Guest Blog Post: On Boy Books and Girl Books by Pernille Ripp

Books allow me to transcend my own experience of the world. In reading, I can assume the skin of people, places, times, and events that I’ll never otherwise inhabit. They make me feel more part of the world and more human.

How has reading shaped you? Blogger/teacher/parent Pernille Ripp why she believes children should be exposed to all kinds of books…

Blogger/teacher/parent Pernille Ripp.
Blogger/teacher/parent Pernille Ripp.

Pernille Ripp

White, Black, Yellow, Lime,  Free Image

I get asked for a lot of book recommendations, I think it comes with the territory when you share the love of books.  And while I love pairing books with potential readers, I have also noticed a pattern that causes me to pause, that should cause all of us to pause.

I get asked for a lot of books featuring male lead characters for male readers.

When I ask why the need for a male lead, I am often told that “they” just don’t think a boy will read a “girl book.”  That a boy will not like a book about feelings.  That a boy only wants books that have action.  That have other boys in it.  That feature characters that look just like them or at the very least think like them.

As if every single boy thinks alike.

When written like this it is easy to see the…

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Part 3: What Has Your Pet Taught You? by da-AL

Newborn Black Labrador Dog
Image courtesy of nixxphotography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life with dogs…

The twin puppies we adopted ate and ate and ate. And pooed and pooed and pooed. Six months later, they’d grown to 50 and 50 pounds!

Plus, I’d learned nothing about training them.

One day…

As usual, for 10 deafening minutes, they barked at the mailman across the street. Later that day, they destroyed yet another throw rug.

“Bad dogs,” I snapped.

They were too busy chewing to hear me.

“Bad, bad, bad dogs!” I hollered, my voice shrill, my throat raw.

They sat. Four watery eyes gazed up at me.

Then…

Fear made them urinate on the carpet.

My thoughts reeled back. That was me! When I was only four years old!

Back then, I tried ever so hard to be good, yet I didn’t always succeed. My father would yell at me.

One time, he sounded as angry as I had when I’d hollered at my dogs. Same as with my two puppies, the big person’s anger blotted out my ability to think and hear. All I was able to do was to feel — that my father was furious at me — and that I was terrified.

All I knew was that he seemed angry enough to kill me. Out of terror, just like the dogs had, urine streamed down my legs.

Looking into my dogs’ upturned faces…

I saw how they trembled. The little dogs blinked their moist eyes hard.

Puppy Dog Eyes
Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tears…

Sobbing, I sank to my knees and hugged them. It had taken six long months for me to learn that, all along, they had been trying their best to please me. Despite my ineptitude as a trainer, they had refused to give up on me. They had given me the benefit of the doubt that like them, I was trying my best.

They never gave up hope on me…

They knew I would learn to love them. Through the example of my pets, I’ve learned that the more I gaze upon everyone in my life with the benefit of a doubt, the happier we all are. We’re all doing our best, even when we could do better.

Do dogs forgive?

Here’s part 1 of this and here’s part 2.

Do you have an interesting animal experience?…

Part 2: What Has Your Pet Taught You? by da-AL

Close Up Of Washing Five Puppy Dog
Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Deciding…

My husband and I agreed to adopt a dog. This was followed by months of discussion. What type of dog would harmonize best with our two cats?

We settled on these dog requirements:

  1. It should be a puppy, so that it would learn early on to respect cats.
  2. It shouldn’t mature to larger than thirty pounds, so as not to overwhelm the cats.
  3. For the sake of our newly planted organic veggie garden, a female, a dog who squats rather than lifts its leg to urinate, would be best.

Adopting…

The list at the forefront of our minds, we rushed to the nearest pound.

After an hour of walking up and down aisles and aisles of sad eyes, we selected a pair!

The two Labrador mix puppies, a sister and a brother, were too adorable to split up.

What were we thinking?! Labrador-mix-anything is bound to grow at least fifty pounds! And two of them?! Even the shelter employee said we were crazy…

Adapting…

Cute, cute, cute! What puppy isn’t cuteness incarnate?!

Within a week, their heart-melting charm, was frozen over by their unbounded annoying-ness.

They trampled the garden, gnawed carpets, ate towels, and slobbered over everything.

They pounced the cats and barked at the people.

They chased away domestic bliss.

Enraged, the kitties soiled our bed and sofa multiple times. Our home stank of impossible to wash out angry-cat pee.

Crafty Cat Lying On Floor black and white
Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Payoff…

They made my husband laugh.

Gentleman dog taught himself to pee while squatting.

*** Here’s part one to this post. ***

Have you ever had a pet?…

Guest Blog Post: Six Warm Piglets by Cecilia Mary Gunther

photo of piglets feeding

Warning: reality check, then Cuteness Overload! It’s not for nothing that the human star of the glorious pig movie, “Babe,” went vegetarian…

thekitchensgarden

If you were hanging out in the Kitchen’s Garden Lounge of Comments yesterday you would have read that a piglet was lost in that first cold night.  I found him dead on Poppy’s side of their quarters.  Being the Lady Pig Farmer is not always easy. All our focus these first few days is keeping the babies safe and well fed. This task feels mutually exclusive at times.

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Guest Blog Post: The World of Mr. Wolf

What’s your favorite book from your childhood? I loved Winnie the Pooh.

The best children’s books are ones I appreciate all the more with the passage of time. Here Mr. Wolf, an author of the kinds of children’s books that adults can enjoy too, shares a few of his illustrations…

Here's Captain Bee Beard - a pirate who has a beard made out of bees! (From Mr. Wolf's children's book: Terry The Time Travelling Tortoise.)
Here’s Captain Bee Beard – a pirate who has a beard made out of bees! (From Mr. Wolf’s children’s book: Terry The Time Travelling Tortoise.)

 

Mr. Pong gets his comeuppance! (From Mr. Wolf's children's book: The Top Secret Cheese.)
Mr. Pong gets his comeuppance! (From Mr. Wolf’s children’s book: The Top Secret Cheese.)

 

Have you ever seen a Posh-Me-Posh-Ewe animal before? (From Mr. Wolf's forthcoming children's book: Mr. Zumpo's Amazing Zoo of Unusual Animals.)
Have you ever seen a Posh-Me-Posh-Ewe animal before? (From Mr. Wolf’s forthcoming children’s book: Mr. Zumpo’s Amazing Zoo of Unusual Animals.)

 

About the illustrator of these wonderful pictures: Mr. Wolf is an English freelance cartoon illustrator and an author of funny children’s books which adults seem to love too. I met him at Goodreads (a sort of Facebook for book lovers).

Guest Blog Post: “Hello new moms! Squash your worries and grab some happiness!!” in Rama Arun’s exact words

"Don't let anyone drain you of your happiness today. Be drama free. Rise above the petty stuff." Trent Shelton

Who hasn’t experienced stress? Whether you’re a mom or not, Rama Arun’s wise suggestions can help …

Rama's Zone

Let me tell a short story of mine. When I had my daughter 3 years ago, I thought my life has flipped upside down. I struggled from everything like mood swings, depression, loneliness, breastfeeding, cooking with baby, sleepless nights, felt useless and constant disagreement with partner. Totally unmotivated mom I could say. I felt heavy due to the demands placed on my shoulders each and every day. Even though, my husband helped me a lot in household chores, I felt some burden in me. I wanted someone to motivate me. Major stress built around me. The feelings I experienced was overwhelming and new, as I live away from family and friends it became more stressful.

As a new mom, I was constantly seeking answers in google. I googled the most ridiculous things. If people judge my parenting I started responding and felt guilt about my parenting. It continued for a…

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Guest Blog Post: “Dogs and Babies,” in imhavingadadday’s exact words

Unexpected life turns can be wonderful:

“… here I am…almost 30, married nearly 4 years with a baby and another on the way, living in my hometown and yep…BACK in school for engineering.  And I couldn’t be happier … “

They can bring out the best in us:

“In a sea of mom blogs, I am hoping that this blog can shed some light on many of the same topics but from a dad’s perspective.  It can be stressful when everything is happening at once, but I always try to remember that I’m just having a dad day.”

Enjoy …

I'm Having A Dad Day

I’m a dog person.  Hands down.  Growing up we had a couple of cats (RIP Molly and CoCo), but we always had dogs.  In fact, I don’t think that there was ever a day that went by throughout my life that we were dog-less.  There was Chelsea, Belle, Jessie, and Bella (as you can see, my two brothers and I were very creative dog naming children).  So when I moved away for college, I did what any responsible 19 year old does…get a puppy!  This puppy, Tank (in the photo), now nearly 10 years old, is the greatest dog known to mankind and currently lives with my parents and good old sweet Bella; his best dog friend and window watching, old lady in the street barking, life companion.

My wife grew up like me, with dogs.  So like any responsible 20 year old, what did she do when she was…

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