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Four years

29 January 2012
My little Sparrow has made it another year. He is now four years old. FOUR! I can't believe we've lived for this long. Seriously. I knew nothing about babies and toddlers when he was born. I still don't. It's a miracle he's survived.

I'd say it's gone by in a flash, but it hasn't. People always say that the years pass by quickly but I still think that's a lie. Keeping your kid alive for four years is a long, slow process.

Sparrow was born 7 weeks early. We went to the hospital at 6 a.m. on January 27 because I had been having high blood pressure and suddenly came down with a killer migraine and a blind spot in my eye. The ER took my blood pressure and the alarms started going off. "DON'T PANIC," the nurse yelled, and ran out of the room. You should have seen Hawk's face. I laughed.

After an hour of waiting in Labor and Delivery, the doctor informed me I'd be having a baby. "Um, I'm not due till March 10," I said. "Surprise," she said.

I was in labor for 12 hours. No painkillers, because they wouldn't work with the 2 blood pressure medications I was on. I wasn't allowed to read, watch TV, or talk on the phone. Nothing that would "stimulate" me because I was so close to stroking out. At 10 p.m. I was wheeled into the operating room, where they tried for an hour to get a spinal block in place. I was so swollen they couldn't do it, so they finally just knocked me totally out.

Sparrow was born at 11:14 p.m. Later I found out that Gordon B. Hinckley, the president and prophet of our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, had passed away a few hours earlier. I think they passed each other :)

Sparrow was released from the NICU after 3 weeks. He's never been sick and he is ridiculously smart and has an insane memory. He was somewhat delayed as a baby, but he is almost caught up now (he still has trouble socially sometimes.)

He's grown from 4 lbs 3 oz to 41 lbs, from 17 inches to 41 inches. Four years! Here's to another 444 :) Love you Sparrow.

Photobucket The day he came home from the NICU

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"Pure" by Julianna Baggott review

15 January 2012
Pure (Pure, #1)Pure by Julianna Baggott
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I suffered through every single word of this book. Normally I'd have put it down, I hated it so much. But I felt it was my duty to read this crap so YOU don't have to. I have tried to spare you the pain of this novel. Heed my warnings, reader. Stay away. Just. Stay. Away.

This is quite possibly the absolute worst book I have ever read. I've said that before, but I'm confident that this one takes the cake. Now when people ask what the worst book ever is, I have a confident quick answer for them. Instead of reading this, go watch Total Recall 2070. It's a lot shorter and a better movie than this book was - and that is saying something.

Here are some actual thoughts as I was reading this trash:

What the hell is this?! This book is terrible so far. I'm on page 200 and I am fighting to stay in the game. You know what this novel reminds me of? That horrible Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Total Recall 2070, where he goes to Mars and there are all these creepy mutants.

This book is trying WAY too hard to be dark, gritty and awesome all at the same time. So far all it's succeeding in doing is being dark, disgusting, and stupid. Also confusing - too many characters, too many different viewpoints being introduced at completely random times.

Oh, how CONVENIENT that Bradwell knows Japanese, and that "phoenix," of all words, is the "first word he ever looked up." Come on. Gag me. There were lots of moments of "convenience" throughout the entire novel.

Okay. Now back to regularly scheduled review. There is absolutely nothing redeeming in this stinking pile of sewage. I found several instances where Pressia magically become Lyda (as in, huge typos throughout the novel.) I hope they fix this before the book is published, but it won't really make a huge difference, because the characters all blend together - there is no way to distinguish them from any other character except for the mentions of their mutations. Which, by the way, let's talk about that for a minute.

Talk about how I was BEATEN OVER THE HEAD CONSTANTLY by the mutations, and this was melted, and this was fused to this, and she has no face it's just metal! And her hand! It's a mirror! And oh my gravy is that a baby in your chest?

Constant. That was possibly the most irritating thing about this book, besides the fact that the plot is stupid and the characters make no sense and it's all very contrived and heavy handed. Every new person, place, or thing they encountered had a huge description about the horror of it being fused to whatever.

The thing is, I like dystopian novels where I can actually see that thing happening. I love post-apocalyptic survival type books because I can PUT myself in those situations. In this situation? All I could think of was being fused to my laptop and having to read this horrible novel over and over again. That would be a fate worse than death and if I go to Hell, I realize now that this is probably required reading in Hell 101.

The whole scenes with the characters and the "Mothers" was disgusting and completely and totally unnecessary. And this is going to become a trilogy? Dear Lord, have our brains devolved so much in the last 10 years that we are willing to waste our time on this drivel?

I am so utterly astounded by the idiocy of this novel. I don't understand why it's so looked forward to, why it's even being published in the first place. I'd like to go on for 368 pages about how disgusting, idiotic, pointless and STUPID the whole thing is. What a waste of my life this was.



View all my reviews

Wordfull Wednesday

10 January 2012
Today's Wordfull Wednesday question is: Which fictional character do you identify most with?

And I wish to high heaven and back that I could say I was just like Tris from Veronica Roth's Divergent, or Alanna from Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness quartet...or any one of Mercedes Lackey's hero/heroines...

But I can't. Because truthfully, the literary character I am most like is Melinda, from Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

I remember reading Speak in my sophomore year of high school. I was 14, at a brand new school in a brand new state and I was terrified. I woke up dreading every day, living through those painful 8 hours in near-silence, and going home and collapsing, exhausted from being scared all day.

Melinda suffers a traumatic life event and gradually stops talking. Although my "trauma" was nothing compared to what she went through, I felt the same way she did. She was quiet on the outside, full of sarcastic snark and wit on the inside. She had no friends, I had no friends. Her parents didn't really care, mine tried but didn't help much.

And the snark that goes on in Speak. Oh, the snark. It made me happy. I felt like I'd found a friend in Melinda.

It's been 11 years since I read Speak, and I still identify with her, even though I'm no longer a mouse in high school. I am much less angsty than I was as a teenager, thank goodness. And I am much snarkier than I was as a teenager, so consequently I am much more amusing. I hope.

I also hope that if this question is ever asked again, I can come up with a better answer. Sure, I'd take Tris and her quiet, unassuming confidence, (SERIOUSLY PEOPLE, READ DIVERGENT!) but I'd also settle for ...uh... someone else who is awesome and selfless and amazing but a little more grown up. Because it's starting to concern me that the only characters I could think of for this Wordfull Wednesday were all teenagers. (P.S. On a random note, my blog name, Kestrel, comes from William Nicholson's Wind on Fire trilogy, an excellent series for tweens. Kestrel is my hero. And if I had given birth to a girl, I would have named her Kestrel. Probably a good thing I didn't have a girl.)

Christmas Recap

06 January 2012
We did have a Christmas, and I should probably write about it before Valentine's Day gets here.

On Christmas Eve we visited my grandparents.  Sparrow adores his great grandpa Dan.

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After spending a little time with the grandparents, we went to a Christmas party with my other side of the family and ate the most incredible prime rib ever in the history of food.  There was also shrimp.  Oh, and games.  And family.  Have I mentioned the prime rib?  I should have taken a picture of it.

Then after a lot of playing, Hawk, Sparrow and I came back to our townhouse.  It was our first Christmas at home.

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Sparrow asked Santa for a "Star Wars giant" this year.  Good luck figuring out what that meant.  After a month of questioning I still had no idea, so Santa settled for this Star Wars starfighter.

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Best $10 I ever spent.

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Aunt Owly sent Sparrow some Star Wars books, which he reads constantly.

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Owly sent me a movie I looove (Rigoletto, a Feature Films for Families movie from the 90s) and this sign, which...

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Wait a minute, OLDEST bestest friend?  As in OLDEST?!!!!  I will give her the benefit of the doubt, since she's four whole months older than me.

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Bamboo was pretty excited about the frivolity on Christmas morning too.

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Panda was just forlorn and confused - why would we open boxes instead of pet him?  Sigh.

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Wearing our Christmas socks (mine have already saved my toes from frostbite like 87,000 times already.)

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We gave Sparrow a ukulele.  He was over the moon with that and plays it every day. Of course, he plays it like a violin, since that's what he sees me practicing most often.  I'll have to pull out my guitar one of these days.

(Not pictured: lots of other awesome things, including the indoor trampoline with netting my mom gave Sparrow.  I'm not sure who loves it more, him or the cats.  It's pretty hysterical to watch them on it.  My mom also gave us a kitchen table which we desperately needed as every single dining chair we had was in pieces.)

Then we had an insane Christmas day that extended throughout the last week of December.  Lots of insanity and family and activities and messy houses and stress.  Sparrow is just barely starting to settle down from it all and I still feel like I need a nap.  Sheesh.

Next post:  2011 recap and a 2012 goal.  Maybe.  If I feel like it.

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England saved my life.

05 January 2012
Seven years ago today, I was on an airplane bound for London, England.  Via Dallas. Never fly to London from Dallas - that is one miserable flight.

(And yet I am still so proud that I have managed to never use an airplane bathroom.  I have a bladder of steel.)

Seven years ago.  That's practically a lifetime.  I was just barely 18 years old, a junior in college, and totally lost in life.  I had no idea what I was doing, who I was, where I wanted to go or what I wanted to become.  I had never lived away from home.  I was struggling with severe depression and social anxiety and I was suicidal.

I promised myself that once I got back from England, I would be allowed to die.  But I had to go to England first.

And thank God I did.

In England I discovered that life didn't have to be completely miserable.  I could be whoever I wanted to be.  I didn't have to be scared to get out of bed in the morning.  There was so much to do and see and explore and eat and experience - every day was an adventure.  I discovered that I didn't have to be defined by my family or by my mistakes.  I discovered that I loved doing laundry.  I discovered that I could survive on my own and that I could make friends - lifelong friends - and that I had stuff in common with other people and that people actually liked me and appreciated my sense of humor.  I discovered that playing soccer in Hyde Park every Saturday was one of the highlights of my life (minus the time I kicked the ball straight into my professor's nethers.  Awkward.)

I was still young and stupid.  I had absolutely no money the entire time I was across the Pond - every week, my blessed grandmother would send me $20, which I would exchange for all of 10 quid (not very much, honestly.)  I was able to get a babysitting gig for a young American family that lived next door which supplemented my income a little bit.  Some weeks, instead of using the money the professors gave us to buy Oyster Cards (Tube passes), I saved it so I could buy souvenirs, supplies, or chocolate instead.  There were days I stayed in the London Centre the entire day, reading and messing around on the Internet instead of going out and exploring.

There was a time when I almost got kicked out of the Centre, because I went on a tour of the vaults of Edinburgh on my own.  At night.  I was an IDIOT.

I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to be there, though.  Truly, if I hadn't gone, I wouldn't be here today.  I remember feeling so adamant that I absolutely had to go to that very program at that very time or my chance would be gone - and it's true, because as soon as I got home I met Hawk and we married and the rest, as they say, is history.

I fell in love with the United Kingdom in 2005.  I have spent every moment since 2 May 2005 plotting ways to make it back to England.  And someday, I will go back.  It might not be tomorrow, but it will be before I'm 28.  Because 10 years is much too long between visits to my homeland.


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Sad story: my camera only lasted the first month of my time in England, so I have very few pictures of my time there.  Even more reason to go back!