Monday, July 18, 2016

Malcolm is Four!

Happy birthday to my wonderful, goofy, creative, smart Malcolm.

You have grown so much in the last year, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

I am so grateful that I get to share all my favorite things about this world with you, like blueberries, gardening, bird watching, books, and tennis (although we don't always share a fashion sense).

Never stop sparkling, little super hero!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Back to blogging, with book reviews

I have been trying to read more lately, and spend less time on computer games and Facebook. I also challenged myself to read more books by women and minorities; so far, 15 of the 21 books I have read so far this year are by women. Anyway, here are short reviews of two books I have recently finished.

Cold Magic (Spiritwalker, #1)Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is closer to a 3.5 for me. I enjoyed it enough that I want to read the rest of the trilogy, but there were some things - stylistically and plot-wise - that kept me from truly loving it. Initially, I had a hard time getting into the story, since the beginning was a bit slow - I tend to prefer a quick start. A large portion of the middle of the book is occupied with Cat and Anduvai traveling up and then back down the length of the country, seemingly to no great purpose - I mean, important plot things happen, but they start and end in the same place with lots of running around in between. And as much as I liked the mash up of cultures, I was often distracted by them, enough that I would get thrown out of the story for a bit. I am not entirely sure why this particular brand of alternate history/fantasy should do that, since I have read plenty of books set in alternate versions of our world, but somehow, the redrawn map of Europe, combined with actual bits of ancient Roman and African history, and magic, was just a bit too much.

As I said though, I do want to read the rest of the series. I like Cat and Bee, and I am interested to see where they go next.

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this, and read it in two days. It is like Master and Commander, but with dragons. Napoleon and Britain are at war, and both use dragons as their aerial power. When William Lawrence, a British Navy captain, captures a dragon egg from a French ship, he is dismayed to have it hatch and pick him as his companion, because the aerial corps are looked down upon by society and especially the Navy. But he is a man of honor and duty, so he does what he must to keep the dragon safe and help his country in the war. Along the way, he forges a friendship and partnership with the dragon, Temeraire, that changes his views of society and duty. While I did find Laurence a little stuffy at times, given the setting I suppose that is forgivable. And the dragons are pretty cool. Too bad it wasn't illustrated, in full color! I will be reading the rest of the series.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter weekend - egg hunting and hiking a mountain

This past weekend we crammed a lot of activity into one Saturday. Malcolm got to go on an egg hunt at our church. He had been anticipating it for weeks, and it did not disappoint.

There were dozens and dozens of candy-filled plastic eggs scattered around, just waiting for some hot little hands to grab them up. Malcolm got his fair share, and then some. He will probably still be eating them in May. He also got to meet the Easter Bunny. That hug is a big improvement over this time last year, when he saw a person in a kangaroo outfit somewhere, and edged away with a panic-stricken whimper.

In addition to being Easter weekend, it was also the last of spring break. Since I was out of town the first weekend, and Benjamin had been busy all week trying to catch up/get ahead with work, we hadn't had much chance to do something really fun. Saturday was a glorious spring day, with blue skies, warm sun (but not too hot, yet), and gentle breezes. We had to head outside.

Pinnacle Mountain, from the parking lot
So naturally, we decided to climb Pinnacle Mountain. It is a large and steep hill just outside of Little Rock, on the edge of the river. Now, I know some of you are from places with real mountains, and would scoff at calling this hill a mountain, but hey, this is Arkansas. We don't have volcanoes or young mountains - ours are all old and short. Pinnacle is one of those places that attracts both serious hikers (one time we were there, an older man in spandex was climbing it, repeatedly - he passed us three times while we were there) and casual "Hey it's nice out, lets do something outside" hikers, the ones who show up in flip flops with one tiny bottle of water between them. And since Saturday was such a nice day, it seemed like all of Little Rock was there to enjoy it.

Lately, Malcolm has been asking to go hiking, which has meant tromping through the woody areas of our hill - he and Benjamin found a deer antler on one such adventure walk. He is really getting into it, which is great, since we love hiking too. We figured that his enthusiasm meant he might be big enough to tackle a real hike. And he was.

The top
He hiked the entire way to the top of the mountain, almost a mile of just climbing, only stopping a couple of times for water. In fact, he did better than a number of the adults we passed, never complaining about the rocks or the climb at all.

He did get a ride most of the way down the hill, passed between Benjamin and myself, but by that point, he'd earned it. And I know there were some other hikers who probably wished for a ride down!