The Family

The Family

Sunday, September 11, 2016

When You Turn 9

It seems Minecraft, Legos and anything related to technology are all the rage these days for 9-year-old boys. At least, for my newly turned 9-year-old boy they are.

We celebrated his 9th birthday about two weeks ago and here are a few of his favorite things:

I think we are on Round 3 of DVD players. They come in handy on all our travels.

He still loves dinosaurs and never passes up a chance to let others know what dinosaur toys he does not have!

I can't even begin to fathom how many Lego pieces we have in our bonus room. This, and the 4 other Legos he got, only add to it.

The book that contains EVERYTHING Minecraft.

This cool toy/robot/coding-device was something I read about months ago and thought he'd get a kick out of.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Reading Through These Dog Days

The dog days of summer are upon us. They have been for a few weeks now. Pictured above are my stack of books getting me through.

On top, "Headed for Home," was written by my former professor and boss Mary Helen Brown. She's a Texan at heart and her family-oriented-something-of-a-mystery debut novel deals with all things Texas.

I'm currently on "The Fellowship," which is the true tale of four Oxford compatriots, each name widely known and loved in the world of literature, and the time they spent each week encouraging and critiquing one another's work. It's a fascinating travel-back-in-time account that is probably my favorite summer read thus far.

Two of the books I read only about 50 pages into and set aside. "The Hero With A Thousand Faces" and "The Way We Never Were" are great books. It's just they feel like the kind of reading I did in graduate school. And since the reading I do now is all for pleasure, these weren't making the cut.

The last book, "The Opposite of Loneliness," was one on my list from last summer that I never got around to. It's comprised of the fictional and non-fictional short stories of a Yale graduate killed in a car accident shortly after her graduation. A promising career loomed bright, but was cut short due to her untimely death. This book impacted me in so many ways, not least of which were the thoughts of a former student of my own cut down in the prime of life at 23 when the world seemed his for the taking.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Auburn University Musuem of Natural History

Last week we did something really, really cool.

We visited the natural history museum at our local university. But it's not the kind of natural history museum where you walk around and see things on display. It's a lab with several rooms that contain thousands of examples of biodiversity.

In essence, this is the behind the scenes stuff.

We were lucky to go with some friends whose father is in charge of giving the tours. Don't think we got special treatment though. He gives these exact tours to any group that makes an appointment!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Weekend With the Girls

Last weekend I nourished my soul and refreshed my spirit by hanging out with some of my life-long friends for a three-night, four-day trip.

We traveled to Charleston, S.C., and stayed on the second floor of a two-story rental property. We wanted to all be together in the same house, not separate rooms like in a hotel, and we enjoyed our time together more than I can put into words.

Oh, the benefits of four days of laughter, games, late-night girl talk and a few cocktails here and there.

We all agreed this should become a yearly thing, and I SO hope it will.

Girlfriends are the best. Especially ones who know every part of you and love you for and despite it all.

One of life's many paradoxes hit me while we were together: Nothing has changed; only everything has changed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

And Then She Was 5

You've likely heard the saying "The days are long, but the years are short." Never does that ring more true than on holidays and birthdays.

On Monday, Mattie turned 5.

We spent the day before at The Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Ala. so she could ride a carousel. We let her ride, and ride and ride. She said it felt like she got to ride it 100 times!

She rode every animal at least once, and each time she got off she picked a different person who had to ride the next round with her.

To say she was thrilled is an understatement.

On Saturday, my husband and dad spend the day putting together her present: a backyard playhouse.

And on her birthday a special delivery made it to the house.

More than one actually. My grandmother bought her flowers to put in her playhouse and made this delicious chocolate cake.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer Reading

Any season is a good season to read. But there's something about summer that makes stacks of books seem delightful instead of daunting. Here's what we've been up to in our reading adventures this summer.

For the Kids:

I decided this summer would be the one to tackle the Little House books. I use language like tackle because I truly was afraid I would hate these books. I know these are the gold standard for so many homeschooling families, but I wasn't convinced. Then I opened the first page of "Little House in the Big Woods," and I was in love. Jack begs me to keep reading, which is another shocker, because I had also convinced myself he was going to think they were boring. We quickly made our way to "Farmer Boy," Mattie's favorite so far and are currently about a quarter of the way through "Little House on the Prairie." These are indeed some of the most delightful literature I've ever encountered. 

Another series that has made our list this summer is the Magic Tree House series. Some friends have been trying to convince me to read these for several years now. If you saw the length of my "Books to Read Aloud" list, you'd understand why it takes some convincing to get me to veer off the list.

Our current Audible listening selection is "The Boxcar Children."  I bought the recording of the first three books. There seem to be a lot more in the series, but I think I'd like to remember the Alden children just as they are in these first three.

For Me:

I began the summer reading season with this one. It is a gentle reminder of how to value our children for who they are and how a love of literature and time in nature creates well-nourished souls for the entire family.

Paris seems to be on the mind with these two selections. "Les Miserables" is no joke. All 1200 pages of it (I think my print is smaller than some fonts because one copy I picked up had 1400 pages). I'm halfway through it and then it's on to a more modern tale on the City of Light with "The Bones of Paris."

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Friday in June

Last Friday was an ideal June day.

Early morning snuggles with the dogs

Conjuring Harry Potter when he puts on my grandmother's glasses 

Downtown Art Walk

Painting done by the kids art and clay teacher
 A Storm Tropper sighting
And poses with our favorite mascot