I’ve said for years how much we as a family enjoying reading aloud at night. The boys have been read to for years and years. We introduced them to chapter books very early on and it’s the highlight to their day. A week or two ago we finished Treasure Island, the original version, and although it took quite a few stops and starts to explain some big nautical vocabulary words, the boys loved it.

We are big Gary Paulsen fans in this house and loved Hatchet. Now we are onto Brian’s Winter. It’s an alternate ending to Hatchet and picks up the story as if Brian was never rescued. Super great read, on the edge of your seat events. It’s about a boy’s survival after a crash in the wilderness.

Greta had to get in on the whole chapter book fun. She wasn’t too content listening to Treasure Island, but she has been a fan in the past of My Father’s Dragon(don’t let the 1949 publishing date deter you, great story). I decided to see how long her attention span would be, so we started off with Samantha from the American Girl series. I figured it was education and still historical fiction. She loved it. So next we checked out Ramona the Pest from the library. We are about halfway through and she just loves it. I catch her grinning from ear to ear in some parts. Her brothers often refer to Greta as Ramona so now she gets to find out the reasons why. If I can pass my love of reading down to all three of my kids I will be one of the happiest mamas around.

My girlfriends and I had another book swap recently so my nightstand is chalk full of new books. Cannot. Wait. I am currently reading my last book from the first swap we did. Can you believe in all my years that I never read To Kill a Mockingbird? Loving it. In fact, I found our future son’s name in the book. No, no impending baby news. In fact, there will be no future son, but IF we ever had a son in another lifetime, I have his name picked out thanks to this book. Just wish I had some time to dedicate to reading it. Our lives have been a blur in February. Literally the entire month passed me by. March will be full too I’m afraid. In fact I’m doubting that there will ever be a month where it’s just chill and no stress.

As I type this I am watching the clock for my next client to arrive. So I better sign off now. Have a good evening!


french parenting

I’ve been reading all the buzz about the new book Bringing Up Bebe, about an American woman raising her children in France, and the different parenting methods there compared to the US.

There’s two very good articles that I read on the subject that definitely were interesting. I’m not one to jump on the latest bandwagon or change a method of my parenting because of a recent book I read, but I most definitely like to be informed. Ignorance is something I hate, so when I encounter something I’m not familiar with, I must become familiar with it. This is the reason I spent most of my lunch breaks last week listening to podcasts explaining what happened in Europe to the euro and the reasons for Greece’s bankruptcy. Now I know.

This WSJ article was the first one I read, and I thought it was pretty interesting. Now do I believe everything in it, no. Do I believe there are some French women who are completely devoted to their children and play with their children every single day? Of course. But are there some good, valid, common sense strategies in it? Definitely.

This second article from Huffington Post I thought was really interesting as well. It is another American woman’s take on raising her children in France and it’s not quite as rosy as the first. It brings up some good points about the lack of breastfeeding mothers in France, and the reasons maybe French mothers are not as stressed as their American counterparts. Hello free preschool? Hello monthly payments from government for each child you have? Yeah, that right there would save any mother a whole lot of stress.

Anyway, I thought I would share the articles with you. In the end I think mothers, regardless of the country they reside in, follow their instincts. Usually those instincts are right. But I do wish maybe we mamas weren’t so hard on ourselves in America. I’m constantly thinking about how my actions affect my kids, and the many times I’m a “bad” mom(i.e. lost my temper, raised my voice, made the wrong decision, kept my kid up too late and then had to wake them before school so they were weepy and sad the entire day, must’ve done or eaten or not eaten or not done something when I was pregnant that caused my kid to need glasses, see what I mean?) But if I had to choose, I think striving to be the best mama even if I never think I can ever attain it is something I would choose each and every time versus feeling confident and sure of myself as a mother. I would love to meet a mom one day that thinks they know what they are doing. And if I ever meet her I’d look her in the eyes and I’d call her a liar…

we have a reader….

I put teaching my kids to read in the same category as potty training. It’s something that must be done, but I would like to just skip it and go straight to wearing underwear with no accidents and reading Ramona Quimby fluently. But it takes a lot of work to get to both places. Teaching my last *sniff* child to read is bittersweet. But it’s oh so rewarding. She’s officially a reader….if you’d like to enjoy a few minutes of her reading Green Eggs & Ham, be my guest. Just ignore the fact that she likes to move a whole lot while reading. This girl cracks me up.


last week’s instagrams

Before our trip here’s my Instagrams for the week

1.curly hair longer for 3 months 3.winter break kids party 4.face painting 5.gunnar’s 10 yr checkup 6.dinner 7.just finished 8.mammoth reading material 9.returned home to find apple’s replacement nano in the mail for our 1st generation recalled one 10.a very bare fridge 11.reuniting with this boy after 5 days.

books books books

We’ve been reading a lot over here as of late. On our nightstands have been…

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back– the boys have loved these books and have reread them both twice. It has also inspired a whole lot of origami making in this house.

I have been reading a lot, maybe because of the extra time we had in Ojai to relax, I was able to get through a few books. I finished The Giver, which my cousin had recommended for Gunnar, but I decided to read it first because of her raving reviews. Gunnar has read other Lois Lowry books before, like Number the Stars, but neither of us had heard of this one. It was great! I finished it in 2 days and can’t wait for Gunnar to read it next.

Gunnar is currently reading Six Days, but not sure how into he is since he paused reading that to read the Yoda books twice. We’ll see as he gets into it a little more.

I also finished some books from the book swap a few months ago. I read Olive Kitteridge, which was good, but kinda sad and depressing. I’m now reading another book swap book that seems light hearted at the moment, but I’m only 40 pages in, so we’ll see. It’s The Friday Night Knitting Club.

Aaron is reading several books at the same time. Never a good sign to me, and something I can’t comprehend doing. He’s reading The Irregulars, a non fiction about Roald Dahl’s life before Willy Wonka and the BFG. When he was a British spy. And he’s also reading my gift to him last month, Steve Jobs biography.

Hoping everyone is enjoying some books of their own at the moment. I love reading. I don’t know why I spent so many years without a book on my nightstand. Oh yeah, now I remember why. Their names are Gunnar, Sawyer and Greta. 🙂 But alas, we can all read together now which is oh so wonderful to me.

more books

With the evenings getting cooler finally, we are spending less time outside during and after dinner. Which gives us more time to read. I can’t leave the library now without a stack of books between the 3 kids and myself.

I finished Room in a few days, and seriously, unlike anything I have ever read. I highly recommend. I told my pilates instructor about it and she too read it in 2 days and said the same thing. I didn’t read the back, I didn’t read reviews, and I’m so glad because I wanted to discover it as I read. My instructor said she checked it out of the library and had no wait time, so go. Check it out. I borrowed it from our book swap awhile ago.

Gunnar is reading the Maze Runner trilogy. He’s on the second book and we are both waiting for the third and final book to be released this month. We’ll see who gets to read it first, it’ll all depend on where we are on our other novels.

Sawyer is really enjoying this Miss Child series, apparently there are a ton, he’s on his second at the moment. Reading is one of his favorite things to do, but unfortunately homework is no joke this year. Some nights he has more than Gunnar. But he has been such a trooper about it. He even hasn’t complained that I’m having him do the extra credit each night. Well, he’s complained a little. But only, “mama, I know you’re going to make me do the extra credit”. It was kind of like he surrendered before the fight started. He has extra math too because, well, he needs it. When you are good at something what happens is you get more work I guess. So to keep him un-bored he’s gotta be challenged. I’m just happy for him that today is Friday and that means no homework (well, except for his extra credit 🙂 )

Greta discovered this fairy series at the library, and she’s insistent that if the boys get read to aloud, then she should pick her own chapter book and be read to as well. Sadly, they are torturous to read. Aaron and I cannot stand them, but she has been insistent. I skirted around this recently by picking a book that I think all three of them would enjoy listening to. But I made sure not to tell the kids what it was about until we started it. I knew if the boys found out it was about a girl turning into a mermaid when she hit water, it would be a no go. But it’s really suspenseful and well written so after chapter 1 they didn’t want me to stop. So finally all THREE of them are listening to the same book at night time and the fairy series that I really don’t like so much is being held off a little longer.

Any suggestions for books? For me? My kids? I am thinking another book swap will have to be arranged for December. By then we may be all out.

book post

My nightstand has a stack of books so high it makes me smile at the moment. All the kids and myself have been in a reading frenzy the last few weeks and we love it. Back to school kind of does that to us, along with the fact that our new routine is kids in bed at 7pm, lights out at 7:30pm. It gives them a full half hour of quiet reading time.

Sawyer has been reading the A-Z Mystery books, one a day. So I check out 7-10 at the library and that only lasts us about a week. He also discovered the Calendar Mystery books. They are both a little young for his reading skill if you ask me, but he just loves to complete a whole book in an afternoon or evening. So I don’t complain. Reading is reading.

Gunnar finished the Hunger Games trilogy, in about a week. I have to say it was a bit odd to have my kid read books that I love. But it was pretty fun to discuss and now we talk about the movie and who they casted and our thoughts on it. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for a normal 4th grader, but Gunnar is such a sophisticated reader that I allowed it. Well, I allowed it after he snuck The Hunger Games to school and started it before asking me. I was going to let him read it when he turns 10 this winter, but it didn’t happen.

Greta is reading better and better these days. In fact at dinner this evening I played tic tac toe with her and all over her menu she had to write “mom lost” “greta wins”. All by herself she is sounding things out and spelling them.

I finished a few weeks ago Cutting for Stone. Excellent book, very powerful. If you are looking for a deeper book, and one that is meaty and has a story that takes place over years, I recommend it. It takes place in Ethiopia and is just a beautiful story that has everything from sadness, to laughter to pain. So be prepared.

A client of mine loaned me NurtureShock, which I cannot put down at the moment (thanks Rachel!). Seriously, so fascinating. If you are a fan of Malcolm Gladwell, or read Outliers, or enjoy books like that which take a methodology or idea that is prevalent and then picks it apart and dissects it and then blows your mind with the reality of it, this is your book. And I love that it touches on all different subjects, but always having to do with children. So if you’re a parent, read this book. I was especially fascinated with the chapter on obesity and sleep and IQs. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a stickler when it comes to my kids bedtimes. Even on the weekends, even during summer. And this gave me a little bit of justification as to why I shouldn’t let that slide. Yay for early bedtimes.

If you have any recommendations please leave me a comment with what they are. I’ll let you know that my nightstand at the moment consists of Room, To Kill a Mockingbird, and 2 others that I just cannot remember but are also from our book swap. I cannot wait to devour them!

Happy reading.