Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vala's Pumpkin Patch-2014 Rose

Being with Rose, it is easy to forget she is only 8 years old. She is so aware of helping her siblings and especially John and I. She is constantly asking what I need, who she can help, and what baby can she hold. Her mothering instincts are so strong. I will remember her at Vala's this year asking me repetitively how she could help me. What a dear soul. She and Dominic are male and female versions of each other. What is most endearing is that they are the best of friends. I find this uniquely interesting given their young ages to have a friendship so close with another sibling. They just understand each other probably because God gave each of them a servant's heart. She is such a wonderful daughter. What a gift it is to see her grow. My mother tells me that this was me as a child. She reminds me that at four-years-old I could handle a baby like a teenager and she trusted me. Rose is a friend to everybody.
2009- Rose 3 1/2 years old
2010- Rose 4 1/2 years old

2011- Rose 5 1/2 years old

2012- Rose 6 1/2 years old

2013- Rose 7 1/2 years old

2014- Rose 8 1/2 years old

She would best be defined as having a gentle spirit.  She loves dogs so much.  She would pass out from excitement if we ever let her get a dog.  Her dream dog is a Cocker Spaniel like Lady from Lady and the Tramp.  It is remarkably fitting that she would love such a gentle dog because Lady resembles Rose so closely. 

Our Shop Around the Corner 9/30/14

What we read today:

*****The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman (This might be my favorite picture book.)
***The Goose Man: The Story of Konrad Lorenz by Elaine Greenstein
*****Dr. Welch and the Great Grape Story by Mary Lou Carney (Rose's favorite)
***Sweet Dream Pie by Audrey Wood & Mark Teague
*****Minette's Feast:  The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat by Susanna Reich
*****A Hero and the Holocaust:  The Story of Janusz Korczak and His Children
*****Amos and Boris by William Steig
****Joan of Arc:  Heroine of France by Ann Tompert
*****Mr. Lincoln's Boys:  Being the Mostly True Adventures of Abraham Lincoln's Trouble-Making    Sons, TAD and WILLIE by Staton Rabin
*****Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares

Read-Aloud Revival

If you know me in the real world, I apologize if I CANNOT stop filling your mind and ears with what I am learning from listening to the exhilarating series Sarah Mackenzie has so generously offered on her amazing blog Amongst Lovely Things.  I read a only a handful of blogs consistently.  She is one of my favorites.  You will find a treasure chest of knowledge, encouragement, and wisdom from her servant's heart.  Specifically, I have devoured her Read-Aloud Revival series.  After listening to each podcast, I often couldn't believe they were free and available right here on the internet.  Each one expanded my perceptions of reading and specifically reading aloud.  Every episode seemed to cover a different aspect of reading that I had never occurred to me.  I listened to each podcast at night when folding laundry.  John equally enjoyed the knowledge each guest offered.  Each guest offered several book recommendations which has further exploded our library visits.  We usually average a visit a week, but now we are stopping by at least three times a week picking up various selections.  I started with podcast #9 which I listened to three times because there was so much goodness present.  You can never go wrong with Andrew Pudewa so just start at the beginning if you want!  Podcast #2 by Adam Andrews (Founder of Center for Lit) has been life changing.  We have starting doing basic literary analysis after most stories we read.  It has been delightful to see their minds working.

Head on over! Get.  Skedaddle.

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.