Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Many, many people said I should read this book. They’ve been telling me this for years, and now I know why. I suspected that I would feel sad when I reached the end of this book, which is why I put it off for so long.

I’ve learned, though that it really isn’t the case at all. Let me tell you why.

Morrie Schwarz, a Brandeis University sociology professor has an extraordinary personality, and a debilitating, life ending, disease. Mitch Albom, the author, had developed a friendship with Morrie while attending the school, but after graduation, despite his promise to keep in touch, moves on with life, always reaching for the next big thing.

He happened to be channel surfing one night when he saw his old professor being interviewed by Ted Koppel on Nightline about what it was like to be dying of ALS (also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease). This leads him to get in touch with his old professor, and they strike up their friendship again. Albom visits Morrie every Tuesday (“We’re Tuesday people,” Morrie had once told him, p. 52), always coming armed with food, and each week, Morrie manages to impart some facet of wisdom that seems to be so common sense.

Morrie spent his life listening to his heart and doing what was right for him, rather than playing by societies rules. When all is said and done, we will be remembered not by our bank accounts or stock portfolios, by by the time we spent listening to a friend or helping a family member.

There are some amazing quotes to be pulled from Alboms book, some of which I plan to use as personal mantras: “The truth is, you don’t get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives satisfaction? … Offering others what you have to give.” (p. 126)

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” (p. 52)

This book is a must read for anyone, young or old, male or female. I don’t think this book will necessarily appeal to any one group in particular. But it’s definitely worth every minute of the short time it will take to read it.


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Recently, I was selected to review another DVD by It’s Hip Hop Baby! I received a copy of Hip Hop Dance Class, which is geared towards kids ages 5 and up.

My daughter, who is 2, could hardly wait to get the wrapper off it, because she recognized the logo right away, and she LOVES the other video we have! We popped in the DVD, and she was off! She didn’t quite understand all the things they were trying to teach, but boy, she sure wanted to! I found myself getting up and dancing with her, which was great for me, and the routines were easy to follow.
I definitely thing the age rating of kids over 5 is appropriate, because Hannah, though enjoying the idea of dancing along, didn’t quite get the concept of how the video worked. It was awesome for me, though, because it was a great way to get me up and moving with her!
As it says on the It’s Hip Hop Baby blog: “Whether you have two left feet or loads of thythm, mastering the hottest hip hop dance moves has never been easier! Hip Hop Dance Class features the best step-by-step instruction for every child at every level. The video teaches three different levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Plus, there’s cardio hip hop, freestyle dancing and kids even learn how to clap and step to the beat.” This is a great description of the movie! Hannah tried to keep right up with the kids on the video, and she had a lot of fun doing it! She kept saying “Mommy, look at me! I’m dancing!” And she was! It was so exciting for her to be able to dance like a big kid! 
I would thoroughly recommend this DVD to anyone who has kids that love to dance! It can be purchased online for $14.98 through the It’s Hip Hop Baby website.

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Creating your own art at pottery painting studios

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Okay, it’s been a really long time since I’ve done an actual blog post. I spend a lot of time working on my writing for Examiner.com that I find myself neglecting my blog a lot. It’s kind of sad, really. But the writing for Examiner has been going well. I’ve also been doing some freelancing for Parenting NH magazine. I had two articles published in the spring, and will have a third published in October.

John is back to school now. He had three teacher days last week, and will start with his students on Tuesday. One more day off tomorrow, then he’s back to a relatively normal schedule, holidays aside. He’s been busy with gigs and lessons this summer, but the fall will slow down his performance schedule a bit. He’ll be picking up some new students this fall, which is exciting.

We did some projects around the house this summer, like power washing the house, staining the deck and ripping up (two!) linoleum floors to tile the kitchen, which looks fantastic. We still need to lay the decorative tile we’re going to put down between the kitchen and living rooms, and then the project will be done.

Hannah is growing and changing every day, which is really fun to watch. She’s starting to talk a lot and is using to “use her words.” We’re still attending moms group at Frisbie Hospital on Wednesdays, but that will change after she turns two, because she’ll age out of that group at that point. We’ll look into going to a story hour at the library at that point, as well as going to play groups with Little Sprouts, which she can stay in until she’s 5.

I never got the chance to post her 18 month photos, so I will put them up here:

I’m hoping to start finding some time to get out and do more “adult” stuff on my own too. I joined a knitting group that I haven’t gotten to go to once yet, and would love to get there before the end of the year! =) I’m also hoping to maybe join a book group, but I’ve got so many books I want to read before I get to do that! I’m currently reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer, and before that I read the entire Twilight saga in 8 days (also by Stephenie Meyer), and I have read Lucky by Alice Sebold, The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood, and The Shack by William P. Young, all of which were excellent books. I’m re-reading the Twilight saga as well, but now that I’m on the 4th book again, I’ve sort of put it back on the back burner so I could get through the rest of my “to read” list. I want to re-read the Chronicles of Narnia for fun, and I want to read Crime and Punishment because I found it at a library book sale for $1. I’ve also got a copy of Memoirs of a Geisha that I’ve been looking forward to reading too, and I’ve had my eye on Unconventional by J.J. Hebert.

I guess that’s about all from here. Hope to start getting into posting more often again, now that we’ll be back in our routine!

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Have you ever gone back and re-read a book you loved as a child only to find it incredibly disturbing now that you’re an adult? Like The Giving Tree, for example: a terrifying tale of self-sacrifice or a reassuring story of maternal love?

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This question is actually incredibly disturbing to me. Having a 9 month old, I spend a lot of time reading childrens books to her, and a lot of the time, I don’t take them in “that way.” I think a lot of the problem comes from the general society we have now and the fact that it is acceptable to come up with things that may not intentionally be there in the first place. I think, as a whole, we need to have a reason for the way we act, and now we can blame it on the books: “The Giving Tree made me do it!”

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So, I found an article in Parents Magazine that I thought I would share a section of. Part of the reason I’m sharing it is because it made me feel a lot better about some of the negative things I had been feeling since coming up to the end of my pregnancy. These are some thoughts people have had and why they are considered normal, according to the latest issue of Parents Magazine (p. 66):

” ‘Almost every mom-to-be has mixed feelings about having a baby,’ says Lucy Puryear, M.D., author of Understanding Your Moods When You’re Expecting. She told us the negative emotions women normally experience when they’re pregnant – but are afraid to talk about.

” ‘I hate being pregnant!’ Morning sickness, fatigue, and other uncomfortable symptoms can make some women resent those nine months. But you shouldn’t feel guilty. ‘Just because you don’t like everything that goes along with your pregnancy, that doesn’t mean you aren’t really excited to be a mother,’ says Dr. Puryear.

” ‘Will I be a good mom?’ It’s not just first-time moms who worry whether they’re up to the job of raising a child. Even if you planned to have more kids, it’s still normal to wonder whether you can handle a bigger family once you get pregnant again.

” ‘I don’t look like myself.’ Freaking out about your expanding stomach doesn’t mean you’re vain, says Dr. Puryear: ‘We’re used to having control over our body, and it can be hard for some women to give up a little of that control during pregnancy.’

” ‘What if my labor is a nightmare?’ Most women are nervous enough about giving birth (How painful will it be? What if something goes wrong?), but friends, family, and even strangers can send your anxiety level into overdrive. ‘As you get closer to your due date, people feel the need to tell you the worst delivery-room tales!’ says Dr. Puryear. It’s mystifying and rude – and irrelevant. You never know what giving birth will be like for you until it happens. Remember that most of the time, everything goes well.”

So, now that I’ve read that, I feel much better in knowing that I’m not the first woman on earth to not be totally thrilled with my entire pregnancy, and that it’s okay for me to want it to be over and done with (and not just for the benefit of being a mom after the fact).

Moving on:

Saturday morning we spent about 3 hours at the hospital because I was having terrible back pain, but no contractions. I also thought that I might have been leaking some amniotic fluid, but nothing really panned out. I was barely dilated still (only about 1cm – the width of a finger tip), and only about 20% effaced, which is definitely not going to get me anywhere with having a baby, since you have to be 10cm’s dilated and 100% effaced. They ended up sending me home with exactly what we thought – back pain. *sigh*

Last night John and I went to the movies with our friend Andrew and saw National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. If you saw the first one, the second one was much the same idea, and very enjoyable! As usual, the first is pretty much always better, but the second one was still really enjoyable too. I’m looking forward to going to see Narnia: Prince Caspian in May. I should probably re-read that book, since I don’t really remember it. I’ve read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe several times, but Prince Caspian only once. There are a few other things that are coming out that I’d like to see also, but I don’t think John has any interest in them. I’d like to see Atonement, and I wanted to see August Rush, but that’s not in theaters anymore. I’d also like to see I Am Legend, which I keep hearing is really good, but has some scary parts. We were lucky in that we got a gift card to Smitty’s in Sanford for Christmas, as well as a coupon book that has coupons for the movie theater in Portsmouth in it – tickets for only $6!

John is home on a snow day today, which is nice. Not that we really do much on those days, but it’s just nice having him around for an extra day 🙂 Of course, it really throws me off on days of the week. Now I keep thinking it’s Sunday again, and it’s not!

Knitting has been keeping me busy lately. I should put up some of the photos of things I’ve been working on lately, since they’ve all been resized in order to put them up on Ravelry. I don’t know if people can see my profile or not, but I’ll put the link to it also.

(Above) This is the scarf I made for John’s sister for Christmas. It is made of Berroco Pure Merino. I was happy with the way it came out!

These are the mittens (above) I made as a Yankee Swap gift. Unfortunately, I don’t think they were as big a hit as I had hoped…. They were made from Lions Brand Wool Ease Chunky.

These (Above 3) are things I made for the baby. The hats are the “Baby’s First Hat” pattern from Blue Sky Alpacas and the booties are a pattern that I found online. They are all made from the Blue Sky organic Cotton.

(Above) This is my “Jiffy Beret.” I made it for me, because I don’t knit things for myself all that often. However, I tried to knit one for my mom, and it didn’t come out all that great, so I am considering giving her this one, and I can make myself another one that is a little “slouchier” *grin*
(Above) Another Blue Sky Alpaca pattern – This is the hat from the “Three Piece Baby Set” pattern. I like the way it came out, more or less, though I had some issues with the decreases. Also, I would like it better if it were knit in the round, instead of on straight needles with a seam running up the back. I feel like the pattern could look a lot cleaner that way, but until I figure out how to adapt it, this will have to do! I’m also working on the blanket from this set, but have no photos of it as of yet, because it’s not very far along.

I also want to take a minute to share some photos of some things people have knit for me for the baby. I got a great baby sweater from Laura and some adorable bibs from Tina! Since I can’t get our Yahoo! Group to put them in the album – some issue I’m having with my ISP talking to Yahoo! – I figured I’d put them here so people can see them!This is the sweater from Laura. Her words on it: “The baby sweater was made from Debbie Bliss Cashmerion dk (I’m so sorry, I thought I put a ball band in the package!) and it’s the Crossover Jacket in her book “Simply Baby”. I modified the closure a little bit though (not in the knitting of it just in how I finished it).”

These are the bibs from Tina. They are so cute!

I think that will do for now with all of my latest knitting endeavors. I’m not sure what else I have to share, since I feel like my life is an open book these days! Hopefully later this week I’ll be back to put up pictures of my new little one in some of my knit creations, but until then…

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This past weekend…

This past weekend was great! Saturday, my dad’s side of the family threw a family party/baby shower for John & I, as well as my cousins PJ & Gail who are expecting their third baby. Mostly, we got Babies ‘R’ Us gift cards, and that’s great! We were able to afford to buy a travel system stroller/carseat we wanted, so we bought it last night! I’m really excited about it, that will be great, and the help to afford it was awesome. You can check out the stroller we chose here.
I’ll be putting some photos up online soon of the showers, but I’m kind of holding out until all the showers are done.

Sunday, some of our friends threw us a really nice baby shower, that I know probably took a lot of time to plan. We got some wonderful gifts from them and we are very grateful! We have such great friends to do something like that. Some of the things we got are just going to be nice to have, whereas some of the things are things we really needed – like a Boppy pillow and a mini diaper bag. One of them gave us a gift card to Target too, which I KNOW will get used. In fact, I plan to use it this morning on something that is on our registry, so that will be great! Then, we have one friend that gave me a gift certificate to an actual spa that is good for any service. Of course, there is a dollar amount, it’s not good for anything, but a dollar amount towards any service I want. I’m pretty sure I’ve got what I want all picked out already 🙂 He also just gave us some cash to put towards something for the baby. Thank you again to all of you guys.

We are lucky enough to have another shower being thrown for us on December 2nd, which will be great! I’m hoping for more Target gift cards, since that is where we do more of our shopping, but mostly that’s just because it’s much closer to our house than the closest Babies ‘R’ Us.

John and I also went and splurged on some new video games this weekend! It was fun – we got Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance and started a two person campaign last night. I think I’m really going to enjoy the game, so far I’ve really liked it! We played for about 2 hours yesterday, and we’ll probably play a lot more during our down time this week, so that will be fun. It’s nice to have a game that we both can play together, not just one at a time!

I hope everyone else had a great weekend too! I will check in again probably on Wednesday after my check up!

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