Review: Parenting: Illustrated With Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick

Title: Parenting: Illustrated With Crappy Picturesparenting
Author: Amber Dusick
Genre/Audience: Nonfiction, memoirs, parenting, adult
Publication: Harlequin, 2013
Source: Library

Parenting is a pretty hilarious illustrated book. It chronicles many of Dusick’s adventures in parenting two young boys, all broken down into various chapters and categories on different parenting topics. All of these hilarious stories are accompanied by even funnier illustrations that look remarkably like stick figures but with a little more “oomph.”

Dusick is pretty blunt and straight-forward, which I like. She’s not afraid to swear and doesn’t sugar coat parenting at all. In fact, some of her stories made me a little scared and got me thinking, “what am I getting myself into?” It’s all in good fun though, and I appreciated her honesty about what being a parent really entails. I appreciated her humor even more, and liked that she looks on the funny, bright side of things. I think when you’re a parent, sometimes all you can do is laugh or you might go crazy, and she isn’t afraid to do just that. The dialogue is funny, and the stories are easy to read. I also want to note that you should pay attention to the details in the illustrations – they are hilarious. One that I particularly enjoyed accompanied her story about re-reading the same book over again to one of the kids, and if you look at the title of the book in the illustration, it says “Annoying Book,” or something along those lines.

This was a quick read that I flew through. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. I think this book will strongly appeal to parents, as well as expectant parents (such as myself) that have a sense of humor.

My Rating: 4/5

So long, September. Hello, October!


September was a pretty crazy, busy, and exciting month. We got quite a bit of housework done, and I celebrated quite a a few anniversaries. My September in a nutshell…

  • Found out we are having a baby BOY (Caleb Manuel)!
  • Had my five year blogiversary!
  • Had my three year adoptiversary with my Dakota dog! <3
  • My book club turned one year this month! We held our first meeting in September 2013 (with The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey) and I am so pleased that we’re still going strong and I’ve made some awesome new friends.
  • We got the baby’s room carpeted. His dresser and bassinet were also put together.
  • We got a new refrigerator and dishwasher after a major fridge leak. We’ll be paying the bill on this one for awhile, but overall we are very happy with it. Freezing cold drinks for the win!
  • We had an expensive plumbing job done in our upstairs shower to fix it. Our bank account is not happy, but the hubby sure is. He can now reclaim the downstairs shower as his own again…
  • I’ve been enjoying the fantastic fall weather (though this past week it got hot again).
  • Some “fun” things about the month: had brunch with the family at Tillmans followed by some co-op shopping for my beloved primitives, started couponing with my sister-in-law to save money (we’re baby couponers, amateurs still), went to an alpaca farm with Jerry, my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew!


Hey alpacas… I like your bangs!

So those were the big September events. I’m just getting better from a crappy cold, and am SO ready for October, which is probably my favorite month! I just LOVE the fall. I am not a hot weather kind of girl and fall is so cozy, especially here in New York where the temperatures drop, the leaves fall, and pumpkins are everywhere you look. I love walking into stores and being bombarded by all the fall-ness. It makes my heart so happy. Also, Halloween. I love Halloween for some reason. I love reading scary books, watching horror movies with my hubby, and decorating the house (as you can see above and below, I did that this past weekend! We even have a blow up, light up pumpkin monkey outside… bahahaha.). We’ll be skipping one of the things I look forward to all year though… haunted hayrides and houses. I LOVE getting scared, even though I hate it in the moment. I wait all year for these things, but I’m not sure me getting stressed out like that would be good for the baby. There’s always next year, and we will enjoy some other fall activities to make up for it though!

There are so many things to love, but the best thing about October? The best thing is that Jerry and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary on October 5th. I cannot even believe it’s been almost a year since we got married. I am in awe over that fact. I can’t wait to celebrate our first year together in just a matter of days. Our anniversary is Sunday and I have a three day weekend to celebrate. We’ll start by picking pumpkins on Saturday, then celebrating the whole day Sunday. I’ll definitely recap it more afterwards. Yay, October, Halloween, and anniversaries!

Pumpkin lights! Love my decor this year.

Pumpkin lights! Love my decor this year.

Bumpdate: 24 Weeks


I am 24 weeks today! I have to admit, this photo was taken yesterday though since my work schedule is all wonky this week and I have to go in early today while hubby (aka the photographer) will still be sleeping. Baby Caleb is about the size of an ear of corn or cantaloupe, a foot long, and over a pound! Big boy!

It was a pretty uneventful week baby-wise, but we did get one major thing accomplished: Mom and I booked my baby shower! Woohoo! It’s at an Italian restaurant we recently discovered that has a party room. The prices are good and the food is good, so what’s not to love? The shower will be on November 16th and I cannot wait! Jerry and I will be going to register at Target this week (woohoo! Love that store. Our bridal shower registry was there too). My good friend, Angela, also made us these absolutely AMAZING and adorable invitations that go along with his nursery theme. I LOVE THEM! Thank you so much, Angela! I’ll post some pictures of them up here once we get his nursery set up and revealed on the blog. I am also doing one of those diaper/wipe raffles at the shower. I’ll be putting together a gift basket and if anyone brings diapers or wipes, they will get a raffle ticket for the basket. Have any other fun baby shower ideas or games? Let me know in the comments please and thank you!

We visited a pediatrician’s office last week and were very impressed. The office manager showed us around and talked to us about their practice. We are meeting with the actual pediatrician who we selected this Wednesday, and if that goes well, then we will have found our pediatrician! That’s one thing to check off the big old baby to-do list!

We are getting ready for fall in the Cervantes household! We got our Halloween decorations up over the weekend and I love them. I’ll have a couple of pictures up tomorrow on the blog, so stop back. It’s wild to think that everything will be our “last” without the baby: last fall, last Halloween, last (and first) wedding  anniversary coming up this weekend (!), last Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc. In addition to decorating, I also decided to be wifely and cook on Sunday. I am not big into cooking. Jerry is much better than I am so he usually does the cooking, but sometimes he wants a break. Now granted, due to his night shift, we only get two nights a week together anyway, but he usually cooks. I have decided to cook at least one of those nights each week from now until the baby comes. I need to learn since I’ll be cooking for our children once they are old enough to eat real food. It also makes me feel like a better wife too.  :) I made chicken thighs in pesto in the crockpot over linguine, and also brownie sundaes. If you know of any cheap, easy meals, please feel free to share. I am big into the crockpot, but am open to other things too like casseroles!

I still get a huge kick out of the baby movements. Every time I feel it, especially from the outside, I definitely laugh. Jerry has only felt him a couple of times so far, but pretty soon, he should be able to feel him more regularly. Now that I am 24 weeks, it also means that the baby is viable. I have been anxiously awaiting the 24 week mark so I could feel some relief over this fact. Basically, it just means that at 24 weeks, the baby could be born and would have a good chance of survival outside of the womb. Earlier than that, the chances are basically zero and doctors generally don’t and won’t intervene with a fetus born before the 24th week. It’s a good feeling to know that my baby is finally viable, and even though we DON’T want him to come for another 16 weeks, he could survive from this point forward being born. But please stay in there, Caleb, and keep on growing!

Lastly, now that my cold has finally let up almost entirely, I am back on the workout grind (as best as I can be what with the back pain). I went for a nice walk outside yesterday morning for about 25-30 minutes. I plan on doing this four more times this week since my work schedule is weird and I only have two early mornings this week. I will usually be aiming for four walks a week. I really need to stick with this plan. I am not happy with the amount of weight I’ve gained so far, and I know how beneficial it is to stay active during pregnancy. Not to mention, I feel a lot better after. As soon as I got back from my walk, I had a burst of energy where I put away all the laundry, and tidied up the kitchen and upstairs bathroom… all good things!

So that was my week in a nutshell! Moms, did you/do you have an active pregnancy? Any advice about how to stay motivated through the discomfort?

Happy “adoptiversary,” Dakota!

dakota boy

It was three years ago that my life changed forever because of a little dog.

On September 30, 2011, I walked out of Lollypop Farm, the local shelter, with my newest adventure, Dakota. I had always been a cat person, but on a whim, decided I wanted a dog. I scoured their website until I found the dog of my dreams: Bella, a pug. Fate had other plans though, and I am certain that Dakota is my doggy soulmate because we wound up together, despite me wanting that pug so badly.

When I went there to see Bella on September 29th, who I was certain would be mine, I found out she was on a vet quarantine for the time being because she was sick; no visitors. Being stubborn and impatient, and not wanting to leave without a furry friend, I reluctantly decided to see some other dogs. I saw a beagle – too yappy. I saw a puppy – too playful. I saw Dakota… and my heart just melted. He strutted in the visiting room like he owned the place. His little bald butt (shaved due to fleas) wiggled as he walked, and he held up his paw high in the air, so we could easily access and scratch his belly. He was confident. He was silly. He was flawless, with those dangly teeth hanging out of his bottom lip. I laughed at his funny face and I loved him in that instant. My mind no longer flashed to the pug, my dream breed; I thought only of Dakota. And when they put him back in his cage, we saw his sad face and wondered how he could possibly have been in the shelter for three weeks already without having been adopted. Was it his massive underbite? Perhaps, though it’s always been my favorite feature. Either way, I knew there was a reason Bella was not available for me to see that night. I would have adopted her, based solely on her breed. For some reason, Dakota was meant to be mine, and I his… my doggy love story.

The next day, I returned to pick up my new dog. I knew nothing about dogs, but I didn’t really care. He ran out of the shelter on his new leash and didn’t even look back. With no reluctance at all, he hopped into the car and onto my lap. This would be the first of just many car rides with my newest little co-pilot. Life hasn’t been the same since.

Though Dakota makes my life a lot more difficult than it really needs to be, I would never give him up. I’m telling you, this dog has some severe separation anxiety. He is so chill and perfect when he’s with people, but the second he’s left home alone he goes ballistic, barking intensely, scratching paint off of doors, and pooping on the floor. Jerry and I often feel like hostages in our own home because we can’t go anywhere without first dropping him off to his grandma’s house. Despite him being a major pain in the a*s though, I love him.

I love him because he is the one who taught me about taking care of another living being. He taught me about putting the needs of someone else before myself, a lesson that came in handy as I became a wife, and one that I will use for the rest of my life as I become a mother.

I love him because his love is unconditional and like no other. There is no one on this earth who is as sad to see me go as my dog, or who is as happy to see me come back. His face in the window as I leave and as I arrive is both heartbreaking and reassuring. He has loved me through all the changes in my life, and all the moves. From an apartment, to back home with my parents, to the house I bought with my husband. He loved me just the same as he does now as he did when I was obese. He was there when I met my husband, fell in love, got engaged, got married, became a wife, became pregnant… he’s always been there and his love has never wavered. He loves me when I mess up. He loves me when I fall. He loves me when I’m perfect, sad, worried, stressed. He loves me with no conditions. He doesn’t understand what it means to be mad, he just loves with all of his heart all of the time.

I love him because even though he is “just a dog,” he is a huge part of my life, my heart, and my being. He will always be my “fur son,” occupying a part of my heart that is the size of his big old bobble head. He brings so much joy, happiness, and laughter to my life. I just look at his ridiculous face sometimes and laugh and laugh.

So here’s to  Dakota, on our three year adoptiversary. I cannot believe it’s been only three years because I truly cannot remember or imagine my life without you in it… the most faithful of friends, the best friend a girl could ask for, and one of the biggest joys in my life. Even though you will be turning seven in just a couple of weeks, I look forward to many more years of laughter and love with my favorite dog by my side. Thank you for loving me through all of these big changes in my life and never leaving my side. I promise to never leave yours.

dakot baby

Our little family last year… soon it will be four!


Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girlgone
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre/Audience: Thriller, mystery, adult
Publication: Crown, 2012
Source: Own

Okay, so let me just be real here and say that I was pretty damn tired last week. And why was that? Because of Gone Girl! I had WAY too many late nights reading, staying up way past my bedtime racing through this book until I literally could not keep my eyes open any longer. This book is crazy in the best way possible and I’m SO glad it was my book club pick for the month, finally prompting me to pick it up.

So what’s the story? It’s a big old mystery surrounding the disappearance of Amy Dunne on her and Nick’s five year wedding anniversary. Just like that, she is gone from their home and no one knows where she is. After unsuccessful attempts to find her, Nick’s odd behavior and the strange crime scene in the house make him the prime and only suspect in the case. Through multiple narrations (Nick’s point of view as well as Amy’s diary entries), the whole twisted story is eventually revealed.

Okay, this book REALLY lived up to the hype for me. I know it tends to be either a love it or hate it kind of book with no real in-between on how people feel. I obviously am in the LOVED IT party. It was an amazing mystery that kept getting stranger and darker as the story progressed. The reader really has no clue whether or not it was Nick or someone else for a huge portion of the story, and Flynn manages to make the mystery incredibly hard to solve and unravel. The characters were not at all transparent, and nothing is given away until Flynn wants you to know. I don’t want to say much about the character’s personalities, because I don’t want to reveal anything, but they will leave you in shock at every twist and turn.

While I know many people hate this book simply because they hate the characters, I’d have to disagree. You can like a book without liking the characters, especially if the author created them that way on purpose, which obviously was the case here. This story wouldn’t have been this story if the characters were any different than they were.

This story and everything about it was incredibly complex and rich. The characters were crazy and I felt like I was in the middle of the media frenzy myself. I can’t say much else except that if you are looking for a shocking read that you really won’t want to put down, pick this up immediately. It consumed my thoughts the whole few days I was reading it and I was constantly itching to pick it back up and discover what would happen next. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I still can’t! This is probably my favorite read of the year so far and definitely the most gripping book I’ve ever read. I declared a book hangover after finishing it because I know I may never read another book quite like this one again. I highly recommend it!

My Rating: 5/5

Bumpdate: 23 Weeks


I am 23 weeks today! I can’t believe how fast it’s all going. I only have 17 weeks left – where has the time gone?! Caleb should be a little over a pound now. I read (in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which I’ve been reading since I was around 6 weeks – thanks, Angela, for the copy!) that he’ll probably gain about 6 ounces a week now – wow.

I got a bad cold over the weekend and am not feeling too hot! I had to call in sick to work yesterday which I HATE doing. I’m going to tough it out and go in today and hope I make it through the whole day. I’ve been trying to stock pile most of my sick and vacation time all year to use while out on maternity leave so that at least the first few weeks, I’ll be getting a paycheck. I’m hoping I don’t have to use anymore before his arrival! I already had to use around 20 sick hours during the first trimester when we were having those issues and scares. Colds always suck, but they are definitely worse when you are so limited in what you can take. I called the doctor’s office and they gave me a list of a few things. I am taking Sudafed in the morning, and Benadryl at night. Thanks to my hubby for going out and getting me the Sudafed yesterday! And thanks to my parents who stopped by last night with orange juice, cough drops, and lotion infused tissues for my sore nose. I actually got some sleep last night!

We had my 22 week appointment last week and it went well. The doctor said he is measuring well and his heartbeat sounded good, so yay for that! At 26 weeks, I go in for my next appointment, and also the glucola test to check for gestational diabetes. Last week’s appointment was the first time they actually measured my belly. Anyone else not have their belly measured early on? I thought it was odd that I hadn’t gotten it measured before now. They also talked me into a flu shot at my appointment. I hope this isn’t why I’m sick. In other good news though, they gave us our hospital admission forms… yikes! Cool and scary!

I did some exercising last week in the form of a couple of walks. I planned on continuing this week and am hoping to walk tomorrow and Thursday, depending on if I feel any better or not. I want to slow down the weight gain and it’s perfect weather right now. I love the fall! Jerry and I went to an apple farm over the weekend, which was kind of disappointing, so we are trying a couple of other ones in the coming weeks. I thought this was the place that had these amazing donuts, but I was wrong, they were just mediocre. Oh well! We’ll keep hitting up local farms until we find the right one!

Tomorrow we are checking out a pediatrician’s office. The woman said she will give us a tour and tell us a bit about how they work, and if we like it, we can then schedule an appointment to meet with the doctor. Fingers crossed we like it! I only found two young male doctors close by, and the other office (my old pediatrician) never called me back! RUDE! So I’m hoping we like this guy.

My sister in law, Sheena, gave me three huge garbage bags full of clothes from my nephew too. Pretty sure my son now has more clothes than I do and he isn’t even born yet! We had a nice weekend with them and my parents. We had a great brunch at a restaurant/inn about 40 minutes away that my parents stayed at over the weekend. Then Jerry and I went to a couple of co-ops with my brother, sister in law, and nephew on the way back home. I got a few primitive decorations for the house – I was going through withdrawal since we haven’t had any extra money lately to do this! Then we stopped at BJ’s – we were able to get a cheap membership through Sheena’s work… nice! I’ve got to check out their diaper prices. Anyone know how their prices are on baby stuff over there? I’ve been wanting to start a stock pile.

In other news, since I’ll want to remember what my life was like during this time, I just devoured Gone Girl in a matter of days (review coming). It was my book club choice and OMG I was addicted. We’re seeing the movie next month and I cannot wait. I am currently watching “Orphan Black” and “Helix” on DVD, two super crazy and good shows! Jerry and I have also been making an effort to eat at home more often to save money (my hours got cut from 32 to 28 a week due to Obamacare stating that 30 hours a week is full time), and we’ve been pretty successful with eating at home. We did have an expensive plumbing job last week though which really sucked, but oh well. I want the house to be as ready and nice as it can be before the baby gets here. We are also trying to get our Lowe’s bill paid off ASAP from when we had to buy the new fridge (which we love, by the way).

So that’s what I’ve got for the week! I’m off to get ready for work… wish me luck that I can make it through the day!

My baby shirt... "I love you already."

My baby shirt… “I love you already.”

(It was) my 5 year blogiversary!

Well another September has rolled around, and with it, another blogiversary! That’s right… in September 2009, I created this here little blog (which has since moved, become self-hosted, gotten its own domain, and evolved quite a bit). My first post was on September 8, 2009 (which has since been deleted and transformed into my “About” page), and my first review was posted on September 14, 2009. This means I’ve been at this thing for FIVE YEARS already! Where does the time go?! And oops, my bad for missing the actual date yet again. I guess I’ve been blogging a little over five years now!

Five years is half of a decade. It’s a long time in blog world, where people come and go on a daily basis. While sometimes I get frustrated with blogging, ultimately I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon. For one, I am far too stubborn to quit something once I’ve started (hence finishing all the crappy books), and for two, this is my SPACE. While a million and one things have changed for me over these past five years, my blog has always been a constant… it’s been one of the only constants, really. It’s been a place for me to just be me, where I’ve managed to make quite a few number of friends, and something I’ve just always been able to turn to. I communicate so much better in writing than I do verbally, and this place has allowed me to really open up and express everything.

So what has changed in the five years since the creation of StephTheBookworm?

  • I was 20. Now I’m 25.
  • I was just starting my second year of college. I have since finished that bachelor’s degree AND gotten my master’s degree.
  • I was in an unhappy on-and-off relationship. Since then, I met someone new, he flew across the country, we got engaged, and I’m now lucky enough to say that I’m married to the greatest man (and it’s almost our first wedding anniversary!)
  • I was living with my parents. Now I own a home.
  • I didn’t have a doggy! Now Dakota is my constant sidekick and best companion. It’s been almost three years since he came into my life.
  • I was working at Wegmans. Now I have a career in the library.
  • I was working my way up to obese, BECAME obese, and have since lost over 100 pounds.
  • I was VERY lazy. Now I’m a half-marathoner.
  • And the newest adventure of them all… kids had never even crossed my mind yet. Now I’m going to become a mommy in January!

I’m sure there have been a lot of other big, notable changes, but these are some of the biggest and the best. As you can see, my life is not even remotely close to how it had been when all of this started. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING has changed, but this blog has been through it all with me. I know it sounds silly to say, but it means a lot to me. I’m glad to say my blog has also evolved a bit with me. For the first four years and four months, this blog was ONLY a book blog. While I loved and still do love writing book reviews, I found myself wanting more out of my blog. Writing has always been one of my passions, and I wanted to write more openly on my blog. While I still happily review books, in January 2014 I declared this no longer just a book blog, but an anything blog. While I sometimes miss having a “niche” blog, this blog is just mine now. I write about books AND also about my life, and it feels more free that way. Now, I feel as though I can write whatever I want, whenever I want, and I’ve really enjoyed making that change from book blogger to just blogger. I’ve met even more blog friends since adding this personal touch.

To wrap this thing up, no, I won’t be hosting a giveaway this year as I usually do. As a homeowner and new mommy to be, I really don’t have the extra cash at the moment. Sorry. I know this may not be much of a consolation, but I want to say thank you to ALL of the people I have met along the way. There are still a few people around and blogging who I’ve known since almost the start (such as Melissa). I am so happy to see some of you still going strong. I hope you never stop blogging! There’s not a lot of us left from around that time frame, and it makes me sad. But it also makes me happy that some of you are still blogging – yay! I also have made some wonderful blogging friends in more recent years, and I’ve gotten to know some of you pretty well. Thank you for being a part of my life and accepting me as I am, and thanks for letting me be a part of your life too, by sharing your own stories on your blogs. You guys are a big part of the reason why I am still blogging after all this time. I’ve also had a lot of support from family and friends since starting this blog. Thank you all for reading and responding and supporting this little adventure of mine.

Here’s to the next five years!


Me then (2009), and me now. The obese part came sometime in between. Do I look any different? Probably not.



Rest of the Year Reading Goals!

So this has been a crappy reading year for me in terms of meeting my yearly goal of 100 (which I have still never met in the 4 or 5 years I’ve been setting it, by the way). I usually get somewhat close, but yeah… not even close this year. I’ll blame it on being a newlywed, buying a house, settling into said house, and getting pregnant (therefore feeling sick and tired). By the time I get home from work, I am usually just beat. Gone are the nights of late night reading, my friends (except for the rare occasion, like right now, while I’m reading Gone Girl)! And I used to have a lot more time to read when I wasn’t married and didn’t own a home. Oh well – that’s life! With that said, I do have a few smaller goals I’d like to set now for the rest of the year, so maybe I won’t feel like a complete reading failure come December 31st! Here are some of the specific goals I have from now until the end of the year:

  • Read at least 1 more YA standalone novel
  • Read at least 1 more of a continuation of a series I’ve already started
  • Read at least 1 more cozy mystery
  • Read at least 1 true crime
  • Read at least 1 more parenting book
  • Read at least 1 chick-lit or women’s fiction
  • Read at least 1 more nonfiction
  • Read at least 1 horror novel
  • Read at least 1 eBook (not a huge eReader, but I do own an overstocked Kindle)
  • Read at least 3 more library books (can also be any of the above)
  • Read at least 2 more books from my own shelves (can also be any of the above)
  • Finish the few books that I have started at the moment and still need to finish!

I’ve set my goals this way so that I can try and read a variety of books since I am into A LOT of different genres. I also don’t really want to count any book towards 2 goals… each genre goal should be fulfilled by a different book (except for the library, owned, and Kindle books since those are just formats of books… those can be repeat books from the genre goals). I will recap this post come the end of December to see how I did!

Do you have any reading goals for the rest of the year?

Review & Giveaway: My Mother’s Secret by J.L. Witterick

Title: My Mother’s Secret: A Novel Based on a True Holocaust Storymy
Author: J.L. Witterick
Publication: Berkley Trade, 2014
Source: For review

Dang, this little book packs quite a punch!

My Mother’s Secret is a Holocaust novel based on a true story. Franciszka is a Polish woman living in the small town of Sokal, Poland, with her teenage daughter, Helena. When Poland gets invaded by the Germans, the two women hide two Jewish families and a defecting German soldier in their tiny home, all without any of them knowing about each other. For more than a year, Franciszka must keep this secret and outsmart everyone to keep them all alive.

First and foremost, the Holocaust fascinates me and I will read anything about it that I can get my hands on. It is, without a doubt, one of the biggest tragedies the world has ever seen. One of my all time favorite college courses was a Holocaust literature class that opened my eyes to an abundance of literature about the Holocaust touching on many of the lesser known stories and topics about this tragedy. While this book, like all Holocaust books, was incredibly heart-wrenching and just plain sad, it was a true treat to read about some of the rare do-gooders whose hearts seem impossibly huge. That these two women would care for and hide people that they hardly even knew speaks wonders and volumes about the human spirit and makes you believe that there is good in the world, even amidst the worst of things and the worst of times. It is rare to be uplifted by a Holocaust story, and this one manages to do this, even despite all the sadness that is also involved.

I have to admit, the first little bit of the book had me a bit bored to start. The story is narrated by several different characters and starts out with Helena. I think I just wasn’t into it right away because Helena’s part didn’t touch as much on what she and her mother were doing, and focuses a lot on her romantic relationship. When it switches to some of the people that are in hiding, however, I couldn’t stop reading. For real. I stayed up really late and read the last 150 pages in one sitting. I needed to know how it would end and it was totally worth the late night.

This story is very short and fast, filled with quick, sparse chapters, but as I said, it REALLY packs a punch and will leave you emotionally reeling. I will forever have this story and these people etched into my mind. The fact that these people were real people makes it that much more jarring and touching to me. If only all of us could be just HALF as good as Franciszka and her daughter, the world would be a better place.

For anyone who reads Holocaust literature, I highly recommend this one. It’s a different side of things, and a viewpoint that I was so touched by. If you’re not a Holocaust reader but enjoy historical fiction or inspirational stories, I recommend this to you as well.

My Rating: 4.5/5

GIVEAWAY: One very lucky reader will win their own copy of this fantastic book. To enter, please be 13 years or older and have a U.S. mailing address. Leave a comment below letting me know you’d like to enter, as well as an email address. Winner will be drawn via on September 24, 2014. Good luck!

Bumpdate: 22 Weeks


I’m 22 weeks today! Baby Caleb should weigh over a pound now! He should be about 11 inches long and the size of a zucchini. In just a little while, we are going to our 22 week appointment. I think after that I’ll have one at 26 weeks, and then it switches to every two weeks. I should also say that last week, I almost switched shirts for my bumpdate pictures since we found out we were having a boy, but oh well. Haha! We like using the same shirt so we can monitor the “bump” size better and watch it grow.

We’ve had a big week getting ready for the little man. My family came over on Sunday to help us out with a lot of work around the house. Jerry and I got a new refrigerator and dishwasher because they were old and our fridge was leaking – ugh! So my dad and brother helped with getting that set up. In the meantime, my mother and sister-in-law helped put together the bassinet and dresser/changing table! They both look so nice. I plan on having the bassinet next to our bed and having him sleep in there for the first 3-4 months, then switching him over to his crib. Thanks to our family for being the best!

I also did more clothes shopping for him with my mom – oops. We’ve pretty much just been hitting up thrift stores though, including the Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Once Upon a Child. So yes, he has a lot of clothes, but they were all very cheap and babies go through a lot of clothes so whatever. I found some REALLY cute stuff which I was really happy about. I didn’t realize that such cute clothes existed for baby boys until I started looking. My mom and I also sorted through all of that on Sunday, and organized by size. I should be all set on Newborn and 0-3 months. I only got a few newborn things in case he ends up being born huge which is a big fear!

Other exciting news was that last Tuesday night, I finally felt him moving from the OUTSIDE. I was lying on my back in bed when I felt some of his usual kicks, and when I put my hand on my stomach, I felt it. It was really cool! I’ve only felt it a couple of other times from the outside because he only moves a few times a day and I never know quite where it will be. Jerry thinks he felt it once so far. We’re excited for when we can feel it more often.

Let’s see… his nursery bedding set arrived and I LOVE it! Thanks to my parents for buying it for us. I will definitely show pictures once we have his nursery set up but I promise it is SO cute. :)

Next on the agenda is painting his nursery. Then we can move the dresser in there, put together the crib, buy a bookshelf and rocking chair, and start decorating. I found a few prints on Etsy that match his bedding and I’m excited to see how it all turns out. We are also starting to think about my baby shower which will be in November.

I also started looking for a pediatrician. My first choice, who my baby nephew sees, is no longer accepting new patients, so I’ve been looking for someone else. I want a male because I’m pretty sure when Caleb gets older, he may feel uncomfortable with a female doctor. I had a male doctor as a baby, but ended up switching to a female when I got a little older, and I’d rather not have to have Caleb switch later on.  I also want someone on the younger side so he can see him for many years rather than someone who will be retiring sometime soon. I’ve had a heck of a time finding someone who meets these requirements, but I’ve found two in the area and we’ll be meeting with them to see who we like.

I am feeling pretty decent. My back still hurts and I’m very tired. My breathing is also getting more labored, and I sometimes feel nauseous after eating, but honestly, none of this is that bad. It sounds bad, but it’s nothing major and I am doing just fine!

Well, it was a big week and now we are off to our appointment!

Parents, how was it when you were searching for a pediatrician for your little one? Did you have a ton of clothes for your baby too? Did your baby sleep in a bassinet, your bed, or a crib? We are doing bassinet and crib, not our bed.