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New House Nerves and Medusa the Mean

Okay, ya got me.  I’ve been kind of a lazy blogger lately.  My posts aren’t really sounding like me, they are short and not nearly as engaging.  Yeah.  I know.

The fact of the matter is, with everything on my brain lately, I’m just not quite myself.  I’m stressed about the house…  packing up and leaving this place behind is tough.  I’m super excited about the new place and what it will mean for our family, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is our home.  We got engaged in the bathroom.  We first talked about having a baby sitting in this bedroom.  We’ve lived lots of places together, Damon and I, but this was the first one that was home.  Nine years here.  It’s a hard thing to walk away from, even if the place no longer meets our needs.

So yeah.  With the house on my brain, it’s hard to think of much else for long enough to blog about it.  …and I’m guessing you don’t want to hear me posting about the house every day.  😉

We take possession one month from today.  We already have so many boxes packed that it’s tough to move around in here.  We haven’t got even a small portion of the packing done yet.  There’s more than one reason we stayed here nine years (even though the intention was about three years when we bought the place).  LOL

It’s a good thing.  This is going to be such an amazing thing for us.  But that doesn’t take away from how difficult it is.

That said, here’s something cute and fun:

We’ve been reading Medusa the Mean (yep, another book in the Goddess Girls series).  Lily-Ann absolutely LOVED chapter 7, Kindergarten Buddies.  Of course, being IN kindergarten herself probably had a lot to do with it…  though it was a super adorable chapter that made her giggle and grin repeatedly (especially when she realized that there was a crush starting between Medusa and Dionysus, and then further imagined her Daddy as being like Dionysus and herself as Andromeda).  So tonight, before bedtime, she decided to draw Medusa and Dionysus – as inspired by the Goddess Girls books and the cover illustration of Medusa the Mean.  And for a five year old?  I was darn impressed.  😉

The cover art for Medusa the Mean, and the girl's interpretation of Medusa and Dionysus.

Medusa and Dionysus

We’ve Begun our Search for Wondla

I had forgotten what it was like to read something so beautiful that the words alone remind you of what it is to be passionate.  How they are strung together, the choice of each so careful and deliberate that your heart soars with each syllable.  So used to the simple choices of most children’s books I had abandoned the memory of things so attentively scribed.  Tonight I thrilled in the sublime usage of words divine.

Ahhhh….

Truly.

It has been so very long since I read something where the words alone thrilled me so.  We’re only two chapters into The Search for Wondla but already my writerly self is more fulfilled and ecstatic than it’s been in a very, very, VERY long, long, long while.  LOL

I’m sure for some folk this may not make even a lick of sense, but for those of you who do get it?  I know your hearts will be leaping along with me on this little discovery.  It really is so rare these days (among literature of ANY kind) to find work that makes your heart leap.  Awesome stories?  You bet, there’s a lot of them out there.  Fabulous characters?  Even more so.  Intricate worlds?  There are still a few new places to explore.  But words worth reading just for the sake of how beautifully they are composed?  It has been decades since I read something where the words alone made my head spin with possibilities.

I’m aware that The Search for Wondla is juvenile fiction, but if you’re any kind of word-nerd, head over to wondla.com right now.  Order a paperback, hardcover edition, or even the ebook or audiobook.  Trust me.  Like I said, we’ve only begun to dive into our search for Wondla – we’re only two chapters in…  and already I know it’s going to be unforgettable!

The Search for Wondla by Tony Diterlizzi

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi

Waiting too long for a good thing…

As many of you already know, I read chapter books to my daughter every night.  It’s just part of our routine.  It’s a time both she and I equally enjoy, a time we both look forward to all day.

Well…  We’d heard a lot of good things about the Magic Tree House series.  And then at a big consignment sale a couple of weekends ago I was able to pick up five of the books (used) for only $1.50 (and not each, that was for the bundle), so we nabbed them.  Tonight?  Tonight we read one from cover to cover.  Yep.  The whole book.  At least the two we read before it had lasted a couple nights (3/4s of a book in the first night, 1/4 of it the second when we also got through 1/2 of another, finishing it the next night).  So in 4 nights, we’ve finished three books.  I have to say…  I’m really glad we got them used for what we did.  LOL

I think this really was an instance of waiting too long to check out a good thing.  The books are charming, but I think they’d have been more appropriate when she was on the cusp of turning three.  At four and three quarters we’re reading things like the Goddess Girls, Mary Pope Osborne’s take on the Odyssey – Tales From the Odyssey (just a side note, Osborne’s also the author of the Magic Tree House books), Harry Potter, and The Wide Awake Princess.  They all make this series seem a little too juvenile.  However, I do think they may still be a good fit for when she first begins reading chapter books on her own.

So yeah.  An entire chapter book in one evening is a pretty good sign that it’s time to pick up something else.  Damon is reserving the second Harry Potter book for us, and hopefully it will be ready for pick up tomorrow or the next day (love our little library, they’ll bring in anything for us that they don’t already have – even if they have to bring it in from elsewhere in the province).  And on Thursday our next book order is due in, and we’ll be ordering the next Goddess Girls book, “Medusa the Mean”.  So we’ll be set for the next while again.  🙂

Yay for reading!

I love Sundays!

So, because I’m a little ahead in the alphabet blog challenge, I figure I’m taking today to just blog the way I LOVE to blog…  about whatever strikes me as worth sharing.  🙂  And today?  Today, that’s how much I love Sundays.

Sundays are our family day.  It’s often just the three of us, but sometimes we head out with one of my siblings, and this particular Sunday we met up with my Sister-in-law and her daughter – our only niece.  We hit a big children’s consignment sale (where, because it was the last day, a lot of stuff was on for 50% off).  We totally scored, getting five paperback chapter books for a total of $1.50!  And a few cool new outfits for the kid, as well as a pair of adorable orange PJs.  They also had baked goods for sale, so we bought cake pops for all five of us.  😀  Super yummy treat!  Red velvet dipped in white chocolate.  MMMmmmmm….

Next we hit DQ to pick up some Strawberry Lemonade Chillers – one of my favourite drinks.  Frozen lemonade with great big strawberry hunks mixed in?  Sooo tasty!

Then it was off to the Forestry Farm Park and Zoo (but we hit the zoo, then the park).  LOL  Last month we were there almost every weekend, this month we didn’t make it there quite so often…  the lion cubs grow at such a fast rate, it’s been crazy watching them these last months.  I remember when they first brought their parents to the zoo – their daddy was too young to have a mane, and oh what a glorious one he has now.  😉  We got to watch them grow too (but not from quite so young).

The girl was thrilled that the chickens and roosters are now out and about on the grounds.  Of all the wild and amazing animals she can connect with up close and personal at the zoo, one of her favourites to interact with is always the poultry.  Though I can’t say I blame her.  I love them too.  If the city would allow it, we’d have a few hens ourselves – but alas, we aren’t as progressive here in Saskatoon as they are places like Toronto.

I took a short video of the girl checking out the “bock bocks”, along with her cousin (who was far less interested):

After the zoo we hit the playground for a half hour or so.  We then said bu bye to Tabs and Eliana before running to the co-op for some bbq worthy fare…  which Damon grilled up while the girl tore around the yard.

We were thrilled to find Damon had uploaded a copy of the royal wedding to our hard drive, so the girl and I watched it twice in a row before bed.  Oh!  You didn’t know there was a royal wedding recently?  Well jeepers, where have you been dahling?  It was the wedding of the century – Princess Cadence and Shining Armor!  And yes, it was on My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic.  It was a two parter that aired partly on my birthday.  We don’t watch TV on TV, we wait until we can stream it, download it, borrow it, or buy it…  so I’m thrilled we didn’t have to wait too terribly long for this one.  LOL  The girl and I love a pony-fix.  😉

As the second viewing came to an end, it was time for PJs and chapters.  And now my baby is fast asleep beside me.  The perfect way to end a lovely family day.  I really am a lucky mommy.  🙂

the wee girlie, fast asleep

sound asleep

 

And now, as we stand on the precipice of the most interesting leg of the A to Z April Blog Challenge, I have one thing to say:  HELP!

LOL  So yeah…  I could definitely use some title suggestions for U V W X Y Z.  I’ve got a couple ideas, but they’re looking… well…  more creative than I’d like.  If you’ve got something that might work, please let me know.  From here on out I can use all the suggestions I can get.  😉

Night everyone!  Hope your Sundays were as lovely as mine was.

Aphrodite and Isis – Two Goddesses of Love

We’re laying in bed, snuggled up together.  She eating a bedtime snack of applesauce.  Me reading our nightly chapters.  We’re on page 140-something of Aphrodite the Diva (one of the Goddess Girls books by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams).

Aphrodite is holding a contest for the mortal girls of Greece, when Lily-Ann exclaims “Hey!”

“Hey what?” say I.

“There can be two Goddesses of Love!  Aphrodite is the Goddess of love for the Greeks, and Isis is the Goddess of love for the Egyptians.  They don’t have to fight, they can both be the Goddess Girls of love!”

“Oh my goodness!”  I marvel at her wit, “You’re right.  I wonder what will happen next in the book.  Do you think they might figure that out?”

“I don’t know momma.  Keep reading!”

Seriously, is there anything more cool than the aha moments of a clever four year old?

A page or so later we read how Aphrodite is confiding in Ares, about how she feels about her part in the Trojan “incident”.  When another lightbulb goes off:  “Mom!  We’ve read about Odysseus before, in another chapter book.”

“That’s right, he fought in the Trojan war.  We’ve talked about him a few times, haven’t we?”  She nods her head enthusiastically.  “It’s neat when we meet the same characters in different books, isn’t it?”  She grins and nods again.

Lily-Ann asks “Do you remember the Trojan horse?” the wheels obviously turning, making connections.  Then she giggles over the brilliance of Odysseus and the lack of foresight demonstrated by the Trojans.

“I do.”  I smile at her and give her side a little tickle.  “Should I keep reading?”

“Yes Mom.”

We settle back in for some more cuddles and read on.

goddess girls bookmark - showing the covers for books one through six

 

Is it any wonder this is my favourite time of day?    🙂

 

Our Odyssey into Chapter Books

The kid and I have been reading chapter books together for over a year now.  Our nightly adventures have taken us many places included Mistress Lily’s fairy school, Mount Olympus Academy, and we’ve even been to the Underworld a few times.  We’ve uncovered clues leading us to discover who’s dog was frightening the sheep of a local farmer, and had dinosaurs come to our aid when we were chasing bad guys in a kayak.  We’ve helped a mom who’s baby was under a strange enchantment, rode winged ponies to and from the realm of humans on several occasions,and winged sandals?  We’re old hat at wearing those.

To be honest, I’d never really sat down and thought about all the places chapter books have already taken the little girl.  After a lifetime of reading you can lose sight of the magic a little bit…  take it for granted, I suppose.  But tonight we were looking at some of the chapter books she owns (many of the ones we’ve read were borrowed at the library, but she’s getting quite the collection of her own books too).  As she touched the spines of several of them, one at a time, she’d mention the name of the hero:  “Athena, Aphrodite, Persephone, Artemis, Odysseus…”  I didn’t realize how much we’d read that came from stories of the ancient Gods and Goddesses, until I heard her mention four or five names in a row.   We’ve read older stories, like Black Beauty and Beauty and the Beast, and newer chap books like The Goddess Girls and Tales from the Odyssey.

One love this has rekindled for me personally is my childhood love of book orders.  I remember waiting every month for a new order form, browsing through the current offerings, getting to pick out one or two every time… and then waiting impatiently for them to come in.  I again get to order books, excitedly from Scholastic every month.  I forgot about the great deals (or maybe I never realized just how well priced they always were).  We just got the first five of the Goddess Girls books for fifteen bucks vs the five or six bucks a piece you’d pay for them at the book store.  We’d only read the first three from the library, so we’re both excited to continue with the series.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.  It’s a bit of a ramble.  But if I could say nothing else, it really has been an odyssey.  An exciting, fantastic, wonderful odyssey.  🙂  So get reading!  You could be helping your child start a life long love affair.

A Sick Girlie, and The Spiderwick Chronicles.

We had a rather rough day today.  The wee girlie rose early, and though cheerful and upbeat, her spirits soon dampened.  Back and forth from the bedroom to the bathroom, trip after trip…  though we never went anywhere or did anything (beyond walking that hallway – she, often carried) it was an exhausting day.

Knowing how much I dread the feeling of throwing up – the way you can’t catch your breath for all the heaving, and the way the bile rips through your body on it’s way up and out – the girl always surprises me.  She handles it like a champ;  no crying, no fretting, no stress at all.  I sit beside her, holding her hair and stroking her back, muttering what became a mantra:  “it’s okay, let it out, you’ll be okay…”  She’s got strength beyond her years.

As if it’s not enough to have your stomach contents ripping and tearing their way out the same way they initially (pleasantly) slid in, they were determined to pull the poor kid apart from both ends.  When she wasn’t hovering over the toilet bowl, she was sitting on it.  Several sponge baths, and two full on soakings later, at about three o’clock things seemed to just break.  The last couple crackers stayed down (and in), and the yogurt both soothed her throat and mellowed the beast that inhabited her belly.

Deciding to play it safe, we had a simple supper…  buns.  She added a little “spice” to hers, but otherwise ate it plain.

About twenty minutes have passed since she fell asleep while I read.  I know I’ve blogged about it before, but it really is my favourite thing in the whole world.  There’s just nothing better than having her fall asleep, cuddled up with me, as I read our nightly chapters.

The last couple of weeks we’ve been devouring The Spiderwick Chronicles.  I was a little concerned that she might find them scary – as there’s a lot of things that happen to the protagonists, so had planned on waiting until she was a little older.  She found them herself though, during one of our trips to the library, and intrigued by their covers, and old-world pages, she insisted on borrowing the first of the five.

We’re now on book four, and this is the first time the girl has fallen asleep since we cracked the first.  She’s usually far too excited about whats happening to doze off during our nightly adventures.  Tonight though, I’m surprised she lasted as long as she did.  We almost made it through a chapter (Chapter Two: in Which the Grace Twins are Triplets)…  so we’ll pick up on the last page tomorrow, before moving onto chapter three.

The Spiderwick Chronicles - Book 4 - The Ironwood Tree

 

Telling Stories

I’ve always been a story teller.  As far back as I can remember, I’ve been telling tales.  When other kids brought things from home (like a new toy, or their stamp collection) to share during show and tell, I’d make up glorious adventures about dragons, and ogres, and trolls, and unicorns.  I really can’t remember a time when fantasy didn’t draw me in totally and completely.

When asked to read aloud in class, I did so with vigor and excitement.  My voice filled with drama reflecting the mood of the story.  It never occurred to me there was another way to read.  I told my own stories with fervor, why would I not give the same commitment to the words of another?

I remember the first time I read out loud in grade eight.  It was a significant point for me.  I’d transferred to a new school that year, and for the first time I was in a class full of kids who didn’t know me from Adam.  I began reading, filled with pride – I was always such a great orator.  When the class erupted in laughter I was completely taken aback.  I remember pausing, looking around to see what had everyone in stitches.  When I didn’t see anything, I picked up where I’d left off.

The teacher cut me off when the class fell apart into peels of laughter for the second time.  I’ll never forget her words:  “Maybe we should let someone  else have a turn.”  It was at that moment that I realized that the laughter was directed at me.  Me.

I sat down, completely in shock.  Everyone had always been in such awe of my tremendous reading and narration  skills.  This was one of the few intellectual areas where I had truly excelled.  I was an advanced reader, and had always impressed my peers.  So the fact that this area of pride was – in this new arena – an embarrassment was… well…  dumbfounding.

I learned quickly to dumb myself down when talking to people.  No one wanted to be outshone…  especially by a girl.  There were only eight girls and forty boys in the two grade eight classes in the school.  And the girls all seemed to take pride in their lack of intelligence.  It really was a turning year for me.  Strange, and peculiar in so many ways.

I love now having the chance to again be reading fantasy adventure…  with excitement, emotion, and enthusiasm.  The way these stories were meant to be read.  Giving value to each line.  Giving voice to every character.

The wee girlie loves reading “chapters” at night with me.  Tonight we couldn’t help but read four (rather than our usual two).  We’re at an exceptionally exciting part of the story…  and it can be hard to put it down.  Lily-Ann may only be three, but I never have to worry about dumbing down a story for her – like I used to do for those eight graders.  We relish the experience together, and I know she’s in for a life-time passion for the written word.  It’s something that thrills me totally and completely.

We’re currently on book three of the Keyholders series.  And I heartily recommend every book we’ve read so far.  There have been times that she has jumped, cried out empathetically, busted a gut laughing…  She’ll shout out:  “It’s a dragon!!!”  “Bring bells!!!  You need bells to scare them away!!!”  “The queen is coming!  RUN!!!!”  And that says sooo much to me about the quality of this series.  It’s one I’m sure she’ll come back to when she’s able to read it herself.  For now though, I’m happy it’s something we can share together.

Our second chapter book.

Reading with my dad is one of my earliest memories.  He used to sit beside my bed and read me some of the greatest stories ever written.  It’s where my love of books began.  I still have the copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy that he read me all those years ago.  They are beat up pretty bad, and can barely hold in their pages…  but they are very well loved, having been read again and again and again.  I hope that one day my daughter will look back on our night time reads with the same fondness, and that it will inspire her to a lifetime of adventuring.

Lily-Ann and I finished our first chapter book on December 26th.  It was an adaptation of Tangled (the new Disney princess movie based on the Rapunzel fairy tale).  We found it in her school book order, and I figured we should give it a go.

On Tuesday we picked our current read.  I first consulted my most trusted group of writerly friends (the MomWriters, an email based group of women writers of which I’ve been a member for the last ten years).  I look forward to following up on many of their recommendations.  But this go round the girlie favoured the first book in the Fairy Blossoms series by Suzanne Williams, Daisy and the Magic Lesson.

So far, we have BREEZED through the first29 pages.  Its such an easy, flowing read.  And the characters are so personable, a group of nine year old fairies just beginning at Mistress Lily’s fairy school, what could be more delightful?  I have a feeling we’ll be sticking with this series for a while.

the next chapter

tonight's chapter...

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