Zulily Can Be Dangerous

When I had H, several friends told me that I had to sign up for Zulily, so I did. I’ve never purchased anything from their daily emails, and there are times when there isn’t a single thing that I’d even want to buy — but today was not one of those days. Holy cow, are there some cute things today. In lieu of buying them, I’m just going to put them on my blog and pretend that I did. 🙂 Seems like an excellent thing to do on my pumping break, don’t you think?

BTW, if you want to buy any of these things for your own cutie pie, you can click on the picture to go to the product page — but be forewarned that you need a (free) Zulily membership and that the deals only last a day or two.

Firstly, all of my friends who joke that I put too many pictures of H on Facebook will appreciate this onesie:

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It is just as well that this pair of PJs is almost too small for H (it only goes up to a 12 month, and he already wears that size of PJs) and wildly expensive, because it’s exactly the sort of luxurious nonsense that I’d love to waste money on. Really? $70 for a pair of baby pajamas? What universe do some people live in?

pjs

H hates having things on his head, but he might just have to deal with this cute hat:

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And then, once the weather warms up a bit, with these, because H is obviously going to be friends with Quinoa:

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(Man, seriously, I’m imagining him in that brown hat and just dying. The cute!)

I love the way these fake dress-up onesies look. 🙂

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Like this!

suspenders

These two are silly but just tickle my funny bone. Alice in Wonderland reference, what?

crocodile boys

As long as we’re on the subject of green onesies, he’ll probably need something along these lines before long (but we’ll be able to find it in town, I’m sure):

greentux

Goodness, what a cute sweater:

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We’re a big fan of superhero garb around these parts:

batman superman

And I kind of fell in love with this sweet, tactile green bear and the crinkly soft “lovey.”

greenbear

lovey

Are we even entirely serious right now? A child-sized steel drum? Do you have any idea how much H would love that? ALL THE CRAZINESS.

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These little leggings are totes adorbs and exactly what a little boy needs in this cold weather:

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This is cute, too. It would suit him. Ha ha.

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Ah, the ridiculousness! Good thing this one doesn’t come in a size large enough for me to waste money on. 🙂 It’s a tiny velour marching band uniform! Sorta!

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Awww.

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He doesn’t need one of these yet, and when he does he’ll need a warmer one, but still. Cute.

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And heck, that doesn’t even get into the things I’d like that aren’t necessary for my little buddy…

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signs

sleep

It’s Monday; What Are You Reading?

Monday Reading

Reading Update: It is Monday, January 27. As of today, I’ve read 6 books toward my goal of 52. Of course, four of those books were picture books, but I guess that’s life in the mom lane! I’m still not counting Splash Goes the Hippo. 🙂 Most recently, I read The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators and really enjoyed it; you can scroll down to last Friday’s post to read my full review.

And since I’ve got it… here is photographic evidence of one of the MANY re-reads of Splash:

Splash Goes the Hippo

Currently Reading: I’m still working on The Night Circus, mostly because I had to put it aside to finish The Red Hourglass. I’ve also picked up another Grice, The Book of Deadly Animals; it’s set up like Hourglass in standalone chapters, so I read a little of it at a time as the mood strikes me. I don’t think I can legitimately claim to be reading Far from the Tree right now, but it’s waiting in the wings to be read.

Looking Ahead: So many books I’d love to read if only I had the time! Hmmm… maybe Fangirl (in lieu of Eleanor & Park, which hasn’t arrived yet). Also, in the next few weeks I’m going to read Zombie Baseball Beatdown for GLW.

Review: The Red Hourglass

Red HourglassThis review originally posted at Guys Lit Wire.

As a middle school librarian, former high school English teacher, and now mother of a boy, I’ve been fortunate enough to gain some insight into what sort of reading material is likely to capture the attention of an average young dude.

One tried and true boy book bait, in my experience, is gross stuff.

Oh, and sex. (Age dependent, of course.)

Those two criteria makes Gordon Grice’s The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators a likely candidate. The clear, accessible, and often hilarious writing makes it a shoo-in.

Grice comes across less like a nature writer and more like some dude who is obsessed with creepy and dangerous animals and loves to tell anyone and everyone allllll about them. His love for all things we’d rather not encounter while barefoot brings them to vivid life on the page. While reading this book I found myself laughing out loud, squirming, wincing, exclaiming in surprise and turning to Google for confirmation, and — more than once — reading excerpts out loud over the protests of my friends and family who don’t find spiders and snakes to be pleasant conversation fodder.

I mean, seriously, you have to share nuggets like this:

There was a beige-painted wood banister along the landing, and a piece of it had grabbed the moth and was chewing its head off. As I looked closer, the carnivorous piece of banister adjusted its grip slightly, and I recognized it as a praying mantis…. She held the moth, wings down, before her face and turned to stare at me. She looked like a person wiping her face with a napkin.

Ew. Am I right? Great stuff!

The Red Hourglass consists of seven stand-alone chapters, each focusing on a different critter. The first and best is about the black widow; others explore rattlesnakes, other spiders, and mantids. Grice detours from the usual grody suspects with chapters about pigs and canines, shaking up one’s preconceived notions about how warm and fuzzy these predators actually are while slipping in some intriguing discussion about the symbiotic relationship between man and “domesticated” beasts. Each chapter shines a light into the cobwebby shadows of these animals’ worlds, lovingly describing their predatory skills, their brutal mating habits, and their relationship with humankind. It’s shocking, it’s funny, and it is seriously gross.

This book did everything I love in narrative nonfiction. It was tremendously entertaining; I had a hard time putting it down. It taught me cool new things without ever feeling forced or boring; it changed the way I thought about several different animals, including humans and our place in the world. And, significantly, it made me look around eagerly for someone to share it with.

While I believe plenty of middle school-aged kids would take enormous joy in reading The Red Hourglass, it is probably better suited for slightly older readers. A recurring theme in the lives of these predators is what Grice charmingly refers to as “sexual cannibalism,” and he doesn’t shy away from describing this macabre practice. There’s a reference to a myth about a fanged vagina, and the paragraphs about pig breeding ultimately made up my mind about not including this book in our middle school’s library. (Excerpts, though, would be awesome informational texts for a science class!) I would enthusiastically recommend it to older teens, and to any adult who is more fascinated than repulsed by creepy-crawlies.

Arachnophobes and ophidiophobes should probably steer clear.

Passwording

I’m password protecting a fair number of my old posts, and expect to do so with some future posts, because I’m feeling a little iffy about publicly sharing too much information about my child.

The password in these instances is said child’s initials (all three of them) in lowercase without punctuation. I’m presuming that most people who read this blog know those initials; if you don’t, and are not a creepy creeper, get in touch with me and I’ll tell you. I’m not trying to privatize the posts; I just want to protect them from random stoppers-by and potential pervies.

Wired!

I’m not a big “New Year’s Resolutions” gal, but there were a few things floating in my mind this month that I’d like to do to improve my life in 2014. Save a little money each month, for example. Move my part from the middle to the side of my head. You know: the big stuff.

Another thing that I knew I wanted to do fell more on the professional side of things. As a middle school librarian, I need to be familiar with more middle-level books. There are plenty that I’ve read or know a lot about, but our library is big and getting bigger all the time, and I have a lot of catching up to do. More than just reading books, though, I need to talk about them. So one of my goals for the upcoming year was to read more of my collection, and get back into the habit of writing reviews — maybe even try my hand at videos.

It’s funny when the universe conspires to help you out with things like that. (Now if only it would lend a hand on the “saving money” front!)

There’s a terrific website called Guys Lit Wire that exists to highlight books that might appeal to teenage boys. They have a writing “staff” of about 25 folks who post daily book reviews. The books don’t necessarily have male protagonists and aren’t necessarily written for teens. The contributors include teachers, librarians, college students, published authors, etc.. It’s a fairly well-known site amongst those people who are interested in YA books.

Anyway, last week they posted a notice that they were looking for new contributors. I emailed them with samples of my work, and on Wednesday evening they replied and let me know that they’d like to have me on board!

I’m elated. Not only does this support me in my goal, but it puts me out there as a reader and a writer in a professional sense, which is good for me. It will help me get to know some great people who, like me, are stupid-passionate about helping young people fall in love with books. It’s a small commitment (one review a month) with a great deal of creative license, so it’s a challenge at a manageable level for me right now with my other commitments.

Anyone who knows me as a teacher/librarian knows that biblio-matchmaking is one of my greatest passions. SO thrilled that GLW is giving me one more way to do this!

Anyway, I’ll be cross-posting my reviews, but I encourage you to subscribe to GLW if you’re interested in YA books in whatever capacity, or just want great book recommendations.

PS Big thank you to Deb for first pointing me in this site’s direction!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Monday Reading

Reading Update: It is Monday, January 13, and for once I’m actually remembering to do this before Tuesday! As of today, I have read 3 books toward my goal of 52 for the year (unless you count the eighty or so times I’ve “read” Hippo Goes Splash with my kidlet). I’ve added two lengthy tomes (The Musical Life of Gustav Mole and Sidney, Stella, and the Moon) to last week’s offerings:

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Currently Reading: I’m still reading, and very much enjoying, The Night Circus. If I had a slow afternoon I’m pretty sure I could finish it up; tonight is orchestra rehearsal, which would ordinarily give me that time, but with this concert I never sit down so I probably won’t hit “The End” just yet. It’s such an interesting book, not the least of which because I can’t quite tell what sort of book it is or to whom I would recommend it. I mean, yeah, it’s a fantasy… but it isn’t. Pretty cool.

Yesterday I picked up another book and will probably have it on my “currently reading” list for a while, as it’s not only quite long (976 pages) but the sort of book that requires you to actually think while you read it. The book is Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon and it is fascinating so far.

Night Circus Far from the Tree

Looking Ahead: I am temporarily (this week) sidelining last week’s plan to read YA steampunk lit in order to pick out and read another YA book, as yet to be determined, to be reviewed for a special dealio — more about that later today, hopefully!