I love reading to my children, especially when we read really good books. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that Captain Underpants is great reading to a 5 year old, and Angelina Ballerina is magical to 3 year old girls . . . but that’s not the kind of reading I’m talking about. I’m talking about children’s books with lyrical prose and poignant characters, books with words that flow like music and stories that take you places you never expected to go, books that are as much a joy for the reader as for the listener. We have discovered a handful of these gems lately, and I’ve decided that as I find them, I need to share them here. My new favorite author is Kate DiCamillo. We just finished reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and all I can say is Wow.
This story of a china rabbit touches on everything that is real in life – love, loss, pain, patience, moving on. It’s heavy stuff for a children’s book. Fletcher may not have “gotten” all of it but I know he enjoyed the story and I can not tell you how much I enjoyed reading it to him. This is the 3rd book we have read by Kate DiCamillo, and I am a total devotee. She is amazing. Most everyone has heard of Desperaux by now, thanks to the animated movie based on the book. We have not seen the movie, but I can tell you the book is amazing. Dark and passionate in a way you don’t expect from a child’s book, but then again, what is more dark and passionate than a child?
DiCamillo also writes picture books, though the fact that they are not novels should not make you think they are any less sophisticated. Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken is about wanderlust and adventure and the comforts of home. Beautiful.
We went back to the Bamboo Farm to pick more strawberries today. There were so many, and they were so ripe and sweet and delicious, it was hard to stop! We left there with 10 pounds of strawberries!!
I have already made a batch of strawberry jam, and I imagine I will be making another batch pretty soon. We also have plans for more strawberry shortcake, strawberry ice cream, and strawberry smoothies. Yummy!
Lola Gray took these photos . . . .
Fletcher took these . . .
Monday mornings are hard. I hate getting up and leaving. Even more so when Lola Gray cries and clings to me, as she has been doing of late. She will grab my arm and say she is never letting go. It breaks my heart. This morning I made it out the door only to have her press her sweet face to the mail slot, sobbing and saying “Mommy don’t go!” I know full well that she is fine 5 minutes after I leave, but her tears make the leaving so, so hard. Only a few more weeks until summer break. I can’t wait!
Sunday afternoon was the Ardsley Park Spring Fling. We stayed close to home most of the day, lounging in our jammies and watching puppet shows. Both Fletcher and Lola Gray painted backdrops for their puppet shows, and came up with long and elaborate story lines. Lola Gray’s show centered around a singing princess elephant. Fletcher’s featured a seal who beat up bad guys and saved the world from evil. Both did a great job – I particularly loved Lola Gray’s painted backdrop of musical notes and Fletcher’s addition of scary music and sound effects to heighten the suspense.
The Spring Fling was a blur, as these events always seem to be. Lots of good food, lots of friends, great music by the Tenderloin Trio (Lola Gray loves dancing to their music and watching them play) and of course the giant bouncy slide. Everyone had a great time, though the children, left a little too much to their own devices, drank their weight in Sweet Tea and ate fistfuls of brownies and cookies. The combination of sugar and caffeine was a bit much, and though they got in bed an hour and a half later than normal they still had a hard time getting to sleep – and woke much earlier than they should have!
Posted in family, home, play
Lola Gray spent the better part of the morning “performing” on the front porch.
Today was the Spring Fling at Lola Gray’s preschool. The kids had a great time jumping in the bouncy house and playing games with their friends, but the biggest hits by far were the face painting and the pony rides. (They both cried when I washed their faces before bed! And Fletcher cried when I was tucking him in because he had forgotten to kiss the pony on the neck and now he had missed his chance! Where does this drama come from?)
Lola Gray was a natural on the pony. She had the biggest grin on her face the whole time. We might have to consider riding lessons somewhere down the road . . .
Lots more photos posted here!
We took a spontaneous camping trip to Skidaway Island State Park on Thursday night. Just down the road, so it is easy to do. The campground was not the nicest we have visited, but we were able to set up camp right next to the playground! Fabulous. Raymond and I were able to sit at our camp by the fire and watch the kids playing. The kids were able to come and go as they pleased. Couldn’t have asked for a better situation. Well . . . maybe it would have been better without the bugs!
Yes, folks, you heard me right. Ringworm.
Fletcher has had this little red patch on his cheek for a while now. A long while. No one can really remember how long . . . I need to go back and look at photos and see if I can figure out when it first appeared . . . Anyway, I finally decided to take him to the doctor to have it checked out. I was pretty sure it was eczema. But no. Ringworm. Never would have thought it.
The children and I took a picnic lunch and headed to the Bamboo Farm & Coastal Garden for strawberry picking today! It was another beautiful day, breezy and cool in the shade but the sun was strong and warm. I love this weather. The berries were ripe and sweet, and I’m sure we ate more than made it into the bucket! I only had $5 with me, so we filled half a pail and vowed to return next week for more.
After lunch, we walked to the edge of the pond to visit the lone goose and a nice family of turtles. There were several baby turtles that we all loved. Then Fletcher said something about the catfish, and I thought “Catfish?” But sure enough I looked down and there were dozens of huge catfish that I hadn’t even noticed! (In my defense, I was focused on keeping the children from falling into the pond . . . )
We asked the woman who worked there if we could feed the goose and the turtles, and she said certainly. We had leftover cheese from lunch, but discovered they also love the tops of strawberries. And we also discovered that catfish are unbelievably aggressive! In no time the water was boiling with fish – catfish jumping out of the water, catfish knocking into turtles and flipping them on their backs, catfish attaching the goose to get the treats ways from him! It was hysterical. And a little scary . . . The photos do not begin to tell the story.
Tonight at dinner, Fletcher told me that when he and Lola Gray grow up they will live across the street from me (because they will be old enough to cross the street by themselves!) but that if I ever move they will move too, so we can always be together. I responded, as I knew I was supposed to, that he could live anywhere in the world he wanted to and it would be OK as long as we stay friends. But he insisted that he wants to be where ever I am. I know he won’t always feel that way. But I can’t tell you how happy it would make me if they did live across the street forever . . .