#Readathon: Closing Meme

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Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 16. I finally had to go to sleep for a few hours. I woke five hours later and finished strong.
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Peter and Max by Bill Willingham was great! Easy to read but with fantastic characters and a thrilling plot.
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I think Read-a-thon is managed extremely well, but I feel like if Read-a-thon keeps growing there will be some real problems (like the lovely Andi and Heather feeling like they are in The Yellow Wallpaper). I don’t really have a suggestion for accomodating that growth, except I worry that spreading Read-a-thon over so many social media channels could stretch volunteers and lines of communication too thin.
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Praise be to the hashtag! I was mostly on Twitter and Instagram and it was so easy to find everyone.
How many books did you read? Three completed and one short story collection in progress. I didn’t read as much this year. I had to take frequent breaks because my glasses haven’t arrived yet. Blurry vision and headaches are no good.
What were the names of the books you read? Peter and Max by Bill Willingham, The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, and Fairest,v. 1: Wide Awake by BIll Willingham
Which book did you enjoy most? Fairest! I love some girl power in my graphic novel!
Which did you enjoy least? Honestly I enjoyed all of them! #winning
If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Cheering on instagram was GREAT! So many young people participated! It was just the huge number of people made cheering feel a bit more like a chore. Not that I didn’t enjoy cheering, but I had to comment and go the next person. I didn’t have as much time to hang out and get to know new folks. That’s totally okay! One thing I DO NOT LIKE are the people who complain and are demanding. They whine about people not cheering them, or the number of cheers, and they are generally buzzkills. I honestly feel that folks honestly concerned with “where is my cheer” are there to gain clicks and visits. I love the idea of a more organic form of cheering. Like, pick a platform, look up the hashtag, and everyone cheer for each other. Pretty sure the cheer-haters didn’t volunteer in any capacity, so screw ’em. The more you put in to read-a-thon the more you get out of it.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Duh. Read-a-thon or Die! I will always do read-a-thon work schedules and children allowing. Sign me up to participate in everything: mini-challenge, co-host, and cheering!

#Readathon: Mid-event Survey!

1. What are you reading right now? Peter and Max by Bill Willingham!
2. How many books have you read so far? one graphic novel. I’m also midway through a short story collection. I’ve done a ton of social media and cheering! The chat on “The Yellow Wallpaper” was awesome! I think read-a-thon gets better each time.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I actually have no idea. I might go with more graphic novels.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? YES. The two-year old was well-behaved and played quietly. One half-hour whine fest from the four-year old before bed and then one epic teen meltdown. All is well now. Let’s just say prom season can be rough.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? That there are folks who complain about a free event that is run completely by volunteers. Let’s all be kind and patient, m’kay?

Update time! Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and GoodReads!

Pages Read: 324

Currently Reading: Dipping into Peter and Max

Books Finished: 1 (Fairest, v.1 – Wide Awake by Bill Willingham)

What’s Up Next: Hubs is making a frozen pizza since our kids ate ALL THE PASTA at dinner tonight. Reading, tweeting, cheering.

Snacks Eaten: Tofu stir-fry for lunch, chips and dip, coffee, water, a wee bit of pasta and green beans

Mini-challenges completed? 2 (Opening Meme, Classic Words of Wisdom)

Miscellaneous info and oddities: My mini-challenge! 

Picture of the Hour:

11182030_671791014645_1084583490129849174_nPersy Jane is wearing a Read-a-thon appropriate tee!

Mini-Challenge: Bookish Brews

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First off, no… that is not my Read-a-thon stack, but it does contain my two favorite things: Coffee and Books (okay, three… I really like owls). Right now we are in the thick of Read-a-thon and I know you all are reaching for some sort of caffeinated goodness. If not, you’re a robot. I’m going to make this challenge really quick and easy:

-snap a picture of your current beverage of choice AND your current read
-post it to your platform of choice (Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, blog, etc)
-use the hashtags #bookishbrews AND #readathon
-leave a link to your picture post in the comments section

You must follow these instructions precisely to win!

At the end of the mini-challenge I will randomly pick a winner for a Starbucks gift card.

Get to percolatin’!

#Readathon: Hour 4 Update!

Update time! Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and GoodReads!

Pages Read: 178

Currently Reading: Dipping into The Virago Book of Fairy Tales

Books Finished: 1 (Fairest, v.1 – Wide Awake by Bill Willingham)

What’s Up Next: More fairy tales and starting Peter and Max

Snacks Eaten: Clif bar for breakfast, 3 cups of coffee, water, Mr. Goodbar

Mini-challenges completed? 2 (Opening Meme, Classic Words of Wisdom)

Miscellaneous info and oddities: I’m getting ready to co-host for a few hours, find me over at 24hourreadathon.com!

Illustration of the Hour:
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From the Virago Book of Fairy Tales, v.1

#Readathon Opening Meme

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1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Gainesville, Georgia! It is pouring rain and pretty icky out. HELLO, PERFECT READING WEATHER!
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I’m really looking forward to Tanith Lee’s White as Snow.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Spinach Artichoke Dip and Multigrain chips,
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I actually leave my house for most of the day to do Read-a-Thon. I work at a library and i just come to my office and hang out. Being in a small apartment with three kids and a husband is not conducive to 24-hours of reading. Shout out to my husband, Sam, for letting me indulge my nerd-whims.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I’m going to make sure I take plenty of breaks for my eyes this Read-a-thon. My glasses still haven’t arrived and I don’t want to strain my eyes to the point they have to check into an L.A. rehab facility to recuperate from exhaustion.

Loving My Squishy: How my kids teach me to love my body

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Working my best silly mom face. Hope is trying not to laugh.

One cool and unexpected aspect of becoming a parent is how much my kids have changed the way I view myself. My kids don’t think of me as awkward or with my head in the clouds. Instead I’m silly and have an imagination perfect for playtime and stories. Even though I have grumpy days (Atticus simply says I must need more coffee) and days where I’m too tired to play dinosaur pirates, my kids know that most of the time I’m fun, loving, and up for anything.

Next week is my 35th birthday and I’m amazed that I’m still able to see wonder surrounding me, enjoy creativity and imagination, and learn more about who I am in this great, wide world. My 15 year-old self would have been convinced that life would be over at 35 and I think each day is a new beginning and my kids are responsible for much of that sense of newness and adventure. Through my children I’m also learning to love my body. I grew three amazing babies in my womb, after 36 hours of labor and nearly four hours of pushing I birthed my sweet Hope, I had two C-sections – one for Atticus and one for Persy Jane – and those surgeries required me to be brave and for my body to heal. Then there is the breast feeding. If you take into account the 8 months Hope nursed in 2000 and add it to my breastfeeding from October of 2010 to the present, I have lactated for 1,890 days. That is roughly five years, two months, and five days of breastfeeding. My children love that I’m soft. Atticus especially loves to hug, squish, and lean against my large, soft stomach. My least favorite part of my body represents warmth, love, and safety to my son. “I love your squishy,” he tells me. That’s not a typo. It isn’t “I love that you are squishy.” He means he loves my “squishy” or what fat-shaming Amanda has always called a “disgusting gut.” WOW. Look at what a difference language makes.

Childbirth, nursing, and cuddling with my littles make me feel strong, beautiful, and special and it can also cause me pain, sleep deprivation, and urges to have my body to myself and away from tickles, pokes, and inadvertent kicks. That’s perfectly okay. The big ball of good sprinkled with tiny annoyances is fine; what’s important is that I feel alive, whole, important, loved.

The person who is changing my mind the most about my body is my teenager. Although I struggle with Binge Eating Disorder, self-injury, and poor body image, I’ve worked really hard to teach my daughter differently. I want her to know that all body types have value and beauty, that her body and sexuality is hers and hers alone, that it is important to eat healthy and that she should also enjoy her life and have a healthy relationship with food.

I can honestly say that at this point in time, Hope has a really healthy body image. She made an argument against me putting her on birth control (as a precaution, she isn’t active) with telling me that I always told her that her reproductive choices would always be respected. She discusses the stupidity of school dress codes that severely dictate what girls wear and she bemoans that, “maybe they should teach boys not to look at us as sex objects.” She will eat a lot if she is hungry, but then she can also make a pint of ice cream last for over a week by eating just a few bites each night. She is thin and athletic, but also has a different body type from most of her friends: curvy. I’ve never once heard her “hate” on her curves, instead she fusses at the stupid clothes that don’t respect and appreciate her body. I’ve never heard Hope about going on a diet or wanting to obsess over food. She is blissfully healthy and happy. I know she has things she doesn’t like about her body and there are times when she asks me to delete pictures or not post them because she doesn’t like how she looks, but that is quickly followed up with “wait until I fix my hair.” What I am trying to convey is that while my teen has some things she likes less about her body, she doesn’t think less of herself as a person and she isn’t filled with loathing because of a few things she doesn’t like.

Here is where I enter as a mid-thirties mama who is learning so much from this kid. Hope has started calling me out on how I body shame and belittle my body. I may not say it aloud in front of my kids, but my actions call attention to the confidence I lack in my body’s beauty. Here are some examples of Hope putting me in check:

      • Hope is taking hours to put on her make-up. I am wearing no make-up. I tell her to hurry and that “no one will be there to impress.” “Mom,” Hope corrects, “I wear make-up for me. It is fun to put on!” Of course, look at me. I wear make-up for other people, because I don’t think I look nice. Hope wears make-up for fun and to “look good for herself.”
      • I had a dressy occasion the other day and I was struggling into a pair of Spanx. I’d yank it up and kind of tuck it into my bra so it wouldn’t fall down my fat rolls. Hope entered my bedroom appalled and said, “Mom, why are you wearing that? You’re beautiful! Love your thickness!!!”
      • Hope does not know about my self-injury, but she was asking me about why some people cut (it came up at school). She pointed to her legs, “look at my legs! They are perfect! My legs are so strong from running and I worked hard on this tan. Why would I want to mess up my beautiful self?”

Bless this confident girl.

I read an article the other day that said we should be telling our daughters that they are strong and not talk about their bodies or tell them they are pretty and beautiful. I disagree. Yes, we should focus on intelligence, kindness, creativity, and individuality. We should also tell our daughters they are beautiful. If we don’t point out their beauty (and not necessarily conventional beauty) from natural hair, to strong legs, to freckles, to soft skin, to rough hands from playing… then someone else (ahem, a capitalist patriarchy that thrives on consumerism) will tell them what defines beauty. I am so lucky to have my amazing teenager help me rewrite my definition of beauty.