Sunday, September 28, 2014

Shop Around the Corner


I was reading the book Grandma Moses tonight to our children and was pleasantly struck by two simple paragraphs.

   "One day an art collector from New York, Louis Caldor, passed through Hoosick Falls and saw Anna Mary's pictures.  He liked her scenes of farm life and of days gone by.  He said the cozy pictures made him feel happy and he thought other people would feel the same way." 

    "People liked the honest way Anna Mary painted memories of her heart.  They smiled at scenes of long-ago days-quilting bees, playing in the snow, families getting together on holidays."


I have always enjoyed reading aloud to our children.  Since Dominic was small, we have clocked hours upon hours of reading together.  With each additional child, my elbows, shoulders, and head have grown accustomed to having children clamoring, hoping to catch a glimpse of the illustrations while they listen to me read a new or old favorite literary work.


I have such vivid childhood memories especially about the books I read as a child.  I can remember most titles, but there are a handful of stories I particularly remember loving, but can't seem to recall the exact names of the book to check them out for my children.  The memories of reading and visiting the library came to mind when I read these passages tonight about Grandma Moses.  As the years continue to click on, I know the wonderful stories we read together will become childhood memories of days long-ago and they will look back with such fondness. 

For the benefit of my children, my own records, and anyone looking for some great titles, I hope to record each day (or most) what books we read together under this heading Shop Around the Corner. I couldn't help but naming these featured posts after Meg Ryan's bookstore in You've Got Mail.  Wasn't it enchanting how she loved her whimsical bookstore?  Wasn't it wonderful how she decorated with twinkle lights?  I remember loving the sound the lights made when each bulb tapped the one adjacent to it.  I loved how she knew about each book and was able to help people through her knowledge of books. 

Our Shop Around the Corner 9/28/14:

(While my primary intent is for my own record keeping,  I will put an asterisk in front of the titles I personally would recommend.)

*Grandma Moses by Alexandra Wallner
Martin de Porres by Gary D. Schmidt
**Corgiville Fair by Tasha Tudor (One of my favorite authors.  I could read any of her books on repeat.)
Starry Messenger Galileo Galilei by Peter Sis
*Mark Twain and the Queens of the Mississippi by Cheryl Harness
*Blockhead:  The Life of Fibonacci by Joseph D'Agnese
*The Little Plant Doctor:  A Story About George Washington Carver by Jean Marzollo
**The Mouse of Amherst (about Emily Dickinson) by Elizabeth Spires  (The voracious vocabulary included in the book was outstanding.)
**Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot:  A True Story of the Berlin Airlift and the Candy that dropped from the Sky by Margot Theis Raven.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vala's Pumpkin Patch-2014 Lillie

I think it is safe to say Lillie has grown a bit since we first started going. We actually started going in 2008, but I cannot find the pictures to accompany that year. I feel like we have been only making our annual trip for a few short years. It is a bit crazy to think that we have seven years under our belt. When we were leaving the farm this year, the older kids vowed to come back from college AND even when they are married to attend with our family. I could only hope so.
2009- Lillie 5 years old
2010- Lillie 6 years old

2011- Lillie 7 years old

Lillie- 2012 8 years old
Lillie 2013 9 years old

Lillie- 2014 10 years old

Lillie wants everyone to have as much fun as she is having.  She tried to show Damaris all the sights and sounds of Vala's all day. 

THE BIG WHITE SLIDE is a hit for everyone.  I watched them go up and down for an hour. 

John and I both have a great memory of Lillie a couple years back on the go-carts.  She was in a trance, traveling at light speed around and around the track.  I think she believes it is a race.  She truly drinks life in to its fullest. 

Watching Lillie enjoy the dog show will be one of my favorite memories of this year.  She loves animals so much.  Although, she especially loves dogs.  We were all standing next to the bleachers and as I was doing my usual head count, I noticed Lillie sitting up in the bleachers by herself enjoying the show.  It was sweet to watch her react without her knowing I was watching.  She connects with animals like I have never seen.  She is as comfortable holding any dog, cat, gerbil, or cow like I am holding a baby. 

My Favorite Picture.  Pure Delight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vala's Pumpkin Patch 2014-Dominic

I am behind on posting about our annual Vala's Pumpkin Patch trip.  I missed last years post because I had just had Kapaun a couple days before the big event.  John took the kids by himself.  I was so determined to have Kapaun after we went to Vala's as I didn't want to miss seeing them enjoy all the goodness.  This week will be an overload of Vala's Pumpkin Patch pictures and recaps so I can get caught up.  I want to do a different post for each child.  I noticed after taking over 400 pictures on Saturday that each child enjoys the event to the fullest and looks forward to their individual remembrances of our past years.

I will start with Dominic.  He still anticipates this trip like he did in 2009 as a seven-year-old.  I find it interesting how as each year passes and he grows taller, his little boy memories change.  The once BIG yellow slide is not as big as he remembered from years past.  He did comment on the drive home that this was our BEST YEAR yet.  I had to agree.  The balmy weather didn't slow their desires down a bit.  Vala's adds new attractions each year which I seem to not notice, but the kids notice every detail that is new.  I noted that Dominic this year really wanted me to go down all the slides, tour the varying barns, and explore the miners cave with him.  He offered several times to hold Kapaun so I could try the slide with John. 

2009-Dominic 7 years old
2010-Dominic 8 years old
2011-Dominic 9 years old

2012- Dominic 10 years old

2013-Dominic 11 years old
2014- Dominic 12 years old

The HAY jump.  Always exhilarating.

He certainly has evolved in the snow cone makes skills.  I remember the first year him adding all 30 flavors available.  This year, he stuck with his top two favorites.

Enjoying the dog show.

We had a very fun and full day.  We went to visit the Pink Sisters in the morning, Vala's all afternoon, and hustled over just in time to catch the kick off for the Nebraska/Miami game.  Dominic and I had the time of our lives.  It was an exciting and physical game.  The crowd stood the whole time.  We yelled almost the whole time.  What a great game to be at!  We are so grateful to our friends who gave us tickets.  Mostly, I was glad to just spend time with Dominic. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

These are a few of my favorite things

I rambled to my mother this morning that watching children enthusiastically engrossed in an event is one of my favorite things in the whole world. Partly, I love it because it is so serious to them and so delightful to us. Also, I have my own robust repertoire of childhood memories that we still enjoy reminiscing about.  Our old parish, St. Peter's, hosted their annual Fall Family Festival on Friday.  This event will always strike a heart cord with me.  When we first moved back to Lincoln, Dominic grabbed a neon orange flier announcing the upcoming event.  He had just started reading so he coveted this little flier for weeks hoping so much we could attend THE FALL FAMILY FESTIVAL.  It was his equivalent of Disney World.  The promises made on the flier were so enticing to a little mind.  Jumbo Slides.  Dunk Tank.  Candy.  Hot dogs.  It was yesterday I watched his five-year-old legs run so fast from stand to stand.  As each year has passed, I still smile when I see this event announced as it will forever remind me of him. 
Kapaun turned ONE this past Thursday.  Without a doubt, he received the most birthday songs of any of our children.  They sang to him for a week.  In fact, I listened to Vianney get him up this morning while she sang Happy Birthday to him. 
Enjoyment #2:  Watching a tentative 4-year-old child prepare for a wild game of Minute To Win It (WHATEVER that is.)  Lillie eagerly signed the whole family up for this game double-checking which age divisions each child belonged in.  All our children were looking forward to this the most as John had shown them a Youtube video of Minute To Win Its.  We both giggled as we heard over the loud speaker, "Clare-vey Beaver, you are up for Minute To Win It."  She didn't know what to think or to do.

Reinforcements came in the form of her siblings to reassure her that she won't be harmed in the Oreo challenge.  You never know.

Enjoyment #3:  Nervous Nelly.  I am pretty sure God created Lillie for the sole purpose to enjoy festivals.  There aren't enough stands to attend, there are too many face painting choices, too much good food to pick from, too many friends to make.  She wanted each member of our family to win so bad that I think she developed an ulcer. 
Vianney is so sweet, shy, and beyond talented.  She is unaware of her abilities even when she comes in first.  She was so nervous to stack 4 Oreos on her forehead.  I reassured her this was for fun and to give it a try.  She went and sat down, stacked the Oreos like she practiced for a year straight and walked away victorious. 


Enjoyment #4:  The daily dance routines the girls make up have shifted to daily tumbling exercises as the girls are taking tumbling this year.  Zellie practices her handstands everywhere.   As a former gymnast (4th-8th grade, not Olympic), I couldn't be more thrilled about this. 

Enjoyment #5:  Everything we did this week was for Kapaun's birthday.  We went to the Fall Family Festival for Kapaun's birthday.  We made dinner at night for Kapaun's birthday.  We went to the library for Kapaun's birthday.  We gave the kids a bath for Kapaun's birthday.  I did capture his first tasting of lemonade for Kapaun's birthday.

Just what my thighs need!!!!!

After, he chased it with a nice cup of mulch. 

Enjoyment #6:  Dream child.  He was just as enjoyable this year as he was seven years ago.  He is just a happy guy.  He still delights in simple things and is such a pleasure to be around. We have our special language that we speak Kapaun to with each other.  Kapaun is a language we created to talk about "our little boy." 
Enjoyment #7:  Watching a child from a distance.  Her older sisters begged to go stand in line with her for the balloon artist.  I was finishing up watching Dominic devour Oreos so I sent them all ahead.  I scanned the crowd for the girls only to first see Damaris waiting her turn in line.  Heart hurt.  She had NO IDEA what they were doing, but she was doing it. 

The look of wonder on Clairvaux's face always gets me. 

I really do mean it when I say it is an art to watch a child especially when they are in the state of wonder.  I watched Damaris for five minutes watch the balloon lady. Just imagine for a second what their little selves were thinking when they were looking up in awe.
Thank goodness she brought her thumb.  
They waited in line for thirty minutes to obtain a balloon.  When their time was up, you would think they would have thought about what they wanted beforehand.  The older girls did, but Clairvaux rattled off what Rose ordered "An orange horse."  Then, the nice balloon artist asked Damaris what she wanted.  She lisped back with her thumb in her mouth, "A orangeth horseth."

 We use to live right across the street from St. Peter's.  We took a stroll down memory lane by walking by our old home and around the cul-de-sac.  We even walked down to the nice lady the kids referred to as "Blow up Lady" because she proudly displays holiday blow ups in her yard.  Even though it has almost been a year since our move, I still deeply miss that wonderful neighborhood and our proximity to the church.  I miss the kids being able to walk over to daily mass on their own.  I miss my walking route which always began and ended in the church so conveniently even before the kids were awake.  I am so grateful for our new home and all that it offers our family.  There just seems to be a hole missing and as crazy at it sounds, I miss the presence of Jesus right across the street.  I hope someday we can live across from a church again.