Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jumping The Scratch


Most Recently Read Book

Jumping the Scratch

By Sarah Weeks

I really enjoyed this book about a young boy who moves to live with his aunt who recently suffered from a brain injury and whose father moves away.  His mother works nights at the local cherry canning factory so he doesn't see her much.  It's a kind of sad, but very real, story of a young boy and how life is hard for him.  It takes a while for him to come to terms with a traumatic event that happened when he first moved and it isn't revealed to the reader until very late in the book, but it's tactfully discussed and something I think kids can easily relate to. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jordan Walking!!

Here are some of Jordan's first steps!  We are having fun following him everywhere he goes.  We even took him to the mall to walk around.  

I can't believe he will almost be 1 year old!  I am busy getting ready for his birthday party in less than two weeks.  I've been working on his baby album, too.  It has been fun looking back at the last year with him.

video

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Boyfriend List

Most Recently Read Book

The Boyfriend List

By E. Lockhart

If you are a girl and were at all boy crazy in your teen years...you would identify with this book.  It's about Ruby Oliver and her real and not-so-real boyfriends and the drama of her life.  Unlike the many Meg Cabot books I have read, this book doesn't have a happily-ever-after ending, but it does have an ending that seems to me to be very true to real life.  There are parts where this book seems to drag on, and some of the flashbacks and references to the future/current time were kind of confusing, but overall it was a good chick lit read!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Carrie Underwood 2008


Monday night we drove to the NIU Convocation Center for the Carrie Underwood concert.  The band, Lost Trailers, opened for her.  Carrie put on a great concert.  Of course, she sang live on Idol and has sang at tons of awards shows and she has always sounded amazing, so it was no surprise that she was awesome last night.  Her voice is completely flawless.  I was a little nervous that she would just sit on a stool and sing all night...but she didn't.  She moved around a lot on stage and was fun to watch. 
 


My favorite part was her clothes.  I seriously want her wardrobe.  She always looks great and has the most fun clothes.  My favorite was this blue halter top dress...it was Cinderella-esque and she was on a circular platform that lit up the whole skirt.  What girl doesn't want a dress like that?  But wait, here's the best part: after singing a few songs up on the glowing platform...the music got faster and her skirt was totally sucked off her, disappearing into the background and leaving her in a short dress!  It was cool!  I think if Chad and I ever renew our wedding vows...or get married again 50 years down the road...I'm totally gonna go buy a dress that can convert into another dress.  Love it!  Why are there not more occasions to dress up?  Just because I'm too old to go to prom and I've already gotten married, that means I can't wear a poofy, silky-satiny, glittery dress any more?  Who decided this?  


I think Chad's favorite part was just being able to breathe the same air she breathes...and, of course, to be able to see her for an hour and a half straight, minus wardrobe changes.  We have seen her perform before when she toured with Kenny Chesney, but this was a major production.  The speakers and lights were pretty cool.  Chad bought me a t-shirt.  It was hard to pick which one I wanted because they all had her face on the front!  I wasn't thrilled about having Carrie's face plastered all over me, but I ended up choosing one that I thought was cooler than the others.
      

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Most Recently Read Book

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

By John Boyne

This book turned out to be completely not what I thought it was going to be about...but instead an amazingly profound book about the Holocaust.  I read The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak in the fall and it is one of the most well-written books I have ever read.  It is also about the Holocaust.  The Book Thief is written from the perspective of Death.  He tells the story of Liesel, a young girl living in Nazi Germany and experiencing life at that time for a middle/low class German child.  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, is told from Bruno's perspective.  Bruno is a nine-year-old boy who's father works for Hitler.  The author uses Bruno's point of view to illustrate how naive and innocent Bruno was to what was happening all around him.  This book ends up being a really profound and thought-provoking book.  I think it would be especially great to read with a child to open up a discussion about the Holocaust.  I'm not sure if it would make much sense without any knowledge of the Holocaust though...so I'm not sure if you would have to give kids some background first and then read the book and talk more about what is happening in the book.  For sure, this would be a book that I would recommend a child read with an adult in order to be able to talk about it.  It's a great read for an adult, too.  It's in no way graphic...the ending is definitely a shocker...but in a completely appropriate way.  Let me know what you think if you read this!

Chicks With Sticks: Knitwise


Most Recently Read Book

Chicks With Sticks: Knitwise

By Elizabeth Lenhard

This book is the third, and final, book in the Chicks With Sticks series.  I really adore this series.  The books tell the tale of Scottie and the other three Chicks With Sticks.  They're in high school, the knit, and they the best of friends.  This reminds me of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, just enough teen drama mixed in with some boy-craziness and a whole lot of friends helping friends.  Added bonus, it is set in Chicago.  (My hometown, Lake Forest, even gets a mention in this book!)  Definitely Chick Lit at its finest.  

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Take a Step for Kids 5k/10k Run/Walk






Today we ran/walked a 5k/10k with our friends, Laura and Mike Walker (www.chicagowalkers.blogspot.com).  Laura actually ran the 10k...and got first place in her age group!  Her husband, Mike, ran the 5k and smoked me.  I am actually proud of myself and how I ran though.  I averaged about 11 minute miles and finished in 34 1/2 minutes.  I completely understand I am slow but this is the first race I have done since before I had Jordan so I think I did a half-decent job.  I've already planned to significantly improve my time so by the end of the summer I can get a way better time.  Breaking 30 minutes would be good...my best ever was around 27 minutes...that would be my ultimate goal.  I actually found out that there is a running store close by that does Thursday night runs so that might help me get motivated and maybe even get some running tips.  Anyway, Chad and Jordan walked the 5k.  I was worrying about them having to go such a far way just in case Jordan got cranky about being in the stroller for that long.  Chad didn't realize that a 5k would be a long way walking (in his head he was thinking of walking 1 mile).  You know how some things just don't register in your brain?  They made it though!  I was so proud to see my little munchkin head crossing the finish line!  I almost shed a tear.  It wasn't a big race, but it was fun.  I didn't get a picture of Jordan because he was in the car sleeping before the race...but I think Laura has a picture of all of us, so you can try checking her blog.  

5 Things I Love About Races:
1. I feel like a real runner.
2. I feel the running vibe from everyone and just feel giddy about running. 
3. I feel like I'm validating the running I do to stay healthy.  Like, I run and then it leads to being able to finish a race.  I guess it makes me feel like my running has a purpose.  It feels good to accomplish a goal.
4. You get a t-shirt!
5. At the end you get treats!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment


Most Recently Read Book:

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

By James Patterson

I had hugely high hopes for this book...and, for the most part, I was not let down.  It was a little tricky to get used to because James Patterson doesn't do a good job of developing the setting, especially at the beginning, in my opinion.  I think it gets better throughout the book but in the beginning it was hard for me to figure out where they were and where things were coming from.  I love the characters though and now I can't wait to read the next book in the series.  The main character is Max, short for Maximum Ride.  She is a strong, although sometimes vulnerable, female main character.  Her and her 5 "brothers and sisters" have all been genetically tweaked.  Among other special abilities, they can all fly.  There is barely any down-time in this book, there is seriously action around every chapter.  This is the beginning of a crazy adventure as Max leads her flock to save the world.   


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ode To My Hubby


Ode To My Hubby

 My dear hubby is the best,

A great man, he’s not like the rest.

He sings in the shower,

And watches ESPN hour after hour.

I love to hear him laugh when he watches reality TV,

But the best is to see him play with our son, Jordy.

He always takes the garbage out,

And he knows what I’m all about.

He makes me laugh, he makes me smile,

He cheers me on when I run a mile.

Hair cut short and eyes so blue,

There’s no doubt our love is true.

A great man, he’s not like the rest,

My dear hubby is the best.

Our Wild Man

Last night we put Jordan to bed...first of all, I have to say he's angelic when we put him to bed.  Usually we don't hear a peep.  Sometimes he rolls around and talks for a little bit, but otherwise he just go right to bed.  Could we ask for a better son?  Anyway, we put him to bed and then not long afterwards Chad had to go into his room to get something and he came out telling me I had to go see the way Jordan was sleeping.  He is funny because he'll be sleeping on his back and then in the completely opposite corner of the crib on his tummy an hour later.  Last night he was tucked into the side of the crib with his little foot sticking out through the bars in the crib.  Here's an outside view and an inside view.  



Seriously, it just makes me want to crawl in next to him.  My friend, Meredith, says she actually knows people who have/do sleep with their munchkin in his/her crib!  Ever since Chad and my dad got the crib all set up months before Jordan was born I have wanted to crawl in and take a nap in there.  It just looks so cozy.  So far I've been able to control myself.  You have to admit it looks snugglicious.

Shakespeare Bats Cleanup


Most Recently Read Book

Shakespeare Bats Cleanup

By Ron Koertge

I have a student who is really into sports and when I saw this book it intrigued me.  I actually really like this book!  The cool part is that it is all written in poetry but it read like a novel.  The character talks about life: his parents, playing baseball, a new cute girl; but he also talks about different kinds of poetry: haiku, sonnet, couplets.  I'm starting a poetry unit next week and I am totally going to read this book to go along with what we learn.  The best part, it's a super quick read.  I think this book can totally help kids relate to poetry.  Plus...I learned what it means to "bat cleanup" and other fun baseball factoids!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

American Idol Final 7


I know I said I was ready for David Archuleta to claim his title as this season's real American Idol...but I think I might have to change my mind.  Lately I have been really digging David Cook.  I realized I haven't really commented on Idol on my blog and after tonight's performance I felt it was imperative to declare that I believe David Cook actually will win American Idol this year.  I'm thinking it'll be between David Cook and David Archuleta.  My vote I think will have to be for David Cook.  Tonight, watching him, he just looked completely comfortable, he was utterly confident, and...um...hot.  Chad said I was melting into the couch, which I pretty much was.  I dare you to Google it or You Tube it and tell me I'm wrong. 

Uglies


Most Recently Read Book

Uglies

By Scott Westerfield

I had seen this book in bookstores before but I really thought it would not be a book that I would be interested in...then Kayla, the ISU student who was working with me, bought it at a book fair at one of our schools and started reading it.  Once I heard what it was about and actually read the back cover I got interested.  I thought it was going to be a majorly dramatic book, kind of like the Clique books...but it's not.  This book actually reminds me of The Giver, by Lois Lowry.  

In Uglies, the main character, Tally, is an ugly.  She is waiting for her 16th birthday when she'll get the operation that everyone gets when they turn 16: the operation that turns her pretty.  Then she'll be a Pretty.  The book is set in the future where they decided that everyone will undergo a massive surgery at 16 in order to make them all pretty.  Intersting idea, huh?  Except, Tally meets Shay who tries to convince her not to become pretty and runs away to a place call the Smoke where they are against the operation.  Soon Tally is stuck because Special Circumstances won't let Tally become pretty until she helps them find her runaway friend, Tay.  What is the Smoke really like and will Tally want to go back and become pretty after seeing what life could be like without the operation?  You'll have to read for yourself!

It was hard to get used to the entirely strange setting at first, but by the end I was really worried about the characters and hoping it all works out for them.  Now I have to read the next book!  This book is the first of a trilogy...with four books in it, so now I'm anxious to read more. 

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Time Traveler's Wife


Most Recently Read Book

The Time Traveler's Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger

If I haven't already mentioned this...The Time Traveler's Wife is my absolute favorite book.  It is a book I have read multiple times and which still brings me to tears when I read it.  It's a beautiful love story of two people who's lives are completely intertwined.  It has a science fiction twist to it, in the fact that Henry, one of the main characters, time travels.  He just randomly jumps around in time without any decision on where or when he will go.  There are so many reasons why I love this book.  First of all, it's a love story.  The best kind of love story, where love prevails even through any kind of hardship...not only time traveling, but separation, death,  and other people trying to get in the way, just to name a few.  Beyond that, the author's style is just seems to be so easy.  It just seems like she writing about life, it doesn't seem like she's trying hard to be descriptive or that time traveling is anything but a normal occurence.  I just love the way it reads.  I also love that it is set in Chicago.  I love when books take place in a place where I have been or visited.  It makes me feel more connected with the story.  It's so hard to even explain this book, you just have to read it.  

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about time and never having enough time.  This book made me think about time all over again.  Time is so precious, and there just never is enough time.  We just have to enjoy the time we are given.  All the more reason to make every minute of our lives count.  Cherish your loved ones, bask in the sunlight, breathe in the fresh air.  Cheers to, "The world and time enough."  


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Andres Nocioni

Today we went to Gurnee to get Andres Nocioni's autograph.  He plays for the Chicago Bulls.  We have become pros at getting autographs.  We keep the camp chairs in the car so all we had to do was take them in and set up camp in the back of Jewel and wait.  We waited 2 hours be it went pretty fast because they had The Stampede and LuvaBulls there to entertain us.  Here is a picture of the drum players who are The Stampede.  It was pretty loud, but Jordan didn't seem fazed.  He actually really liked it.

Here are Chad and Jordan with two of the LuvaBulls.  Seriously, Jordan is mesmerized by her pom-poms NOT her hoo-hoos as it may appear.  

Here are Chad and Jordan with Andres.  Jordan seemed a little weirded out by this guy, but he makes millions of dollars and is a basketball star so I don't think he can feel too bad about it.

And here I am with Andres.  I got my own personal photo this time...really just because there wasn't anyone to take our picture all together...and maybe a little because Chad got to take a picture with the LuvaBulls.
  

What Is This Leisure Time Of Which You Speak?


For the past 5 weeks I have been working with a senior from ISU who is studying to be a teacher for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, just like me.  Yesterday was her last day and she gave me this to thank me for working with her.  It made me stop and really realize how much I do go, go, go all week.  I try my best to make the most of every minute at work so I don't really have too much to take home and work on.  Some days I barely even have 15 minute lunch.  Every Friday, Chad and I come home and are exhausted from the week.  Fridays are usually our crabbiest nights because we are so tired from the week...but then we have the weekend to relax and recuperate.  I can't imagine a weekend-less life!

I've always thought it would be great to be able to push a button and freeze time.  It would be nice to be able to spend hours watching Jordan sleep or reading or scrapbooking or to even get chores done and then unfreeze time and still be able to go to bed early and be rested for the next day.  Oh well, I've come to realize, understand, and accept that if something doesn't get done today, it'll get done tomorrow.

Similarly, I've always wanted to be able to teleport to where I need to be.  It would be nice not to have to drive 45 minutes to and from work every day.  It would be awesome not to have to put my coat on and get rained on as I go in and out of schools all day.  It would be heavenly to sunbathe on the beach of a Greek isle for the weekend.  I'm not sure how it would work, but I hope a scientist is out there somewhere working on it.  

In the meantime, I'll just keep listening to my books on CD during my endless commute, zip up my trusty North Face to keep me dry between schools, dream of that gorgeous Greek isle, and thank God for blessing me with time-management skills that help me get done what needs to get done in the 1440 minutes I have in a day.  

Pants On Fire


Most Recently Read Book:

Pants On Fire

By Meg Cabot

Another classic love story by Meg Cabot.  This time the main character has boy falling all over her but she finally realizes she isn't in love with them when Tommy Sullivan comes back to town.  I have no idea where she comes up with these stories...she is just hopelessly romantic if you ask me.  If you're looking for an easy read and, of course, a happily-ever-after ending, pick up anything Meg Cabot.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fun in the Park





It has been great weather here and we finally out with Jordan.  We set up the cart that goes behind the bicycle but then we couldn't get the bolt loose on Chad's bike to actually hook it up. Instead, I pushed the cart as a stroller while I ran and Chad rode the bike.  We went around the neighborhood and to the park.  Last year the park was under construction but now we have all new equipment! Jordan got to go in the swing, down the slide, and play in the woodchips.  

We tried go to to the library today but when we got there it wasn't open yet!  It was still a nice walk/run/bike ride.  After dinner we went out again for a walk around the neighborhood.  I put Jordan in the new Moby wrap I got last week.  He really likes it.  It must be good exercise to be carrying around another 25 pounds on my back.  Here's what the Moby Wrap looks like, except mine is black.  

I'm so happy that spring is here!  It's hard to believe that this time last year I was still pregnant with Jordan and almost ready to go on maternity leave. I remember going on walks around the neighborhood because I read that walking might help start labor.  It scary to look back at how ginormous my belly was!  We were so anxious for Jordan to come!  As it turned out he was a week late and I had to be induced.  He was 10 pounds 1 ounce so at least that explains why my belly was so large.  Now, almost a year later, it doesn't even matter.  He made it, he's here, and it was worth the wait!  


Princess Mia


Most Recently Read Book:

Princess Mia

By Meg Cabot

I love the Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot.  I was wondering the other day how many she is going to write...and there are going to be 16!  This is #10, Princess Mia.  From the beginning of the series Mia has been in love with her best friend's brother, Michael.  Now Michael is in Japan working on creating a robotic arm that can perform open-heart surgery and he suggested he and Mia just be friends for now.  Seriously, there are about three e-mails from Michael in the whole book!  In the meantime, JP, one of Mia's friends...is making his move!  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  Now, I'll have to wait and see what happens when the next book comes out! 


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hairbanger's Ball

Saturday night I made the trek to Dekalb to see Hairbanger's Ball at Starbusters with my sister, Jacquie, and April and Tom and their family/friends.  

All I knew was that it was an 80's cover band.  I was thinking "Walk Like an Egyptian" and "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go"...but really they were more "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Warrior".  I still had a really good time.  

Here are pictures of April's and my favorite band member.  The pictures aren't the greatest, he doesn't really have the look to go with the 80's but we weren't complaining.  We were fairly close to the front except for the group of NIU wrestlers who kept pushing their way past us.  I didn't know wrestlers liked 80's music...but in my head I still think of the "Walking on Sunshine" 80's music.  


The ABCs

I was just looking at the blog and thinking I needed to post something other than books...so here's some ABC's about me inspired by our friend Laura Walker.  You can check out her ABC's at www.lauramikewalker.blogspot.com

A: ATTACHED OR SINGLE?

Attached.

B: BEST FRIENDS
Chadley, my mom, Jacquie, April

C: CAKE OR PIE?
CAKE!!!!  Chocolate cake with loads of frosting!

D: DAY OF CHOICE
Saturday and Sunday…even though I can’t sleep in because of Jordan, at least I get to spend time with my boys.

E: ESSENTIAL ITEMS
My phone, bluetooth, a book to read or listen to.  At work, my little notepad where I write down everything I have to do!

F: FAVORITE COLORS
Pink and yellow.  Mostly bright colors.  And, of course, Huskie red and black

G: GUMMY BEARS OR WORMS?

Gotta love the worms!

 Long fat skinny ones, big fat slimy ones…guess I’ll go eat worms!

H: HOMETOWN
Lake Forest, Illinois

I: FAVORITE INDULGENCE
I have an obsession with Coldstone Creamery lately.  I can’t get enough of the Mud Pie Mojo
Big Brother…we have been known to watch all three hours of the After Dark special that airs on Showtime.
  Did I just admit to watching Big Brother?


J: JANUARY OR JULY?
Can I pick June?
  It’s my birthday month, and it’s when school is out, and, Flag Day is in June! 

K: KIDS?

Jordan Blake Vincent, my cute Sugar Pie Honey Bunches of Oats.


L: LIFE ISN'T COMPLETE WITHOUT...
Love.

M: MARRIAGE DATE?
June 26, 2005 at the Bellagio!  Vegas, Baby! 

N: NUMBER OF BROTHERS AND SISTERS
1 sister, 1 brother

O: ORANGES OR APPLES?
If
Chad peels it for me and it’s perfectly-ripe, I love oranges.  I like anything apple-cinnamon and apples with peanut butter, too, though.

P: PHOBIA OR FEARS
I can’t really think of anything I’m afraid of.
  The way I see it, if we let ourselves be scared of all the scary things in the world, we wouldn’t really be living.

Q: QUOTE
”Booklovers never go to bed alone.” –Unknown

 “Nothing is impossible if broken down into manageable segments, stabilized by balance and purified by belief.”…I hope I got that right, my dad used to tell me this all time but for some reason it’s hard for me to remember exactly the right words. 


R: REASONS TO SMILE
I just pre-ordered Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer, the 4th book in my vampire book series!

Jordan is sleeping soundly and went down without a peep.  How lucky can a mom get?

Chad will be home from class soon…and even better, he only has a handful of classes left before he’ll be done with grad school forever!

 
S:SUPERMAN OR WONDER WOMAN

Dean Cain as Superman on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of  Superman from the 90’s.

T: TAG 5 PEOPLE
I’m not sure I even know what this means...here are people I know read the blog!

Chad, Mom, Sue, Laura, Veronica…tag, you’re it!  Everyone can play though, even if you’ve never commented before!     


U: UNKNOWN FACT ABOUT ME
I don’t like to wear socks to bed.

V: VEGETABLE
Lima beans…Chad doesn’t understand this about me, but I remember as a little kid my mom would tell me about the lima bean family: the mom, the dad, and the baby lima bean to get me to eat them.  How can you not love them when you know who they are?


W: WORST HABIT
Picking at my nails at stoplights.  This drives Chad’s crazy.  What else is there to do at stoplights?

X: X-RAY OR ULTRASOUND?
When I think x-ray, I think of biting down on the horribly humongous thing they make you bite on at the dentist.  Who likes that?

I’ll choose ultrasound any day. While I was pregnant with Jordan we had two ultrasounds.  The first one was when he was about 5 or 6 weeks old and he looked like a gummy bear.  And then the second one at 20 weeks when we found our we were having a boy!

Y: YOUR FAVORITE FOOD


Silo Pizza and Chad’s Baked Alaskan Cake

Z: ZODIAC SIGN

Gemini

A Crooked Kind of Perfect


Most Recently Read Book

 A Crooked Kind of Perfect

 By Linda Urban

I loved this book!  It is so cute.  It is about Zoe, who dreams of playing the piano...but her agoraphobic dad gets roped into buying an organ instead!  She ends up learning to play the organ and competing in the local Perform-O-Rama competition.  I love how she goes through 10-year-old drama that any girl can probably relate to.  What really got to me though when her dad is too freaked by all the people to watch her performance and her mom misses her birthday and then almost misses her perform because of her dedication to her work.  I realized how most kids are just so desperate for their parents' love.  Kids can be so forgiving when their parents let them down.  It made me think about how much my parents mean to me and how much I really mean to Jordan now.  I have to say, I did shed a tear at the end.  There is also a little 10-year-old crush just to add a little romance to it all!  This is a great story!