The Family

The Family

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Confession

I don't like going to the library with my children.

There, I've said it. (Can you hear the exhale?)

Here's the thing: I love books. I love the library. I most certainly love my children.

It's just I don't find the library an enjoyable experience anymore.

When Jack was a toddler you'd find us at story time every week. Even back then there were some things I felt were left to be desired, but the guilt I felt about thinking negatively about the library, a place where the love of books and reading run supreme, compelled me to keep my thoughts to myself and to persevere in our weekly visits.

When Mattie came along it got harder to keep the routine. I promised myself I'd take her when she got older. For two summers we tried story time. Last year I gave it up.

Part of my feelings stem from the difficulty locating books on the shelves.

Another frustration, at least with story time, is how little you can hear of the actual story because of the noise and chaos that always seem to ensue.

A constant sore spot is how often we bring home books we never read; I say yes to random books pulled off the shelves because what kind of mother tells her child no when it comes to library books??? Then we get home and immediately discard them until its time for their return.

Yet another aspect is that one child wants to do one thing while the other child wants to do something else. This inevitably leaves one of the two pouting or angry when we leave.

And don't even get me started on what feels like a lack of help or interest on the part of the librarians in the children's section at our library.

Until a couple of weeks ago I thought this was something better left unsaid. I had never heard anyone else express thoughts like this. Then I had some conversations with friends expressing the same feelings, and I also listened to a Read-Aloud-Revival podcast where one of the guests talked about her own, as well as others, feelings about venturing to the library with young children.

I knew I was not alone.

Part of what I've tried to do the last couple of years is to create our own home library so that quality stories are always at our fingertips. We've amassed a decent collection. In fact, I was talking to my husband a few weeks ago about the possibility of having additional shelves built for our bedroom because we need more space for books!!!

All of this might lead you to believe I've nixed going to the library.

Quite the contrary.

I just make it a point to go by myself. I pick out the books ahead of time and make a quick run inside. My favorite part is checking out, especially with two particular librarians. They are always so inquisitive about my choices and offer great suggestions for future reads.

And its when I get home from the library that the magic happens: the reading of the books themselves and the total immersion into the stories they weave.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wind Creek

Camping isn't exactly my thing, but I certainly don't mind hanging out at a campground for the day, which we did this past Saturday when we visited my husband's father and stepmom at their campsite at Wind Creek, on Lake Martin, in Alex City, Ala.

They have a camper and sometimes head to nearby parks for extended stays. Jack and Matt spent the night there with Matt's dad and had, by all accounts, a great boy's night. They rode on the jet ski and were in the process of roasting marshmallows when their hopes were dampered by the sudden deluge of a typical Alabama thunderstorm.

The camper was near the site of a man-made beach. Being Saturday, the place was packed with eager swimmers. I didn't think my children were ever going to get out of the lake. We were so shriveled and pruned after two straight hours in the water.

Both of them had a blast!

After cooking out and visiting, Mattie and I made the hour-long drive home to a mighty quiet house and a thunderstorm of our own.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Reading

It's my favorite time of year. Sure, the weather, the pool, the freedom and laid back feeling of summer are all great. But those aren't the primary reasons I love summer.

Summer is the perfect time for reading!

Here's what we're working on right now and in the months to come:

For the Kids:

1. The Fly Guy Series - These are books Jack is reading aloud. We had a friend lend them to us, and at first I was unsure because I was afraid they would be twaddle, but they are perfect chapter books for a budding, and sometimes reluctant, reader. He reads 1-3 pages a day, so it feels like slow going to me to make it through each one.

2. Roald Dahl Books - I read through most of our local library's collection of Roald Dahl books with Jack several years ago, so I figured it was time to do the same with Mattie. We started with "The Witches," which is an interesting take on living with and getting rid of those pesky creatures. We finished "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" last week. It might be the most well known of his stories, but it's my least favorite of them all because that nutter Willy Wonka grates my nerves. We are currently on "James and the Giant Peach," and have a stack of others including, "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," "Esio Trot," and, my favorite, "Danny, the Champion of the World," among others, to work our way through.

3. The Lemony Snicket Series - We are listening to these on Audible. We started them when we drove to DC, and now we can't stop. There are 13 in this series. The language and narration are superb. I'm so glad we ventured into the audio foray with these.

For Me:

4. "A Dance with Dragons" - I don't know why I do this to myself. These books drive me crazy, but I have to find out what happens to the Starks. And that's why I hate them because George R.R. Martin is all about killing off that family. I almost put this book down three chapters in because it felt like the same old routine. But some old, and new, characters were introduced, and I plodded along. I can't tell you who I'm rooting for anymore in this Game of Thrones.

5. "Someone" - I had this on my book list for a while. Compared to "A Dance with Dragons," it was a speed read. It's not so much about the choices we make in life as the things that happen, and don't happen, to us and how those define our lives. A simple, yet deeply moving and poignant story.

6. "Super Sad True Love Story"- All I can say is think "1984" written in the tech age. I'm about a hundred pages in. Sometimes I shake my head in agreement. Sometimes I want to cry for the protagonist because he's such a glutton for punishment. Other times I'm afraid of what the future holds; by that I mean our future.

Other reads on the list for the summer:


"The Wealth of Nations"


"The Opposite of Loneliness"

"You Should Have Known"