Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Reading List

Posting my list of plans for the summer made me also get in gear planning my summer reading list! I may not get through all of these, especially considering a couple of them I'm just giving a shot because they keep popping up on my Amazon recommendations. I'm guessing it's because I like Twilight and The Hunger Games and A Discovery of Witches. Anyway, here's my list!

The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg
I've been trying to get through this one for a while now & I'm planning on actually just making myself sit down & read it this summer! Every time I started to read it, I liked it, I just get busy & don't read it for whatever reason.

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado
I'm reading this one because Donald Miller suggested it & that always makes me interested!

Boundaries with Kids by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
I read their book, Boundaries, last year when I was doing counseling for some family stuff. It was absolutely amazing & I want to read this one to get some similar strategies for parenting & helping kids develop their own healthy boundaries as well!

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
This book just keeps coming up as a recommendation for me on Amazon and so I figure it's time to give it a shot.

Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
This is another one that has come up as a recommendation for me and I keep seeing it at Target and Wal-Mart. I feel like that makes it seem really popular, so I'll try this one as well.

Fallen by Lauren Kate
Another recommendation one. Just gonna check it out.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
This one was given to me by my friend's aunt to read. She said she thinks I'll like it because I liked Twilight and The Hunger Games. I guess we'll see!

The Secret Circle Series (The Initiation, The Captive Part I & II, The Power) by L.J. Smith
This is the author of The Vampire Diaries. I wasn't crazy about her books as much as the show, but now this second series of hers is being made into a show on the CW next season! I thought I should read the books to see if I like it!

I would love some recommendations from you all!! Even though this list is very vampire/werewolf/supernatural packed, I like other books, too! I read Nicholas Sparks and I discovered last year that I like Emily Giffin & Sophie Kinsella! So I'll take any suggestions!
What are you reading this summer?

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Let's Hear it For the Dads

Have you seen the new Lysol wipes commercial where the mom comes home to dad & baby in a completely wrecked kitchen? Dad has a look on his face like he's so thankful she's finally home. He doesn't seem capable of dealing with the stress and chaos of watching a baby alone.

How many commercials or tv shows have you seen portraying the same thing? Some dumb, incompetent dad who can't seem to figure out how to put his shoes on the right feet, let alone watch or parent a child on their own. Or what about the children's books who don't even bother to mention the dad? I think it's a shame. Sure there are dads who aren't quite ready for the responsibility of parenting or there are absentee fathers, but I would argue that there are moms in those situations too. I just think it's time we applaud those dads who do step up, those dads who get it right.

Lewis can probably tell you about as much as I can about scheduling and routines, breastfeeding and natural childbirth because he was involved. He was interested. He was an active participant in the decision making and troubleshooting of my pregnancy, birth and newborn care. 

Let's hear it for the dads who participate. The dads who don't shy away from conflict or discomfort. Let's hear it for the dads who actively engage in conversation and debate about important parenting decisions, who don't just sit back and let mom make all the choices. Let's hear it for the dads who are involved.

Lewis watched Isis alone less than 2 weeks after she was born so I could go to dinner with a friend who was doing her student teaching in Australia. We did it between feedings so he didn't have to feed her, but he did have to change a poopy diaper and manage a little night-time fussiness when I got home about 15 minutes after she was ready to eat. He has been watching her alone regularly ever since then.

Let's hear it for the dads who aren't scared of some poop. The dads who change diapers like a pro, who aren't scared of being alone with a newborn for long periods of time. Let's hear it for the dads who take the initiative to learn what they don't know about how to care for a child.

Lewis was responsible for taking Isis to the sitter last year and picking her up most days. More often than not, he was the one telling me what to feed her for dinner because he packed her lunch that morning and he knew what she had eaten all day. He was the one discussing her naps and telling the sitter what to do when she had a rough nap day because I wasn't available as an elementary teacher in the middle of the day. Most mornings, I didn't even see Isis before I left for school. Lewis got her up in the morning, fed her breakfast, packed her diaper bag with clothes, lunch, etc. He even took her to the doctor alone when I couldn't take off work.

Let's hear it for the dads who take on responsibilities that do interrupt their daily schedule sometimes. The dads who take the initiative to do those things themselves. The dads who aren't relying on mom to do extra the night before, but who actually do it themselves that day.

Lewis regularly cooks, cleans, bathes Isis, goes grocery shopping on his way home from work for her food, washes cloth diapers, picks out her clothes, vacuums our house, takes out the trash, mows the yard, gets up with Isis in the middle of the night if she's sick or teething, watches her an entire Saturday so I can go out with Diana, reads her stories at night, participates actively in discipline like time-out, investigates what foods she should be eating, the list just goes on and on. And I do the same things. I'm not saying he is exclusively responsible for all these things, but the point is that we are both partnering and actively participating in raising Isis. 

The thing is, I know that my husband isn't the only dad doing this. And I think it's just really sad that American culture tends to dumb down dads and turn them into bumbling idiots who don't do anything but make jokes, roll around on the floor with the kids sometimes and grill out. In my experience, real men, real dads, are involved way beyond the fun stuff. Regularly. Daily. And there are way more of them out there doing this than America gives them credit for.

So if you have a dad like this in your life, I encourage you to do the same thing - write a blog post, write a note, write a letter, send them a card - just do something that lets them know that you see it and that you know that no matter what culture may say, there are some dads who get it right. Not even some, I'm sure there are many dads who are getting it right. And they deserve to be recognized.

Let's hear it for the dads!

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Summer Plans!

I am done with my long-term sub position! I have a job at the school in the fall! I am close to finalizing my plans for our new sitter for Isis in the fall! I am home with Isis until sometime in July when I will start setting up my classroom! Free time, here I come!!

For the next few weeks until July, I've got plans! I had great plans to keep up with my blogging when I went back to work, but that really kinda fell through. I've decided I need to just take it easy on myself. I absolutely love blogging and I love reading blogs and keeping in touch with my blog friends. BUT, I also love teaching and I need to focus on that right now so that I can be the best teacher I can for my students. As I've said before, they deserve my absolute best. Isis also obviously deserves my absolute best & between being a mom, wife, teacher & blogger, blogging just took second stage and I think that's okay. I still make appearances - at least once every 2 weeks so I can keep my BlogHer ads up! But really I'm doing this for myself and I will post as I have time and motivation.

So my list for the summer! 

I want to organize my iTunes. I know that sounds daunting, but I've been wanting to do it for a while!

I want to read several books - I've got a list coming of my summer reading!

I want to actually go to the pool! I bought two bathing suits this year - both look like this, yes I bought tankinis - and I got Isis some great pool gear & I plan on just having some fun with that since I haven't even worn a bathing suit in at least 3 years & I owe it to Isis to get some pool time!!

I want to plan out & set up my classroom for when school starts in August! I have some great ideas that I'll probably share later & get some mom (& teacher) feedback!

I want to go to the Farmer's Market - fairly regularly. We are doing the CSA again - posts for that will start around June 3 - but I want to supplement with Farmer's Market foods! My big goal for the summer is to prepare fresh food at our house as much as possible. That means Isis & I will be making some frequent trips to the Farmer's Market & grocery stores!

Work Out!!! I really really need to work out regularly! Any moms have any great at-home workout tips or videos that you like?

Blog! I really do want to keep up with my blog again. I love using this to connect and to just document somewhere the crazy and awesome things that are going on with Isis. I would love for her to be able to go back one day & read & see everything she was doing at this point in her life! A digital scrapbook, of a sort!

Sell my house!!!! I am just praying regularly that we are able to sell our house this summer. I know it's a difficult time to sell & lots of people are praying for the same thing, but I am definitely someone who is looking to buy another house & help someone out with that as soon as ours sells!!

And finally, I would LOVE to take Isis to the zoo &/or the aquarium!
Who knows if I'll actually be able to do all these things, but I'm hoping I will!!
What are your summer plans?

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Save a Mom this Mother's Day

Picture Source: Avenue D Photography

This Mother's Day I told Lewis I wanted to go on a date. We are going this weekend! But the other thing I asked for was that we would give some money to help Adriel at The Mommyhood Memos make some Birth Kits!

Every minute a woman dies of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing nations.  For every woman who dies in childbirth, another 30 women incur injuries and infections, which are often preventable. (Source: World Health Organization.)

Adriel lives in Australia and works with YWAM Medical Ships. They provide a variety of medical services to those in need in Papua New Guinea. This year, Adriel has started a campaign called Bloggers for Birth Kits. In rural Papua New Guinea, 1 in 7 women die in childbirth. Birth Kits can really help reduce these risks. Please go to Adriel's blog to read more about this.
The Mommyhood Memos Bloggers for Birth Kits
 As soon as Adriel emailed me about this, I knew I had to share it. I think it's such a simple way to give back to other mothers from those of us who have been able to give birth safely.

Adriel has shared several options on her blog where you can get involved. Please go check them out! The easiest are blogging about this & posting a badge on your blog! But I think it would be really wonderful to make some birth kits or donate to YWAM Medical Ships so they can assemble their own birth kits!

 Happy Mother's Day!!!

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