Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Skills!

Selena is already half way through kindergarten.  I love watching her learn and I love that she loves to learn.  From reading, to math, to drawing she enthusiastically embraces every subject.  Her new skills include:

- Reading!  I started writing this post a couple weeks ago, and just in two weeks she is reading so much more.  I am impatiently waiting, and hoping, for the day that my kids want to read, and we can all just sit around and read all day long. :)
- Counting to 100
- Counting by 10's
- Counting by 5's
- Telling time

For a while she has mentioned wanting to learn how to draw better.  I had got how-to-draw books from the library, but they were kind of frustrating for me because she needed me to show her every single line to draw.  She found it difficult to follow the instructions.  I found Mark Kistler's site and both her and Allie started doing some of the free videos and they were a hit.  The improvement in her drawing is really impressive.

She loves making books.  She is interested in self-publishing, but so far she hasn't had the discipline to create enough content for the 20 page minimum.   We checked out a book on how to make books, and most of the projects seem ambitious and a bit too difficult for a five or three year old to master by themselves, but we did discover the very clever X-book which both of them can make with little to no help.

She played some indoor soccer at the Y.  I liked it because it was games only, so it was easy on our schedule.  She is still doing gymnastics and is improving. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 in Review

I never got around to posting my goals for 2012 on my blog, but basically I had decided that I accomplished quite a bit in 2011 and if I reprioritized my time I should be able to start a mobile app business.

I was successful.  I released five apps and have some available on both Android and iOS.  Unfortunately I have $110 less then I did at the start of the year.  :(  Christmas sales have been significantly higher, so I will be in the black as soon as I get paid for December, but there are still some significant software and hardware purchases that I would like to have, to make the process a bit smoother.

Kids Pattern Recognition
I worked on average about 12 hours a week from March until December, and the last few months were pretty stressful.  I am trying to stay positive in that I have learned a lot, and I think the quality of my apps will be higher in 2012, but I have a lot of doubts too.  I am literally coding and caring for children at the exact same time, and it is far from optimal.  Low sales, high stress, and troll reviewers who hurt my feelings sometimes make it hard to keep plugging along.  But going into this, I knew that I have to do it for at least two years before I can tell if it is viable.  I'm hoping that 2013 will be a big success!

I ran around 625 miles this year.  I was horrible at recording my mileage, so that is a rough estimate.  The only race I ran this year was a 5k.  I tried not to "race" during it, but I have a hard time letting women pass me, especially towards the end.  But overall in 2012 I was laid back as far as running was concerned.  I ran a bit slower than normal and really observed the plant and animal life and the changing seasons.  I had planned to do trail races this year, but never really felt like it, so that didn't happen.  I'm trying to get Floyd to run a marathon next year and live vicariously through him. :)

For sewing I didn't make a whole lot.  I made the girls Halloween costumes, Christmas dresses, and sewed myself a couple pairs of leggings and partway through a pair of jeans that still need a waistband.

Crazy carrot that were 8 carrots in one.  Still tasted good!
My garden did well again.  It seriously amazes me that I can grow anything, let alone food.  It is so satisfying to be short on groceries and be able to go out in the yard and pick some food.

I planted potatoes and those turned out delicious.  I will be doing a whole lot more of them next year.

So far I haven't had much luck with a fall/winter garden.  The problem is I have to plant seeds when it is hot and dry which means I have to remember to water, and I don't.     

At the beginning of the year we had a big highlight in that Floyd got second in a pretty big poker tournament, and thus we got a new Mazda5!  He also entered the WSOP Main Event and made it to the third day.  While it was unfortunate he didn't cash, the suspense and daydreams of being a millionaire were exciting. We even saw him on TV!  He ended up having his most profitable year yet, and we are so grateful that he is such a great provider, and does so in such a fun way. :)

We did quite a bit of traveling this year. We took a month long roadtrip to California.  It was so fun, and getting away from the rainy Seattle winter was luxurious. I wish we could do it again this year, but the guilt of pulling Selena out of school is stopping us.

Floyd and I also headed to Tahoe for a weekend to celebrate one of my best friend's weddings.

Overall 2012 was a good year and 2013 is looking to be good too!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Favorite Reads in 2012

I read 44 books in 2012.  Last year I had a hard time picking out my favorites because I read so many great books.  This year was a bit easier.

Favorite Nutrition Book I Read in 2012

What's Eating Your Child - Through reading this book I figured out Selena had a zinc deficiency.  While supplementing with zinc hasn't completely cured her picky eating it has helped dramatically.  The last few years we have had prime rib on Christmas Eve.  In 2011 she complained the entire time about how bad the food smelled.  She ate specially prepared macaroni and cheese, and even left the room for  part of dinner due to not being able to handle the smell.  This year she ate mashed potatoes, rolls, a bit of prime rib, and didn't complain about the smell.

Favorite How-to Book I Read in 2012

Getting the Words Right: 39 Ways to Improve Your Writing - Since I'm writing promotional material for Corvid Apps I figured I should work on improving my writing.  This book had awesome, easy tips, and was so well written (it should be shouldn't it?)! There were multiple times I was left wondering how I had never learned something.

Favorite Fantasy Books I Read in 2012

Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson was a new-to-me writer I discovered last year.  I am extremely impressed at how tight his writing style is, and enjoy the unexpected plot twists.  I tend to not find synopsis' of fantasy books helpful because most stories are pretty bizarre.  I usually just want to know if it is good or not, and this one is.

Death of Nnanji - Dave Duncan is my all time favorite author.  He says that The Reluctant Swordsman is one of his most successful series.  While the series was published quite a long time ago, he decided to add a fourth book to it.  I own all the books in the original series, but when I reread them this year I did not remember the story at all.  I frequently forget the plot of books I read (which makes rereading stuff more enjoyable) I can usually remember at least one scene.

When I bought the series I was in a Dave Duncan frenzy and had bought about 15 of his books all at once.  I think that I must have got confused about which books I had read, and which ones I hadn't, and never actually read them.  Either way I really loved this series including the brand new sequel.

Craziest Book I Read in 2012

Bud and Me - The True Adventures of the Abernathy Boys -  This book has such a great story, that it makes up for the somewhat lackluster writing style, and horrible formatting of the Kindle version.  It is the true story about two brothers who traveled on horseback across the United States, by themselves, multiple times, in the early 1900's.  Their first adventure occurred when they were just 5 and 9 years old!  It is crazy how different the perceptions of children's capabilities were then compared to now.

Honorable Mentions:


Against the Light (Dave Duncan) - Fantasy
Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Cheryl Strayed) Memoir,
City of Dragons (Robin Hobb) - Fantasy
The Woman Who Died A Lot (Jasper Fforde) - Fantasy?
Catherine the Great (Robert K. Massie) - Biography
The Mysterious Benedict Society (Trenton Lee Stewart) - Kids Literature

Past book lists:

Books in 2011 Part 1 and Part 2

Books in 2010

Books in 2008