Saturday, June 28, 2008

happy day to our fancy girl!

"I am 16 going on 17..."
Maddie loves to reenact that part of Sound of Music everytime she sees a circular fountain or gazebo. Here Daddy joined in the reenactment by the Smithsonian Castle in D.C.

She spins and she sways

to whatever song plays

without a care in the world.

And I'm sitting here wearing

the weight of the world on my shoulders.

It's been a long day

and there's still work to do

She's pulling at me saying, "Dad I need you

there's a ball at the castle and I've been invited

and I need to practice my dancing

Oh please, Daddy please"

So I will dance with Cinderella

while she is here in my arms

'cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh I will dance with Cinderella

I don't want to miss even one song

'cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

and she'll be gone

by Steven Curtis Chapman

(see the video here)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Reading Recommendations...please share back yours!

Last night, we finally got to read a book we have been trying to check out from the library for a couple of weeks...the original Fancy Nancy book. We've read three others that Maddie has enjoyed altogether but I must say the original is the best in the series. The last page is one of those classic children's book endings. Tom was working on the computer while I was reading it to Maddie, and he even said "awwwwww" aloud when I came to the ending. They're not deep books, just really sweet...especially if you happen to have someone "fancy" under your roof (I identify on a deep level with the mom & family in these books who are definitely "not fancy"). Thanks to Aunt Amy for clueing us into their existence.

After being on a Jane Austen watching kick all spring, I finally rose to a higher level and did some actual reading. I read Persuasion (which I believe is now my new favorite) and Sense & Sensibility. We were supposed to discuss the later at our last book club meeting (which has yet to find a meeting date) but I mistakenly thought we were reading the former (classic Jen-jo moment here) so ended up reading both. The discussion questions were great on the PBS site but I was so disappointed to go back and look for them and find they are gone! This is a great teaching guide but totally centered on the films as opposed to the books.

I realized anew that I am altogether too interested in fiction and although I've picked up quite a few nonfiction books there are an alarming number on my shelf that have been only read half way. Currently, I am reading Children Matter by Scottie May (started a great while back, picked up at the children's conference I attended this spring). Also, I finally purchased The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and finished Part IV and am working through Part I. Hope to finish both on our trips next week. A friend once told me she made it a rule to read 2 nonfictions to every fiction...I'd like to try and adopt that rule but must say it would be a hard stretch for me personally. But then again I'm definitely in need of some stretching

Back to fiction, I just LOVE the Mitford series so much. I finished book two, At Home in Mitford and found it every bit as enjoyable as the first (had heard some say the odd numbers in the series were best?). I love Father Tim's depiction of a priest...he is real, imperfect, has his areas of weakness...but he is so deeply relational, so truly living out the holiness he speaks of that he inspires me to sit with others, to listen more and talk less, to show loving acts of kindness after reading. And then there is Cynthia...what a lovely female heroine she is...I find her frankness refreshing and her steadfast loyalty absolutely endearing. Never would I have thought back in my twenties that I would someday think that a romance between sixtysomethings would be the ideal...but theirs is definitely an ideal setting type of love story.

The boys are reading Prince Caspian (with the hopes of watching it at the conclusion of their reading) but we've heard mixed reviews (good friends on both sides here) on the value of taking them to see it.

Any other summer reccomendations from you all...?

p.s. Josiah & Cole loved watching White Fang (Disney's adaptation of a Jack London classic)

Eating out with families

(Update) I think these vary by individual chain so be sure to call ahead before you plan on using this list. However, here in our town:

Applebees--Wednesday night kids eat for $0.99
IHOP--kids eat free every night from 4-10
Perkins--kids eat free all day Tuesdays (1 kid/adult)
Red Robin--kids get free sundaes on Tuesdays
I found the night to be different than what was originally listed but I never would have known had I not called.

I found this listing over at to be most helpful, especially as we are planning to head to New Jersey next week where Tom will be teaching at a camp.

Last day of school

Cole with Mrs. Gaudio
Josiah with Mrs. Mommaerts

family visits (2)

Uncle Tom holding Graham and Grant....twins just days away from celebrating their one year birthdays!
Graham and Isaac...making a playground of the coffee table.
Josiah & Becca~Josiah is such a little social bug, he loved having cousins around to play with 24/7 even if they were younger than him. I love to watch him interacting with the babies...he gets very cracked up by them.
Cole & Grant~Cole is a delightful little helper.
Cole & Jay~Jay is too interested in the lions to look at the camera. He was loads of fun to take to the zoo.
Good-bye...please come back soon!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

family visits!! (part 1)

Well, our clan is officially on summer vacation and we are all really enjoying it! Last week we were privileged to have two of Tom's sisters come to see us. Krys and Jeff came so that Jeff could attend a medical conference in Chicago. Krys and I enjoyed hanging out with the kids and doing several fun day trips together. Deb was only here for a day as she came to help Krys drive on to their parents. It all went by way too quickly...but we packed a LOT in.

An IMMENSE thanks to Jeff for helping Tom install a new floor in our kitchen!!

Some beautiful pictures of little Maddie & Becca at Lake Michigan...true kindred spirits!
Zoo trip to Milwaukee...

More to come later...we are experiencing computer difficulties at home and I raided Tom's study room at the library today to post these few.