27 April 2011

Family Time and Easter

My parents were in town for two weeks. And they left today - actually they are in the air right now, to another American airport where they switch into an aircraft that will carry them across the ocean..... it will be a long day for them. So I am praying for safe travels.

For us, it means an empty house! For a few days, until the other grandma comes to town.

So I am back to the blogging world and I have a few posts in mind.

How was our Easter? Well, not as religious as we are used to. Having my parents around is not always easy, especially because they are not Christians, and hate the fact that I am one. But I don't want to get too much into that in this post, because I think, no matter what, they actually did pretty good this time. Not too much fighting and the kids were great with them. I still got a ton of (unwanted) advise of how to live my life, but I can shut my ears and brain off while they are being brought up....

We did our family Easter hunt on Saturday. Yes, only Easter hunt, because most of the stuff were gifts not just eggs. We hid our stuff in the backyard, and my parents hid their stuff inside the house. Coqui had a great time hunting and Peanut was just Miss Observer. I don't do Easter baskets because, personally, I think it's boring. When I was a kid, we had to 'hunt' for all our stuff in my grandpa's garden. It was fun and I have some fond memories of it (as well as some goofy pictures that I won't show here!).  We went out to eat for lunch and made a special dinner at night. On Sunday, we went to church and after church, they had an Easter egg hunt for the kids there. Those eggs contained candy, and Coqui did get quite a lot of those. The Hubby took off from work on Monday and Tuesday, so he could spend some time with us all. We didn't do anything special but hanging around the house due to the kids being sick.... but it was relaxing, and he needed it.

So we had fun and created some memories for the kids - I believe that is the most important. Hope you all had a great Easter as well. I will post some pictures soon....

12 April 2011

Before I had kids, my kids were perfect

I went blog-surfing the other day, meaning going from one to the next and so on.... just reading. And I had found a post that was titled something similar to mine, and I thought to myself that is so very true. I mean we all had those perfect children before the actual kids came around....
  • they always listened to Mami and Daddy
  • they ate all their vegetables and fruits
  • they slept through the night
  • they cleaned up their toys, dishes and clothes, always
  • they never talked back or disobeyed
  • they never got frustrated (with me)
  • they never argued with each other or the parents
  • they never used a binky (pacifier)
  • they would be out of their diapers before hitting two years of age
  • they never got dirty, or ate like pigs, wouldn't play in the mud, or eat sand
I am sure you get the idea! They were just perfect!

Just like your kids, too!

But how does life really looks like now? Well, compared to those thoughts from before, it's more like a disaster! Really. They did not sleep through the night the moment they were born. Coqui did it on his own after four and a half months of interrupted sleep. Peanut was a little better, it took her only six weeks to figure out that Mami needs some sleep too. Since then, I do wake up, either because Coqui comes in the bed and wants to sleep with us, or something else happened. Thank God, Peanut has stopped doing her two-hour screaming sessions!
They do eat fruits and vegetables, they do. There were times when they ate all of it, then it changed and it's only a few. Coqui had come to a point where he didn't want to eat any, but now I get him to try it again and again, and he adds maybe a vegetable per month. Peanut is always been great around both, veggies and fruits, so no complaint there.
They do argue, they do fight, they disobey, and they are strong-willed. But it does feel like I am having it under control. There are some disciplinary measures that we take as parents, and so far they work.
My kids are great cleaner-upers! Meaning, Coqui is really good, and Peanut is catching up with him. Actually, I am somewhat proud of how well they are doing it!
They love to play with dirt, Peanut more than Coqui, and they love to make noises while eating. It is just something that I will have to live with for the next few years. They are little human beings that are trying to figure out the world, so I let them (mostly).
I don't even want to talk about the binky, but oh well, they exist and it happens.... Coqui's was taken away at five months, the best way to do it: cold-turkey! He cried for ten minutes and never asked for it again. Peanut on the other hand loves hers and I am not sure when I will take it from her.... but she is only allowed to have those things in her bed, so for nap and bed time.

Parenting is just something you have to figure out on the job! One can plan as much as one want, it will NOT happen the exact way. They are little creatures with their own little mind and character, and I am not a dictator but a mom who simply wants the best for her kiddos!

What about your kids (if you have any)? Are they angles, too?

11 April 2011

"Those Who Save Us"

This is another World War II book - I am not sure why I ended up reading three of those in a row.... really, not sure!  But it is a great book. "Those who save us" by Jenna Blum, an historic novel, 'powerful first novel told in two narratives', alternating between the present-day story of Trudy, daughter of the second lady, Anna, and the past during WWII, when her mother, Anna, lives in Germany. It's a gripping story of German life surrounded by the Nazi, the resistance by some of those Germans, and the fate of the Jews. The author does a great job in depicting the awful hurt of those who suffered some kind of trauma, back in those days.

Here is the link to the book on Amazon.

When I am on Amazon, I always have to check out the bad reviews, you know, those who only gave one point - when five points is the highest. I want to know why they thought it was a bad read - when I thought it was a good or great book. So I have to say to those nine people that didn't like the book: I hope you are old enough to judge like that!!! Because if you are American, and you have not lived through a war, then just shut up! Yes - keep it to yourself. No, I did not experience a war in my lifetime in my country, either, but my grandmother did and she told me enough. I lived in Germany, a country that was broken by the war. Shaken to the ground by what happened to it. And even 50 years later, I experienced hate first hand! So don't tell me, that the story is not believable because it couldn't have been that bad.... Are you kidding me? Really? Why don't you ask someone who has been in a war, and see what they tell you! America hasn't fought a war on their territory since the civil war, so all (!) of the civilian have NO idea what it is like.

So I think that the book is telling how it was and how it could have been for that woman, or any other woman. When you read other books from WWII, they tell you a similar story, or worse. And from what my own family told me, it really was like that. Starvation, hunger, fear, and the trauma of having seen something you shouldn't have, all make you do irrational things in order to survive.

I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Keep Reading.

I linked up with a new website I found, and I really want to get in the habit of following with them. It's called "What's on your Nightstand" (the link is here) and I entered this book for the month of April here.

07 April 2011

Update: Three Cups of Tea

Being Blessed: Three Cups of Tea

I added a comment to the book review. You can check it out if you want....

06 April 2011

"The Wave"

I know, my "monthly" book review has turned into more like a weekly thing.... but I love reading and lately I have done so alot and I just want to share a good read when I stumble upon one....

Here is a book that I had to read for my English class, like twenty years ago.... When I took a history class about World War II in America, I remembered the book and did a book report on it.

So without further ado, here is the book: it's called "The Wave" by Morton Rhue. The link to the Amazon site is here - it's not the same cover I have, but my book is much older and bought in Germany at the time.

Very shortly, I want to describe what happens in the book, a fiction by the way, but based on a true story that took place in a Palo Alto (California) high school in 1969. A history teacher is showing a movie about the Nazis' persecution of the Jews during World War II. The students wonder how this could have happened, and why didn't the Germans do anything about it. A question, I am sure, that alot of people ask themselves. So the teacher introduces a disciplinary system in the classroom, as an attempt to show the students how powerful group pressure can be. It gets out of hands, of course, when it spreads like fire from the classroom to the entire school.

This book as a modern fiction novel shows, with the help of the experiment, how Hitler was able to have such a great success and how he won the masses. The book makes clear that something like the Third Reich is not past - I believe that this incident could take place at any time at any place, and most likely the same think would happen. Young adults or adolescents are looking for someone to follow, someone that leads them. So it took really place from 1933 until 1945 in Germany, and then again in 1969 in California, but I think it could take place tomorrow in another place. It doesn't matter. Teenagers at that age are so vulnerable and impressionable.

So the book deals with alot of issues that capture young readers, for it is really a young adult reading book. Though I think even adults would enjoy it, regardless from the easy writing style. It deals with things that many young adults should know more about: the Holocaust and peer pressure. The Holocaust is something that everybody should know about in order that it will never happen again. And peer pressure happens every day in this country, in every school. And it is something that one has to learn to deal with, to pass through puberty somewhat sanely....

So overall, the book is a fantastic read, for everyone. Read it!

05 April 2011

The Boy In The Stripped Pyjamas

I forgot when and how I heard about this book. But I think the title is kind of catching: The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas. Here is a link to the Amazon page.
See how the author misspelled the word pajamas? Well, reading this book, you will find lots of other things misspelled. because it is written in the eyes of a nine year old German, Aryan boy, living during World War II. The books starts in Berlin and shortly after moves to Auschwitz, which is misspelled in the book as Out-With. And there are others.

The book is a children's book, or at least for adolescents. I simply read it because it sounded intriguing. It's a very easy read. On purpose. The author is describing a short span of time during WWII and the simplistic wording makes it more 'believable'. Or not!?

I put the word believable in apostrophe because I do have to say that, being a good read, it is not fully believable to me. Yes, it is a fable, but then again, at nine years old, I would think that the boy should be a little more 'advanced'. Especially during such terrible times, children had to grow up much faster, and I believe that at nine years old, he would have been more aware of the things that happened around him. Also, I think, if he doesn't know, he would ask... If his father was such a fanatic of the Nazis, he, as a boy, would have been part of that propaganda as well! Like the Hitler Youth or such. It is very unlikely that the father is such an activist and at the same time would leave his children in total darkness about what he believes and does.

There are many other things that make the book less believable. The ending actually is the only thing that saves the book! I think....It's not a great book, it's NOT a history book - but it is a starting point to a discussion perhaps. It's a read for adults to encourage reading other books, maybe? I certainly have read my share of WWII books.

01 April 2011

A good find

Yesterday, I saw a post on one of my groups, a German group to be exact... Someone was giving away books for free due to a return to the old country.... Of course, I wrote back that I was very interested. So she wrote back the sooner I could get there the better for her because she really wanted them out of the house....

Oh, did I mention that these were GERMAN books? Yes, something that I can not pick up at any bookstore over here, so that's why I was so excited!

So off we went in the afternoon, to retreat those books that were no longer wanted! How??? I love books, and if a move, to wherever, was ever in the talking, the books would be the first thing I'd  pack!!! If you remember me talking about my life list, you will remember that one of my 'goals' (or dreams) is to have my very own library in one of our future homes. Oh yeah! A room full of books, where I can 'hide' for hours and read. That sounds like heaven to me!

Okay, so back to the issue of rescuing those books that were calling my name. Arriving at her house, there were about one hundred books that she wanted to give away, for free. Yes, you read right, for free. I even asked her if I could give her something, because I kind of felt guilty to just take them. But she insisted on getting rid of them, preferably all of them at once. So I started scanning through them and choosing a few, say maybe fifteen. She asked if that was all..... I said I'd take more, but there might be other people interested. "No", she said, "first come, first serve, so take more." Okay, I went back up and chose another ten. To make it a short story, after going back to choose more books - and I was very hesitant on taking all of them - I came back home with 36 books!!!

Yeah, they have a new home now, in my house, and soon in a new bookshelf (that I am waiting for for the past two years). So I am working on my life list and at the same time, do what I love to do most, reading! Can't wait to get through them all - even though it might take me two years to go through them all, knowing I still have about twenty other books to read.... oh, I could read all day long, if I had no kids and if they could just raise themselves.... (okay, just kidding!) It tdoesn't look like much in the picture, I guess, but it's four bags of books.... and I told the lady if she can't find someone else to take the rest of the remaining books at her house, I will come back and take the rest....

So I got blessed with books yesterday! German books to be exact.

Major Milestone

I ran a 10K this morning! Yeah....

Could it be? It is a major distance for me as I have never done so before. How awesome!

Or not! Because I did not even get to run at all.

Got you! Fooled you!

Do you want to know why? Well, there is a major milestone, but I guess it's nothing to be real happy about. Peanut came down with a fever last night and we actually had a terrible night with her. She had runny noses before, but never such a high fever - so that's our first! And I think for a 19-months old that is not too bad.... I mean to live for nineteen months and never have a high fever.

She did not sleep well at all, kept waking up at all hours of the night. Sometimes we had to go in there and comfort her, sometimes she fell back asleep without assistance. But nonetheless, there was absolutely NO way for me to go running this morning. I was just too tired.

So the 10K will be for another time....

Happy April Fool's Day.

PS: She is doing much better this morning, less hot and is playing with big brother.. That is always a good sign. I hope she will take a good nap and we will be over with this soon....

I wrote this post this morning at around 8:30 am - Peanut just fell asleep at the lunch table - that was another first for us today! She is in her bed now, taking a much needed nap (11:40 am).

Another After-Note:
It was a tough day yesterday. After her nap, which was interrupted once for half an hour, she was less hot but soooooo whinny! It is was awful afternoon, followed by a very early bedtime. She slept for over twelve hours and guess what - this morning, no signs of what happened yesterday. No fever, all the appetite is back - no idea what that was!