Monday, December 31, 2012

Brilliant Quote to End 2012

"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."

-Albert Einstein

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter Is Here, Resolutions, and Thoughts

I can't believe winter is here and the new year is just a few days away. Where has this year gone? I can't believe that my son is three! How does this happen? One minute he is a tiny baby, the next, he is a thirty seven pound boy full of energy. He has his own ideas, likes, dislikes, and agenda.

I feel like I am missing so much because I have to work. I hate putting my son in school all day, but at this point and time we really have no choice. He has just transitioned into the three year old classroom, and I have noticed he is picking up some really bad habits (whining). This is frustrating, but we just have to teach him the right way to behave.

My son is starting to play a lot more by himself, I have mixed feelings about this. It's great because I get more done, but I miss that time with him. Maybe I am missing his dependence on me? Which is selfish, because I want my son to be independent.

There are some positive things. I have really noticed in the past few weeks, his language development has progressed in leaps and bounds. He is speaking full and complete sentences that strangers and other family members can understand. When people find out he just turned three, their eyes go wide, as they can't believe that he is only three. I feel embarrassed about this, though I know I shouldn't. He has always amazed  people with his language abilities. I give all the credit to reading aloud to him and talking to him just as if he were an adult.

Since the new year is upon us, I wanted to make a few resolutions. (I never make resolutions... I never keep them.) I wanted to record them here, as a reminder to myself to be a better person and a better mother.

Limit television watching to two hours a week.
Limit computer time.
Teach son how to read.
Do more art with my son.
Read two chapter books a week with my son.
Read more non-fiction books to my son.
Read one book a week for myself. (I only read 28 books in 2012. Must read more!)
Enjoy the small moments, and not stress over silly things.
Limit family sugar usage.
Cook more homemade meals.
Get us outside everyday.

The resolutions I have listed are doable. Limiting personal television time will give me more time to read for myself. I don't watch much anyway, and neither does my son. I am really excited about teaching my son to read. I am not sure how this is going to happen, but I'm sure it will happen as it's meant to.

Again I have no book to share with you, even though we are reading daily. We did go to the library today, and I started gathering up all the Christmas books to put away until next year. I guess putting away the Christmas books made me a little wistful, which resulted in this post.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Best Snow Day Ever

No books today, just snow.....

Sledding for the first time ever... then being brave and sledding on our own.... over and over again.....

Sledding with Mommy.....

Dashing through the snow to sled down the hillside again....Where is the sled you ask? Daddy is right behind him carrying the sled.......

It was an awesome day! We headed north to Flagstaff, Arizona to play in the snow for the day. It was cold, and started to snow not long after we got to the sledding park. This was the first time our son ever saw it snow, and he absolutely loved it! This was also the first time he has ever been sledding, and I couldn't believe that he wanted to go by himself! He is fearless. I think he gets that from his father....

It was so beautiful, and a great way to end my Christmas vacation. I am sad, as I have to go back to work in the morning, but it is only for two more days, then I will have four more days off again. I have so enjoyed spending time with my family this Christmas, and can't wait for the work week to be over.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas The Day Before Christmas

It's the day before Christmas, and I only have two presents left to wrap. We are leaving shortly to spend  the evening with my family. My mom has a huge pot of chili cooking on the stove, and I am looking forward to spending time with family.

Today we have read a stack of Christmas books, made Christmas ornaments, decorated cupcakes and watched Christmas shows. It has been a good day. 

Tonight I will be reading our 1949 edition of The Night Before Christmas to the whole family. I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas filled with love, joy and happiness!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day At The Train Park

My son loves trains, totally and completely. So we decided to take him to the train park on our first day off from work. The day was just perfect, and we had a wonderful time! This is the first vacation we have had off together in two years.

Being silly.

Riding the train is serious business.

Views from around the park.

More views from around the park.

We have never been to the park at night, just during the day. I am sure it is so pretty at night, as they have lights strung all over the park. We are planning on going back after Christmas when it is not so busy.

I still can't believe that Christmas is two days away! We finished up our shopping today, which means I am a very busy little elf, as I make all the gifts for the adults of my family. We are going to take family pictures tomorrow, though I still have no idea where. I guess I will figure it out in the morning.

I will be up wrapping presents tonight, and tomorrow will be finishing up last minute gift making projects. I hope to be all finished by tomorrow afternoon, so we can relax for the rest of the few days I have off. 

Even though we are busy, I still have time to get our hour of read aloud time in every day! Of course it has been all Christmas books. Here are a few books we have read in the past few days:

Plus I finished reading A Christmas Carol the other night, and have been listening to Little Women in the car to and from work. I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! Happy Reading!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice 2012

Happy Winter Solstice! I hope everyone had a wonderful day! I spent the day with my family at a local train park. It was such a gorgeous day, with the most beautiful blue skies. I will share more pictures from our day with you tomorrow.

My poor little guy is sick, so after the train park we had lunch, stopped at the library, then came back home.

We spent the rest of our day hanging out together.

Since it rarely ever snows where I live, and we didn't make it to the snow today due to my son being sick. I only have blue skies, orange flowers, brown mountains, and a beautiful book to share with you on this first day of winter.

Do Rabbits Have Christmas is a collection of poems by Aileen Fisher, illustrated by Sarah Fox Davies. We love Aileen Fisher, and have quite a few books in our collection that she has written. Sarah Fox Davies illustrations are beautiful.

From: Do Rabbits Have Christmas, illustration done by Sarah Fox Davies
This book contains a collection of nature poems written by Aileen Fisher between 1946 and 1991. All the poems in this book are either about winter or Christmas. They are all so simple, but very lovely. I will leave you tonight with one of the poems from this wonderful book.

First Snow

When autumn stills
the crickets
and yellow leaves turn brown,
I wonder what
a Mouseling thinks
as snow starts falling down,
and petal
after petal
goes trickling down his nose
and there's
a strange, cold tickle
between his slender toes?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy 200th Anniversary Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

Can you imagine having a first edition of an original Brothers Grimm book of fairy tales? Or better yet, can you imagine the many snowy cold nights they spent sitting by crackling fires listening to the stories they recorded for prosperity? If it weren't for people such as the Grimm Brothers, we may never have heard such stories as Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Snow White and Red Rose, The Frog Prince, and Rapunzel.

In celebration of their 200th anniversary, I want to share with you illustrations from my favorite version of the Snow White and Red Rose story. This version is illustrated by Adrienne Adams and printed by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1964.

Did you read aloud any of Grimm's fairy tales today?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Christmas Party

So it begins....We picked up my Grandfather from the airport tonight. We took him to my Mom and Dad's where we visited until about eight thirty, then headed home. My son has developed a really wickedly nasty cough, which means, I need to try and get him into the doctor. Tomorrow is my last day at work until next Thursday, where a mad rush to finish end of year will consume every last thing I do until I leave work next Friday night.

Enough about me... I want to share a most lovely book with you.

The Christmas Party by Adrienne Adams is a wonderful book about the Abbot family and their young son Orson Abbot who designs and paints Easter eggs. (They are also known as the Easter egg artists.) 

Orson is a little older now, and is admired by all the little rabbits who want to visit with him. The little rabbits stand waiting for him at his studio window, or are waiting for him at the bottom of his tree house. Finally one day, Orson asks the little rabbits why they are hanging around each other. One small rabbit answers that they would like to have a Christmas party as a surprise for their parents, and they want Orson to help. Surprise but doubtful, he decides to help the little rabbits.

He tells his parents about the party, and asks how he can get out of it. Orson is afraid he will end up doing all the work, but his parents say, that since he promised the little rabbits, that he must help. They begin the fun by finding a Christmas tree. Then after everyone helps to get it set up, Orson comes up with a brilliant idea of decorating it with Easter eggs.

After decorating the tree, they wrap presents. Then Orson decides he wants to be Santa for the party. At this point, he has taken responsibility for the Christmas party. Once he has his Santa suit and all the preparations for the party are ready, he tells the little rabbits to go home and tell their parents to get ready for a moonlight sleigh ride. 

As everyone comes sledding down the hills, Orson turns on the Christmas tree lights and all the little rabbits yell "Surprise! MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Needless to say the parents were indeed very surprised.

We love this story, and I especially love Adrienne Adam's illustrations. You can read more about the Abbots in The Easter Egg Artists. We have this book as well, but it is currently tucked away with all the Easter books.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Today, we went back to work. I sent my child back to school. It was hard but we did it. Tonight, we hang out by the Christmas tree, gazing at the lights and ornaments, reading stories. Tomorrow will come no matter what. Make the best of today, so tomorrow we have no regrets.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mama, That Is Not a Good Story

I can't believe that tomorrow is already Monday, where did the weekend go? Today was such a lazy day for us. My son and I both napped for a few hours. We did get our Christmas tree this morning, and decorated it earlier this evening. So it now officially feels festive at our house!

Tomorrow night will be the last normal night around here for awhile. Tuesday night I have a small get together with some co-workers. Wednesday night we have to go to the airport to pick up my 94 year old grandfather who is flying in from Arkansas. Which means there will be lots of visiting and family get togethers happening in the next three weeks. It's going to be really busy.

So lately my son has been really picky about the books I read to him. This is so very frustrating to me, because he will look at the cover and tell me "that is not a good story." I ask him how does he know since he wouldn't let me read it to him? If I open the book, he will immediately close the book and ask me to read something else.

We just received Brian Wildsmith's The Twelve Days Of Christmas in the mail this week. Let me tell you, I love the illustrations in this book, they are so unique. Though, when I tried to read it to my son last night, he took one look at the book, said "that is not a good story", then asked me to read something else. I was so excited about reading this to him, and the look on my face must have really showed my disappointment, because he asked me "mommy, is you heart broke?"

I told him it was, because he would not let me read this wonderful story to him. Well, since he loves him mama so much, he says to me, "ok mommy, you can read it."

Let me tell you, he loved it! After we read (or shall I say sang) it, he asked me to read it again. Then he let me read three other books that he has refused since they arrived in our house from the library last week.

He loved Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker. This was my first read of the Nutcracker as well. I am not sure how closely this book is to the original story, but I loved the illustrations, and the story. I think I will be searching out the original version to read next year.

He also let me read Jan Brett's Home For Christmas, which he loved as well. The adventures of Rollo the naughty little troll intrigued him so much, I have read it three times in the last twenty four hours.

I loved Cynthia Cotten's This Is the Stable. It is a simple story about the birth of Jesus. Delana Bettoli's illustrations are just lovely. My son only let me read this one to him once, but I am so glad he did.

I will leave you tonight with an excerpt from this wonderful story...

"This is the baby, born that night in the stable marked by the star so bright. A baby boy, who cooed and cried and looked around with eyes so wide. Then cuddled and swaddled, he laid his head on the soft, sweet hay in the manger bed and slept in the stable in Bethlehem town, the quiet stable, dusty and brown."

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Gift of Children, The Gift of Love

Words can not even express the sorrow I feel in my heart at the great loss many people experienced today. What can I say? Children are the most wonderful gift in the world, more valuable than silver, more precious than gold. They are given to us to love, and cherish and the loss of any child, well, is beyond devastating.

What can we take from this tragedy? I have pondered this question all day, what good can come out of this evil act? I think we should spend more time with our children, turn off the television, talk to them, play with them, teach them right from wrong, hug them, kiss them, snuggle them to sleep every night. We should teach them to give and to share, and most of all, teach them to love. Every second is a gift, how will you spend it?

I was thinking what book I could share with you tonight to express a mother's love for her child. I browsed through our bookshelves until I found the perfect book.

"You are my angel, my darling, my star...and my love will find you, wherever you are."

From the most beautiful book Wherever You Are my love will find you, by Nancy Tillman.