Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yay for Bookworms!

I felt this deserved it's own post. We just got back Caroline's state test results. She passed advanced in History and Reading! She is also reading on a junior/senior in high school level. I was thrilled and proud, but the look on Rob's face when he looked up her reading level: well, it was like she'd just won a trophy! See there is a benefit to all the hours that she spends locked up with her books. He even backed me on my idea to encourage her to read a classic this summer. I'm thinking Jane Eyre. He's thinking it's like training. Will I come home one day and find her with a big thick leather bound book in her lap while Rob shouts motivating platitudes and squirts Gatorade into her mouth? I am so proud of my girl, she worked her tail off this year and shined!

Summer Time and the Living Is......?

I can't quite put my finger on what it is about this summer. It seems to be a summer of discontent. The usual charm is lacking, and me being me, I feel guilty like I am squandering this precious time. The more my girls seem to grow away from me, the more overwhelmed that I feel. This feeling of "Blah" seems to be everywhere, so at least I'm not alone. The produce seems more wilted, the girls seem more grouchy, my husband more restless.

My mother in her simple observation told me "Well you've been doing a lot." In other words, how the heck can you smell the roses when you spend your time cleaning up great messes and taxi-ing people across the sprawling suburbs.

Don't miss read this please. Many wonderful things have happened: a spectacular beach vacation, a long lovely visit from my 16 year old brother, a trip to CT to see the rest of my family, and soon the girls will go to West Virginia. Couple that with scout camp, swim lessons, dance camp, and all of the doctor visits that are scheduled because I have the time off and... maybe, I have just been too busy. I have not been too busy to read which would be the reason that I've longed on. So enough kvetching and on with my real reason to post:

Books! My goal at the beach was to read about a book and day and I succeeded! The rest of the time I have manged about one every two-three days. I must confess that this is pure pleasure reading. I am only going to list my favor ties. I have vowed to stay positive and really don't feel like trashing any books. What if whoever is still reading this loves a book that I didn't? Who am I to say what is good or not? I am trying to be less judgemental and snarky.

At the beginning of the summer I stumbled upon Bubble Reputation by Cathy Pelletier. I loved every minute of it, so much so that I was lonely when it was over. It was my favorite kind of book: a big quirky family with an intellectual side. At the same time I discovered Barbara O'Neal. The librarian smiled and told me I'd like her. Basically, it is chic lit for a certain type of middle aged woman. Every book has a similar format: middle aged heroine who is involved with food in someway (chef, baker), finds romance, and a new dog. The coolest part is there is a recipe on every chapter. The are also racy bits, the kind that my gramma always thought "kept books interesting." The are definitely perfect summer reading for someone like me. Total brain candy. I also read The Goodbye Summer by Patrica Gaffney. It was another character driven novel with lots of quirky characters, this time from a nursing home. I loved it so much, it felt like I'd lost friends when it was over. I also read Raising Jake by Charlie Carillo. Chjarlie Carillo reminds me of Nick Hornby. His characters are flawed, hilarious, and ultimately lovable. On the train to CT, I read Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers. It was a series of fictional note between a mother and her teen daughter. Of course it hit home and made me cry. Is it wrong that I think Caroline should read it and then maybe she'd appreciate me more? While in CT, I unknowingly hit on a streak of novels about reading:) I loved The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble. The book began with a brief summary of each character. I have always wanted that in a book! In college I used to write character summaries and family trees at the beginning of the novels I was reading. My American Lit professor chuckled at my Glass family tree especially. Anyway, each chapter was named after the book the group had read that month. Most of the novel was about the characters' lives, which I enjoyed, but I also loved getting more book ideas. I especially loved that I'd read many of them. My tastes aren't that odd after all. The latest book was Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson. It was a very charming and very funny book. The premise is that these brothers have created a bed and breakfast purely for book lovers. This one also had book lists. I guess I am going to have to go back to keeping a book journal so I can keep track of what I am reading and want to read. I have suddenly seen a use for a cell phone with a data plan! I can make book lists while waiting for the girls at their various events! It seems more socially acceptable than reading while waiting, but a poor reason to justify the expense:) Happy reading!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I am trying to hold on to the last bit of childhood that I have left with my girls. It seems like they grow every night. I came upstairs the other night to see Lily's feet hanging off of the bed and thought for a minute that it was Caroline. How did my baby suddenly morph into a kid? She is getting tall and leggy. She lost her first two teeth. The first one she lost over the 4th of July when we were at the beach.

I have figured that the best way to hold on is to time travel. I am going to go back in time and trying to become as like June Cleaver as I possibly can (well June Cleaver with a microwave and DVR). What I mean is we need to slow down and enjoy the simple things. While Caroline was at camp, Lily and I started taking walks. We don't live in the most picturesque area. We live in your typical sprawling suburb. Lily has rediscovered Sesame Street (I love having my morning tea with Lily and Elmo :)) and has this new interest in walking around her neighborhood. She is very put out that we can't walk to the grocery store or library or pool. Beside not being green, we were not "being neighborly." I tried to explain that everything was too far away and finally settled on let's just walk around our block and see what we can see. This reminded her of her favorite song and we were off singing and exploring.

I forget how the smallest things are so thrilling. She was delighted that she could see the flowers along the side of the road, she said hi to all the dogs that were being walked, and she laughed with delight when we got to the main road and the cars whizzed by. We kept this new tradition up even at the beach. We stayed in a gated community in Pawely's Island outside of Myrtle Beach, SC. It was full of bike paths that Lily could easily navigate. Everyday she road her bike to the fountain and raced around it while it splashed her. Then she road to the pond and watched the crabs in the shallow end. We sat by the marsh and watched the herons. She greeted every person walking by and admired their dogs. On the last night we invited Rob. He was tired and not in the mood for meandering. He raced ahead on his bike and missed the things that she thought were the most important. Finally in disgust she declared "Dad doesn't get the humor of all of this. The fun part is seeing all of the humans and talking to them." I don't know what she meant by humor, maybe she mixed it in with human, but I got her point. Slow down and enjoy the moment. I can't ask for more than that.