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The Hibernator limps through February

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Jan 28, 10:39am Top

Hi! I'm Rachel, 38yo homemaker and caretaker of aging parents. I have 2 step-kids: D (9yo) and M (6yo), one biological son IL (born December 7, 2018). My nephews are J (14), B (4), and my niece is L (3). I have three cats: Myra, Puck, Hero.

I'm saying I'm "limping through February" because 1) there's a polar vortex - it's darn cold outside; 2) There's a lot of family drama with my sister, nephew J, and parents right now; and 3) We're starting feeding therapy for M, and so far I'm concerned he'll be losing weight instead of gaining weight.

Above are pictures IL's baptism. :) Isn't his little dress beautiful?

My reading goal for the year is 150, including children's books for IL & my own reading.

My weight loss goal is to get to 140lbs from my current post baby weight size. I hope to do that by training for a "walking marathon" happening in September. That is contingent upon my figuring out how to use the enigmatic baby wrap thing to strap IL to me.

I have made some overly ambitious reading projects which I do not expect to necessarily finish in one year, but I've been slowly slogging through. They are below.

Edited: Feb 11, 3:46pm Top

2019 books read

1. Grave Peril, by Jim Butcher
2. America's Champion Swimmer, by David A Adler
3. Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion
4. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle
5. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, by Eileen Christelow
6. Clifford Cares, by Normon Bridewell
7. On the Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman
8. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle
9. Frozen: Melt My Heart
10. Where's Spot, by Eric Hill
11. The Elephant and the Bad Baby, by Elfrida Vipont
12. Tiger in my Soup, by Kashmira Sheath
13. Good Night, Alfie Atkins, by Gunilla Bergstrom
14. Bedtime for Frances, by Russell Hoban
15. The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
16. Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
17. Vote Loki, by Christopher Hastings
18. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
19. Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchkins
20. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
21. The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare
22. Summer Knight, by Jim Butcher
23. Ruins of Gorlan, by John Flanagan
24. Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift
25. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Edited: Yesterday, 9:23am Top

2019 books read

26. Christopher's Garden, by Elsa Beskow
27. The Wolf, the Duck, & the Mouse, by Mac Barnett
28. Now I Rise, by Kiersten White
29. Snail Mail, by Julia Patton
30. The Tale of Emily Windsnap, by Liz Kessler
31. Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans
32. Worst in Show, by William Bee & Kate Hindley
33. Rise of the Earth Dragon, by Tracy West

Edited: Yesterday, 9:26am Top

In order to increase the variety of fiction books I've read, I modified a list of genres and subgenres off of Wikipedia, and hope to read one of each. (Of course, I will read many of some.) This project started in October 2018, and I try (but will not force myself) to fill as many in as possible by the end of 2019.

Adventure novel

Historical romance –The Witch of Willow Hall, by Hester Fox
Contemporary romance

Historical fiction - The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Historical Mystery
Holocaust Novels
Prehistoric fiction

Literary fiction
Mathematical fiction
Slave narrative - Currently Reading Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan

Occupational Fiction
Political fiction
Pulp fiction
Christian fiction

Christian science fiction / fantasy
Contemporary Christian fiction
Historical Christian Fiction

Islamic fiction
Jewish fiction
Saga - The Conqueror's Saga, by Kiersten White

Epic / high fantasy
Ancient history fantasy
Medieval fantasy - The Ranger's Apprentice, by John Flannagan (series incomplete)
Low fantasy - The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
Urban fantasy
Paranormal romance
Comic fantasy - Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift
Contemporary fantasy - The Tale of Emily Windsnap, by Liz Kessler (series incomplete)
Dark fantasy
Magic realism
Retelling myth/fairy tale
Superhero fantasy - Black Panther: Nation Under Our Feet, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Horror The Wasp Factory, by Iain Banks
Supernatural / paranormal
Ghost story
Monster literature
Vampire fiction
Werewolf fiction
Occult detective - Dresden Files (series incomplete)

Science fiction
Alien invasion
Post-apocalyptic – The Passage (series incomplete), by Justin Cronin
Hard science fiction
Military science fiction
Parallel universe, aka alternative universe
Alternative history - Library of Alexandria (series incomplete)
Space opera

Speculative cross-genre fiction
Climate fiction (cli-fi) - The Overstory, by Richard Powers
Weird fiction

Suspense fiction
Crime fiction
Detective fiction
Mystery fiction

Legal thriller
Medical thriller
Political thriller
Spy fiction
Psychological thriller

Urban fiction
Women’s fiction
LGBT fiction

Edited: Jan 28, 10:37am Top

100 Philosophy - To Be Machine, by Mark O'Connell

150 Psychology

170 Ethics

200 Religion

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

320 Political science

330 Economics

360 Social problems & social services – Them, by Ben Sasse

390 Customs, etiquette, & folklore

500 Science

520 Astronomy

530 Physics - Einstein's Cosmos, by Michio Kaku

540 Chemistry

550 Earth sciences & geology

560 Fossils & prehistoric life

570 Biology – The Re-Origin of Species, by Torill Kornfeldt

580 Plants

590 Animals (Zoology) -The Soul of an Octopus, by Sy Montgomery

610 Medicine & health -The Vaccine Race, by Meredith Wadman

900 History

910 Geography & travel

920 Biography & genealogy

930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)

940 History of Europe

950 History of Asia

960 History of Africa

970 History of North America

980 History of South America

Edited: Jan 28, 10:38am Top

Create Your Own Visited Countries Map

This is a project starting in August 2018 – I would like to read books from a larger variety of international authors (especially books in translation), so I will keep track of the international authors I read, marking them on this map and listing the book below. I will only list one book per country – my favorite.


Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes

United Kingdom (UK)

The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H. G. Wells

United States of America (USA)

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Jan 28, 10:34am Top

Thread is open!

Jan 28, 10:35am Top

Happy new one! Wonderful topper :)

Jan 28, 10:40am Top

Happy new thread, Rachel! Great photos up top.

Jan 28, 10:41am Top

Happy new thread! Hope you manage to do more than limp through February, but I will agree that it is darn cold.

Jan 28, 10:47am Top

Happy new thread!

Jan 28, 11:09am Top

Happy new Thread! The baptism pic of IL is beautiful as is the family photo of the event.

Nah, you're not limping - just flying low. You've got an awful lot on your plate, but you seem to be juggling it all - and you're still dealing with hormones, too, at this point.

The weather sounds brutal. Hope it lets up soon!

Jan 28, 11:20am Top

Happy new one, Rachel! Lovely photos - thanks for sharing.

Jan 28, 1:42pm Top

Thanks all!

>12 streamsong: I guess right now I feel like I'm limping because I'm under a lot of stress - as well as hormones, as you pointed out. But maybe I'll feel better by the end of the month.

Jan 28, 1:52pm Top


Baptism It went well! I had a great time, and we all went out to Olive Garden afterwards to celebrate. :)

Feeding Therapy This is going really poorly. I called up the feeding psychologist today and mentioned that M says he's worried about getting fat. I hadn't meant for it to be a big deal, but she says that it is very rare for a 6yo to worry about body image, and it is a concern. She says since screens are the only thing that motivate him, take away screens altogether except as a reward for eating all of his "power portion." (That is, everything on his plate.) That's going to be a bone of contention. But so far, he's taken the news pretty calmly. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. So here's the basic idea: Meals are 30 minutes. Exactly 30 minutes. If you don't finish the food within 30 minutes, you don't get to eat it. This encourages us to eat our fill. If you finish your food, you may leave in less than 30 minutes, but if you don't finish your food, you sit there the entire 30 minutes. Dessert is no longer used as a reward for finishing food. We rotate between family members who gets to choose dessert. And you get it regardless of whether you've eaten your food or not. This is to encourage M to like more of a variety of desserts as well as to not make desserts seem like a prize to further activate his reward centers. We are also supposed to increase caloric intake with protein shakes, whole milk, etc.

Baby's crying. I will have to finish updating you in a bit.

Jan 28, 3:15pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel. Love the photo.

Jan 28, 3:21pm Top

Happy New Thread, Rachel. Nice photo up top!

Good luck with sorting out the feeding issues. It can be tough, I know.

Jan 28, 4:07pm Top

Continued Update: (It's already 3pm! The whole day has been taken up by feeding the kids healthy foods - it's a snow day - feeding and soothing the baby, and working on this thread.)

Issues with family: My sister found out that I called CPS on her, and will no longer talk with me. I understand why she's angry - she probably feels stabbed in the back - but I did it because I'm concerned for the safety of my nephew. I regret doing it, because it accomplished nothing but ruining what relationship I had with my sister (she's hard to get along with), but I did it with best intentions, and I don't regret that.

Crocheting That's L and D with their crocheted chains. Aaron has now crocheted his own chain, and it was a heck of a lot better than mine!

Currently Reading

Completed in the last two weeks

Jan 28, 4:07pm Top

Thanks Beth and Joe!

Jan 28, 8:45pm Top

Happy new thread Rachel!

>1 The_Hibernator: Nice pictures. IL looks handsome and you all look good. And happy, which is most important.

>12 streamsong: I agree, not limping.

Good luck with the feeding therapy. My kids have just gone back to school for their new year and we’re introducing them to the concept of packing their own lunch. My younger one is still in elementary where they have ‘munch & crunch’ during one of the early lessons because a) some kids miss breakfast and b) to encourage healthy snacks. Usually he takes something like carrot sticks but last night all he packed for today was seaweed snacks and Goldfish crackers. All my logic couldn’t get him to pack any fruit or veg and all my husband’s begging couldn’t get him to pack any brownies or biscuits. He kept declaring he wants to ‘eat healthy’ but he’s got no carbs or sugars to sustain him for the day and he’s got football training after school. Well, he’ll learn. These days we’re not worried about him wasting away (any more). :0)

Jan 29, 9:42am Top

>20 humouress: LOL. I hope that your son learns to eat a more balanced diet soon! Carbs ARE important, regardless of whatever he's heard.

Jan 29, 10:01am Top

The feeding therapy has reached "medical emergency." M has eaten almost nothing in 36 hours and is now throwing up, is wobbly, has leg cramps, and heart palpitations. The nurse said take him into the hospital and get an IV. She said it was ok if I fed him Gatorade within an hour. A whole bottle. When I told him it was that or a needle in his arm, he chose the Gatorade. *sigh

On the agenda for today: I guess I'm stuck feeding the kids healthy foods all day, taking care of Loki, and trying to get a blog post written. Might take a nap and read, too. In fact, I should do one or the other right now.

Jan 29, 1:54pm Top

Happy new thread Rachel and congratulations on IL's baptism!

It really does sound like you have a heck of a lot on your plate right now - so even if you feel you're just limping along I think you're doing pretty great considering. Hopefully you get time for a nap and some reading time for you today too. And hopefully M starts eating soon.

Jan 29, 4:59pm Top

Happy new thread Rachel.

Hopefully everything starts to settle down for you soon. Your pictures are lovely :)

Jan 29, 7:56pm Top

>23 souloftherose: >24 fairywings: Thanks Heather and Adrienne! My day improved after I told him that if he didn't pound back a bottle of gatorade he'd have to go to the hospital and have a needle (IV) in his arm. He perked up immediately. And he ate all his lunch and dinner - though we didn't introduce any new foods into those meals. Tomorrow's a new day, and we'll try to loosen the rules to earn screens a little bit. This restricting screens thing means no one can watch TV, which is disappointing to some.

Edited: Feb 1, 4:12pm Top

Now that I have thoroughly gone through lists of challenges and thought out what books I want to read, I have decided upon a few goals that I will focus on for now:

1) For fiction, work on a) books that I already own or ones that continue a series I've already started; b) classics from The Educated Mind; c) those that fit my genre challenge >4 The_Hibernator:;

2) For nonfiction, work on a) books that I already own; b) books that fit my nonfiction Dewey Decimal challenge >5 The_Hibernator:

That means my goals for February (besides kids books for IL) are:

1. The Burning Bridge, by John Flanagan - Medieval fantasy (continuation of series)
2. Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan - Slave Narrative (Mt TBR)
3. Summer Knight, by Jim Butcher - Occult Detective (continuation of series) Complete
4. As You Like it, by William Shakespeare
5. Guliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift - Comic Fantasy (Educated Mind)
6. Now I Rise, by Kiersten White - Saga (Continuation of series)
7. American Overdose, by Chris McGreal (DD 300 Social Sciences)

Jan 30, 3:34am Top

>21 The_Hibernator: He's ten; I doubt it'll happen soon. He's copying his older brother, who goes to the gym and talks to the trainers but older son seems barely less clueless in spite of the fact he's due to take a public exam in Food & Nutrition at the end of the year.

>25 The_Hibernator: Ah yes, new foods. I made a lemon meringue pie last week and he suddenly declared he didn't like the taste (as usual, before he'd tasted it). This from the child who, as a baby, insisted on eating lemons skin-first (I have videos of the most wonderful faces he made, though he kept on eating). We insisted he try it; these days, his usual strategy is to have a glass of water standing by and then the instant he pops the morsel (we make sure it's big enough to actually taste - been through that loophole, thank you) into his mouth, he gulps down water and, job done, refuses to ever eat (whatever it was) again.

On the one hand, it's disappointing that he won't eat my cooking (and I'm not the world's most handy cook) but on the other hand, more for the rest of us. Son number one wanted to have the lion's share of the pie the second day, as though he was the only one who wanted to eat it. Needless to say, he scoffed his share down. Meanwhile, he's discovered a site that will deliver salads to him - as though he can't make his own at home. Boys!

M will get there - in his own time. You just have to survive it all :0)

Jan 30, 7:52am Top

I'm wondering - if it's an all new issue - if this is some way of coping with the attention his new brother gets? That sounds bad, but he's only six, so it might be quite unconscious. If he sees that there's what he interprets as "fussing" re. IL's eating/ feeding patterns, maybe he wants a bit of the same?

As a kid I loved everything except for meat, salads and some of the more difficult veggies which I later learned taste extra-bitter for kids, like sprouts and asparagus. Instead of being happy with their spinach/pulse/ cabbage lover, my parents tried everything to force the stupid meat and salads into me, even pressing the salad to a pulp and sugaring it! (ew!) They never got the idea of just leaving out the vinegar.

Happy Wednesday to you! The baptism pics are lovely. Is "baptism" American English and "christening" British, or is there a difference?

Jan 30, 8:40am Top

>28 Deern: I sorta wondered the same thing, Nathalie. The timing's interesting.

My brother was a picky eater. My mom tried to get him to eat green beans one time with disastrous results, so she never forced him to eat things he didn't want to eat again. Didn't seem to affect him negatively, either. BUT, at least he did eat. Fasting and body image issues in a 6-year old. Yikes.

Jan 30, 9:12am Top

>28 Deern: Ah, someone who's like me! I always ate all my vegetables as a kid but was very picky with meat and still am. I recently learned that I'm a so-called super-taster - certains tastes just taste *more* to me than to other people, to the point of revultion.

Jan 30, 1:57pm Top

>27 humouress: Hi Nina! Well, Aaron's sister never "got there" and we're trying to keep M from getting in the same place as she is.

Oops....be back to answer the rest

Jan 30, 3:11pm Top

>28 Deern: Thanks Nathalie! No, this is not a new thing with M. He had it before I joined the family, in fact. I think it's an abandonment issue thing (with his mother) and that he is trying to control his environment in one of the only way he can. I'm a little worried that he also recognizes it as a self-harm issue (since he has already said that hurting himself makes him feel better). The reason therapy has become an issue now is that I pressed Aaron to do something about it. And once I convinced him, Aaron went all in to worrying about it. Aaron's philosophy on the subject when I joined the family was that "those rules don't apply to M. He's a special case."

>29 karenmarie: See above about the timing issue. The problem with forcing M to eat stuff is that he eats almost no variety at all. So he's malnourished. We bought some vitamins for both kids because D is bordering on the same issue. And literally were scared to eat it. Just a normal Flinstones chewable vitamin!

>30 PawsforThought: Well Paws, there's picky eating and there's malnourishment. M has malnourishment. As long as you can be picky and still remain healthy, then there's no problem.

Jan 30, 3:14pm Top

Well, even the post office is closed today. It's THAT cold out. -50 windchill. It was -28 without windchill when we woke up. I'm worried that school will be cancelled tomorrow, too, because I'm getting very little downtime with the newborn baby and the new eating 5 times a day thing.

On the agenda today: feeding the kids and the baby. Yup, that's it.

Jan 30, 4:51pm Top

>31 The_Hibernator: >32 The_Hibernator: Ah; I was thinking it’s the standard kids’ issue but I see it’s not. Yet another thing on your plate. Keeping fingers crossed for you.

Jan 30, 6:36pm Top

>32 The_Hibernator: Oh, yes, absolutely. Completely different thing. I hope things start improving for you soon.

Jan 30, 6:43pm Top

Happy New Thread, Rachel. Love the baby/family topper! hope you are staying warm up there. Ridiculously cold here. Thankfully, I was off today.

Jan 30, 8:17pm Top

I love the picture of the kids with their crocheted chains. The looks on their two faces are priceless!
I'm sorry to hear of the drama and difficulties in the family. Of course you were only doing what you thought best by calling CPS -- so scary to be so worried about your nephew. It's hard to make any impact when things are going that badly. Hang in there.

>26 The_Hibernator: I hope you like Washington Black. I thought it was excellent. And The Overstory was one of my top reads of 2018. (WB was up there, too, but it didn't make the top five.)

Jan 31, 5:05am Top

>34 humouress: Thanks Nina. Yes, the psychiatrist said that it was "normal" as well. She said that he was not gaining weight, but he wasn't getting taller, either. I told her how did she know if he was getting taller, the nurse wasn't measuring it? She insisted the nurse DID measure it. But if the nurse measured the height, it was with her magical eyeballs. She measured him for the first meeting months ago and hasn't measured him since. And he's getting thinner before our eyes.

>35 PawsforThought: Thanks Paws!

>36 msf59: Thanks Mark! Yes, we have another school day today. :(

>37 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen! The Overstory was definitely a good book!

Jan 31, 5:15am Top

So, I've downloaded the Walk to Mordor App on my phone. Right now, I doubt I'll get much walking done for now because things are just so crazy, but at least I can log my steps on days that I can't walk. I'm going to translate roughly at 2000 steps per mile. This is the perfect way to make my training for the walking marathon interesting. If I can find Aaron's copy of LOTR, I may even be able to read along as I walk.

On the Agenda for today. Feeding and entertaining kids. Feeding and soothing Loki. Laundry if I can find time.

Jan 31, 6:32am Top

Morning Rachel! Beautiful topper! Beautiful baby and indeed, a beautiful baptismal dress.
You are one busy lady! When do you find time to read?!
Yup, the Polar Vortex is insane!

Jan 31, 8:04am Top

>39 The_Hibernator: There's a Walk to Mordor app? I need to get that asap!

Jan 31, 8:57am Top

Interesting idea for a walking app! Will there be Black Riders chasing you? 😀

Jan 31, 10:15am Top

>40 Carmenere: Hi Lynda! I admit that I set aside time in the morning after IL's first bottle to read a little. He's usually quiet at that time. I also listen to audiobooks while feeding him and doing any housework that I can manage.

>41 PawsforThought: Hi Paws! It is a pretty neat idea. The app is pretty much without frills, but is a pretty neat idea. It has milestones that fit with the stops Frodo made along the way.

>42 drneutron: Lol! As fun as that would be, no. But the Zombies, Run! App sort of pulled off a similar idea.

Jan 31, 11:14am Top

I've been keeping up with you, Rachel, but not posting much. How nice that you and Morphy are getting together to talk about books. I'm sure it's beneficial for both of you. Books can make some of our problems disappear, at least temporarily. Maybe long enough to put things in perspective. They have helped me through a messy remodeling project at my house, which seems like nothing when I read about what you are going through. My kids were very picky eaters and I know how frustrating that can be.

I'm glad you liked The Overstory. It was my favorite book of 2018. I'm surprised you were able to concentrate on it with all the drama in your life. I hope February is a good month for you as it looks like there will be lots of togetherness with the temperatures you are enduring. Having lived in Northern Michigan as a teenager, I am glad to be in the much more temperate Missouri climate. We are moving back into double digit temps today!

Jan 31, 12:05pm Top

Again = things you may already have tried = In the Spring, helping M. to plant a garden so he gets more connected with food.

or, maybe could grow something small in a protected well lit corner of the house.

Online, the Comments sections related to health are often good for inspiration.

Jan 31, 5:50pm Top

Belated happy new thread, Rachel, I love the pictures at the top.
Sorry for all the continuing problems around you, I hope there are easier times to come.

Feb 1, 5:18am Top

Hey Rachel. How far away is Mordor? Or am I missing the point!?

I do really hope things improve with the eating, that sounds really hard for all of you.

Feb 1, 6:46am Top

>47 charl08: According to the internet, Mordor is 1350 miles (2173 km) from the Shire, so quite a distance.

Feb 1, 9:17am Top

>44 Donna828: Thanks for the support Donna. Well, I suppose my concentration is probably down a lot from all the drama going on, it affected my sleep last night. And I needed to pause for easier books a couple of times.

>45 m.belljackson: We should probably try having him cook food, although since D likes cooking so much, she'd be awfully jealous. A garden is a good idea, though we had one last year, and I couldn't keep up with the weeding, and the kids simply weren't interested in weeding. Part of that was my pregnancy, of course, though I'd probably have the same trouble with a baby. I'm having enough trouble getting the housework and paperwork done. An inside plan would be a good idea, though. We wouldn't have to weed that. I'll check what kinds of fruits / veggies can be grown inside without a heating lamp.

>46 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita! The baptism was a very nice ceremony.

>47 charl08: According to the app, the trip Frodo took was 1927 miles, though I'm sure there are different ways of calculating it, as Paws came up with a different distance. Frodo also did not take a direct route. However, what's 600 miles here or there? lol. The nice thing about the app is that it has stopping points along the way....so I can imagine what's going on during my trip. I really should listen / read as I'm walking along, but I'd have to start quickly since I'm already to Tookland.

>48 PawsforThought: Hi Paws! The app has a different distance, but that's ok. lol. As I said above, what's 600 miles here or there. Frodo did not take a direct rout, and sometimes the number of furlongs was not given.

Feb 1, 9:25am Top

Well, today is a day off from the older kids! Yay! Not that I mind the older kids, but it's cold out, so they were getting stir crazy in the house when they weren't watching screens. And because screens have been taken away from M unless he earns them through eating his "power portion," that means that he sits there and whines that nobody wants to play with him. He could just play on his own when I don't feel like being his personal entertainment center, but instead he chooses to mope for hours on end - which is more annoying than sympathy-inducing. So, of course, it makes me less likely to want to spend time with him. And I do need a couple hours here and there to get my own stuff done.

On the agenda for today: As much as I'd like to say I can sit at home and get neglected stuff done, I will be at my parent's house helping them out with a few things. But I have all of Friday night, Saturday, and Saturday night alone so I can get stuff done / read as much as IL will allow.

Family drama update: I asked my sister by email (where I think she hasn't blocked me yet) whether she wanted to go to therapy to work out our differences. Maybe she'll feel better if I can explain that I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I just wanted to help out my nephew. Of course, she thinks I should believe her when she says she didn't do any of the stuff J said - but since she has a history of violence and a history of drug dealing, and currently has no job (except Saturdays) but is somehow supporting her family of four...well, do the math. She certainly isn't earning THAT much from WIC. I know. I'm on WIC too. A lot of peanut butter, there.

Feb 1, 9:27am Top

PS: I know I've been neglecting your threads. I hope to catch up over the weekend.

Feb 1, 10:33am Top

>49 The_Hibernator: Yeah, and they didn't walk the whole way (horses to Bree, some boating, etc.) so it depends on if you count the whole journey they took or just the bits they actually walked.

Feb 1, 11:06am Top

>52 PawsforThought: Very true hadn't thought of that.


Well, my car didn't start because of the cold (I hope). So I have unexpected at-home time.

Feb 2, 8:11am Top

Well, today is my day alone in the house with IL. D is at her mom's and M and Aaron are at winter Cub Scout Camp. Hopefully they're enjoying themselves. I was a little worried that IL or I would have caught Aaron and D's cold (I think they both caught it from M), but so far we're doing well. Fingers crossed one of us won't get sick and make the weekend lonely instead of just quiet. But I think we're going to make it.

On the agenda for today: I'd like to take the day off and read, hee hee hee. I probably should take the day to do stuff that I couldn't do all week because of M and D having Polar Vortex Holiday from school. (Somehow their presence made me very unproductive.)

Feb 2, 10:19am Top

I hope you're able to relax a bit today, Rachel! Sorry about all the challenges with your sister and M's not wanting to eat :( And here's hoping IL stays well!

Feb 2, 10:29am Top

Glad you have a little respite today, Rachel. Hope you can relax a while.

Feb 3, 8:09am Top

>55 bell7: >56 ronincats: Hi Mary and Roni! I did get a good amount of resting done! Thank you! I read a bit of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and listened to quite a bit of Gulliver's Travels. I also got all the laundry washed (it still needs to be sorted and folded). Aaron was telling me (by text) that he was a little concerned that M's unwillingness to eat most foods would affect his social life in that he wouldn't be able to do activities like camp and the like. Apparently, he ate almost nothing over the weekend, but Aaron thinks he ate enough to avoid medical emergency.


IL slept through the night! I was beginning to despair of him falling asleep around 10pm, when he finally zonked out. I carefully put him in his crib and he stayed asleep. Yay! (I have trouble during the later hours of the night putting him in his crib - apparently he sleeps deepest at the beginning of the night.) He fussed a few times during the night, but never with enough gusto that I felt compelled to get up and feed him. Now he's still sleeping. I've already made his bottles because he was fussing about a half hour ago, but then he went back to sleep again. Wonder if I should just wake him up? I don't know these things. Never happened to me before. He usually wakes up once during the night (recently).

I think I have caught Aaron and D's cold. I'm not entirely certain - just a fuzzy head and the sniffles right now - but I think I'll take another day of rest today while Aaron is home to look after the kids. Because this cold laid Aaron on his back for two days, and I don't want to get that bad. It'll be bad if Aaron needs to take PTO to look after IL while I'm sick!

Now that I think about it, I wonder if IL caught Aaron's cold, too, and that's why he slept through the night and is still sleeping. Maybe I SHOULD wake him up for food....

Feb 3, 10:10am Top

2019 Book #1: Grave Peril, by Jim Buctcher

Summary: In this third book of the Dresden Files, Harry Dresden, the only private detective Wizard in Chicago, begins the story by fighting a ghouly of ghosts (ghosts come in ghoulies, right?) scared up by…what? He doesn’t know. Soon, he becomes entangled in (seemingly unrelated) vampire politics as well. (Of course, everything’s related in a Dresden Files book, but whatever.) Can the most impolitic of people act with diplomacy if the need arises? (The answer is: of course not.)

My thoughts: Another winner in the Dresden Files books. I really enjoyed this one, although (as you can tell by my sarcasm above) I do think they are getting a little formulaic in the sense that Dresden is hit by a whole bunch of unrelated stuff all at once, and then it all gets tied up in a neat little bow at the end of the story. Other than that, the stories are quite interesting. I was so eager to get to the next one (despite my resolution to read one a month), that I’ve already finished it. I’ll review it at the end of the month, and try to catch up on some of my other reviews this and next week. 🙂

Edited: Feb 3, 5:45pm Top

I'm going to take this moment to complain about the Who Was Show, which the kids are obsessively watching. They mix in a bunch of jokes about people with facts about the people. It confuses the kids as to what's real and what's not. For instance, at the end of the Benjamin Franklin episode, his character said "I'm really more interesting than this" (or something along those lines) and D answered "no you weren't." I asked her why she felt that. She said that the show was generally very accurate. I told her Benjamin Franklin was a very interesting historical figure, and that she shouldn't base her personal opinion of him as a human being on the show. *sigh* I also informed the kids that everyone farts. I asked "who in this room has never farted?" Nobody raised their hand. Yup. So the fart jokes mean nothing about Benjamin Franklin as a person.

If you're going to have an educational show, don't make it confusing as to truth and jokes!

Feb 4, 12:18am Top

Hi Rachel! You are getting so much done and reading, too! Amazing. And great that I is sleeping so well, it sounds like you do a good job letting him teach himself to get back to sleep.

I feel for M. Poor kid has been through so much, especially with the rejection from his mother. I had never heard of feeding therapy, but it's great that you and Aaron are getting help for him. It must be hard, as the step-parent, there is only so much you can do.

Feb 4, 6:48pm Top

Oh good, Rachel. I love the Harry Dresden series. I'm unfortunately all caught up, and waiting impatiently for a new one to come out.

Feb 4, 8:19pm Top

Happy newish thread, Rachel. Great photos of the christening for your toppers. I hope that the possibility of a cold for you and IL didn't materialize. Good luck dealing with all the family issues. You really need some more less stressful time to enjoy IL and being in a new marriage.

Feb 5, 9:11am Top

>60 banjo123: Hi Rhonda! I'd say he's doing a good job soothing himself back to sleep - though last night he woke up at 2 and then 6. So it wasn't as good as he's been doing. But still not too shabby.

Yes, it is hard as a step-parent, in the sense that often I am disregarded as the not-parent by medical professionals. However, the feeding therapists have done a good job of accepting me, and so has his normal therapist. In fact, she now realizes just how bad off the relationship between M's mother and M is. The therapist has noticed the way that bio-mom reacts to certain things and realizes that it is not M that needs to change his behavior, but she who needs to change hers. Now we have settled on just having mommy therapy for him and not having therapy for anything going on in our house (except for the feeding therapy).

>61 jnwelch: Hi Joe! I'm quite enjoying the Dresden series. I'm excited to see where the story goes.

>62 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg! So far, IL and I have not gotten the cold. Although I am a bit headachy today for some reason. It's coming in waves of nausea and headache. I am thankfully enjoying my marriage despite all the stress I'm under.

Feb 5, 9:15am Top

Yesterday was moderately productive. I managed to get most of my to-do list done and got some reading done. Hopefully today will be as good, despite my headache. Today I plan on going to IL's 2 month checkup, followed by a trip to a comic / game store to buy Aaron's birthday present (D&D Monster's Guide and Dungeon Master's Guide, plus a pre-written adventure). He already knows what he's getting, because I was concerned about spending that much money on his gift and decided to ask. Though if this headache continues, I might skip the comic store today and go another day.....

Feb 5, 3:55pm Top

Hope you feel better, Rachel. I continue to be amazed you get any reading in with everything you are packing in!

Feb 6, 7:14am Top

>65 charl08: Thanks Charlotte! I am packing in a lot of stuff, though I'm also neglecting my housework. lol. I guess something's gotta give. I debated taking a job to help out with the finances yesterday, but decided that the benefits of being a stay-at-home mom are better than the perks of making a bit more money. I just really like being there for the kids when they get home. And I like being the one to take care of IL. Plus, working would make it very difficult to help out with my parents.

Feb 6, 7:35am Top

Well, my headache went away after a couple of hours, but I still didn't end up going to get Aaron's birthday present because it was snowing on top of already-formed ice-slicks. So - terrible roads. Anyway, IL was grumpy because of his immunizations. He got a mild fever and just cried and cried and cried for the rest of the day. Poor thing. And poor me. I had to keep trying to soothe him - and the only thing soothing for him was to be held, at a slight slant backwards, on my chest. That did wonders for my back, as you can imagine.

Today I'm going to my parents house to help them run some errands - depending on when the snowplows come and leave their berm in my driveway.

Feb 7, 3:48pm Top

Hi Rachel. I do not know how you manage to handle all that you have going on without absolutely losing it! You are my hero and everyone in your family is very lucky to have you. So glad IL slept through the night--maybe it will become a habit and you can get some sleep. Finally. Best of luck with M and his weight and food habits. And I hope your sister responds to the email. Big hugs!

Feb 7, 4:48pm Top

We went to an amazing little museum show last year celebrating twenty years of Harry Potter (Amazing!) and I have been listening to the audio books read by Jim Dale.

The first book is fun but I'm impatient to have to wade through all the build up until the toot! Toot! of the train taking them all off to Hogwarts. Still in awe of the dazzling world-building going on here. The audio book is a treat

Feb 11, 3:54pm Top

>68 Berly: Thanks Kim! I AM under a lot of stress lately, but I think most people are more resilient than they think they are. You just gotta do what you gotta do, right? M's feeding therapy is very stressful, but hopefully it will start looking better soon. We DID get him to eat a Hawaiian bun the other day. But for the most part, he protests having food on his plate that he doesn't want by not even eating the food that he does want. I never thought we'd find something he values more than screens....but not eating is one of them. I kind of wonder if he realizes it's a way to self-harm. He already has a self-harming instinct that concerns me. He doesn't self harm yet (except for punching himself in the head), but he says that hurting himself makes him feel better. Where does a 6 yo even come up with that?! And what I didn't realize is that anorexia runs in Aaron's family...so maybe this is a real thing other than just a power struggle.

>69 magicians_nephew: Hi Jim! I really enjoyed the Jim Dale narrations, too. HP was a fantastic series - so fun! Is this your first time reading it? I'm re-reading the fourth book right now.

Edited: Feb 11, 4:28pm Top

So, today was a good day so far. We heard D's assessment for Autism and (unsurprisingly) she does not have it. We are still going to assess her for ADHD, though I really believe that anxiety is her main issue. She thinks her Prozac is working really well, though I have seen no change in her anxiety levels since she's taken it. I think it's a placebo affect - and not one that is noticeable from the outside. I think we should take her off it. Either try something else or assume that her issues will mainly be helped by therapy and maturity.

M's feeding therapy is difficult, though we haven't had any more episodes of him acting so sick that I needed to call a nurse and threaten to take him into the hospital for an IV. Aaron threatened him with an IV and feeding tube last night when he didn't eat any dinner - he (Aaron) is not handling this feeding therapy well. It's even more stressful to him than it is for me. And it's really been stressing me out. But at least I'm not making threats (except that one time when the nurse told me I had to take him to the ER).

IL is doing great, other than a few days after his two month immunizations where he was a little nightmare (crying nonstop). That, unfortunately, coincided with the day that M threw his first major temper tantrum since we put him on ADHD meds this summer. While IL was crying inconsolably, M was in his room screaming in rage and throwing things with great THUMPs against the wall. That was a stressful day.

But the kids are at school today (YAY!!!!!!!). And if IL doesn't start crying (he looks like he's about to), I will get some reading, and then some laundry done. :)

ETA: I also started a book club with Aaron and my best friend Liz. We'll be reading Between the World and Me for our first meeting, in March. Then we'll watch some Doctor Who.

Feb 11, 4:43pm Top

>70 The_Hibernator:

Hmmmm...what about designing the food on his plate so it looks like a screen,
even with parts that he has to eat off to discover what's "on?"

Feb 12, 10:31am Top

>72 m.belljackson: Lol! Fantastic idea. He's probably clever enough to see through the ploy...but it might work once. :)

Feb 12, 10:34am Top

Goal: read what I own. read what I own. read what I own. read what I own. Oh yay! there's a new book I want!

Feb 12, 4:57pm Top

>74 The_Hibernator: Then buy the new book, Rachel, so it fits the mantra ;-)

Feb 12, 5:04pm Top

>74 The_Hibernator: I've learned not to set that goal! :-)

Feb 12, 10:10pm Top

Hi Rachel!

Deep breaths, snuggles with IL, books. I'm sorry things are hard with M right now and that Aaron is having difficulties with it.

Feb 13, 7:52am Top

Happy Wednesday, Rachel. I hope your week is going fine. Looking forward to Friday. It looks like everything should work out.

Feb 13, 10:36am Top

>75 FAMeulstee: >76 harrygbutler: I usually go ahead and buy a book if I plan on reading it right away (otherwise I wait). But we've started a new budget, and books was one of the things that suffered from the cutbacks. I need to start using the library more (which is difficult for me because I'm a slow and distracted reader, and hate waiting in a long line to get books.) Another thing that was drastically cut was groceries, so I'm going to try to cut out frills like Diet Mountain Dew, and start drinking more water - which is probably for the best.

>77 karenmarie: Yeah, it's hard, but I'm doing ok, Karen. Today, M missed the bus because he just dawdled and dawdled and dawdled. I even snapped at him twice to move faster because he wasn't responding to more gentle prodding. He (sadly) does not get read to tonight as his consequence for missing the bus. (We can no longer take away screens since he's rarely earning screentime with the new eating rules.) He's so relaxed about it all. Just doesn't seem to care about rewards or consequences at all.

>78 msf59: Looking forward to seeing you, too, Mark! Happy Wednesday to you!

Feb 13, 10:39am Top

Well, today started out a bit frustrating with M missing the bus, so I had to pack up IL and rush off to the school. But that just meant that I could run him to the doctor's office to get his lab drawn earlier in the morning, rather than doing it later. So in the end I ended up in a pretty good spot. I won't tell M that, though.

The rest of the day should be relaxing, with various housework followed by taking mom to a dentist in the evening.

Feb 13, 12:20pm Top

>79 The_Hibernator: I can certainly sympathize, Rachel. When I was freelancing, I did have to cut way back on new book purchases and make more use of the library — something of a challenge for me, too, because I tend to read books I can only get through interlibrary loan. I also haunted a lot of used book sales, especially on bag sale day, which allowed me to keep my spending low. Have you tried those? If not, I can recommend booksalefinder.com as a useful website for learning of them.

Feb 13, 2:07pm Top

>81 harrygbutler: Hi Harry! Thanks for letting me know about booksalefinder.com! I hadn't heard of it, and it will come in handy with our new spending rules.

Feb 13, 4:17pm Top

Wow, here I am supposed to be washing dishes (that's what's on my list of things to do between 12:45 - 3:30 (yes, I make a daily plan of what I need to do with my time so that I have an idea of how much I can get done and what items to move to the top of my to-do list)). Instead I am sitting here on LT. And now the baby cries. Guess dishes are out.

Feb 13, 4:22pm Top

You can always do them later, Rachel -- or delegate. :)

Feb 13, 8:46pm Top

Hi Rachel! It looks like I've never commented here. That's odd since I remember leaving a post about how adorable IL is in your topper...well...anyway, he is.

Feb 13, 9:03pm Top

Hang in there, Rachel. It's a lot to balance, but don't forget to count your blessing to keep the balance true.

Feb 14, 3:44am Top

Sending good vibes Rachel and hopes for calmer times to come. I tried to cut down my book purchases before I got my current job: tried to add the book to a list (on my library site) and tell myself if I still wanted in a week then I could request it (on the grounds that a small request fee was better than buying the book). I also found my library ebook collection really helpful! But super hard.

Feb 14, 7:15am Top

>84 BLBera: Lol, they never got done Beth! Luckily I'd done two loads the day before, so they are not as bad as they could be. But of course I try to wash a load every day. At least I DID get some laundry done, which was also penciled in during that time. I really should get the kids to do more chores around the house. M isn't really big enough to load the dishwasher, though, and D doesn't do it very efficiently. D is getting better about cleaning when asked (and if rewarded with "allowance"). As for Aaron, he does the dishes sometimes, but usually has other things to do that are also important. (I generally give him baby duty pretty quickly after he arrives home.)

>85 richardderus: Hi Richard! I believe you commented on the cuteness of IL on the last thread, perhaps? Either way, you've commented now. :) Hope you're having a lovely day.

>86 ronincats: Thanks Roni! Yes, I have a lot of blessings in life. My family is mainly happy and healthy despite a few bumps in the road. I have a lovely relationship with my husband and stepkids, and, as frustrating as their mother can be at times, my relationship with her is much better than many step-mom/mom relationships.

>87 charl08: Hi Charlotte! You have to pay money to request a book? :( Luckily, our library is well-funded by the county and we only have to pay if we return a book late. My frustration mainly lies in how slowly I'm getting through books right now (besides audiobooks), and the waitlists on the audiobooks that I want.

Edited: Feb 14, 7:36am Top

2019 Book 17: Vote Loki, by Christopher Hastings

Funny political satire / comic about a trickster god running for President of the US.

2019 Book 19: Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchins

Cute. Not many words.

2019 Book 20: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

Classic story about a caterpillar who eats through everything before morphing into a butterfly.

2019 Book 26: Christopher's Garden, by Elsa Beskow

Christopher has no one to play with in his garden, until he discovers September and all the people (fruits and veggies) that live in his garden. Cute. Has songs in it, but I’m not a singer, so I just read them to IL.

2019 Book 27: The Wolf, the Duck, & the Mouse, by Mac Barnett

Story about a mouse that gets swallowed by a wolf and discovers a duck living in the wolf’s belly. Very cute.

Feb 14, 7:37am Top

On the agenda for today: Get new tags for my car, take my mom to a pacemaker appointment, walking, and to the library.

Feb 14, 7:43am Top

Just trying to catch up, Rachel.

While your relationship with your sister may be suffering, I think your nephew much better off for you calling CPS and that is the important thing!

I hope you and yours have a Happy Valentines!

Feb 14, 7:48am Top

>89 The_Hibernator: Ooh, I wasn't expecting to find Elsa Beskow on your thread. How fun! She's one of our literary greats - THE big one in children's literature before Astrid Lindgren, but I don't think she's that well known outside of Sweden (or maybe the Nordic countries).
Her drawings are my favourite thing about the books - and the book you read has amazing drawings. It's my favourite of her books.
It's strange to see the character referred to as "Christopher" when I'm used to him being "Lasse-liten" (Little Lasse).

Edited: Feb 14, 8:54am Top

Hi Rachel!

>79 The_Hibernator: I’m glad you’re doing okay. You're juggling way more than I could have ever juggled with a new baby and I admire you for it.

This is just us, but the only consequence our daughter wanted to avoid was sitting on a chair, doing nothing, in the kitchen, watching the timer count down. If she got up or was snarky I’d just walk over and punch in a few more minutes. We went to that when we realized that sending her to room may have seemed like a consequence to us but was a reward to her. We’re only talking 5-10 minutes at a time, when she was 8 and younger. Her friend Ethan was the opposite - his consequence was being separated from the family by having to go to his room.

I’m sorry M is having such a rough time.

>81 harrygbutler: and >82 The_Hibernator: Our Friends of the Library advertises on it and it’s quite effective.

>89 The_Hibernator: We still have The Very Hungry Caterpillar from when Jenna was little. I had so much fun reading children’s books to her!

Feb 14, 9:13am Top

>91 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! Yes, I do not regret calling CPS, but it is sad to lose my relationship with my sister. I'm hoping it helped out my nephew, if only to let him know that we're listening to him.

>92 PawsforThought: Hi Paws! I was unfamiliar with both the author and her origins. I simply picked up the book at the library since it looked cute. You are right, the drawings are fantastic!

>93 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Well, we were told by the feeding therapist that we give precisely 30 minutes to eat, and he doesn't earn his reward (an hour of screens) if he doesn't finish in that amount of time. The reason for that is because he needs to learn to finish his food in a reasonable amount of time rather than grazing and never learning what a full stomach feels like. I sort of feel bad because he simply does not have the concentration to eat that quickly with his ADHD. And he's beginning to simply not care about the reward. Imagine, but maybe that's for the best, as he is learning to do without so many screens.

Feb 14, 10:51am Top

Screen time and consequences. Ugh! I am caretaking for my three oldest grands this week while their parents are vacationing in Mexico. I am not going to endanger our good relationship by imposing too many rules. They know that homework and chores come first, but I let them have full access to their phones and laptops. I figure their brains won’t turn to mush in a week. At least I hope not! I’m also hoping that they get tired of their games and will have some quality Grandma time. ;-)

Feb 14, 12:57pm Top

>95 Donna828: Hi Donna! Hopefully they will want to spend time with you! There is no point in you enforcing too many rules....that's the parents' job. In fact, not even M and D's mom enforces many rules!

Feb 14, 1:43pm Top

Happy Valentine's Day!! ❤️💚💗💙

Feb 15, 4:10am Top

Take care Rachel, and I hope you had enjoyable Valentines Day. I wish I had some useful advice for you. I had a very picky eater sort of a son. As he got to be around 4 or so, he was it the 10th percentile for weight, and maybe the 40th the for height. But when my husband tried to enforce rules about eating, we found he'd rather starve than eat what he had leftover. However, we were never told that he was malnourished, just slim and a picky eater. After a few nights of my husband putting his supper in the fridge and serving it to him in the morning, and our son refusing to eat it, I told my husband, just give up and let's just let him eat the things he likes. Even in the primary grades, I felt I was putting together a lunch for woman on a slimming diet , but that what Daniel would eat. A tub of yogurt, a cereal bar, maybe some fruit for lunch and that was it. But then as he hit about age 19, he really got into power lifting and weight lifting and then it was eating protein etc etc and gaining weight. Kids! Our younger son was an easy going eater and he still is. I recall deciding that we would not get a Nintendo for our older son , as I thought playing games on TV, as it was then, wasn't good for kids. But then he'd be off to his friends to play Nintendo. Finally I caved on the Nintendo issue so he would bring his friends to our place.

At least when my sons were young, we did not have things like Ipads and Iphones, or even a computer until our eldest was about 10 or 12 years old. It's a challenge. Take care .

Feb 15, 8:20am Top

Happy Friday, {{{Rachel}}}!

Feb 15, 9:20am Top

>97 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle!

>98 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb! We weren't told that he was malnourished until we took him into feeding therapy. They also may have different criteria for "malnourished" now? Anyway, it sounds like your son at least ate healthy foods. M mostly will eat McDonald's, hotdogs, and porkchops. He'll also eat apples, and sometimes carrots if he really is hungry and wanting to earn his reward. Yesterday, he wouldn't eat the peas because they weren't "perfectly round." I just wanted him to eat ONE spoonful! Is that too much to ask? *sigh. Luckily, I don't think our rule changes have actually hurt him any, since he is probably eating more now that we are staring at him for 30 minutes instead of letting him "take a break" several times during the meal. That, and the reduction in screens, are the two things that feeding therapy has improved in his life.

The whole "finish your leftovers or go hungry" thing doesn't work on M, either. He'd rather go hungry for days at a time than eat something that he doesn't feel like eating. And I mean "feel" like eating, as sometimes he won't eat something that he liked just fine the day before.

>99 richardderus: Thanks Richard! You too!

Feb 15, 9:24am Top

Well, kids are off to school, and I get a good day of rest at home today. By "rest," I mean that I have free time to clean, lol. No errands to run until I drop the kids off at swim lessons tonight, and their mom will take them home with her. Yay! No feeding M for a whole two nights! Tonight, I will be having a Meetup with Mark and Erik at the Surly Brewery in Minneapolis. Aaron will be working still, so I'm going to bring the baby to the Brewery, lol. After that, I will be going out with a friend for a couple of hours.

Edited: Feb 15, 11:49am Top

Summary: The twins Viola and Sebastian are separated when their ship capsizes on the sea. Each thinking the other is dead, they make do as best they can. In order to protect herself while alone in a foreign land, Viola dresses up as a boy and names herself Cesario. She places herself as a manservant of Duke Orsino, with whom she quickly falls in love. In turn, Orsino is in love with the beautiful Countess Olivia. He sends “young Cesario” to Olivia on several occasions, hoping that the youth will win Olivia’s love for him. Unfortunately for everyone, Olivia falls in love with Cesario. Then, of course, in walks Sebastian who looks just like his sister Viola when disguised as Cesario. Olivia pounces upon Sebastian thinking he is Cesario, and that the youth will again rebuff her. But to her surprise, Sebastian quite happily accepts her advances and they get married – without Sebastian doing more than idly wondering why Olivia is in love with him. Of course, Olivia thinks she’s married to Cesario, and tells Duke Orsino this. He gets all upset until, lo and behold, everyone realizes their mistake, Orsino marries Viola, and everyone (excepting a character not yet named) lives happily ever after.

For comic relief of something that is already comic enough, there is a side-story of Olivia’s steward Malvolio. He is quite the proud man, and believes that he is quite worthy of everyone falling madly in love with him. When Olivia’s other servants (along with her uncle) play a trick on Malvolio by dropping a forged letter which convinces Malvolio that Countess Olivia is in love with him, he begins to court Olivia in a very comic fashion. She, thinking he’s mad, tells her uncle to take care of him. Her uncle throws him in a dark room, and treats him like a raving madman.

My thoughts: When I was a teenager and read all of Shakespeare’s plays, this (along with Much Ado About Nothing) stood out as my favorite comedy. Reading it again, I definitely enjoyed it, but in a different way. I feel that all this ridiculous falling in love instantly, the Duke suddenly changing his mind and deciding he’s in love with Viola instead of Olivia, and Sebastian marrying Olivia without any idea of whether she’s mad or has mistaken him for someone else was a bit over the top. I mean, it was still hilarious, but I couldn’t romanticize it like I did when I was a teen. I also felt very sorry for Malvolio. Yes, he was a bit of a prig, but he got worse than he deserved. Overall, I loved the story and thought it was hilarious, but I will probably more highly value some of Shakespeare’s other comedies.

Movies: I watched two versions of Twelfth night before listening to the audiobook.

They were both pretty good, though I liked the 1996 version (right) slightly more than the 2018 version. I tend to prefer movies that stay true to the timeline rather than modernizing – which the 2018 version did to a certain extent. Otherwise, there were certainly both worth watching!

Feb 15, 12:34pm Top

>101 The_Hibernator: I hope the meetup is a blast!

>102 The_Hibernator: Yeah, the movies...I see why they modernize them, being that the source material is a play and therefore reliant on stagecraft to make its mark; films are shadows of "reality" and plays are total fantasy. The media aren't all that compatible, so alterations make sense.

It's always interesting to revisit things one loved in the past. I'm very happy for you that this was a successful return.

Feb 15, 12:35pm Top

>102 The_Hibernator: I have to admit that my favourite film riff on Twelfth Night is She's the Man with Amanda Bynes.

Feb 15, 2:14pm Top

I hope you have a wonderful meet up!

Feb 15, 2:34pm Top

>103 richardderus: Hi Richard! I do understand why they modernize they plays. The plays were considered modern at the time, and there's no instructions that they should be during a specific time period. But for some reason, I just like the old fashioned look. :) It's also that I felt the older version of the movie handled the humor better. The 2018 version made it more of a drama, which I don't think was the original intent. There was, of course, still a humorous aspect to the 2018 version, but it was certainly less silly than the first one. Besides, the older one had Ben Kingsley in it, which totally made the character of Feste more lovable.

>104 MickyFine: Hi Micky! I liked She's the Man as well, though I didn't watch it this time around. I didn't have the time. It took me two weeks to watch the other two movies, and by then I'd moved on to Merchant of Venice.

>105 karenmarie: Thanks Karen! I'm sure I will!

Feb 15, 3:08pm Top

Feb 15, 3:27pm Top

>107 The_Hibernator: So big and cute!

Feb 15, 3:28pm Top

> Hi, Rachel! IL looks so cute in >107 The_Hibernator: and has a lovely little smile! I love his booties, too! Congrats on reading almost 30 books so far! I wish I could have read more last year, but that was definitely one of the things I let slide after my son was born. It's gotten better the last month or two. Hope you enjoy your meetup and visit with friends tonight!

Feb 15, 8:16pm Top

Oh, IL is just darling! What a cutie! Enjoy your meetup!

Feb 15, 8:21pm Top

>107 The_Hibernator: He is getting so big - and cute!

Feb 16, 7:48am Top

Thanks for another pic of IL, Rachel! He's adorable.

Feb 16, 9:59am Top

Twelfth Night is my favorite comedy of his, too, Rachel. That 1996 filmed version is good; I didn't know there was a 2018 one.

We've had some great productions of it here in Chicago; my favorite of those featured a swimming pool (!) they kept dipping in and out of. I'm not sure of what meaning was added, but it did add to the laughs.

Feb 16, 10:23am Top

>107 The_Hibernator: *baaaaawwwwwwwww* so adorable I could eat him with a spoon.

Edited: Feb 18, 8:36am Top

Here's the meetup picture. On the front left is Mark, behind him is Erik, across from him is my husband Aaron, and that's me and IL next to him.

Feb 16, 9:27pm Top

>108 _Zoe_: Thanks Zoe!

>109 aktakukac: Hi Rachel! Most of those 30 books are picture books that I read to IL. Of the 11 books that aren't picture books, 9 of them were audiobooks that I listen to while I do housework and feed IL. So, really, I've sat down and read 2 books this year - both books for middle schoolers. :)

>110 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deb!

>111 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia!

>112 karenmarie: Thanks Karen!

>113 jnwelch: Wow Joe, a swimming pool? I'm curious how that was included in the story. :)

>114 richardderus: Thanks Richard!

Feb 16, 9:33pm Top

>115 The_Hibernator: That's a convivial group!

Feb 16, 11:27pm Top

>107 The_Hibernator: so cute!

>115 The_Hibernator: looks like a fun meet up!

Feb 17, 10:37am Top

I love meet up pictures! Excellent.

Feb 17, 10:50am Top

>115 The_Hibernator:

A handsome and beautiful crew all around!

Feb 17, 9:49pm Top

Great meetup photo! IL is getting so big!

Feb 18, 3:26am Top

What a nice christening photo and the meet-up photo is fantastic too. It looks like the restaurant was very busy.
Sending sunny greetings from Davos.

Feb 18, 8:36am Top

>117 richardderus: Convivial! That's a word I don't see every day. That really tickles me.

>118 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda!

>119 karenmarie: Thanks Karen!

>120 m.belljackson: Thanks m.belljackson!

>121 nittnut: Thanks Jen! Yes, he is.

>122 Ameise1: Thanks Barb! The meetup was at Surely Brewing Company, and it was pretty packed. But then, it was a brewery close to U of M campus on a Friday night. :)

Edited: Feb 18, 8:37am Top

Summary: This book was a mixture between an abbreviated biography of Albert Einstein and a discussion of how he came up with his theories. It is pretty good at explaining any physics that it included in the book, and was not at all difficult to understand for a complete layperson on the subject.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It’s my second book by Kaku, and I plan on reading more of his work. His science is quite approachable and he keeps to interesting topics.

Edited: Feb 18, 1:14pm Top

I have a problem - I told M he could read a challenging book to me to earn McDonald's when he finishes. So of course D wants the same thing. What's challenging for a 9 year old, is realistic fiction, is girlie and appropriate for a 9 year old?

Feb 18, 11:39am Top

>125 The_Hibernator: Do you want something short enough to read in one sitting, or could it be a chapter book? You might look at picture book biographies, and see if you can find something that would be challenging for her but not super long. (I know those aren't fiction, but they tend to tell the story of a person's life in a way that is as approachable as fiction, sometimes, so I thought they might work.) Or how about Patricia Polacco's picture books? They tend to be a little longer and more complex in terms of vocabulary, but if she's a strong reader, she might not see them as challenging.

What sorts of things does she read regularly? That will give me an idea of what would be a challenging read for her.

Feb 18, 1:15pm Top

She's 9 not 7! Lol! Have no idea where 7 came from. She reads books like babysitters club level.

Feb 18, 1:24pm Top

>126 foggidawn: For a 9-year-old, how about having her read a chapter from something like Anne of Green Gables? That is, unless you do want her to read an entire book. Classics tend to be more challenging than contemporary works, which is why Anne sprang to mind.

Feb 18, 3:26pm Top

Anne of Green Gables is a good idea, though I want her to read an entire book before earning the McDonald's. I have the Little House books, but they wouldn't be challening enough. She is already a strong reader of chapter books.

The book M read must have been too easy. It was a Branches book, so basically an easy reader chapter book. He seemed challenged appropriately, but finished reading the book to me in a few hours.

Edited: Feb 18, 9:41pm Top

Realistic fiction. Eight Cousins was a favorite of mine when I was 9 or 10. Other favorites: Matilda, Because of Winn Dixie, The Penderwicks, Harriet the Spy, Number the Stars, Maniac Magee and Freak the Mighty. My kids loved Holes, although maybe that's not so girly. You could also do Sarah, Plain and Tall, which is would be challenging, but short.

Feb 18, 10:16pm Top

>129 The_Hibernator: It’s pretty rare for a book at that level to be much longer than those Branches books tend to be, and if a book is too difficult, reading becomes punitive rather than enjoyable. Maybe a time goal, rather than a difficulty goal, would work? X hours of reading (an appropriately challenging book or books) earns the reward? That would also level the field for his sister, if they both have to read for the same length of time.

Yesterday, 12:30am Top

Maybe nonfiction? it’s supposed to be good for kids. Since it’s February, one could look for AfricanAmerican history. my 5th grade teacher had us all enthralled with a book about Harriet Tubman. And I remember reading a book about Wilma Rudolph with Banjo jr. Very inspirational. But I don’t remember the title or grade level

Yesterday, 4:21am Top

>130 nittnut: Thanks Jenn! Those are also some excellent ideas. The reason I asked for realistic fiction is she can only seems interested in very light fantasy. I am more familiar with fantasy and boys books for that age. I have read most of Dahl's, and I think I read Because of Winn Dixie at some point, but that's it from those suggestions. I'll check them out for reading level.

>131 foggidawn: Hi Foggi! Of course you are right. I'm not sure M would have the attention span to read a longer book than that, anyway. He's only 6. Wheras D is 9 (not 7! 🤣😂) and already reads chapter books. I just don't think I should bribe her to do what she already does freely. I tried to encourage her to write instead of read, but she hates writing so much that it wasn't worth it for her. If we can afford it, we may have to hire a writing tutor over the summer.

>132 banjo123: Hi Rhonda! Challenging her by encouraging her to read more nonfiction is also a good idea, and I have decided to start with that idea in order to be challenging her to broaden her reading while leveling the field with her brother, who can finish a Branches book in a few hours.

Yesterday, 10:10am Top

Well, I tried selling my plasma yesterday. But they couldn't find a vein. I'll drink plenty of water for the next few days and try again on Saturday. I'm trying to raise money for M's chess lessons. I thought about taking a part-time job, and even found the perfect one - except it was just enough money to put us into a new tax bracket and make it financially not worth it. lol. I would make slightly less money (not enough to put us in a new tax bracket) for less time selling plasma. Not sure it's the most healthy way to go, but from what I can see there are no awful long term effects.

Yesterday, I also signed up for a training cohort for the national Crisis Hotline. I was accepted to their training program while I was pregnant, but decided the training cohort required more time than I had the energy for as a pregnant woman. We'll see if I can manage it now. It'll be tough, but once the training is over, it's just 4 hours a week. And volunteering (especially at a crisis hotline) has always made me feel very good - so in the long run it's worth the time, even if it makes me more busy. Wish me luck on completing the training! It starts on Monday.

M read Rise of the Earth Dragon aloud to me yesterday. It was just the right level for him. I'm really appreciating these Branches books. They're perfect for getting him transitioned away from short easy readers and graphic novels. (Not that I mind him reading graphic novels, I just want him to learn to enjoy chapter books, too.) I had promised him McDonald's when he finishes a "chapter book," but I didn't expect him to read it all in one day. D tried reading Alex Rider: Stormbreaker to me...but it was way too high of a reading level. As I said above, I'll try out the Who Was...? books on her to get her interested in nonfiction. Those are short, so she can earn as quickly as M.

Did I post this picture of M reading the Dogman books?

I had to zoom in on him and take the picture on the sly. lol. So it's not very good lighting.

Yesterday, 1:54pm Top

>129 The_Hibernator:

If they haven't already read these old classics for all ages -

Charlotte's Web
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World
Wind in the Willows
Favorite Greek Myths
It Could Be Worse
The Black Stallion
The Midnight Fox
Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing
Black Beauty
Dr. Seuss

something may click.

Today, 7:05am Top

>135 m.belljackson: Yes, that is a good list. I have only read Charlotte's Web, Wind in the Willows, and Favorite Greek Myths myself. But some of those might be perfect for her tastes - she tends to prefer modern books, but the point is to challenge her.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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