Saturday, January 24, 2009

Book: Through the Storm

Today I'd like to share my review of Through the Storm by Lynne Spears. This is a review for Thomas Nelson publishers.

I was actually pleasantly surprised to read this book. I'll admit I agreed to review it out of a little bit of curiosity. I'm not that "in" to current culture although I have a general idea of what's going on. Needless to say, I knew plenty about Britney Spears.

I expected this book to be either a tell all or an attempt to justify Britney and her family. It doesn't come across as either. The story is written by Lynne, Britney's mom, and in a way it's really more of her autobiography than a story about Britney.

I was surprised to learn that she was a small town girl that felt way out of her league. I guess I assumed that parents of super stars would know what they were doing! I was also impressed at how openly she shared her personal struggles. It makes you realize that a) she's human and b) we might not have it any easier if we happened to be in her shoes.

My one criticism of the book is that it was hard to follow the time line. For a book chronicling 20+ years of her life (with flashbacks to her mother even) it's relatively short and the chapters jump around a bit too much. Since it is such a large period of time nothing is really that in depth. You get a page or two about each "episode" she's sharing about and then on to the next thing.

I wouldn't say this is the best book out there, but it's worth a read, if only for a glimpse of the real people behind the "super stars" in our culture!

About the Book

We all want our children to succeed. What happens when they do?

Britney Spears wanted to sing ever since she was a little girl. But the years of sacrifices, auditions, performances, albums, fame, and paparazzi left the little Louisiana family swept up and spun around, and nothing turned out the way anyone ever imagined or wanted. Now Lynne shares the inside story of the Spears family as only a mother can.

Through the Storm takes readers outside the narrow orbit of the Hollywood glitterati. Lynne shares how fame forever changed their family; her regrets letting managers, agents, and record companies direct the lives of her children; the challenges that shaped Lynne and Jamie's failed marriage and how they affected Bryan, Britney, and Jamie Lynn; the startling events that led to Britney's breakdown; the aftermath of Jamie Lynn's pregnancy; and how the family has tried pulling together to recapture a sense of hope and purpose.

Through the Storm, says Lynne, is "the story of one simple Southern woman whose family got caught in a tornado called fame, and who is still trying to sort through the debris scattered all over her life in the aftermath. It's who I am, warts and all, with some true confessions that took a long time to get up the nerve to discuss."

About the Author
Lynne Irene Bridges Spears has a degree in elementary education from Southeastern Louisiana University. She has three children: Bryan James, Britney Jean, and Jamie Lynn. Spears coauthored the novel A Mother's Gift with her daughter, Britney.

You can get more details at the Thomas Nelson site.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Vacation Fun

After all the craziness of Christmas and a house full of people we had a few more relaxing days.

Monday with Grandma and Aunt Cindy going out for "tea".

Tuesday going to dinner at some friend's house who have a little boy just a couple months older than Cory. That was fun! Two boys in the bath... trouble!

My son is a CHEESE BALL!

Nothing special for New Year's. Yeah, we're boring now that we're parents!

Thursday we watched The Devil Wears Prada. Interesting and yet so sad to me that people would put such high stock in the outside and be so mean on the inside... at least I was happy for the main character in the end!

Cory and Grandpa playing with an abacus a friend made for
Grandma some years back when they were in Saudi.

Okay, I just have to say... I got this swimsuit/lifejacket off of FreeCycle (for free obviously) and a complete package (minus 1) of swim diapers in Cory's size! What a perfect find for swimming in Grandpa's pool! Cory LOVES swimming so it was perfect!

Special dinner on Friday night was Brian's Christmas present. Scallops and cous cous, salad and Harry and David's pears. Yum!

Of course I was more interested in the fun contrast of the place settings we used! Playing with my camera!

We left Saturday morning and the sun was really bright (for the first time all week!) and Cory was complaining. We couldn't do much about it so finally he pulled his blankie up over his head. A few minutes later I realized... there was no noise coming from the back seat! He was so worn out from all the playing that he took a nice morning nap in the car!

And then it took me a week at home to recover! =)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dinner with Grandma

Yesterday was a holiday... and Brian went skiing with my mom. I was in a funk so when they got home and he was leaving for Bible study my mom offered to take me and Cory out for hamburgers. We went to Red Robin. Fun times!

Sometimes I forget to eat during the day - or really, I'm just too lazy to fix anything for myself, so I was really hungry! Cory ate all the strawberries out of my strawberry lemonade and then had chicken and noodles with melon. The melon was the hit and we even asked for a third piece...

This was taken with my cell phone and emailed to myself so please excuse the poor quality. It was just too cute to pass up though!

He loved the balloons and I think we'll have to go back on one of the nights when the Red Robin himself is there!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Roberts Family Gathering

So, my husband comes from a very large extended family. If you can get all the aunts and uncles and cousins all together in one place there are like 25 of us or something. And only Brian and his sister are married out of the cousins so far so you can guess it's only going to keep expanding!

The weekend after Christmas they were all invited down to hang out with us and it was tons of fun!

Great Grandma and Grandpa (enjoying their new Cory calendar!)

Aunt Priscilla and Aunt Cris

Family together!

Uncle Dan

Cousin John - maestro on the piano!
and Becca's boyfriend, Cameron

Goofing off in the kitchen!

Dancing girls - Aunt Cris is actually on the phone,
talking to Allison I think!

Derald taking a picture of me and Aunt Cris taking a picture of him. =)

Cousin Becca
and her boyfriend Cameron in the corner!

We had a great time just hanging out in all parts of the house! Cousin Mark showed up for a bit too, but I didn't get him in a picture. :(

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Christmas in Oregon

Yes, I know it is well past Christmas, but what can I say, I'm lazy about editing pictures! And since I have a ton of them I will try to break this up a bit...

We drove down to Oregon on Christmas day in surprisingly good weather considering that half the highways had been closed for the better part of that week due to snow and ice. We stopped in the Dalles to see the great grandparents and got in really really late. Cory didn't want to sleep in that unfamiliar place plus he was really upset having woken up in the car about a half hour out and cried the rest of the way. Poor little guy!

But the rest of the week went pretty well. And you know the grandparents enjoyed having the little one around!

Playing on Grandma's piano

The most exciting part, watching Cory open his presents!

2nd cousin Kathi from California was visiting

Cory got nice toys and tons of books!

Derald got a new shirt... which made a nice blanket for a quick snooze!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Freedom of Choice

Ever heard of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)? Seen that button over on the top of my right sidebar? Wondering what it's all about?

Well, today I've written a short summary for you... but you'll have to head on over to Type-A Mom to read it!

Please leave me a comment there!

Friday, January 09, 2009


Hello friends,

You know I try to avoid politics at all costs on this blog, but I've run across something I just can't keep quiet about anymore.

I wonder how many of you have heard about the CPSIA Act of 2008? It stands for the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

First off let me say, I'm all for keeping our products safe... But this piece of legislation has created a lot more problems than it will solve.

In a nutshell it requires that all products (toys, clothing, bedding, dishes, etc) intended for use by children under the age of 12 be tested for lead and pthalates and labeled accordingly.

On the surface this looks like a good idea. It would save us from all the recall scares from toys made in China and such. We could know that we weren't inadvertently poisoning our children when we give them a plastic gummy toy to chew on.

But here's the rub. This applies to all products no matter where they were made if they are for sale in the US. So... you want to make some carved wooden toys and sell them on Etsy or Ebay or even out of your home? You have to test them. To the tune of up to $4,000 per item. Me thinks that might just put a few small businesses out of business entirely! Here's a link to the Handmade Toy Alliance where they explain it much better than I can.
Here's an excerpt from that example:
The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of children's goods that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys, clothes, and accessories made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children's products will no longer be legal in the US.

If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered. (because they can afford the testing fees based on the bulk that they sell - my explanation)

It also applies to all items for resale after February 10, 2009. Think about your local resale clothing shop? They either have to test all their clothing or throw it away. They can't sell it, they can't even give it away. It's considered contraband. (Wonder how fast our landfills are going to be filled with perfectly good clothes?) Ebay and Amazon Marketplace will also be enforcing this. You won't be able to sell anything used either.

What can we do?

Let's write our congressmen and senators and ask them to please amend this piece of legislation!

Tests are already done by materials makers (to comply with current regulations) so much of this testing is redundant in the US. We need an exemption for items made in the US of US materials.
Conversely the Handmade Toy Alliance is proposing that the CSPC provide free testing for small businesses.

If you want to be able to buy local, handmade, or even used goods for children after February 10th we need to take action on this!

Write to your senators and congressmen, even the CSPC - try modifying the letter found here. All links will open in a new tab.

And thanks for caring!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Cory-isms Again

Here we are 5 days into the new year and I haven't posted once! Shame on me! Or not. It's not like we've haven't been gone for the last 9 days and I'm finally (almost) caught up on the laundry!

I'll hopefully have some more holiday/Grandparent time updates later this week, but for now I leave you with the cute things Cory has done recently. (and in case you're sick of them, yes, this is mostly for my benefit in years to come!)

Saturday on our drive home we stopped to see the Great-Grandparents in The Dalles. Cory calls them "gee-grandpa" and "gee-grandma". We were playing some cribbage and I dealt Brian a really sweet hand. He said "I LU-UV you" to me and Cory promptly started saying "I love you" multiple times! It was really sweet especially because as we were driving away he said "I love you, Grandpa".

Grandpa had been sneezing a bunch while we were there and we were trying to get Cory to say "bless you", but he wouldn't. He's not much for saying things on command these days! Then later he sneezed and blessed himself!

He was so done being in the car by the time we got home (it's 7 hours of pure driving time not including stops) and he kept telling us he was "all done" but there wasn't a whole lot we could do about it. I think it was that night when we got home, but it could have been earlier in the week I heard him talking in his crib. He said "all done" clear as a bell, but then I heard no other noises at all and I figured he was talking in his sleep!

And finally... please click on today's comic from Stone Soup if you can't read it here. This has been Cory for the last couple of weeks!