January 28, 2015

The Storybook Village





When we built our storybook village back in 2011, I had no idea it would grow to become one of our favorite winter traditions. Camille was 4 or 5 at the time and it was a fun way to create spaces those characters who dominated her imagination and lived in books that had to be read again and again. Each year we pull out the village and Camille adds new elements...new literary neighbors, snow men, trees, etc. This year's new additions included an extra large house for the BFG and a clock tower for Hugo Cabret. Not only is it a lovely way to decorate during December and January, it is also a nostalgic and colorful trip down the lane of her favorite childhood books. Not sure how long she will continue to add to the village over the coming years, but it is certainly something we will all treasure for a long time.

January 16, 2015

Ryan and Noah







This silly little song made me cry tonight: 

I'm very glad I got my puppy
Because yesterday it turned into a bulldozer.
And when I was riding it, it turned back into a puppy.
It kicked me away.
The very next day it turned into a grape and I ate it.
It wasn't very yummy . 
It exploded in my tummy and I had to get surgery.
It wasn't very nice. 
They forgot to give me rice.
So I asked a chicken for its egg, and it said yes.
When I was holding it in my hand it, went
Poof!
P-O-O-F, P-O-O-F, P-O-O-F 
People Order Our French fries.


Written by a couple of second grade boys, this looney little tune became their anthem. They sang it, chanted it, yelled it and taught it to everyone around them. And tonight, five years later, that little song popped up on Noah's phone and made me cry. 

Ryan, who has been Noah's best friend since we lived in Sicily, sent it tonight to Noah via text message along with a little note that said "Remember this?". Yep. We all remember it and what's even more amazing and tear-inducing for me is that their friendship is still going strong despite living on two different coasts, despite entering middle school and changing voices, and despite long gaps of time between visits. These two military kids have managed to maintain their connection and that just makes me choke up. It really does. 

Three years ago when we boarded the plane to leave Sicily, we weren't alone. We flew on a military flight surrounded by other military families moving back to the States and amazingly Ryan's family was also assigned to the same flight. This meant the boys were able to hang out together aka gorge themselves on movies and DS games for the entirety of overnight flight, but it also meant that they were able to extend their time together before we all said our good-byes at the pancake house and headed for our new stateside duty stations. We promised to stay in touch and talked about far fetched plans to get together, but to be honest , I just wasn't sure when or how our paths would cross again. 


And then the harsh reality of adjusting to Stateside life began. Both boys struggled to adjust to new schools. Both boys had to work hard to make new friends and figure out how to navigate a very different world far from the security and familiarity of a small overseas military base. There were phone calls and in November of that first year, Noah boarded a plane by himself and headed to California. It was a much needed boost for both of them. We all vowed to keep the boys in touch. And we did.

Last year Ryan flew to Arizona to spend time with us. The boys text and face time on a fairly regular basis. And tomorrow Noah will board another plane headed to California for a long weekend with Ryan's family. Somehow despite all of the miles between them, these two military kids have maintained a bond that I hope will continue for a very long time. 

Scottsdale, Arizona 2013

January 10, 2015

Snow Day




 Earlier this week we had the first snow of this winter season. So funny to watch Hugo experiencing this winter phenomen for the first time. Similar to Camille's initial reaction to sand at the beach, he was, at first, pretty cautions,  but within short order he was romping, bouncing, and frolicking with glee.  School was canceled, snow ball fights ensued, and sledding occurred. It was a good first snow.

December 25, 2014

November 22, 2014

Guys Read: A Wild and Crazy Night!

Swagger Muffins with Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett
What a night! Jon Scieszka, Tom Angleberger, Cece Bell, Mac Barnett, Jory John , and even a surprise appearance by Jon Klassen.  Lots of laughter, lots of book talk, and lots of orange. Although not all of the Swagger Muffins (the official chapter name for our Guys Read Group) were present, those that were made quite an impression with their t-shirts and their excitement. Now that all of the boys are in middle school I was wondering if the group might fizzle out. Nope. Proud to say the Swagger Muffins are going strong!


Camille was especially excited about having the chance to meet Cece Bell. We did a collaborative sewing project inspired by El Deafo and were happy to have it finished just in time for presenting to Cece.

Tom Angleberger and Jon Scieska with adoring fans

Origami Yoda being drawn on a Swagger Muffin shirt
Jon Klassen making his mark
Tom Angleber, Cece Bell, Jon Klassen, Mac Barnett, a proud Swagger Muffin, and Jory John

It doesn't matter how many author events I attend, I am always blown away by the power of humor, creativity, and good people. If you ever have the chance to hear/see any of these fabulous authors. Do not hesitate. Take your kids, take your neighbors, or just go by yourself. I promise, it will do you good.

November 16, 2014

November List



For Addictive Podcasting: Serial
For Binge Watching: Transparent (and this interview with Jill Soloway)
For Kinectic Awe: Strandbeest and Theo Jansen
For National Adoption Month: Flip The Script
For Thanksgiving: my favorite stuffing recipe
For Creating: hand-made gift ideas
For New Orleans Scenes and A Catchy Tune: Littlest Birds
For Playing: Qwirkle
For A Taste of Home: speed traps and Turducken
For Watching: I Am Eleven 
For Traveling: Through a Lens Sharply