Wednesday, June 3, 2015

August Wells, 22 Months

There are a few moments along the way where I've paused to capture Augy in words, and looking back I'm so happy for those entries.  Well, I'm here to say that August Wells at 22 months is enough to bring me back to my blog.  People say "every stage is the best stage," and first of all, I disagree with that, and second of all, 22-month Augy really is it so far.

He is just so much fun, so much sweet, so much engaging, so much interesting, so much... joy.  He's well-adjusted at the present moment and does not need to engage in as much boundary-testing or tantrum-ing.  All this turns on a dime, but man are we getting it good these days.

A few captures of him lately:

Loves a new pair of pajamas I got him with airplanes on them.  Requests excitedly and often, "Airplane jammies?!"

Responds with an enthusiastic, "Yeah, I do!" to any questions to which he wants to give an affirmative answer.  "Would you like strawberries for breakfast?"  "YEAH, I DO!"

Has a toy Chicago firetruck that was love at first sight and has become his everything.  Plays with it anywhere and everywhere.

Refers to any bumps or falls as "BONK!"  And then says, "It's ok, I gotchu."

Asks me almost daily and with a heartbreaking measure of hope, "Ride train?  Fun."  In other words, taking the L is his daily hope and dream and it's his idea of fun.  And why wouldn't we have fun today?

Has recall of the previous day's or week's events and will talk the next day about things we did the day before.

Is delighted with the fountains that have come on all over the city this summer and likes to visit them, point them out, and talk about them, "fountain?"  We do our best to see them, and it's not hard in this neighborhood.

Tells me about things he finds "fun" or "funny."

Pats us on the back while we snuggle him before bed.  Asks for "squeeze!" while being put to bed, which means he wants the three of us to group hug and then laughs and laughs. ;)

August Wells, you have provided a lifetime's worth of joy for us to feast on in your 22 months of life. Knowing you is our greatest happiness in this life.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Me Before You

Oh, you guys.  How to review this book!  I've been wandering around aimlessly after finishing this read, like I do whenever I'm fresh out of a good book.

This is such a tough one to review, because it's hard to talk about without giving away really important stuff.  I'm being extra careful, since the big stuff was spoiled for me by a bunch of Amazon reviewers, so I'm not going to do that to you.

I found this book like I do most of my books-- by googling "best book club books."  I like the style of book club-y books: quality writing & thought-provoking for starters.  This one though I wish I had actually read with my book club.  It's so controversial and just begs for a book club discussion.

The basic, non-spoiler premise is that a highly successful, wealthy 35-year old man gets hit by a motorcyclist while crossing the street and becomes a quadriplegic.  Meanwhile, a 27-year old woman with little to no ambitions in life but a quirky, bright personality loses her job at the local bakery and lands a new job as the caretaker for the quadriplegic man.  

Initially their relationship is one of mutual dislike and struggle, but it quickly evolves into something quite different.   Will (the man in the wheelchair) is intelligent, interesting, and witty, but also stubborn, depressed, critical, and sarcastic, with some dark secrets.  Lou (the caregiver) is chatty and wears fun, funky clothes, all the while dealing with family drama, relationship drama, and finding out that she's never found her voice in life.

Through the book, Jojo Moyes leads you to believe that Lou is helping Will and changing his life, when in fact in the end you see that it is Will who has changed Lou's.  The title "Me Before You" seems to refer to Lou before Will, but perhaps could also doubly refer to Will before Lou.

I can't make any promises about how you will feel about the book, because like I said, it's incredibly controversial.  But I can tell you that I absolutely could not put it down.
And I absolutely love that experience!

I'm about two seconds away from clicking another Jojo Moyes book into my Amazon cart.

*A few people who I think would like this book for sure (you probably already know who you are!): Aunt Melissa, Ilene, Kim, Kristin, Mom Anderson, & Allie's Book Club.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bringing Up Bebe

Bringing Up Bebe
by Pamela Druckerman

My friend Allie recommended this book to me when she was visiting Chicago this summer.
When Neal & I are with Allie & Joel, we discuss everything.  There's just nothing off limits.  It was only natural that during their visit, some of our conversation included my and Neal's experience of parenting Augy so far and what that transition has been like for us.

Through the course of such conversations, Allie talked about reading this book Bringing Up Bebe and how it was such a fascinating read regarding how the French raise their children.
One of the things Allie told me that was of interest to me is how the French have one national approach to parenting, not a pool of options and theories and approaches and camps and books and "wars."
When I was pregnant, I read next to nil about pregnancy/children/parenting just to escape this overwhelming pool of information-overload, so the French way of "one way" sounded interesting (appealing?) to me.

And that is just the beginning.  Delving into Bringing Up Bebe was profoundly interesting and satisfying for my curious soul regarding all things anthropological.

The book is written by an American journalist who married a British man.  Together they moved to Paris where they started a family.  They noticed French families all around them appearing to have a very different-- namely calmer-- experience of parenting small children than they themselves were having, and so this book is a result of Druckerman's research via observation, interviews, and personal applications in the matter of French parenting.

It is such a blast to read.  I thought it was funny, witty, delightful.  Thought-provoking, sharp, and demonstrative of great research combined with great writing.  It's memoir-style, which I find accessible and enjoyable.

I promise you (most of you?) will find it interesting.  You don't need to be a parent by any means to enjoy this book, although if you are, I'm curious what you'll think of the French's parenting principles; I liked quite a few of them and am trying a few with Augy!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

You Were Never in Chicago

by Neil Steinberg

I got Neal this book for Father's Day as an ode to the fact that our son was born in Chicago and Neal's first year of fatherhood was spent here.

After he of course read it first, I borrowed it for myself.
First, I have to say this book turned out to be a great example of why I really firmly believe a book must be finished!
It took me awhile to get the hang of it.
First half: didn't like it.  Second half: ate it up.  
And that's how it goes sometimes!  I'm glad I didn't miss out on it in the end.

So here's the hang of it that I got:

You Were Never in Chicago is a memoir written by a columnist of the Chicago Sun-Times who has worked at the newspaper for over 25 years.  The book is essentially a collection of stories of the unique experiences he had working in the trenches of reporting and writing in Chicago all these years.
Steinberg tells you about his run-ins with mobsters, the infamous corruption in Chicago politics, neighborhood living, a bit of his love story, Cubs games and museums and all the Chicago things with his two sons, visiting multitudes of manufacturing plants in Chicago as a reporter, going down the Deep Tunnel to see the underworld of Chicago's water and sewer system, and more.

 I'm used to reading memoirs of authors who I'm drawn to and feel a kinship towards.
Steinberg really isn't my type, but come on.  It's Chicago.  And Chicago is totally my type.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Happy Birthday, Augy


My baby, you are 1 today!  How you've taken 2 people's world and filled it to the edges and to the brim with light.  It feels surreal to me that we have a 1 year old, that we are the parents at the birthday party, that I delivered a baby a year ago today (I know, I know, get a grip, right?)  But even while it's all surreal, my love for you feels more real to me than can be.  

From the moment I met you in that dim, windowless delivery room at 4:32am on a Saturday morning, you captured me, heart and soul.  Your chubby face!  The bags under your eyes!  Your beautiful coloring and bright soul.  Everyone says how much you're growing and how fast it's all going and while that is certainly true, I marvel at how it's just been you all along.  Augy, it's always been you.  At 1 year, at 6 months, at 4 months, at 4 weeks, at 2 minutes.  It's been you. 

Handsome. Social.  Happy.  Expressive.  Fun.  Curious.  Smart.  Confident.  Tender.  And hungry.  Mercy, were you a hungry baby.  

I've loved spending every day with you (even though you once broke my nose, my back is threatening to send me to physical therapy with all 26 pounds of you, and breastfeeding was the great villain that must not be named).  Really and truly, my heart cannot hold the love and delight I have over you.  Oh but hold it I will, with all my might for all my life.  I am so proud to be your mama, Augy.  I've never met anyone I like quite so much as you.

I love you, August Wells.  Happy first birthday!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What A Blast

Oh my gosh, you guys.  Second summer read was "Where'd You Go, Bernadette."  This is the perfect, perfect, perfect summer read, and I'm absolutely lost without it now that it's over!  It is everything to me right now.  Funny, witty, interesting, delightful, easy yet not simple, curious, quirky, and just such a blast.  You cannot talk to me lately without having to hear about how much I really think you must read this book.

I'm pretty jealous of you right now, because you have this delightful new book in front of you to read, and for me it's over.  Cannot move on.

Hope your summer is going well!
Where is it going?!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

First Summer Read

"Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone.  Dawn and doom was in the branches."

I finished my first book of the summer, on this first weekend of summer.  Goodness knows it doesn't feel much like summer though lately.  The city has been cloaked in fog and clouds and rain and humidity, and we really have been having a time of watching the skyline take on all types of different appearances with the fog sectioning off parts of skyscrapers and at times making them disappear altogether.

Summery or not, my summer reading list is off to a great start.  The first one on my list was "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston.  It's a modern classic of American Literature, published in 1937.  The book is known for being the "most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature" and also holds a significant place in women's literature.  While those accolades are true, it's not fussy and it's written in a particular African-American voice, much like "The Help," if you've read that book (one of my all-time favorites!).  It's a love story, as well as a story about a woman finding her voice, about community, and about brokenness and living and possibility and change.  I recommend it, certainly.

The very last paragraph in the book will stay with me forever, I'm pretty sure.  Some of my favorite lines I've ever read:

"She pulled in her horizon like a great fish net.  Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder.  So much of life in its meshes!  She called in her soul to come and see."