Bubble Wrap Girl

I'm so proud of this one. Proud because Kari is a friend of mine. We went to Luther Seminary together and were in all the same classes. She now lives in Alexandria, Minnesota and is a pastor at a Lutheran church up there.

The week before Alden was born we got a book in the mail from her. And lo and behold it wasn't just any book. It was a book with HER NAME ON IT. Kari wrote it and this book is darling. My kids love it and we have read it many, many times.
It's all about a girl who is fed up with getting hurt when she rides her bike or plays with friends. So she has her family wrap her up in bubble wrap to prevent further injuries.

The story shows how problematic this actually is, as the bubble wrap always gets in the way. So she decides to be brave, even if it means risking an injury. As Kari wrote on her own blog, "if I can do anything to inspire someone to be brave, to go after what is good, right and beautiful in the world, rather than sit along the sidelines or settle for what society says is the way things will be, I want to do it." And isn't it sweet that the story in her book about Izzy, and the very fact that Kari PUBLISHED HER OWN BOOK (!!!) both have the very same motivating message for me: join in. Be brave. Do it.
I suppose we're all wearing our own bubble wrap of sorts. Insulating ourselves from disappointment and failure and hurt. But Izzy took her's off. Kari took hers off too. And I'm super inspired.

You can buy Bubble Wrap Girl on Amazon, online at Barnes and Noble and at itascabooks.com

The Relatives Came

This book literally came in our box of Cheerios. It was a part of some marketing stint and the books included in that little marketing stint were all winners that I hadn't read before. But this one was my favorite. Ivar was just little...probably Hattie's age. And we read this over and over and over and over. In fact, one of his first phrases was "something-something-something Virginia." And we never knew what he was saying, but it was something about these relatives who came all the way from Virginia.
The book tells of one family visiting their relatives during the summer. And there isn't much more that happens than that. The family eats together, sleeps together, works together, plays together. They all love each other as the pictures clearly show. It's family at its best. And I adore this book. One Christmas I bought six copies and gave it to every cousin family of Ivar's. 
Family is the best. And this book says that over and over again. The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant.

book week!

I have had so many books I have wanted to share on this blog, ones that I would recommend as gifts or family read-alouds or new discoveries... and I decided this is the week!

We'll begin today. Have you ever read anything by Patricia Polacco?!! She is brand new to me, but clearly not new to the world of children's publishing. She has over 100 books out there!! I randomly discovered one of her books from a trip to the library and it was all about a Family Reunion called When Lightening Comes in a Jar. The story was so pleasing to me. It lifted up the importance of family traditions and hearing the same stories over and over again and listening to the older generation. I just loved it.

So I did an author search at our library and requested every book in our library system by Patricia Polacco. I have been reading her books all month and they do not disappoint.

She is the author and illustrator and the books are largely stories taken from her own life or her ancestors. They all focus on the importance of family or other close relationships and I am absolutely in love.

My top favorites:
Fiona's Lace. I cried. And then when I retold the story to Rory I cried again.
An A from Miss Keller. All about the hardest teacher in the school and having to work hard but feeling grateful after. Also made me cry.
The Mermaid's Purse. All about good books and community.
Clara and Davie. About young Clara Barton who founded the American Red Cross.
Mr. Wayne's Masterpiece. Her story of being too shy to read in front of her class and the teachers that helped her overcome her stage fright.
Tucky Jo and Little Heart. Incredible. You will hardly believe the ending.

I am so glad she has 100 more books for me to read! They are long and have a lot of text. The pictures are captivating, mostly because you know this is what these people actually looked like...they are characters from her own life. And her storytelling is masterful. I hope she writes 100 more.

So enjoy! There is no need to have to have kids to read these books! I read many after bedtime to myself. They ring of what is right and good and true. They're a breath of fresh air.

lake city

Earlier in August we met up with Rory's folks for a day in Lake City. This summer has been a change of pace for two big reasons... #1: Alden. A little baby will slow you down a bit. And #2: Animals. We can't really go anywhere overnight without a whole lot of details to be passed off to someone else. So I am trying to work within the parameters of a day. Where can we go and what can we do for a day of vacation that will have us back home by 7. Lake City is one of those places.
Alden and I were, in fact, on this trip, but I don't have any pictures of us! Ha! But aren't these darling of the others? My kids are getting so big and it catches me off guard. Like every day.

We played at the playground and ate incredible donuts. And most hilariously, we took a picture (that must be on Rory's phone) while eating the donuts and gathered on one side of the picnic table. Which lifted the other side of the picnic table high into the air. Somehow we didn't tip completely on our backs, but it was so close. And slow motion. We laughed hard after the fact. Then we went out for lunch and then got on the Pearl of the Lake, a big paddle boat that takes you around Lake Pepin for 2 hours. It was an unusual fallish day for early August and windy on the boat. But it was nice to be on the water. I'd say we would love LOVED it if it was a one hour boat ride. ;)
Then we went to Redwing for ice cream and walked around a bit. It was a great day and as always, I can't wait to get back to that big water.

quick! before church!

Sunday morning we all ended up wearing some sort of blue in our outfit and I wanted a picture of me and the kids before we loaded in the minivan. So we got all lined up, but then Richard the chicken came walking by and Hattie doesn't really like chickens after our big grey rooster charged at her when she unknowingly cornered him into the raspberries. So Richard came walking by and Hattie started to panic and these are the best pictures Rory captured of that morning. In the end, they are pretty much more true and honest  of my time with my kids than all four kids and me smiling at the camera.