should have left him largely out of the book! It was a good book though. Was it the end of the arc? No, it raised more questions than it answered! Why does Nervis and Cefwyn have only two children after sixteen years together?  I would think they would have more, or the book would address why they do not. Miscarriages? Something is missing from their story and it is left completely unexplained. Anyway, I finished the book slightly annoyed there were no more left to read and with a lot of questions I thought would be answered...

The Wheel on the School (9/10 stars)

Another DeJong book! I love him! Such prose, such understanding of children, such simplicity yet so much emotion. I absolutely have loved every DeJong I have read so far. This was my second but we also read Good Luck Duck this month. I just didn't include that one here because it's basically a picture book where this is a chapter book (And I read Good Luck Duck to the kids but this one I read just for myself, though I will add it to the read pile for the kiddos!) This guy is a master storyteller and his tales are timeless and vibrant. (the first book I read of his was called Along Came the Dog and I gave it 10/10 stars. EVERYONE loved it. Me, the kids, everyone. I now want a little red hen.)

What are you guys reading? Today marks the beginning of July and a new month of books. And a vacation weekend to start me off strong! Happy 4th of JULY friends!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

a lot of things went wrong

This week is vacation week. Brian has the whole week off! We have a birthday party, VBS, dentist appointments and a trip to Washington DC (the dentist in in DC) all scheduled for this week! Not to mention our usual CSA pickups and milk pickup and violin lessons...life this week is chock-full of everything.

we were all tired by this point

And it started off with the unexpected.

We had been looking for a piano for awhile because I want to start Becky in piano lessons when she turns 5 in January. Well, my violin teacher's sister (that's a mouthful) said that a local church was practically giving away their pianos (they are $100 each) and we got one! We bought the piano Monday and if it all works out we will have it in our house on Thursday. We are going to try to move it in our truck and I am letting Brian handle that with two of his friends and one of my friends adult son. I hope it goes well. I know very little about pianos and even less about moving a piano. It is a Console piano and both Becky and I are excited. I hope it doesn't fall out of the truck and we can get it into our house unscathed. Ahhhh!

SO. Monday was a whirlwind of going to look at the piano. We saw four out of the six they had left before wisely deciding to buy the last piano on the ground floor. Stairs I don't think we can do. We got home from the Big Piano Surprise Purchase to figure out where to PUT the piano. We reshuffled the living room and made a mess. After the stress of that (how are we still married) I put the living room back in order. Halfway through I got a phone call. Reuben's dentist appointment was canceled due to the doctors having covid. WHAT? 

Let me back up a bit. SO I found this amazing holistic dentist who says they can help my son breathe through his nose with NO surgery or braces. Reuben cannot breathe though his nose at all. This has been an ongoing problem since he was born that I have tried to get everyone to look at to no avail. Well, I finally found this dentist and it looks promising. We had a consultation in their secondary office which is about an hour away from our home. The problem is the main office is 3.5 hours away near DC. SO the reason we were going to DC and the reason we booked a hotel and were going to visit museums there was...we would already be there for Reuben's dentist appointment. 

And now it was canceled because the doctor tested positive for covid. SIGH. I realize it is not his fault and his practice is doing the best it can, but it was a serious issue for us! We were supposed to leave Tuesday for DC, see some museums, and stay in a hotel overnight for the 10:30am appointment on Wednesday. The call came one day before we left!!! There was no time to cancel the hotel, so we went anyway, knowing we are going to have to do this all over again whenever I reschedule the appointment. Which I have to wait to do until I can sit down with my husband and find out when he can take another day off.


Washington DC traffic is horrible. I definitely cannot drive there. I mean, I guess I could...but I don't want too! Crazy people zooming all over!!! We borrowed a stroller and saw the Natural History Museum and the Museum of American History. (my children broke a piece off the stroller tray and I had to very embarrassingly tell my friend, I am sorry my kids broke this) It was interesting, fun, and tiring. We walked for hours and I am shocked at how much bottle water costs (we did bring some of our own but ran out...) Also, the free parking at DC is gone. There used to be free parking (as of 6 years ago, the last time we went and I remember the spots in the 90s when I was a kid!) but there isn't free parking anymore, or if there is we couldn't find it. The food at the museums is extremely overpriced. I was disappointed in how "woke" our history is becoming, but I guess that is politically correct these days? 

[side rant: What will they change about the 90s and early 2000's one hundred years from now? Will they revile us for all the human trafficking that goes on? For abortion? I wonder what it will be; as we look back on the 17, 18, and early 1900s and judge them with a heavy amount of hindsight bias and presumptuous pride. We are no different in our sins, if anything we are more lazy, more gluttonous and more promiscuous than they. At least in the 1700s most people could live off the land; we are chained to our endless entertainments of television and ticktock as we grow ever fatter on our couches. Sheech. I shudder to think what they would say if they could see us for a change.] 

So anyway, we saw DC, we spent too much money on food, and we made it to our hotel! And then even though we were all exhausted we walked to a HUGE mall for dinner and bought the most amazing Indian food. Everyone ate it and we all crashed in the hotel room, dreaming up things to do tomorrow since Reuben's appointment was canceled. 

We woke up to one of my children peeing the bed. And also we didn't sleep well (who does in a hotel?) so we decided to just clean up and head home. Pee child had to wear a siblings clothes because Mommy did not plan for a pee apocalypse and packed light. No one has accidents anymore in our house and hasn't for months! Let my life be a warning for you: always plan for the pee apocalypse. Always.  

And now we are home and the mini-whirlwind vacation is over and we all had a shower and tomorrow is another busy day where we hope to get the piano into our house in one piece! Hopefully. Send prayers. And then we attend a birthday party and this crazy week will be over.

I don't think I am a vacation person. I get excited when I plan them, but when I'm on "vacation" its just a stress and anxiety inducing trip away from home. Am I doing something wrong or am I just a homebody? The thought of going on another vacation does not sound thrilling to me. I just want to knit stuff, drink tea, and read books; that's enough excitement for this middle aged mother!

How is your week going? 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

exciting things that are going on in my life

Exciting things that are going on in my life, a bulleted list.

  •  I finally chose a Spanish curriculum! 
After many many hours researching and reading about Spanish programs...we chose Flip Flop Spanish. Part of the reason it took me so long is I had opinions about what I wanted. I knew I desired something that we could all do together (so not parent led, I don't speak Spanish at all) and I also need something easy. I hate prep work. Time is of the essence! Charlotte Mason does short lessons; so I wanted Spanish at a max of 15-20 minute lesson a day. I also knew a native Spanish speaker doing the pronunciations was important to me. And I wanted Mexican-Spanish, not Spain-Spanish (are there politically correct terms for those? If so, I don't know them...) The main reason I wanted the Mexican-Spanish is those who live near us who speak Spanish are from Mexico. Also, cost was a factor. There are some nice curriculums that are 200 to 300 dollars. I wanted something under 150, that wasn't too expensive. 
I am dyslexic and my Spanish accent is HORRIBLE, so having that native voice was a MUST. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses.  Flip Flop Spanish checked all the boxes. I will let you know how it goes! I don't plan on starting back into school until August. I hope we love it. 

We didn't do any Spanish in our first semester of Ambleside. For the second and partial third semesters of Year One, I did Youtube videos from Language Learners

  • I started reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
What is a safehand? Spren are annoying. I want to take up sketching after reading about Shallan. I didn't understand the prologue with the guys and the swords and I'm guessing somewhere in the next book that will probably make sense. I don't know if I have the emotions to give to this novel. I'm on chapter 10. 

  • I'm going to try to make sourdough bread again tomorrow
I have made sourdough on and off but its hard. Maybe this time it will work, who knows??? I sent my husband to the store to buy whole wheat flour and he bought all purpose! LOL. He tried, and I love him. I found some rye berries in my cabinet and ground them and hopefully they work with the whole wheat starter my friend gave me. I want bread!

  • I played in my second violin recital, with Reuben.

He did great. I had a panic attack and did not so great, but everyone makes mistakes. It's okay. I am still trying to forgive myself. I suck. I guess I need to practice more. No, you can't see the video. I am deleting it. Whee! Playing on a stage is not my favorite thing. But later that day my husband taught me how to change the oil on my car, and that was even less fun. I will take playing the violin in front of an audience over changing my oil any day. 

  • I am not pregnant

I'm not pregnant! I am okay with it. Isn't life weird? After my last miscarriage in 2020, I never thought I would try again, but my husband really wanted too. We had already decided that once I turned 36 to stop having babies, so since I am 35 this is the last year I would want to try. So we have been since January of 2022 and I never said anything because, for the first four months I was paralyzed with fear! Yet it hasn't happened, and I have surrendered to God, and have peace. But, I guess this means something is wrong? I pray for God's will in my life; I honestly am fine with having no more babies but if God wants it, it will happen! I did have another thermography scan and it came back that I could be estrogen dominant and have low progesterone, so who knows. I am trying to nourish my body as best I can.


Me and hubby. We just started intermittent fasting as well, with an eating window from 10-5, but I usually do 9-4 because I can't make it until 10! Working up to it and supporting him as he wants to lose weight. 

Life has been good, the garden is growing, we are eating 600 yellow squash a day and I am still waiting on the tomatoes. Love you all.