February 28, 2007

Boy Books and Girl Books

We checked out and are listening to the Anne of Green Gables books as we drive around town these days, and my seven year old son loves them. I've read before that boys tend not to like stories about girls, but this has not proved true in my son's case. He was fond of Laura Ingalls, he listened with interest to all the Ramona books and he likes Anne Shirley too.

I love reading to my children some of the favorite books of my youth, but I don't want to make my son into a sentimental sissy and I'm afraid my tastes in books tend towards the good, but feminine. It's not hurting him to hear about some girls, I'm sure, but I don't want him to be missing out on something important.

What's good to read to a seven year old boy? We've already gone through all the Great Brain books and all the Roald Dahl books. I just started reading the Henry Reed books to him, but I'm not sure where to go after that.

February 27, 2007

It's Been a Great Five Years

Over five years ago, my husband turned to me one day and said, "I think we should get a blog." And I said, "A what?"

He'd been reading Andrew Sullivan and Instapundit and figured he could blog too. So he signed up on Blogger and started his own little blog. We started out all high brow and foreign policy and current events related, but when Justin left the government job and doing work requiring billable hours, I took the whole thing over.

Unfortunately, because of some trouble with an unreliable host we lost some of the middle blog years, but still five years ago today, Justin posted the first post Curmudgeonry post ever. I didn't write my first post until March 6, when I made fun of Alec Baldwin after having been subjected to one too many viewings of Thomas and the Magic Railroad.

And here we are now...


Now I remember why I never redesign this site. I will say that it has gone more smoothly than usual, but why can't I make the side image disappear from the comments pop-up and why can't I make my title graphic appear when I use a separate image?

I suppose if I weren't so cheap, I could sit back and let someone else figure out these mysteries. But blogging is not so dear to me that I want to pay for it, so I'm stuck with banging my head against the desk and figuring it out (or ignoring the problems) on my own.

But anyway -- hope you enjoy the new look, flaws and all.

February 26, 2007

It's All Fun and Games Until Somebody Eats a Booger

All of my children have the unfortunate habit of being nose-pickers. The oldest has been known to wipe them on the wall next to his bed, as we discovered when we painted his room. I'm not sure what the four year old does with hers. I try not to ask.

Yesterday, the two year old ran up, finger protruding with a newly discovered treasure. "Look Mommy! I found a booger!"

"That's great. Can I wipe it off onto a Kleenex for you?"

"No. I'll just eat it. [lick]"

"Um. We don't eat our boogers."

"I do. I like them."

Who needs tasty, nutritious and delicious meals any way?


Justin and I finally got our hands on one of the library's copies of the third X-Men movie this weekend. It was awesome and not just because Wolverine is dreamy. I'm not a comic book person, I've never read any X-Men comics at all, and I don't usually like action movies or movies with 'splody things in them -- but all three of the X-Men movies have been great. Good stories. Good acting. Plain old fun to watch.

February 22, 2007

An Explosive Situation

Once again I pondered, "Why did I teach that kid to read?"

I was walking down the stairs into the kitchen yesterday after putting the two year old in bed for her nap, when I was greeted with, "Mom, do we have any tall bottles and where do we keep the food coloring? We're making a volcano."

On the kitchen table sat my two older kids, along with the baking soda and the vinegar. Distinctly lacking was anything like a cookie sheet that might catch the explosive mess, of course.

They'd been reading one of the many books we have on science experiments and had decided that a volcano was just the ticket to an afternoon's excitement. How fun! How thrilling!

I'm glad I got downstairs before they decided to start the bubbling process.

February 21, 2007

I'm Consistent

A while back, I took the quiz as to which Classical Heroine I would be and came out as Elizabeth Bennet. Apparently, I'm perfect for myself, because in the Classical Hero quiz look how things turned out:

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy

You are Mr. Darcy, considered by most girls to be the ultimate match. Rich, noble, handsome, generous, dark and withdrawn, you are satisfied with your life until you meet the witty and intriguing Elizabeth Bennet. Finding yourself head over heels in love with her, you propose, only to be shocked when she refuses you. Realizing that you have not been fair in your actions (you separated her sister from your best friend) you set about to make matters right, even though you fear you have lost her forever. However, unbeknown to you, Lizzy herself is having a change of mind and your story, like most romances, will turn out happily in the end.

Which Classic Hero are you?

February 20, 2007

Suffering for the Children

I'm still congested, headaches, and I think the crud may be turning into bronchitis, but once I can go pick up the Z-pack my doctor called in, perhaps the nastiness will all go away.

But just to let you know how much I really, really suffer for my children -- because we're studying ancient India in history right now. I forced myself to make curry for them last night. Sigh. What a terrible burden.

While I was slaving away at the stove, I said to my son, "You know that Hindus are vegetarians, right?" He replied, "I know, but can we please have some meat in our curry?"

Book Meme

I saw this at Melissa's and thought I'd play along. I don't know where this list comes from, so one wonders how the books on it were chosen. It's a pretty eclectic assortment.

Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, underline the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk* the ones you’ve never heard of.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)*
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)*
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)*
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)*
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees* (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)*
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)*
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)*
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)*
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)*
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)*
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)*
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)*
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)*
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)*
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)*
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) (At least I've started this book more than any other book. I have never made it all the way through.)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)*
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game(Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)*
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)*
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)*
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) (hated it!)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)*
73. Shogun (James Clavell)*
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)*
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)*
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)*
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)*
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)*
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)*
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)*
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)*
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)*
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce) (I read Portrait of and Artist. I've suffered enough.)

February 19, 2007


I have either a cold or a sinus infection. I'm still wearing my pajamas and so are some of the kids. All I've managed to do today is feed the little blighters, finish reading The Enormous Egg to them and photoshop a picture of Terry.

February 14, 2007

Selective Memory

How come I remembered that I was out of brown sugar twice in a row (meaning I have one more bag of brown sugar than I need), but I keep forgetting that I have no baking powder?

And why didn't I check that I had all the ingredients before I started making muffins?

Fortunately, I found this substitution. I hope it actually works okay. Though, again, I wonder why I happen to have Cream of Tartar -- something I don't think I've ever used.

Update: The substitution worked just fine. The muffins were properly puffy and edible.

It is a Truth Universally Acknowledged...

Elizabeth Bennet

Often called Lizzy, Elizabeth is the heroine of Pride and Prejudice. The second eldest of five sisters, she is witty and intelligence, though her prejudice prevents her from recognizing her true love when he appears. However, Mr. Darcy, though he appears proud, wins her love and respect, but not before she believes she's lost him forever.

Which Classic Heroine are You?

From the fair Melissa

I Must Be Getting Old

The Red Hot Chili Peppers were playing as background music while we were out shopping the other day. While I must admit that I actually owned a Red Hot Chili Peppers tape at one point in my life, I think we need a campaign to bring back more Sinatra elevator music.

Sign of the Times

Yesterday the two year old was playing with the baby monitor. When we started to take it from her, she objected, claiming, "No. I'm listening to my iPod."

February 13, 2007

House Cleaning and Packing

That's where I've been for the last week. Last Monday or Tuesday our real estate agent called and asked if, although our house isn't on the market, if we'd be willing to show it over the weekend to a house-hunter coming in from out of town.

Of course we were, and what followed was a week of frantic house cleaning and packing. Fortunately, we'd gotten a Mobile Attic storage container delivered to the back yard a few days before, so we actually had a place to stick the stuff we packed up.

Our house has never been as clean as it was on Sunday when the buyer came through -- not even when we had it on the neighborhood home tour last April -- then I didn't let people look at my closets or bathrooms. But we didn't get an offer.

That would have been too good to be true, I suppose. I'm sorry to have not gotten the place sold without even having to list it and go through open houses and the like, but apparently the buyer wanted an old house she could muck up remodel into something modern. Our house is already not particularly pure and untouched, but it still maintains a lot of the character and feel of an older house and I would sort of hate to see someone come in and transform it into something really modernist. So I'm not particularly broken hearted that she didn't buy it.

The good news is that we're farther along towards being ready for listing the place than we would be otherwise. The bad news is we still have to paint.

February 07, 2007

And When They Don't Play Nicely...

The stories of my children not playing nicely could certainly fill as many volumes as the happy stories, but they are usually best left forgotten.

Once in awhile, it is more fun to write them down. Today, I was cooing over the baby, and I said to the four year old that her little brother was so sweet, we really should keep him. To which she immediately replied, "Oh yes. Let's keep him and sell The Seven Year Old!"

February 06, 2007

Yukon Ho!

Today was not as cold and snowy as some of the previous days have been, but today the kids decided it was time for an expedition to the Yukon. The seven year old and the four year old packed up clothes for a two day journey, loaded up their sleeping bags, and the seven year old made pb&j sandwiches.

Then the four year old had to take nap. While she slept, the seven year old and I went over the map and he had realized that he actually couldn't really travel to the Yukon -- (a) I wouldn't let him walk off by himself with his little sister (b) It would take a lot longer than the two days he had planned to walk there (c) Seven year olds aren't allowed to cross international borders by themselves. So when she awoke, they headed out to the much more accessible Yukon of the back yard.

There, they spread out their sleeping bags, picnicked on sandwiches, put the wild bear in the house so he wouldn't eat their sandwiches and called us multiple times on their walkie-talkie to assure us of their safety and ask if it was time for dinner yet.

When they play together nicely, it is a joy and a pleasure.

February 02, 2007

I've Been Holding Out on You

Well, not really because the posts over there are almost identical to what you've seen here, but I have my very own houseblog for all things Purple House related.

Can I really maintain two blogs? I'm doubtful, but who knows?

February 01, 2007

Ask and You Shall Receive

Since the public (or at least one lone honorary aunt in Texas) demands a photo of the baby, here you go. As one can see, he's growing nicely, smiling sweetly and obviously a fine specimen of babyhood.

For more pictures of the family, you can visit my Flickr account.

Somewhere in the Middle of the Indian Ocean

That's where I'd be if I dug through to the other side of the world.

(via This Classical Life)