Monthly Archives: July 2011

www Wednesdays – July 13, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

My reading has been pretty slow this past week so most of the updates below are for children’s books this week.

My bookshelf

The talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith– What I’m currently reading
I’m still reading The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I’m tree quarters of the way in and I’m really enjoying it. I so want to know how it ends, even though I know I’ll miss the characters when the book is over.

– What I recently finished reading
Since I’m still reading the same book, I have no updates for this section.

– What I think I’ll read next
Oh, The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith just showed up at my library! This will definitely be my next book. I’ve wanted to see the movie for many years but the book should come first, as always.

My kids’ bookshelf

Should I share my ice cream by Mo Willems– What they’re currently reading
The brand new “Should I Share My Ice Cream?” by Mo Willems and they love it! OK, I do too. The story is hilarious, sweet and agonizing. And it illustrates my husband’s worst nightmare about ice cream cones, so it’s a plus. I recommend this book to all kids between 3 and 6.

We’re also reading the new Rob Scotton book, “Splish, Splash, Splat!”. My kids have been taking swim lessons for several weeks so this book is a perfect companion to help them conquer any fear of water they may have. If a cat manages to like water, so should they!

– What they recently finished reading
We recently revisited a storytime favorite, “Interrupting Chicken” by David Ezra Stein. If your little ones interrupt you during storytime, this is the book for you. Lovely painted illustrations and a laugh-out-aloud storyline will help kids understand why interrupting the reader can be frustrating.

– What I think they’ll read next
We’ve borrowed a number of Lisa Wheeler books and are starting to make a dent into the pile. Wheeler likes to write in rhymes and she’s quite talented at it. I’ll comment on her books next week after we have a chance to read a few.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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Why do mothers stop breastfeeding?

I make milk - superpowerLast week I joined a group of moms and their little ones for a morning of social gathering and playing. I didn’t know any of the moms and it happens that most were first-time moms with babies under the age of one.

For a couple of hours I got to hear stories I once told others regarding my little babies, who now are little men. The feeding on demand, the short and sleepless nights, the first rollover, the first solid food, the first crawl… Some of my babies’ past is becoming blurry. Sometimes I confuse which baby did what. But I also remember some moments in great detail, including the little suckling noises they made as I nursed them in the stillness of the night, their super cute smiles and giggles, their unique ways to crawl, their reactions to first foods, their first steps… It seems it all happened so long ago and yet, it’s just been a few years. Time really flies when you’re having fun. And even when it’s not all fun sometimes.

One of the inevitable new-mom subjects is breastfeeding. Here in California, where people are more obsessed concerned with their health, it seems most moms give it a try. California laws support breastfeeding, allowing it in all public places and requiring employers to provide a private place to pump (restroom stalls not included). Many moms I’ve talked to (working and not-working) have managed to nurse their babies for a year or more, just as I did.

I'm still breastfeeding T-shirtSo I was surprised to hear the mom of a seven-month-old baby tell another mom she had breastfed her baby since birth, but she stopped at six months, even though she was still producing milk. The most interesting thing is when the other mom asked her why she’d stopped, she didn’t have an answer. She said she just stopped. This left me perplexed.

Everyone who’s ever tried to breastfeed will tell you the first few months are the hardest. Baby and mom need to become acquainted and often taught how to nurse. Mom is exhausted, nursing on demand, and doesn’t get much of a break. After a few months though, the feedings space out and baby becomes a suckling pro. If a mom nurses for the first six months, she’s gone through the hardest part of it all.

So why would a mom who embraces breastfeeding for the first six months of her baby’s life suddenly decide to stop? This mom stays at home and doesn’t experience any pressures from outside work, has no older siblings taking her attention and breasts away from the baby, and still produces plenty of milk. Why make the switch to expensive and non-natural formula, deal with making bottles, and not want to maintain this special bond for a few more months?

I just don’t get it. If all is going well, why stop it? I can’t think of any good reason why. And clearly, this mom couldn’t either but still did it. Would someone please enlighten me?

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“101 in 1001” challenge – July 2011 update

Even though I wanted to accomplish some of my Home & Organization tasks this past month and I didn’t, I managed to get a number of other tasks done. Going on vacation actually helped with my list, go figure!

1) Grow food plants in the garden (Spring 2011) (1/1) – DONE
We’ve been eating cherry tomatoes almost every day and that darn squirrel is kind enough to share them with us! I’ve also picked some baby chard (absolutely delicious!) and I’ve spotted some zucchini growing too. My melon plants have been very, very slow but I’m seeing some growth now – fingers crossed. Wouldn’t it be great to eat cantaloupes right out of the garden?

Cherry tomatoes growing in the garden

Cherry tomatoes growing in the garden

28) Unsubscribe from emails I never read (1/1) – DONE
I may still get some random emails I don’t want, but I’ve unsubcribed from many mailing lists, probably reducing my incoming email by half. 

39) Post 2 to 4 times a month to my Buy Products From France website (1/72)
I may have to scratch off this task and kill my website. Long story short, California just passed a law making me an “employee” (a tax nexus) of companies who pay me online commissions for sales referrals. Apparently the state thought they’d force vendors to collect the online sales taxes they haven’t until now. The real consequence is, vendors are cancelling their affiliates so they won’t have to collect sales taxes. And affiliates are left without income, which they won’t pay income tax on. California will lose a lot of tax revenue but the legislative bureaucrats don’t get it. Amazon was the first company to terminate my affiliate contract and since most of the product referrals on my sites are through Amazon, several hundreds dollars of monthly income are now gone! I don’t see the point of maintaining a website I built for profit if I can’t make money off it. Looks like I just have to find a more significant task, or another website. I love how my state managed to crush my small business and that of 10,000 other people…

As I said earlier, going on vacation helped me cross a number of things off my list:
68) Take two family vacations (1/2) – one down, one to go!

I also found more time to cook and try new recipes:
57) Cook one large family dish every week (7/143)
58) Make/bake one family dessert every week (6/143)
59) Try 10 new recipes (2/10)

When we didn’t cook, we tried new restaurants, so it helped this task:
62) Try 10 new restaurants (4/10)

We took refreshing walks on forest trails. Gosh, I miss it already.
78) Walk in a forest (1/1) – DONE. I want to do it again!

We even found some free time to watch a few movies:
72) Watch one new movie with my husband every other week (6/72)

73) Watch 50 of IMDB’s Top 250 movies (http://www.imdb.com/chart/top) I haven’t seen yet (1/50) (Monsters, Inc.)
I’ve seen a lot of movies on the IMDB list, all of them before I started my 101 in 1001 challenge. The first movie I’ve watched since then is Monsters, Inc. Yes, I shamefully admit I’d never seen it before, even though it’s absolutely hilarious and super sweet. Damn, those Pixar people are good. My only request to them? Stop making movies that make me cry.

69) Make birthday cakes from scratch for every family birthday, including mine (1/15)
I just made my own birthday cake and it has to be the most delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten! You just can’t get anything this good out of a box or at the store. What do you think?

My birthday cake

My birthday cake

75) Pet a dolphin (1/1) – DONE
I was lucky enough to pet a dolphin during a recent visit to SeaWorld with my youngest. This woman showed us that if you keep on pouring water into the dolphin’s mouth, the dolphin will make weird, happy noises and let you pet it. Try it the next time you go, it works! I so wanted to take a photo of the whole thing but was afraid I’d drop my camera in the water, Queen of Klutz me.

81) Visit a botanical garden (1/1) – DONE
We took the kids to the San Diego Botanic Garden this past weekend. I can’t even remember the last time we went there so it was great to go back, especially since they’ve created a brand new children’s garden. The kids had a blast so we’ll have to go back.

90) Drink Diet Coke only twice a week (2/143)
I’ve been struggling with this task. I put it there because I really want to limit my soda consumption. I’ve realized it doesn’t matter when I drink Diet Coke but rather how often. I’ve also tried to replace the soda with ice tea and this seems to do the trick.

If you’re interested in joining this challenge, stop by Sarsm’s Blog for all the details. There are eight of us on board now (we just got two new recruits!), so you’ll get our support if you sign up:

www Wednesdays – July 6, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

I thought my next post would be a monthly update to my “101 in 1001” challenges but I got so busy doing fun things this past three-day weekend, I simply ran out of time. Oh well, at least I know what I’ll be writing about before this week is over.

Lots of great reading this past week. I can’t wait to read your feedback if you’ve read some of the same books.

My bookshelf

The time traveler's wife– What I’m currently reading
The Time Traveler’s Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger. I’ve wanted to see the movie for a while but figured I should really read the book first, so I’m doing it now! I’ve only read the first few chapters and I’m having a hard time putting the book down. Such an interesting concept and way to tell a love story. I can’t wait to see where this goes.

– What I recently finished reading
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. This was a challenging read for me because of the style but I got used to it about a third into the book and really enjoyed the story (and now I’m ready to see the movie too!). This is the story of Mr Stevens, a “perfect” English butler, oblivious to the life going on around him, uptight and emotionally withdrawn. Putting his career and loyalty towards his employer above everything else, Stevens goes through life without living it. Spanning from the early 1930s to the mid 1950s, it’s a great snapshot of England during these trying times. This book is a good reminder that no matter how much pride and focus you can have on your career, there’s so much more to life and we should make the best of it.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom. Now, how ironic is this? I’ve managed to read two completely different books in a row about the same theme: what really matters in life. Just like Stevens, Mitch Albom went through the first 15 years of his career focusing on money and fame, unaware of the void within. That’s until he happens to meet Morrie Schwartz again, his old college professor. Morrie’s life lessons are simple and humble, yet they’ll ring a bell for most of us. Many people chase materialistic possessions to feel less unhappy and empty instead of addressing the real reason for their unfulfilled lives. A great, easy to read book to keep us grounded.

– What I think I’ll read next
At this point, I’m not sure. I have a library book already waiting for me on the bookshelf and I’m expecting a few more soon, but my best friend also gave me a mystery book for my birthday and it looks quite interesting.

My kids’ bookshelf

Hooray for Amanda and her alligator– What they’re currently reading
We’ve re-entered an Amelia Bedelia stage, alternating between Amelia Bedelia and the Cat, Come Back Amelia Bedelia, and Amelia Bedelia Bakes Off. I have a low tolerance level for the whole Amelia Bedelia concept but my kids love the books, especially my oldest, who’s just starting to understand play-on-words and number of American idioms. I personally would love to go back to the Mo Willems books simply because they’re a lot more entertaining!

– What they recently finished reading
Speaking of Mo Willems, we’ve read Hooray For Amanda & Her Alligator! a few times already. This is a compilation of 6 and 1/2 stories and is pure Willems’ fun. My kids’ favorite part? When the alligator tries to chomp on the top of Amanda’s head because he’s bored and she’s too busy reading library books to play with him…

– What I think they’ll read next
Surprise, surprise… Actually, I have no idea at this point but I’m hoping for more great books.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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