Category Archives: Baby

Goofy Monday: an early taste of the teenage years

My kids are familiar with computers, cell phones and the power of the internet, but one thing they don’t have daily access to is an e-reader or some type of electronic tablet. The only type of tablet I have is my Bamboo Create tablet so I can directly draw on my computer. They’ve seen plenty of iPad tablets around, but you’ll see from what happened the other night that they need a little more exposure to Amazon products.

Sounds like Kindle

I took my kids to a monthly school council meeting last week, where another mom also brings her daughter. My kids play with Lego and her daughter usually does homework or read. Eventually all kids end up playing together quietly. As we left the meeting, Son #1 had this to say:
“Hailey showed us how to play games on her kettle fire!”

I present you the Amazon Kettle Fire – it’s boiling hot! I can’t believe the marketing people at Amazon didn’t go for it.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon Kindle Fire

An early taste of the teenage years
Son #2: “Mama, who sings this song?” (listening to the radio)
Me: “Hmm, I’m not sure.”
Son #2: “Mama, you don’t know anything!”
Did I mention the kid just turned five? I guess 5 is the new 13.

Tricking without treating
Son #1: “Mama, look over there!” (pointing at something behind me)
Me (turning around): “What is it?”
Son #1: “Ha, I can’t believe you fell for that one!”
Honestly, I can’t believe I fell for it either, especially because the kids pull that one on me all the time.

I’d share more goofy moments but I think it’s time I got Son #1 back…

The opposite of a helicopter parent

First of all, if you’d like to see some amazing topiary art, hop over to my photography blog. I’m displaying the great topiary I recently spotted at the San Diego Botanic Garden for the WordPress weekly photo challenge’s unique theme. I bet you’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Now, if you think being a helicopter parent is a bad thing, wait till you see what the opposite parent looks like…

My eldest is in first grade and one of his main tasks is to develop and expand his reading skills. I can’t go argue with this exercise. After all, if he can’t read well, it makes it very difficult for him to learn almost anything in school. Fortunately I don’t have to worry about it because he reads well above grade level and loves reading (like mother, like son).

As you can guess, we borrow a lot of books from the library so we never run out of reading materials. His teacher also encourages reading by providing thick storybooks the kids are supposed to read out loud to their parents every night. This activity seems rather voluntary because my son is starting his third textbook while most of the other kids are still on their first one. I personally enjoy these stories because the textbooks are very old and a lot of the pictures are obviously dated. It doesn’t seem to bother my son though.

He got his latest textbook yesterday. It’s called Shining Bridges and it’s a second semester / second-grade level storybook. The book was published in 1965. Yes, almost 50 years ago. Yikes!

Shining Bridges storybook

Shining Bridges storybook

The very first story is about Eddie, a boy who wants a printing press a store is giving away for free (seriously?). When he’s ready to pick it up, another kid beat him to it. He happens to know the girl and offers her to trade the printing press for another toy. Eddie suggests a doll and she accepts his offer. The problem is, he doesn’t have a doll. So he goes to a resale store and finds one that’s pretty beat up but can be fixed. The store doesn’t have a bag for him to put the doll in and he’s embarassed to be seen holding it (sexist boy!). When a group of boys comes close to him, he puts the doll down and pretends to look at a store window. In the meantime, a dog takes the doll away. Eventually Eddie finds the doll again and this is what happens next.

Make sure you read all the words and look at the pictures. Then you tell me what’s wrong with this story.

Eddie, the doll and the baby carriage

The opposite of a helicopter mom

The opposite of a helicopter mom

Did you notice what’s wrong with this story?

Did you notice there was a baby carriage with a baby in it, outside a store, with absolutely nobody else to watch over it? Did you notice the mom was inside the store the whole time this scene happened?

I guess it’s a miracle our parents didn’t all get kidnapped. From helicopter parents to simply absent parents, from one extreme side of parenting to the other, I’m guessing there has to be a happy middle. What do you think?

My favorite books of 2012

I read a lot of books this year, adult and children’s books, fiction and non-fiction, memorable books and others I’d rather forget (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?). It was hard to narrow it down to a few favorite and of course, my choices are very subjective and personal. These are books that grabbed my attention from the first few pages, made me laugh or cry or both, made me think, or made me dream by taking me to faraway places. These are all great books in one way or another.

My favorite adult fiction books of 2012

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

1) The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry
This series includes The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son. I’ll be reviewing the last three books later this week, and in the meantime, you can read my review of The Giver here. Wonderful, wonderful futuristic stories, full of shocking discoveries, adventure, courage, survival and hope. Lois Lowry is a brilliant storyteller and I love the worlds she created. These books are great for young adults (probably age 12 and up), as well as adults, and you can read them again and again and enjoy them just as much. I think that next Christmas, I’ll be asking Santa for these four books so they become part of my personal book collection.

The book thief by Markus Zusack

The book thief by Markus Zusack

2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is another young adult book that is perfect for adults too. This is the only book I’ve ever read on World War II that was told from a German citizen’s perspective. This book really touched me in many ways and will stay with me forever. Just like The Giver quartet, I think it deserves its own spot on my bookshelf. You can read my review of The Book Thief here.

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

3) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I also read Catching Fire and Mockinjay but The Hunger Games was my favorite. I found the novels very dark and gruesome, but well told. Suzanne Collins is not as hopeful about the human race as Lois Lowry but she might be more realistic. Who knows what’s in our future, right? Read my review of The Hunger Games. By the way, I do have The Hunger Games trilogy on my bookcase already.

A dog's purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

A dog’s purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

4) A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Alright, technically I finished reading A Dog’s Purpose last December, but since I read the next book in 2012, I’m including both on this list. I loved these books and I’m not even a dog person. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed and I cried some more. If you’re looking for a feel good story, these two books are perfect. Read my reviews of A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey.

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

5) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Yet another book that deserves a permanent spot on my bookshelf. I have never read such an imaginative book when it comes to the way the story is told. Zelznick tells Hugo’s story by alternating between words and pencil illustrations. Unlike picture books, these detailed illustrations tell a specific part of the story instead of using words, giving a full meaning to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Selznick is a pure genius at illustrating and storytelling. Read my review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

My favorite adult non-fiction books of 2012

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

1) Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
If you’re an introvert, you’ll want to read this book. If you’re an extravert, you’ll want to read it too so you give us introverts a break and realize we’re not a bunch of anti-social people. ;-) Read my review of Quiet: The Power of Introverts here.

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

2) Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan
If you want to learn more about PTSD (post-trauma syndrome disorder) specifically in U.S. soldiers, this story is it. Told in the first person, it explains the various symptoms, the possible treatments (and how our soldiers are taken care of, for better or worse) and how Tuesday, the golden retriever who was about to fail his training as a service dog, helped Montalvan when he himself was on the verge of giving up. The 5 stars by almost 1000 reviewers on Amazon say it all: this is a must read (read my review of Until Tuesday). And yes, this is the REAL Tuesday on the book cover.

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

3) The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
Miller has been a 6th-grade teacher for about 20 years and has discovered, implemented and refined ways to ignite the love of reading in her students. This book is not just a great tool for teachers but for parents too. Read my review of The Book Whisperer.

My favorite children’s books of 2012

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

1) The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson
Well, don’t you know? There’s no such thing as a gruffalo. Or, is there? These brilliantly rhyming books are meant to become children’s book classics. Read my reviews of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child.

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

2) Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed
I loved, loved, loved this book (and damn it, it made my choke up!). This is a beautiful story of loneliness and friendship children and adults will love and cherish. Read my review of Pete & Pickles.

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

3) The Last Basselope: One Ferocious Story by Berkeley Breathed
Berkeley Breathed may be known for his comic strip Opus, but The Last Basselope is a wonderful story about searching for the unknown, finding it, discovering its priceless value and keeping it safe from the rest of the world. Read my review of The Last Basselope.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

4) Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
This has to be one of the funniest children’s books we’ve read this year. When Oliver’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he throws everything up there, including the kitchen’s sink. My kids and I loved the silliness of this book and we laughed about it for weeks. Read my review of Stuck.

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

5) Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen
“I’m going to eat you for my dinner” says the big wolf to the big moose. But that’s before he realizes that Mucky Moose really, really stinks. My four-year old couldn’t get enough of this story and months later, my kids still quote the book. Read my review of Mucky Moose.

Ricky Ricotta's mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

6) Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series by Dav Pilkey
This series gave my eldest his first taste of independent reading of chapter books before he reached the end of kindergarten. He’s since graduated to much longer and intense books but I’ll never forget that this series of books gave him the motivation to read on his own (I wasn’t allowed to read him the books so I read them with his brother). Read my review of Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot here.

Zen ties by Jon Muth

Zen ties by Jon Muth

7) Zen Ties and Zen Shorts by Jon Muth
Muth’s watercolors are simply beautiful and his stories teach children about the principles of Zen Buddhism in a very simple way. Stillwater the giant panda is a wonderful teacher. Read my review of Zen Ties.

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

8) The Rotten Ralph books by Jack Bantos
Rotten Ralph is everything you don’t want your kids to be and so, kids love him! Rotten Ralph is a really rotten cat and you wonder if he’ll ever show kindness and consideration for others. Deep underneath that rotten attitude, Rotten Ralph may actually have a heart and a conscience. This is a very funny series that will make you laugh out loud. Read my reviews of several Rotten Ralph books here.

What books have you read this year that turned out to be your favorite? Anything I should put on my to-read list for 2013?

Meet the world’s funniest dad

I skipped my WWW Wednesdays update yesterday because I’m still reading the same book. Actually, “not reading” would be more accurate. Hopefully, I’ll be done with it by next week and not to a new one.

Boy, do I have something fun to share with you today! I saw this photographer’s slideshow online a couple of months ago and I meant to share it with you then. I got sidetracked as it often happens and forgot all about it until I told a friend about it earlier this week. If you haven’t seen it and could use a good laugh, be ready to laugh so hard tears will flood out of your eyes. And if you don’t laugh, you need to get yourself a real sense of humor.  ;-)

I love how Dave Engledow, who happens to be both a photographer and a dad, somehow decided to poke fun at distracting dads by creating these hilarious scenes with his daughter. You can view Engledow’s full slideshow “World’s Best Father” photos and read more about how his project started here. I’ve selected the few that made me laugh the most, but there are many more where it came from. Let me know what you think, whether you’re a mom, or a dad! I think we’ve all felt like that at some point…

Wouldn’t you like to have a little helper around the house? It’s never too early to learn how to iron!

Teach your toddler to iron! Copyright Dave Engledow

Teach your toddler to iron! Copyright Dave Engledow

Ever wondered if it was a good time to take that shower?

What happens when you try to take a shower - Copyright Dave Engledow

What happens when you try to take a shower – Copyright Dave Engledow

I saved you the best for last…

Reading Twilight at bedtime - Copyright Dave Engledow

Reading Twilight at bedtime – Copyright Dave Engledow

Don’t forget to goview Engledow’s “World’s Best Father” photos here.