Some Books for the Kiddos

A few months ago I did a lengthy post on some books I bought Sawyer related to diversity, acceptance, and general social awareness. Since then he's gotten some other books that I thought I'd pass along, some with a message, and some just plain fun. 

Rosie Revere, Engineer
Ada Twist, Scientist
Iggy Peck, Architect
The only new one from this bunch, actually, is the top title, but these three by Andrea Beaty are absolutely wonderful. These three little kids, all from the same class but with different backgrounds, each follow their STEM-centric dreams, persevere, and work to combine creativity and intellect. They come up with many obstacles and often think about quitting, but instead problem solve and in turn experience at least a little success. The illustrations are fantastically quirky, the writing witty, and the stories endearing.

XO, OX: A Love Story 
This was one of the books we got Sawyer for Valentine's Day and by far the best of the three. Adam Rex writes the story of an ox who is is love with a gazelle, and Scott Campbell illustrates it. Gazelle is obviously a super-busy famous star and doesn't have time for lowly ox- the two go back in forth in a series of letters that had me cracking up. At the heart of the book is a great lesson on appearance vs heart.

I Don't Like Koala 
Sean Ferrell's adorable little story about a boy who changes his mind about a stuff koala is sweet, funny, and fairly short (if you have a squirmy listener that may be important). The story can illicit good conversations about giving people and situations a chance before passing judgement.

Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups 
This book by Tadgh Bentley is just plain fun- it's about a little penguin who needs the reader to help scare him to get rid of his hiccups. There's counting, yelling, and a surprise visit by a whale- would could be better for a toddler?

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

[my drugged-out pup]
Link up, link back, say hey!

1. I am obsessed with Ritz crackers and putting whatever I can on them. Today for lunch I had a few with vegetable cream cheese, peanut butter, cheese, and tabouleh (not all at the same time). I have been running quite a bit, so I think my body wants salt. 

2. Over the weekend I took Sawyer to a model train show at the local fairgrounds and he LOVED it. He was content doing laps and laps around the place, following trains around the tables. Hobby trains aren't quite my thing, but I do enjoy seeing people who are so incredibly passionate about their interests. 

3. Milk Bar Birthday Cake update: I am waiting for a larger quarter sheet pan, which should arrive tomorrow. This is my last missing item and if everything goes as planned, I will make it TOMORROW NIGHT. Unfortunately, it has to freeze for twelve hours and then thaw about for three more, so I won't be able to eat it until Friday. But still. We're getting there and I am clearly all kinds of excited.

4. Something else I am probably too excited about? Going to see LEGO Batman on Friday. We're taking Sawyer, which I know some might say he's too young for, but whatever.

5. I found Sawyer a daycare that has a kindergarten too, and I could not be more relieved. There are a surprisingly small number of satisfactory secular preschools in our area (no offense to those who do the God thing, but we have concerns), so the whole thing has caused me a great deal of anxiety. We visited the other day and Sawyer loved it, as did I. I am going to put down our deposit and application fee tomorrow so that we are guaranteed a spot for next school year. 

6. Cordie went in for yet another gum growth removal yesterday and per the usual it cost a lot and was really stressful on her. It's a necessary evil, but man I hope she doesn't get anymore. 

A Valentine's Morning at the Beach

Valentine's Day has always been sort of a non-event in our house, but with Sawyer the past few years I am trying to bring it back. I've been wanting to take him to have lunch on the Huntington Beach Pier, at the endearing tourist trap Ruby's, for awhile, so we went today. I am off this week and the weather was perfect, so we lucked out. The lighting was fantastic, between the clouds and winter sun, so I got a few great pictures that I thought I'd share.

Eight Glasses of Lemonade

[... unless the lemon rhymes with Schmonald; source]
If you are tired of hearing about politics or you don't care to be interested, I congratulate you on your privilege (and would like to remind you that shit does roll down hill). If you don't agree with my viewpoints, I shrug my shoulders. If you are from abroad and are having a good laugh over America, I apologize. 

How's that for a preface?

But really, this is a more positive post, I promise. I have lamented on the state of our country on a weekly basis here, but what I have failed to discuss is the good that has come out of the bad. The lemonade people are desperately trying to make out of these horribly sour lemons. So here are some things I am earnestly trying to keep in mind:

1. The judicial system is working hard (well, at least some courts are) to maintain checks and balances.

2. More money than ever is being poured into groups like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. In fact, during the last weekend in January, the ACLU reported $24 million in online donations, which is more than six time their normal annual support levels. People are putting their money where their mouths are and it's incredible.

3. Two Republicans turned their back on their party to vote against Betsy DeVos- they listened to their constituents. Maybe it will be contagious. 

4. The marches! The protests! All peaceful, public signs of protest that show the administration that things are not okay are positive.

5. People who were uninterested and uniformed prior to the election are now making an effort to better understand and are even become involved. 

6. While there is so much hate and negativity, there's also this background echo of kindness being heard. People are pledging to help those who are underrepresented or without a voice, on small levels and big. 

7. The system is being questioned on many levels- our archaic electoral college, the way the cabinet is chosen, etc...

8. While I knew where most people in my life stand on the Big Issues there were a few that surprised me... for worse. That knowledge is important and I am glad to now have it. 

As always, just a friendly reminder to ACT not just post. I know it's cathartic, venting online or to friends, lord knows I do it, but at the end of the day, it's useless. Even a $5 donation or a letter to a senator can help. 

How to Win at Feminism

There are so many books that fall under the feminism umbrella- memoirs by celebrities, essay collections by literary greats, nonfiction theory texts by academics, and whatever else you can find in that tiny little section at the bookstore. Several months ago I started following The Reductress on Instagram and got a copy of their book How to Win at Feminism: A Definitive Guide to Having it All- And Then Some! for Christmas and enjoyed it. It's a total satire with some serious little gems thrown in, so if you're looking for a true how-to manual this really isn't it, nor is it a comprehensive look at feminism in general. I do think it captured where we are in terms of being pulled in a progressive direction but also the strings that attach many of us to what our mothers and grandmothers practiced (example: I have been answering work email while being home with my kid today, while simultaneously folding laundry and transferring money that I earned into my own savings account). 

Here are a few quotes and whatnot that stood out to me:

"Feminism is multi-factered, with women of many different backgrounds and privileges working together for equality. Although there are several types of feminists, most feminists fall into one of two camps: Beyonce or Taylor Swift" (5). 

"You know when you're sitting alone in a room and you feel a cold breeze on your neck that makes you shudder for just a second, and you ask if anybody else felt it, but nobody did? That's the patriarchy" (25). 

"If you're a white woman, you have a lot to fight for, but you also share a lot of the advantages white men have. This called privilege. Because you have more privilege than a lot of other women, you must use it for good and not evil, while also pulling off a killer outfit to show that helping others is cool" (36). 

"After all, we aren't wearing girdles and cleaning the house anymore. We're wearing Spanx and hiring a cleaning lady. That's feminism!" (88)

"Every woman should strive toward having it all. Why settle for anything less? The dream is readily available for women with courage, and half an ounce of self-respect Not having it all is not only a threat to feminism at large; it also has dangerous repercussions for your personal life as well. Studies have shown that not having it all can lead people to worry about what they'e doing with their live" (95).

"Forgiveness is like little bottles of hotel shampoo- you'll never un out!" (190)

It's definitely not perfect, at occasionally it was a little over-the-top for me and a bit annoying. But as a whole, I thought that the tone and level of distraction was perfect.