Friday, January 23, 2009

A Couple Pictures



Cupcake Update

Cupcake is 8 1/2 months old now. She is such a sweet baby! We've started her on solids; so far, she's tried egg yolk, banana, spinach, carrots, applesauce, and yogurt, and even a taste of mild chili, and she gobbled them all up.

She isn't really crawling yet, but she can quickly get wherever she wants by scooting or rolling. She is holding herself way up with her arms, so I think she will be crawling soon.

She says, "Papa," "Mama," "hi," and "bye-bye," and she knows how to wave bye-bye. She also does the sign language for "milk" and "diaper." In our family, we (especially T and D.L.F.) often roar like lions at each other just for fun, and Cupcake has figured out how to roar in her own way when she wants to be in on the action.

Friday, January 09, 2009

I can only hope that he will be as concerned about his own hygiene in about twelve years.

D.L.F. likes to pretend he's grown-up by casually asking T and me to do things (whether or not they need to be done; D.L.F. just likes the asking part).

Today, among other things, he asked, "Mama...couldjoooo [could you]...ummm...put some clothes on Baby [Cupcake]?" (She was just wearing a diaper at the time.)

And, "Mama...couldjooooooooo put on your deodorant?"

Books I Read in 2008: Part 2

Sorry, I'm having issues with uploading pictures, but here are a few more brief reviews of books I read last year.

First We Have Coffee and Papa's Place are collections of Margaret Jensen's sometimes-humorous, sometimes-serious stories about her mother and father, respectively. Many insights about hospitality, trusting God, and forgiveness may be gleaned from these books.

God's Guidance: A Slow and Certain Light, by Elisabeth Elliot, is a helpful but not formulaic book about finding purpose and discovering God's will.

Mother (read it online for free), by Kathleen Thompson Norris, is a sweet story of a young woman trying to figure out what really matters in life.

Before I had my first child, I subscribed nearly 100% to the attachment-parenting school of thought and refused to read On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam because, ugh, put my baby on a schedule? How heartless! Hello, eight months of severe sleep deprivation. So, looking for a new approach when I was pregnant with Cupcake, I decided to at least glance at this book to see if I could pick up a hint or two and was pleasantly surprised to find very reasonable, not rigid, advice on how to help your baby fit in to your family and get the rest he or she needs. The most helpful thing I learned, which I am convinced has helped make Cupcake the good sleeper that she is, is to give baby a full feeding upon waking (not just "snacking" here and there), have some awake-time, and then put baby back to bed when he or she is drowsy but not yet asleep. I think every new parent can learn something from this book.

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, aside from having a goofy title, is a pretty good book. It shows how a woman can rejoice in whom God has created her to be, rather than feeling dissatisfied and unimportant because she is "just" a homemaker.

Maybe it's that I identified with the main character in a lot of ways or just that it's a well-crafted, interesting, short novel, but The Magic of Ordinary Days, by Ann Howard Creel, is a book that has stayed with me. Set during World War 2, it's the story of a learned city girl who finds herself in a marriage of convenience to a farmer and befriends two Japanese sisters at a nearby internment camp, with some unexpected plot twists. (Update 2/6/2008: I just remembered that there is a scene in this book that is rather explicit, so I don't recommend it for young readers.)

The Road of Lost Innocence: As a girl she was sold into sexual slavery, but now she rescues others. The true story of a Cambodian heroine, by Somaly Mam. The title says it all. This is a graphic, heartbreaking book to read, but it's a story that must be told. I'm very glad I read it, even though it was hard to get through.

Anyone who has a sweet tooth will enjoy The Taste of Sweet, by Joanne Chen. It's a whole book exploring every aspect of sweetness--why things taste sweet, the science of artificial flavors and sweeteners, why some people enjoy and crave sweet things and others don't, and more. Fascinating.

The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey, includes lots of good solid advice about getting out of debt and saving for the future. Most of the principles are Scriptural, others not so much. Balance this book with Randy Alcorn's Money, Possessions, and Eternity.

The Sisters of the Quilt trilogy, by Cindy Woodsmall, is not just another same-old, same-old Amish series. It is comprised of three books, When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends, which tell the story of young Amish girl whose family and community turns against her after she is assaulted by a stranger, accusing her of fornication rather than offering her compassion. She is forced out of her community and into the "real world," where she falls in love and studies to be a midwife, but is still tied down to her old life in many ways. These are Cindy Woodsmall's first books. I can't wait to read more by her. Her next book is supposed to be available in September.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Christmas 2008

Monday, January 05, 2009

Books I Read in 2008: Part 1

I'm always on the lookout for a good book. I love seeing what other people are reading, so I thought this list of very brief reviews of the books I read in 2008 might be of interest to someone.

A Life Unburdened, by Richard Morris, is the personal account of a morbidly obese man who got into shape by ditching junk food and switching to traditionally-prepared food, a la Nourishing Traditions.

The Seaport Suspense series, by Kathy Herman, is made up of these titles: A Shred of Evidence, Eye of the Beholder, All Things Hidden, and Not By Chance. Themes of forgiveness and loving one's neighbor run through this series of whodunits. Quick and easy, yet convicting and faith-building, reads.

The Derby series, by Jamie Langston Turner, includes the following books: Suncatchers, Some Wildflower in My Heart, By the Light of a Thousand Stars, A Garden to Keep, and No Dark Valley. Quoting from a post I wrote last February, "Her quality of writing is a couple notches above most Christian's obvious that Turner is intelligent and well-read. Her characters are quirky, which to me, makes them enjoyable. Quite a few of her protagonists are bitter middle-aged women, which is a change from the typical naive 17-year-old female main characters readily found in the 'Christian fiction' genre. All of Turner's books I've read so far have been challenging and thought-provoking."

Angel Unaware is Dale Evans Rogers' (wife of Roy Rogers) sweet, touching memoir of the Rogers' 2 1/2 years with their daughter, Robin, who had Down's Syndrome.

I appreciate Ami McKay's positive portrayal of midwifery in The Birth House, but I wish she could have done it without resorting to excessive debauchery. Not recommended.

Most books for pregnant women have a little bit of information about a lot of different topics, but The Big Book of Birth is exclusively about, well, birth. Erica Lyon leans toward natural birth but is not condemning toward women who choose to or must use drugs or interventions. Lots of good information. A must-read for every pregnant woman (and her husband).

I liked the Scripture-based approach of examining what God thinks about children in Be Fruitful and Multiply, by Nancy Campbell. However (and I don't have the book in front of me now, so I can't reference specific passages), I seem to remember thinking that this book goes beyond what the Bible definitively requires of married couples. Read it, but also make sure to search out for yourself what the Bible does (and does not) say regarding family planning.

Biblical Womanhood in the Home, edited by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, a Christian author and radio host I greatly respect, is a highly encouraging compilation of essays by well-known Christian authors on God's design for women. I got a lot out of this book.

Dwelling Places, by Vinita Hampton Wright, is darker and creepier than I feel Christian fiction should be. The style of the author isn't bad, but there isn't a lot of redeeming value in this book.

Feminine Appeal, by Carolyn Mahaney, is a study of the seven feminine virtues in Titus 2: loving one's husband, loving one's children, self-control, purity, working at home, kindness, and submission. I found this book to be practical, encouraging, and Scripturally sound.

Part 2 coming soon!