An Announcement

Lately it has seemed as if half of all book bloggers (and quite a few authors) are either pregnant, or have had babies. An astonishing number of people seem to be due in April or May (seriously, what was in the water last fall?). With my son turning two and 1/2 at Christmas, it was time for us to think about our next baby as well, and it turns out that the baby will be arriving this summer, due July 23rd.

Funny story, though. The baby actually won’t be coming by his or herself. We went to our first doctor’s appointment and got a nice ultrasound picture of the baby. Then, a few weeks later, we went to our second appointment and had another ultrasound. The doctor appeared concerned or confused – which, by the way, is NOT how you want your doctor to look AT ANY TIME – and kept searching around with the ultrasound machine. Finally, she looked at us and said with surprise, “there’s two people in there!”

And then our jaws dropped so hard that we banged them on the ground.

So, yes, twins. Identical twins, actually.

Okay, this isn't actually twins, it is just two pictures stuck together of Daniel as an infant

Needless to say, this sped up our “we probably need a house now” timeline. One baby we might have been able to squeeze in, but two not so much, plus twins tend to come earlier than single babies. Luckily, we had an appointment to look at a house just a few hours after we went to the doctor and happened to love the location, potential, and price of what we saw. We should be putting in an offer soon, which will hopefully mean that we can end up being in the house before I’m ready to pop.

So, between that, our mini-move, and the heater drama that ensued Sunday – Tuesday (the heater went OUT right after we moved in, and the repair company had issues getting the right part), we’ve had an exciting week, to say the least.

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Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close – Book Review

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
Published by Knopf, an imprint of Random House

The post-college years can be a relationship minefield. You begin to drift away from the friends who marry and have children significantly before – or after – you do; finding new friends and lovers becomes more difficult as you are no longer routinely thrown together in school with people in a similar age bracket and with similar interests. It is this limbo in which Isabella, Mary, and Lauren are firmly stuck. They are out of college and on their own: in nice apartments in Chicago and crummy shoebox ‘apartments’ in New York; in good relationships and dating idiots who cannot spell their names correctly; in nice, stable jobs and the worst of the worst waitressing jobs. In the middle of all this, they are scraping up cash for bridesmaids dresses, wedding shower presents, wedding presents, and baby shower presents, as it seems that everyone they know seems to be moving into that settled state of coupledom and familydom.

Girls in White Dresses is less a cohesive narrative than a collection of anecdotes about Isabella, Mary, Lauren, and their friends as they attempt to navigate young adulthoood. Rather than causing the readers to feel disconnected from her characters, though, Close’s structure lent her story a sense of universality. No matter what your post-college path or choices, it is likely that you will identify with one or more of the girls’ stories. Many of the vignettes in Girls in White Dresses are laugh out loud funny, as is this scene at a bridal shower when the bride’s mother’s friends all begin singing My Favorite Things:

They kept singing and started swaying back and forth. Abby was standing unfortunately close to the woman who’d started the singing, and the woman wrapped her arm around Abby’s shoulders, forced her to move in time with the music, and looked at her with an encouraging smile until Abby started to sing along with her. A few of the women were snapping their fingers. Lauren looked at Isabella and Mary and said, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, right?” -p. 171

Others, however, are poignant and thoughtful, as when Lauren and Isabella discuss a recently-divorced friend who has elected to keep her married name:

“Why wouldn’t she go back to Beth Bauer?” she asked Lauren. “She doesn’t have any kids. It’s so weird.”
“I don’t know,” Lauren said. “Maybe she’s afraid no one will remember who she is.”
“Maybe,” Isabella said. The thought left her uneasy. -p. 249

Close’s humor and grace is intensified by her lovely and engaging prose, creating in Girls in White Dresses a book that readers will be hard-pressed to put down.

Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Baby Nose to Baby Toes – Saturday Story Spotlight

Welcome to Saturday Story Spotlight, my new feature where I discuss books my husband and I are reading with our son, Daniel. These are books that he, we, or all of us particularly enjoy, since we are definitely reading more than one book a week! Also, if anyone is interested in helping me make a button for this feature, please let me know.

Baby Nose to Baby Toes by Vicki Ceelen
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House

I thought I’d kick this Saturday Story Spotlight into high gear to start and open with Daniel’s favorite book OF ALL TIME. Of course, ‘of all time’ in this case means just over 16 months, but still. We’ve been reading this book to him since he was about three months old, and it has been a consistent favorite for that entire time.

The basic format of this book pairs a baby in a given post/making a certain face with a similar image of an animal.

I enjoy the book for the rhythm of the words. I’ve found that occasionally the board books with pictures of real babies spend so much time on the image that the words seem as if they were mere afterthought with clunky cadence and overly forced rhyme. That is not the case here at all, everything flows very well.

It won’t be a surprise to anyone who has spent time around babies and toddlers that Daniel likes a book that has pictures of real babies, that seems to be a fairly universal. However, we have quite a few books with real babies in them and have borrowed even more from the library, and none has caught on like “Baby Nose to Baby Toes.” I think it is the juxtaposition of the babies with the animals that really draws him in. His favorite page reads “Baby’s clean as clean can get, puppy’s dripping, sopping wet.” It has a great picture of a baby in a bathtub, next to one of a wet Golden Retriever. Actually, I’m not sure if it is just his favorite picture in this book, it might be his favorite picture in any book he has ever read, he just loves that baby and that dog. He’ll sit with this book and just look at that page for 5+ minutes, occasionally telling me, “dog!” or “baby!”

Any book that a child can adore for over a year in a time when he is changing so rapidly is definitely one worth investing in, so I can very highly recommend “Baby Nose to Baby Toes.”

Buy this book from:
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*

Source: Personal copy
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.