It's been A DAY.
And by that, I mean that I feel as though I have been hit by a Mack truck which then backed up a good ways and hit me again. And again. And again.
Why is it on the nights that I am guaranteed only six hours of sleep at most, that those are the nights when my children MUST have nightmares and/or ten thousand pee breaks... ALL NIGHT LONG??
In case you're wondering, last night was one of those nights.
Then I got to drive through pouring rain the likes of which I've rarely seen (and that's saying something for this Florida girl, because it rains cats and dogs down there ALL THE TIME) to be a half an hour late to my FOUR HOUR LONG DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT. I love the allergist's office. Yay.
They poked me with red-hot metal pokers for a good long while, roasted me over a spit, pronounced me done, and let me go with a swollen and inflamed arm or two and the happy news that I'm only allergic to pretty much everything in the outside world.
The good news is that I'll get my own custom bubble delivered here pretty soon.
And I'm not allowed to vacuum anymore. I even have a doctor's note that literally says, "Do not vacuum. Have someone else vacuum for you." It's awesome. There's always a silver lining, right?
So after all that fun and excitement I went to grab some food and shove it down like a starving baby chick sucking down regurgitated worms (seriously, I hardly even remember how it tasted)... After which I headed back to my car to discover... A parking ticket! Double yay.
Wait... What??? The last time I parked in that lot (maybe a month ago?) it wasn't a pay-to-park lot. What the heck?!?!?
Then, the icing on the cake.
On the way to pick up the girls (again, in the everlasting RAIN)... The long-awaited day has come. I hit a squirrel.
I've been waiting for it to happen ever since I was in Oregon some time ago and wrote this post.
As soon as I saw him, beady little eyes and fuzzy little tail, I knew it was too late. I think he knew it too. And you know that stomach-jarring lurch that cars make when they hit potholes? Yeah... The back tires did that lurch-y thing. And my stomach with it. Especially my stomach.
And to make matters worse, he was still... *Whisper* Alive. Commence with the squeaking and squealing and crying and all sorts of guilt-ridden whimpering. OH, THE GUILT.
I would've gone all Dr. Kavorkian on him, but I simply couldn't bear the thought of it.
Fortunately for me, my dear friend, the irrepressible mistress of all things Mother Earth (at least mostly), Olivia had this piece of encouraging advice for me: "Oh, don't worry, Kristen, something will come along to eat him soon enough and he'll be put out of his misery."
Um, love you O, but that's not quite as cheering as you might imagine.
When she saw my look, she changed it to, "Oh, don't worry Kristen, you severed his spinal cord and he DIDN'T FEEL A THING."
Um, yeah. Still not all that cheery, but better.
It's been A DAY.
Fortunately, it has been saved by a couple of things:
a) I managed to convince the parking ticket manager that after today's experiences I REALLY DON'T NEED A PARKING TICKET AFTER ALL. Maybe he'll take a flattened squirrel as payment? Although I personally think the mental trauma should be enough.
b) Olivia and I had a very entertaining conversation about old people in thongs after the squirrel conversation. It still has me chuckling. Remind me to share the story of my first-ever experience on South Beach sometime.
c) I got to eat a whole meal by myself while reading A BOOK. That's gotta belong in some sort of world record book or something.
d) I managed to get dinner going in the crockpot BEFORE leaving the house at oh-dark-thirty this morning, so there was little to do other than watch the Daddy rock the gravy and make some rice. Score!
Anyway, this post isn't supposed to be a chronicle of my very-nearly-epically-woebegone day. It's SUPPOSED to be about all the reading I want to share. So here you go!
Last week's adventures rather derailed my book reading, to say the least, so I am nearly in the same place that I was Monday prior, however, I will do an update. Also, I think beginning in the next week or two I am going to start reviewing books that I am *not* currently reading, but have read in the past. There have been a lot of awesome (and some not-so-awesome) reads in the last couple of years that are TOTALLY worth sharing.
I am still working my way through Beatrix Potter: A Life In Nature. Still enjoying it. Still making connections to Charlotte Mason. And still finding it chuckle-worthy often enough to keep me coming back for more.
Something I haven't mentioned before is that this is, without a doubt, the longest non-fiction book I have attempted to read to date, and I will feel it will be quite the accomplishment when I finish it. I am also considering simply purchasing it rather than hijacking it from the library any longer. I like it enough to feel that it would be a good addition to hour home library.
I also picked up another young adult fiction book to preview with KayKay in mind, The Scarlet Stockings by Charlotte Kandel.
The book is about a young orphan girl who is given a mysterious riddle and a pair of magical scarlet stockings. Set around the turn of the Twentieth Century, Daphne's greatest desire is to be a ballet dancer, and through several fortuitous events and a little magic, she is able to become one. However, there are also dark forces at work in the stockings, and Daphne allows herself to make some very unhealthy choices in order to get what she wants. In the process, though, she hurts her adopted family, her closest friends, her fellow dancers, and perhaps worst of all, herself.
The cons first: The writing is a bit under grade-level for the age range I would recommend this book for; there are a couple of scenes where name-calling is found (understandable, given the circumstances, but rather unnecessary); there are some serious backstabbing/envy/jealousy issues in not only Daphne's life, but particularly in another major character's life; there is the whole "magic" thing - although that aspect is almost a neutral for me; and then there is a scene where Daphne goes behind her adoptive parents' backs to do something that she knows she's not supposed to do... And then manages to get things to work out in her favor after getting caught. Ehhhh, THAT really bothers me, but in the author's defense, she does highlight the fact that Daphne is lying and knows that it's wrong.
The pros: It's well-written for the most part; the story flows; the characters are well-developed for such a small book; when wrong-doing occurs it is emphasized as WRONG; the riddle piece is very nicely woven into the story without it feeling forced, or worse, too difficult to decipher; Daphne's adoptive family show her support, love and caring throughout, even when she disappoints them; Daphne learns her lesson, albeit the hard way.
The verdict: Again, I like this book. A lot. And again, I don't know that I will have KayKay read it, at least, certainly NOT YET. There is no doubt that it is firmly entrenched in the "YA" category - I originally had the impression it would be for a younger crowd because of the simplicity of the writing, but the themes are far too mature for KayKay to handle at this point. I would recommend this book for ages 12-14, because of the themes, but the writing is suitable for an eight-year-old, certainly. In fact, the writing style might be a turn-off to some older kids (especially if they are advanced readers), but for an older girl who perhaps loves dancing and is at typical reading level or a struggling reader, this may be a good choice. So if you have a very mature younger child or an older child who would appreciate the subject matter, and don't find any of the above-mentioned cons worrisome, it's a good read.
That's it for this week's books. Hopefully next week will have a bit more substance (and much less drama!). On to links...
In Search Of: SouleMama. Loving SouleMama's post today. Love the inspiration that comes with all her lovely photos!
Treating Motherhood As A Job: To Love, Honor, And Vacuum. I don't read Sheila's blog all the time, and I don't always agree with what she writes, but man, in this post, she totally took me down for the count. She's COMPLETELY RIGHT, and as stupid (or simply naive and uncreative) as this may sound, I've never thought of motherhood in *quite* this way before. And yikes, I'm completely convicted about my total goof-off behaviour.
Thank You, Google, You Rock: Chalk In My Pocket. I discovered this link through The Artful Parent, whose posts I like, but tend to be more geared toward toddlers and babies, and I'm kinda been-there-done-that-have-older-kids... But anyway, this post is truly AWESOME. It's basically an outline of Google's Art Project, which takes viewers into museums around the world and gives them virtual tours. How cool is that?!?!? Think of the art-inspired homeschool possibilities... AHHHHH!!! Creativity overload!
Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman: Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder. Love this post about Whole Foods. It's hilarious. And a bit snarky. And yeah. Just go read it.
Four Common Obstacles To Completing Chores: Unclutterer. I can actually sum this up in one word:
P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-I-O-N, but whatever. It's still a good read.
P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-I-O-N, but whatever. It's still a good read.
The Art of Embracing You: Gathering Spriggs. Oh, Heather, I love this post. It spoke to me, particularly after this last week. Beautiful!
Bookshelf: Planted By Streams. I really like the format of this post. Much like mine, except more picture-y. And less link-y (NOT to be confused with the blog-speak term "linky"). Hmmmm. *Note To Self* Perhaps more pictures are more betterer?
Orthodox Homeschooling Series: Evlogia. See, I knew I liked Katherine! Yet another Charlotte Mason devotee - with six kids to boot - this is a good read! And inspiring for those like me, who are STILL struggling.
Homeschooling Carnival, The NaNoWriMo Edition: Janice Campbell. I haven't had a chance to look at many of these links, but this looks fantastic. And also, who doesn't love the title of this post, seriously?!?!
What You Need From Your Local Yard Sales: TeachMama. While a lot of things on this list are geared toward kids younger than mine, this is a great post for ideas! She lists lots of things I wouldn't normally think of purchasing (or looking for, for that matter!) at a yard sale.
About 1775: Angry Chicken. Oh, I am somewhat-rather-almost-very envious of her mad sewing skills. And how she uses them to tie-in to homeschooling stuff. Utterly inspiring.
And speaking of inspiring... A post with that selfsame word in the title!
Inspired By The Blossoms: Centsational Girl. If you've never seen this site, it's a mecca for do-it-yourselfers. She does some amazing refinishing work... And has tons of easy tips for projects. So fun! And this post is an easy and fun little project that would be fun to do with or without children involved.
Resources For Raising A Challenging Child: Living Power. I have TWO amazing, wonderful, challenging children. Sometimes one more than the other. But anyway. I know that there are lots of other mommies out there just like me in this. This list is not extensive, but it does have some fantastic books on it. Enjoy.
Is God Safe? : Inspired To Action. This post hit me hard, in light of everything that surrounded the Ladybug's surgery last week. I am still challenged by that. This is a good post to do so.
And last, but definitely NOT least...
Kids Uncensored: Single Dad Laughing. This post is hysterical. I was giggling the whole time I read it. Please, go here, read it, laugh and be happy. Kids are awesome. Especially when they say unexpected (and often inappropriate or just plain silly) things!