Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Henry and Beezus

Henry and Beezus (Henry, #2)Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Probably 3.5 stars. I think I liked this one a little better than Henry Huggins. My daughter hasn't finished reading it yet, but I went ahead and finished. I like the many sticky situations Henry gets into, and I liked that Ramona is more present in this book. She makes an adorable little sister character.

[Some spoilers ahead] I like that this book was realistic in the sense that Henry had to try to save money for the bike he wanted; his parents couldn't just buy a bike because he wanted one. Even though everything amazingly worked out in the end, I like the aspect that kids have to learn that sometimes their parents can't afford the expensive toys they want, and they may have to work for it themselves. I realize the ending where everything basically falls into Henry's lap takes away from that a bit, but I don't care. It's a children's book, and I love a happy ending.

I also noticed that this second book seemed to have less of the negative language I noticed in Henry Huggins. I think Scooter called the dog dumb a few times, but that was about it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Book Review: Henry Huggins

Henry Huggins (Henry, #1)Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I remember reading a bunch of the Ramona books and the Mouse and the Motorcycle when I was little, but I'm not sure if I had read Henry Huggins before. While it felt like a walk down memory lane, reading it with my 7 year old also made me aware of how many derogatory words are used in the book, such as stupid, dumb, and shut-up. I know there are worse things she could read, but I don't want her talking like that. The character, Scooter, can be rather a bully.

We're going to continue in the series. Henry's fascination with animals is right up my daughter's alley, and Ribsy is a very loveable dog. I just was more sensitive to the language now that I'm a parent.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book Review: Sarah’s Quilt

Sarah's Quilt (Sarah Agnes Prine, #2)Sarah's Quilt by Nancy E. Turner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love reading these Sarah Agnes Prine novels. They make me want to work harder, complain less, and try to find time to write in a journal-- or someday make a quilt.

Not unlike the first book, this one was certainly filled with tribulations, but I like the emphasis on good values throughout. The book is well written and full of heart. This second novel isn't as much of a love story as the first book, but for me, it was still a good page-turner.

I have a few small complaints about the book. I found it blaringly obvious who was the cause of some trouble going on. I could see why Sarah wouldn't come to the same conclusion as easily and took a very long time to figure it out, but I still got annoyed with her for not seeing it.

Another thing, a bit of a spoiler here, so don't read if you don't want to know: [I thought Turner could have done much more or much less with the Lazrus character. The more we saw of him, I kept thinking there was a point, like maybe he was an old friend buried under all that filth who would reveal himself and tell his tale of how he came to be such a mess. It didn't even have to be that; I just thought that if she was going to put so much focus on that character, there could have been something more to him than what we learn in the end: yes, in fact, he was really just a crazy lunatic obsessed with Sarah. If he was just going to be some random, creepy, crazy guy, I wish Turner had gotten rid of him earlier instead of making us endure seeing him repeatedly throughout the whole book.]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review: When Crickets Cry

When Crickets CryWhen Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. Although it was rather predictable from the beginning, it was one of those books that kept me turning pages, impatient for what I thought was going to happen to happen. I don't think the point was to not be predictable. Also, there was a past story line that was revealed bit by bit that always kept me guessing, and once I reached the end, I wanted to re-read bits of it to see how it all fit together.

The story has so much heart to it, is well written, and really draws in the reader. I LOVED all the literary quotes throughout the book. Books like this always make me wish I was better at memorization so I could just spout off the greats like Shakespeare and Longfellow whenever I want to.

Also, this book made me cry, which always earns a book an extra star :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How I’ve been spending my time

I realize I’ve left this blog with nothing but crickets chirping for quite a while now, and I’m sorry. I’ve had plenty to share, but no time to do it.

One of the main things that has been taking up my time these last few months is training for this:


(picture source)

Yep, I went all crazy cakes and signed up for a triathlon! And it’s this Saturday!

If you’re not as familiar with LDS lingo, let me explain that the triathlon is put on by the women’s organization of the church (called the Relief Society). Therefore, the triathlon is only for women; it’s main goal is to promote women’s health. A stake is a group of several congregations in one area—just a way of keeping us organized.

Let me explain my journey a bit. For the past 2 years, a nearby stake has put on a similar triathlon. Many of my friends in that stake tried to encourage me to join in, but I had what I liked to call the “triathlon trifecta:”

  1. No childcare
  2. No bike
  3. No gym membership to accomplish the swim training

And last year, I was pregnant, so that was a pretty easy out, also Smile

It was announced early this year that our stake was going to be doing a triathlon of its own. I was tempted to give it a try (pun intended), but at first, I still couldn’t get past that triathlon trifecta (not to mention the fact that I was nursing an infant). It wasn’t until a pregnant friend of mine said she would sign up to walk the running portion that I decided I should at least sign up to do what I could. Certainly, I could walk 3 miles; no problem. And that got me thinking: maybe I would sign up for the run portion, planning to walk, but should I happen to find a chance to go jogging once in a while, I might be prepared to run it come triathlon day. That created a snowball effect in my mind, allowing for the possibility that maybe I’d have the time to train for some biking and swimming also. I liked thinking of it with a very non-committal, baby-steps approach.

I talked to the triathlon rep for our ward (congregation). I asked her if I could sign up for the running portion, and if I managed to train for another event, add that on later. She said that I might as well sign up for everything, because I could opt out of any event at the last minute, but I could not add on events after a certain point. So I did. Suddenly, I was signed up for a full triathlon. I thought I must be going crazy!

I’m just going to wrap things up here by saying it has been a long road, but I am indeed going to participate in each of the 3 events. I’d love to find the time to describe my journey through all of the training. Maybe no one is interested, but I want to document it for myself. If I get the time (ha ha), I’ll do another post or two telling about my training. For now, I’m just looking forward to this Saturday. I’m nervous, but I’m mostly SO excited. I actually think I might possibly be ready—something I thought I would never be.

So if you think of me this Saturday, send me all your prayers and energetic thoughts. I think I might be needing them!

On an unrelated note, I realized the last time I posted a picture of my sweet baby boy on this blog, he was just under 2 months old. If I didn’t have a separate family blog where I post pictures of him, this would be a criminal act for this doting mommy. Even still, it’s high time I share something on this blog, considering the fact that he’s now 10 months old. Man, that went fast. So I leave you with this—maybe another explanation why I have been so absent in blogging—I’m too busy loving this boy!120725_0043web

Saturday, February 25, 2012

eBook Review: Unbound Birth

Unbound Birth 250x250

I was so excited when I heard that Jenny from The Southern Institute was working on an eBook about natural births in the hospital. Since I have had 3 natural births in the hospital, I was eager to share some of my story when Jenny asked if any moms might like to contribute. Now that I have read Unbound Birth: How to Have a Natural Birth in the Hospital, I would say that my main sentiment about the book is this: I wish this had been around before I ever started having kids! What a great resource for women approaching motherhood!

Allow me to share some of my personal experience. Before my oldest daughter was even a twinkle in my eye, I figured I was a sure-bet for medication during childbirth; I was a wimp! Then I attended an educational event centered around becoming a mother. There was a midwife there who explained about her job and talked a little about home births and natural births. It was from listening to her that it occurred to me that women have been having babies for thousands of years, and no matter how scary it might seem, my body was designed to do that. I didn’t have to know exactly what I was doing; my body already knew what to do. I went on to learn in a Childhood Development class at Oregon State University about some of the risks of medication during childbirth. The knowledge I gained from that midwife and class had me reconsidering if medication really was the right choice for me and my future baby.

When I did become pregnant for the first time, I told some of my family I was considering the possibility a natural birth. My sister/sisters-in-law had used medication during their births; my mother had experienced both medicated and unmedicated births. They were filled with loving concern about my decision; in short, they thought I was crazy. My family supported me, but I couldn’t really turn to them for advice. Unbound Birth would have been just what I needed at the time.

Once I had made up my mind to have a natural birth, I wanted to talk to people who knew what it was like. I tracked down any moms I knew who had experienced natural birth to ask them about their experiences and even ask them if they thought I could do it. At each check up, I asked my midwives for advice about how to get through a natural birth. Hearing from other women was one of the main things that gave me courage to go through with my decision to birth naturally, and that’s what I love about the book Unbound Birth. The encouragement, the birth stories, and the advice are all right there in this book.

Jennifer Yarbrough is a childbirth educator, and she has experienced 3 natural births in hospital. Her book, an easy read at just under 60 pages, is packed with information, advice, and encouragement from women who know what it’s like to have a natural birth in the hospital. Jenny describes her own birthing experiences, informs about natural birth, dismisses some of the fears surrounding natural birth, and gives advice about health during pregnancy and pain management. The book even includes a birth plan you can fill out. Jenny’s approach is non-preachy and non-judgmental; she just wants women to realize their own capabilities.

In Jenny’s own words, “I wrote this book because I truly believe that more women would birth naturally in the hospital if only they felt empowered and supported. I hope that Unbound Birth does this for you.”

I think any woman who is trying to decide what type of birthing experience she wants to have should read this book before making her decision. I have had 3 amazing natural births in the hospital that I would not change. I know it isn’t just a certain type of woman who can have a natural birth; any woman can do it. This book will help you find the confidence you need to have a good experience with a natural birth.

Click here to purchase a copy of Unbound Birth for $4.99 for your Kindle, Nook, or in PDF format.

Unbound Birth is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book Review: I Capture the Castle

I Capture the CastleI Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I knew from the first paragraph I was going to love this book; it just had the right feel to it. I very often wondered whether or not I would be quite satisfied by the end of the book. Now that I have finished, I have to say that this book was an utter delight.
I loved the voice of the narrator.
I loved the combination of influence from Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.
It’s one of those books I will have to go back and read so I can write down some of the lines that pleased me. Here’s one section:
“Well, I shall pray you really fall in love with him—and he with you, of course. And I’ll do out-of-bed prayers.”
“So will I,” She said, hopping out again.
We both prayed hard, Rose much the longest—she was still on her knees when I had settled down ready to sleep.
“That’ll do, Rose,” I told her at last. “It’s enough just to mention things, you know. Long prayers are like nagging.”
This book is a fun pleasure read. Not a book that will change your life, but a very enjoyable read. I want to own it. I don’t want to jump into reading another book right away as I want to savor this one in my mind for a while.

Content: rather clean. I believe “damn” shows up a few times. There is mention of adultery and one scene in which a female character starts to pull her dress off for a boy.