Tuesday, December 24, 2013

That she may always believe in magic

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Book of the Week 2: Up in the Tree

This week, Up in the Tree (Margaret Atwood, Author & Illustrator-- yes, she does kids books too!). Her first children's book and published in 1978, the illustrations on this are so arresting and vivid that even I couldn't stop looking at it. It's a slim volume-- it's really a poem, actually-- and we usually read it two or three times over in one seating before Sophie feels she's done.

It's a sweetly odd and whimsical poem, all about the joys of playing. Throw in a couple of badgers and an owl, and it's just the most delightful little book.

It's made all the more precious by the fact that Atwood did the illustrations herself as well as the letter-type. And everything's in blue and red because of cost issues-- since it was considered too risky to publish a children's book back then, Atwood published it herself and did it as economically as she could.

Available from:

Book Depository

National libraries:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book of the Week 1: Rosie Revere, Engineer

I thought it would be a fun project to highlight a book every week that we're reading with Sophie that she really enjoys. We've read so many wonderful stories and have fallen in love with so many of them that I thought this might be a good way to share them with you. These aren't always award-winners or Great Children's Books, but just ones that we love reading and that ring close to our hearts.

First up, Rosie Revere, Engineer (Andrea Beaty, Author; David Roberts, Illustrator)

What if Rosie the Riveter had a great, great grand niece? Well, her name would be Rosie Revere, and she would want to be an engineer when she grows up! We only borrowed this book this morning and Sophie has read it three times already! It has a great storyline about a girl who loves building things-- whether it's a cheese dispenser-propelled helicopter or helium pants

Through the course of the story, Rosie learns-- with some help from her great, great, grand-aunt-- that initial failure is just the necessary first step to eventual success, engineer or not.

Sophie and us got to talk about what being an engineer means, the different ideas that go into building something, and even a little bit of history when we told her about how Rosie the Riveter and other women like her worked in plants near Ann Arbor to build planes when the men were at war. I think this really resonated with her :)

Available at:

Book Depository

National Libraries

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A little year-end meditation

It's the first week of December and the year tumbles towards its end. I love this time of the year-- people just seem nicer, happier, more generous with each other and themselves. The fact that Christmas is round the corner helps :) The year-end always brings with it a deep sense of contemplation and I think about all the small and big things that have made up our year. The one big thing was the move to our new place, of course. We are loving our new home deeply and with great pride-- it may be small, but it's ours and we love being stewards of it. It doesn't matter how tired I am from work or how wretched I feel from the crazy weather we're getting right now, arriving home is just the salve I need to restore my aching soul.

Smaller things are important too-- I had resolved to be more forgiving of myself and others this year. And also more thankful for the little things in our lives. For the most part I think it's worked. Things can't be perfect especially when both of us are juggling full-time jobs, a rambunctious pre-kindergartener, and managing a house by ourselves. But as long as there is always love and laughter in our home, I don't care if the laundry waits a few more days, the dishes don't get done till the next morning, or if we put off cleaning the bathrooms for another week.

I love my job-- a lot, but I try not to bring it home. I give it my all when I'm at the office, but after 5.30, other things occupy me, like hanging out with Sophie and Jude-- reading to one, reading with the other. Most evenings, after Sophie goes to sleep, we sit in the living room with something nice on the stereo-- anything from Daughter on vinyl to Thelonious Monk on Michigan Radio-- and all is well. When Jude is busy, we don't do a lot of talking-- he works and I read-- but we're sitting together and there's a quiet communion nonetheless. And I feel grateful.

"To wake at dawn with a winged heart
and give thanks for another day of loving.”
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet