Tuesday, May 24, 2011

They grow up so quickly

Lolli Turning 7! by radioflyer007
Lolli Turning 7!, a photo by radioflyer007 on Flickr.

Can't believe Lolli is another year older. At the same time, I can't believe she's only seven. The poor girl had to share her birthday with the royal wedding of some obscure prince in England and the largest fundraising event of the year at my workplace.

All in all, she had a great birthday and due to scheduling delays, she had the opportunity to celebrate her birthday over the span of a week!

Yay Lolli!

March and April Books

Apparently I'm a bit behind in reporting books I've read each month. Here's a quick summary of the very few books I've read during the months of March and April (seems I was too busy working a part-time job and vacuuming up dog hair from every nook and cranny in my house.

1. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World (Paul Miller): 4.0/5 stars
2. The Successful Home Business Guide (Wil Limkemann): 3.2/5 stars
3. Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (Erwin McManus): 3.6/5 stars
4. The Teachable Moment: Seizing the Instants When Children Learn (Rebeccca Branstetter) 4.1/5 stars

5. The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother (James McBride): 3.9/5 stars
I think the subtitle of this book succinctly summarizes McBride's autobiography. In my attempt to read more non-fiction this 2011 year, I've enjoyed realizing that biographies, memoirs, and autobiographies are considered non-fiction. This is an amazing story of an amazing woman who battles racism and poverty while raising her 12 children as a single mom. Makes my worst day as a mom of two seem like a walk in the park.

6. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (Barbara Demick): 4.1/5 stars
Demick is an award-winning journalist who puts her craft and skill to work in this amazing book that peeks into the lives of six ordinary North Koreans. The stories of the struggle for survival in this communist nation left me shaking my head in astonishment and disbelief. My eyes welled up with tears when I read about a young teacher who shared about how difficult her job was. The challenge wasn't in unruly children or demanding parents but rather, it was in watching her students starve to death.

7. Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills (Carol Bradley): 3.7/5 stars
Our dog Skye should thank Gracie for this book. Ironically, I read this book while I was really struggling with whether or not to keep Skye (oh, the dog drama in this house is like a soap opera -- it just keeps going and going). Gracie is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was born to produce litter after litter of puppies (two litters a year for seven years). That's probably close to 100 puppies she's birthed before she was rescued. If you've ever been tempted to buy a puppy from a pet store, read this book and you will never do that. If you've been tempted to buy a purebred from a breeder, this book will convince you to do your homework and make sure you're not getting a dog from a puppy mill. The conditions of some of these puppy mills will make you gag and retch and yet, these puppy mills somehow stay in business because there is still a demand for their dogs. This a good read and a good eye-opener to what's really going on out there (and on Craigslist, too).

1. Always the Baker, Never the Bride (Sandra Bricker): 2.8/5 stars
2. The Lightening Thief (Rick Riordan): 4.8/5 stars
3. The Sea of Monsters (Rick Riordan): 4.7/5 stars
4. The Help (Kathryn Stockett): 4.9/5 stars
5. The Titan's Curse (Rick Riordan): 4.3/5 stars
6. The Battle of the Labyrinth (Rick Riordan): 4.0/5 stars
7. The Last Olympian (Rick Riordan): 4.2/5 stars
The kids and I finished the last book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The action and the tie-in of the characters came together nicely in this last installment and while things did wrap up rather neatly, there was still room for more plot lines. We are all looking forward to starting Riordan's next series, The Kane Chronicles.

My next project in the next week or so is to come up with a reading list for the kids. During the summer months, 'Shroom and Lolli devour books and I'm more than happy to read along with them. If you have any recommendations for classics, series, or new books (fiction and non-fiction), let me know!