Archive | Reading

The Trumpet of the Swan

This one got past me as a kid.  I am so glad I discovered it with my boys.

Favorite Book Friday 2

They all read Charlotte’s Web at school and liked it, but didn’t rave about it.  All of us fell truly in love with E.B. White’s, The Trumpet of the Swan.

Trumpet of the Swan We read it out loud at bedtime.

It is the story of a swan named Louis.  He is not perfect but he has a perfectly extraordinary life.

Love, purposefulness, determination, using your gifts– all portrayed in interesting situations.  Louis finds the good in all he encounters.

I was afraid there was going to be some super sad, Mommy can’t read because she’s crying part, but it never came.  The story left all of us with a great feeling.  Kind of like, wow, if Louis can do it, so can I.

One of our favorites.  I look forward to finding another book to read out loud that brings our family that kind of goodness.

Enjoy your weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!




A little something to read to my boys as they are falling asleep…

Tonight I want you to know it is possible to be your own best friend.  In fact, I think everyone should be their own super best friend.

super best friend

And how do you treat your best friend?

You are kind.  You are honest.  You let them go first.  You make sure they get what they need.

Do the same things for yourself.

Be your own super best friend.

When you talk to yourself—say something nice.

Make sure you get what you need:  Good sleep, healthy food, deep breaths.

And if you find a time when all your human friends let you down—it does happen—you already know your super best friend lives in your own body and in your own head and in your own soul.

Your super best friend is always ready to play.

You and your super best friend can count the stars, create a song, or bask in the sunlight.

There is super joy in being your own super best friend.

Now.  Deep breath.

Close your eyes.

Be still and quiet and you will go to sleep.


I never would have thought…

Big Nate Red cover

Big Nate.  I love you.

You have provided our family with information we never thought we would need.

Since my boys have discovered you we have discussed Kenny G, Barry Manilow, two-pees (toupees), study hall, casual laughs, baseball and the Three Stooges.

This morning Walt quizzed his dad from the Big Nate Boredom Buster book. Who was MVP of Super Bowl ex-v? (He guessed Walter Peyton, not correct.)
When was ZZ Top inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Missed it by 2 years. The only question he got right was what is 12×7. I just don’t know when we would have ever gotten around to discussing ZZ Top without you Big Nate. Big Nate inside


Yes, Nate, I know you are a little irreverent, and detention is a word I hoped we would not have to deal with, but I love how much you value your friends,  how you tolerate your father, and how you find a lot to laugh about in middle school.  Oh, and your cartoons!

Last week Mack asked if I knew ree-oh speedwagon.  Huh? Oh!  REO Speedwagon!  Sure.  Let’s listen to “Keep on Lovin You”.   Then we listened to “Take it on the Run.”   I have not thought of those songs in a good ten years.  Thankfully, now my children know REO Speedwagon and the meaning of an 80’s power ballad.

I am so grateful.



Big Nate yellow cover

All these questions and flashbacks are good for a Mommy’s brain.  It feels good to know all the words to, “I Write the Songs that Make the Whole World Sing.”  Maybe my brain is still firing on some cylinders.

I pull out all my Mommy talent to follow the middle school banter read to me from Big Nate.

In cartoon frames.

While driving to soccer practice.

A good exercise in focus.

Keep those Big Nate books coming Lincoln Peirce.  You are good for our whole family.  And we love it!



Becoming a “secure human”


In my mind reading blogs is like climbing a mountain or burrowing a hole. Some days I find myself dug down in a time waster. Other times I click on a “by the way, you might like this” and feel like I can see for miles, or at least think a little clearer because someone put into words what I think.

Happily I climbed up to read a post by Mike Posner, a songwriter who wrote Boyfriend, recorded by Justin Bieber and Sugar, by Maroon 5, both of which I have used in my Zumba class.

Mike talks about being famous, then not famous and what he learned. Wise words. I loved it. How he now uses “sturdy” adjectives to describe his life like: artist, human, writer, musician, poet and learner. Love that, learner instead of young, rich and famous.

It’s how I would like my boys to think of their life. To find the sturdy adjectives that describe their lives, and become “secure humans.”

And I may as well find some sturdy adjectives to describe myself too.


Using my device for good. Every night.

Oh, bedtime.                      book cover (1)

Some nights it is such a struggle.  Some nights I have to raise my voice and pull out my mean mommy routine to get teeth brushed and pj’s on and little ones into their beds.  The stalling is just so exhausting.

Especially after a long mommy day.

A tired mommy is a frustrated mommy.  Not the way I want to end the day with my children.

I want the day to end on a comforting thought, with values passed on and reminders that I love them no matter what.  Thoughts and ideas that don’t make it in to the atmosphere of cleaning up the breakfast dishes, putting away clean clothes and studying for our timed times test.

That’s why I wrote, A Life of Great and Wonderful.

It’s a reminder for me.

If I have the words in front of me I have the tools to end the day in a gracious, comforting way that is soothing to my children and to me.

These are the messages I want pickling their sweet, wild minds when they are without me:  in their camp bunk, or their barracks, or their dorm room.

I want to remind these sweet precious souls how much they mean to me, to our family, to our community and to the world.

If you would like your own digital copy to read to your children, click here.

Turn out the lights, dim down the screen on your phone or tablet, and soothe.

Sleep well.  Everyone.  Sleep well.


For reading aloud after lights out. (From my phone)

You are How You Act

Tonight I want you to know –you are how you act.

If you act scared.  You will be scared.

If you act sad, you will be sad.

If you act mean, people will think you are mean.

And thankfully, the opposite is true, so true.

To be happy, act happy.

To be courageous, act courageous.

To be friendly, act friendly.

Outwards signs reflect our inward thoughts.

What you think about inside will show up on the outside.

You are how you act.

Act like the cold doesn’t bother you.  Act like that last mile is easy.  Act like you know those 7’s multiplication facts…  and you will!  Especially if you act like you’ve been practicing!

The thoughts you think on the inside show up on the outside.

Outward signs reflect our inward thoughts.

Choose your thoughts well.

And remember you are how you act.

Deep breath.

Close your eyes.

Be still and quiet and you will go to sleep.


Books and Curiosity and Love


I wasn’t expecting to be inspired reading the latest Costco magazine. Entertained, yes, but mostly grateful to have something new to read just before turning out the lights. I feel so excited to go to bed knowing there is new reading material on my nightstand. Guess that’s an old age thing, something so simple, but I’ll take it and count it as one of the highlights of my day.

The reading doesn’t go on for long, but that really is the point. After all it is time to get some sleep and start a glorious day again early in the morning.   Mornings are so hopeful.

But back to the Costco magazine. J. Rentilly has a short, barely a page, article about the new book by James McCullough called, The Wright Brothers.

I’ve never read a McCullough book and can’t say I’ve ever seen him on his PBS show, American Experience. But so much about the man and his words lingered with me for a few days. I had to go find the article and read it again.

Along with all kinds of research and interviews and flat out work that goes into a big ole book like this, McCullough says he did what he calls, “considerable thinking.”

He loves and collaborates with his wife of 61 years, Rosalee. McCullough says she is a great dancer.

What stayed with me the most, though, is that he says the Wright Brothers believed they had all they needed to be successful, “Books and curiosity and love­­–and then they simply did what they did.”

And what they did changed the world.

Books and curiosity and love. Gosh, don’t we all have that?

Now we just need to do what we do.

Maybe we can change the world.


The benefits of of blogs

Sitting down to read my favorite blogs is heaven.  It’s especially great when the house is quiet and there are no distractions.  But I love reading them among the chaos that is my household after 3pm.  Sometimes that is my only chance.

This week I’ve been amazed.

I love that Holly Mathis of Holly Mathis Interiors threw her own 40th birthday party, very soon after deciding she was getting divorced.  So brave, so fun, so glad I get to be in her company even if it is just by reading her blog.

And Grace Bonney over at Design Sponge.  Wow.  She attended the White House reveal of the new 2015 Obama State china service.  I can’t even imagine.  A house tour.  A kitchen tour.  A garden tour.  And a look at all the dishes!  Oh the dishes.  Such a weakness.  Well, Grace got to do all of that and meet the First Lady.  How cool.  And how cool that she shared her thoughts and her pictures!

Nobody’s Cuter Than You.  My favorite book title this year.  I love that phase.  I love to say it, I love to hear it.  It’s the name of Melanie Shankle’s new book.  And she sure is cute.  She has the Big Mama Blog and she is hysterical.   The post about her key ring and wanting to be like Schneider had me in tears.  Laughter tears.  Can’t wait to get my hands on the new book and laugh some more.

Such an easy escape.  And so worth the time.

Happy blog reading!



Favorite Book Friday


One of our favorite books of the summer.  My oldest just liked the cover and pulled it off the shelf at the library.

bb inside 2

Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind, by Gary Ross is a rhyming adventure that is not for toddlers.

It took us two nights to read it, but if you had a lazy afternoon, a blanket, and some shade you could do it in one sitting.

We didn’t want to put it down.  So fun.

bb inside4

The pictures, by Matthew Myers are detailed and colorful.

bb inside3

The story and illustrations would have had me hooked, but the message is awesome too.

bbclose cover

Check it out and let me know what you think.  Any other books similar to this one?  We would love to read those as well.

Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind

Happy reading and happy Friday!


Happy Friday

harry with fbf graffic

As my oldest said this morning, it’s been a long week.  Only one more week until the last day of school and yet it feels so far away.

We have some fresh books from the library and look forward to reading before bed tonight.  Harry and Horsie is one we’ve read over and over.  Then we check it out again and read it over and over.

harry and horsie 2

The illustrations are retro cool.

harry and horsie 3

And it’s so fun to get to say, “Bloop,” throughout the book.  What a descriptive word, bloop.

harry and horsie 4


Sleep buddies, bubbles and the moon make this book one of our bedtime favorites.  Not too short, not too long.

harry and horsie 5

Interestingly, it is written by a young woman who was a nanny for David Letterman, Harry is his son.

harry an horsie cover

Happy reading and enjoy the weekend!


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