Thursday, January 26, 2017

Library Love - the (mostly) Audiobooks edition

Linking up with Alicia for another Library Love! Thanks to a friend's suggestion on the last library love post, we found a really great book about a digger that could appeal to the whole family: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Imagine my surprise when I found an audiobook version of it that was set to its own musical score (performed by the London Philharmonic no less)!

We listened to it once together, with me turning the pages - and then the next day, I found the wee girl in her room with the book and CD listening and "reading" the book herself! I sat down with her and didn't make any moves to turn the pages... she followed along herself and when it was all done, she turned to me and said, "That was fun! I'm going to do it again."

Pretty much my face afterwards.
My next thought (after gathering my jaw up off the floor) was to figure out how to capitalize on this. So what follows is all that I found at our library. We haven't actually listened to these yet, but I love (the idea of) them because they're read by famous actors and they come with original music to accompany the story. What I need now is the books to go along with them... hmmm...

Heather Forest - Sing Me a Story
I picked this one up because I thought singing songs about well-known stories might be a good way to introduce the stories themselves to the wee girl. We'll see!

Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales Vol 2
This one has King Midas and the Golden Touch read by Michael Caine, with music performed by Yo-Yo Ma; and Jack and the Beanstalk read by Michael Palin.

Rabbit Ears Treasury of World Tales, Vol 2
This one has The White Cat read by Emma Thompson, and The Fool and the Flying Ship read by Robin Williams (I'm really looking forward to listening to this one!)

Little Bear and Little Bear's Friend by Else H Minarik
We read A Kiss for Little Bear last time, and because we loved it so much I wanted to find more Little Bear - and specifically the first one in the series. Turns out I couldn't find the first one last time because it was hiding in the audiobooks section! I'm curious to see how the wee girl likes these...

And now for the ones that are currently on the "Can't Stop Won't Stop Reading These" list:

King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently
This one is too cute. Three boys build a fort, defend it from dragons, and generally have a good time... until the "giants" come for them. The little dude loves this one and will actually cover his eyes when it gets to the "scary" part. (Bless.)

Oh look! More audio... ;)
Count these as my "sneaky geography lesson" books.
And there's more... but I think I'll stop here as these are our most worthy titles to share. I think the rest might be considered "mere twaddle," especially since one of them actually contains the line "And landed kersplat in a big pile of poo." (Poor Charlotte Mason is turning over in her grave now, I can just see it... ;) )

What have you been reading lately? And/or do you have any audiobooks that you can recommend?
Pay a visit to Alicia too for more suggestions!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Things that broke while my hubs was gone - a 7QT

It is a truth universally acknowledged that as soon as your husband goes on a business trip, things will break. Particularly the things that he would have taken care of if he were there, though really, anything is up for grabs (and could possibly include that last thread tethering you to reality... OK, maybe I'm exaggerating on that one. But MAN it felt like a loooong week.) I am so glad he is home, safe and sound... if only to deal with all the things that fell apart this last week:

- 1 -

This Craptabulous Thing
It's in the sink because if it doesn't roll, then maybe it might float? (Keep this idea in mind...) The little dude picked this up from the dentist for being "such a good sport." HA! We all know he screamed at the top of his lungs, and then when the dentist was done, promptly sat up and whimpered "Go home now... go home..." Poor lil guy. But anyway, this thing broke and even though it only has 4 parts I can't figure out how to put it back together and keep the wheels free moving. Where's that guy with the engineering degree again? Oh yeah. On a business trip.

- 2 -
The roof
Yeah, somewhere up in the roof water is getting through and seeping into the wee girl's room. Now to be fair, this was broke *before* the hubs left. But of course the rain would have to come while he's gone, right? (She says melodramatically)

- 3 -

A few children's books
And yeah... I didn't remember/catch the leak until it caused a fair amount of water damage to the books below. Damage to books just makes me cry...

- 4 -
A coffee mug
...As does damage to anything that can hold my source of caffeine for the day. Fortunately the mug that broke wasn't my favorite "Offer It Up" mug - although saying that, if it had been that mug wouldn't that have been a little ironic?

- 5 -

The Nook tablet
OY. I have let my daughter read books on the Nook during the little dude's naptime for well over a year now - and when Daddy is on his trips, then she gets to use it twice in one day so I can also put the lil dude down for bedtime. But on Tuesday she got curious and decided to do an experiment: which things will float in a sink full of water, and which things will sink? Well, surprise, the Nook... floats! When it's in its chunky foam cover, that is. But floating still did not prevent the water from seeping into all the holes and buttons and well, everything.

YouTube to the rescue! I figured out how to use a cookie spatula to pry open the case and pull the battery out; then all the pieces sat in a tray of rice in the oven for the rest of the week. And glory be! When I put it all back together and powered it on it worked. The screen looks like it has some water spots, but it seems to be working just fine... I'm actually writing this post on the Nook right now - all praise to God for YouTube and not letting it get damaged beyond repair. (And I guess the silver lining of this was that I had been having a bit of mommy guilt about the amount of screen time the wee girl was getting - and well, breaking the screen is probably the easiest way to make her give it up cold turkey.  Now shhh... don't tell her that it's working again, OK?)

- 6 -
My ego
Many others have pointed this out before, but motherhood really can act like a mirror, showing you all the flaws in your heart that you would rather pretend aren't there. And for me, not having my guy there to help out on the rough nights, or run interference during dinner prep, caused my fuse to burn short pretty quick. There was much apologizing and forgiveness seeking by all parties this week. God's grace abounds in such circumstances though, and when a little voice says, "Mommy boo-ful" even though I just lost my temper and apologized a moment earlier... well, all I can say is, Thanks be to God.

- 7 -
The small stuff
Crayons, pencils, apps on my phone, eggs, I broke a nail, etc... Oh. And even though it didn't break, the wall now has multiple indentations in it from where the little dude took to it with a can opener. Eh. Whatcha gonna do? It's all inconsequential. And as they say, "Don't sweat the petty things. And don't pet the sweaty things."
The end.

How was your week? Hope everything at your place stayed in one piece!
Catch up with other 7 Quick Takers over at Kelly's

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Flyin' solo - My Sunday Best - 01

There's nothing like a good link up, amirite? This is one that I've watched from afar but hesitated to participate in because even though I understand its purpose (to encourage each other and build community around "getting thyself to Mass") - there were so many other reasons for me to not participate. Number 1 mainly being I have little fashion sense and number 2 being I have at most 3 outfits that I cycle through. Oh, and the whole awkward selfie thing.

But then I read this post from Alicia, and after reading it, I turned to my husband and said, "If I ever were to participate in a My Sunday Best linkup, this would be the only reason why." In it she says that she "participate[s] in My Sunday Best so other moms online can feel less badly about how their kids are behaving at Mass.  So they can see that other people only have a handful of Mass clothes that work– and it’s okay." The important part is that we're there and "Just like the invisible benefit of eating broccoli, going to Mass helps us in ways we can’t immediately see.  It gives me the grace to be a better mom and wife.  It gives the kids graces too.  Even if none of us completely heard the whole homily."

So count me in as part of the bloggers who won't be sharing fashion tips, but (may) regale you with tales of their children's antics!

Relaxing after mass - me in my outfit and the wee girl in her pj's - cause that's how we roll
Black cardigan - older than dirt - got it at Target
Red top - Do you like it? I love it. I got it at Ross

Jeans - Silver jeans co.
St Theresa of Calcutta medal - our wonderful Deacon John

This Sunday my husband was on a business trip, so I brought my littles all by my little self. But not before anxiously texting a friend: "I'm flying solo today. Can we sit next to you?"

Alas. She didn't get the message in time.

So we sat in the back next to some other friends of ours - even though they were sitting in the chairs in the back. Our family has a rule that we do not sit in these seats (anymore). These are the overflow seats and they're not bolted down - so hopefully it should be clear why I avoid them with my 4 year old and my 2 year old - even when Dad is there to help wrangle.  But I figured having 2 extra people around to keep the kids from getting out of line would make up for the moveableness of the chairs.

Only barely.

Things started out well - even though both children immediately pushed the chairs around so they could sit on the floor in-between chairs while nibbling on their Cheerios. The wee girl was remarkably self-contained and grabbed her coloring pages and crayons and kept to herself for more than half the Mass, leaving me to keep the little dude in line. But just like every week, things started falling apart after the homily: little fights for each other's cheerios, toys or water, trying to wander off, not staying in line when walking up for the Eucharist, then not returning to our seats afterwards (instead deciding to run to the doors and LICK the windows on them. Blergh!) Then when we finally got back to our seats, the little dude told his "big isser" that they should play "Hide Seek" and he started to count LOUDLY to ten... over and over again and he just wouldn't stop. Our saving grace was that a sweet baby behind us was also getting rowdy - and being a baby - was far more cute about it.

But then it was (finally) done and the children (and their mother) were finally free! (It does make me wonder if that's why we really say "Thanks be to God" at the end... ok, just kidding!)

But here we are done! (Thanks be.) Do feel free to click on over to Rosie for more.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Year, New Library Love

Happy new year to you all! We are just beginning to take down all our Christmas decorations here, and similarily, our book selections are less seasonal too.  Life and library runs are returning to "normal" (i.e. the kids are trying to grab all their familiar books while Mom is trying to force encourage the reading of new books). I'd like to think though that there were more winners than losers in this bunch - winners, of course, meaning "those books that were not thrown aside immediately by the kids after the first read."

First up: A Kiss for Little Bear and Penguin Problems
How cute are these books?! I used to have a Little Bear treasury growing up, and I remember loving them. This story wasn't included in the treasury though, but once I started reading it to the kids it was like being reunited with an old friend. I love that. Plus the skunks in Little Bear were darling and even made the wee girl giggle with their kissing antics. Definite recommend.

Penguin Problems also makes the wee girl laugh but I'm torn. I love reading it - I get to use all my funny voices - but it's about a penguin who does nothing but complain all the time, and that just makes me slightly hesitant to recommend it to others. But maybe I shouldn't be so worried? (The part about how all the penguins look the same is just too funny.) Totally preview this one in the library first.

Next: Dig! and Blankie
These are the little dude's current favorites. He loves all things "digger" but I don't like that most books that contain "diggers" are just pictures with one word next to them. (Maybe I've been looking in the wrong place for these kind of books?) There's actually a story that goes along with this book, so even though the text is a tad repetitive, this was still a great book to add to our pile.

On Blankie: Leslie Patricelli's art is what makes all her books so fun. This one is no exception. Little dude's favorite part seems to be when I say "Super Blankie!" *shrug*

Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots and (a repeat) Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies
Two things: first, I succeeded in getting out of the library without bringing *all* of the Cowgirl Kate books home with us! (Yay!) Second, I just found out that "Every Cowgirl" is actually a series of its own, so this may be the new "thing". We'll see...

The story for why we got these books is the real reason why I'm happy to share them - we were listening to Grammy's favorite radio station, Classical KDFC (go ahead and give them a listen!) when Aaron Copland's Rodeo: Hoedown came on. When the song was done the little girl really wanted to listen to it again... and again... and again... (it's been on non-stop repeat now for a few days). But when I told her the name of the song was called "Hoedown" she didn't know what that was. Library books to the rescue!! At first I wasn't sure that the first book was going to cut it, but it actually turned out to be a great story about how to make a new friend. It's really endearing. A definite recommend. And you can read my (brief) thoughts about Cowgirl Kate here.

And now commences the books that Mom sneaked into the pile...
It was the illustrations that grabbed me for this one, and when I got home I realized why: the illustrator is the same one who did Migrant (a book that we read over the summer for the Read the World bookclub). I loved that book. This one is also lovely and perfect for bedtime reading. But now to *my* favorite...

At first I thought that this book was in another language... and it is! Just not one that anyone will recognize because the author made it up. 
It's so creative! I love a story where I have to pay attention to the pictures as much as the kids do so I can understand the story better. It's like getting to be a kid again. So I'll need to read it through a few more times before bringing this one to the kids. However, I won't need any practice on how to read this page:

And finally, for myself:
Already I'm making changes to my 2017 Reading Challenge: this one is replacing the one listed for "Book chosen for its cover". The gold embossing caught my eye and for whatever reason the dog drew me in. Then I read this review on Goodreads and I was sold. I hope it lives up to the hype.

Alicia at Sweeping Up Joy has some more new year's recommendations for you too! Do *you* have any for me? Do share! and thanks, in advance.