:: Team-up Thursday ~ Books ::


The lifetime book-lover and English teacher in me was thrilled with this week’s theme.  Just this week, in preparation for a much-needed and fast-approaching spring break, a colleague and I were discussing how much we miss the days of adolescence when we could read into the wee hours of the morning, only to roll over on a sunny Saturday morning and pick up where we left off and read until well past noon. 

The reading I get to do as an adult is often more out of obligation and necessity than pleasure.  And yet, there forever lives  the insatiable desire to soak up the stories hidden between the dusty covers.  Hours spent poring over the new releases on bookstore shelves are hours of pure bliss. 

So, how do I reconcile my responsibilities as a wife, mother, teacher and reader?  Technology, of course!  While nothing beats the tactile experience of curling up with a romantic tale on a rainy afternoon, I’ve recently realized the benefit to listening to unabridged books on tape or my iPod.  Now, it isn’t just lying in the hammock on a sunny afternoon that I get to enjoy a good mystery – wait!  Since when have I enjoyed just lying in the hammock at all, let alone to read? 🙂  Now, the characters of my recent stories journey with me throughout chores, errands or exercise.

Perhaps the strangest book I’ve “read” was Feed by M.T. Anderson, a science fiction book  that follows teenage main character who meet one young girl trying to fight the “feed” that practically everyone has embedded into their brains at birth.  In many ways, my iPod felt like my feed, which was both disconcerting and ironic. 

Currently, I’m reading Three Cups of Tea in preparation for the author’s visit to a nearby university next week.  So far, this book too feels slightly “wrong” to be experiencing through technology.  Hearing about the upper elementary students meeting for “school” at the top of the mountain, without the benefit of a teacher to teach them because it costs an entire dollar per day which the community cannot afford – it seems inappropriate to be sharing their story in the midst of my own excess. 

Yet, those feelings, those challenges and thoughts that are stirred within me are exactly what I love about reading, about the transformational power of books.  I also, can’t help but listen with curiosity to Mortensen’s experience as Garth and I prepare to take a missions trip to Panama this summer.  Beyond the subject, there’s so much I enjoy about the way these shots go together.  Jaimee captured a beautiful image in honor of the upcoming holiday.  I love the reds in these shots and while I am only early in the book, I can’t help but connect the content of my text and the “Sorrow Will Turn to Joy” heading in Jaimee’s shot. 

Speaking of books…thanks for reading my novel of a post today!   Be sure to swing by Melody’s to see what other’s came up with for this week’s Team-up Challenge!

Falling in Love

This might not be what you’d expect, but I fell in love today at the Denver International Airport.  There I was with too many bags and two good friends walking into a gift shop that contained too much glass for me to be entering.  My eyes were immediately drawn to the canvases in the right corner where color, images and words collided into beauty.  As if I were casting off burdens from years of self-doubt, pity or worry, my tangible bags sat heavily around my feet while my fingers floating over the cellophane-wrapped prints. 

Who is she?  What’s her story?  She’s probably some local, I thought to myself.

I had so many questions and yet I wanted to savor the words and the depth of the work.  I found her book and immediately started reading about the person behind this work.  I smiled in disbelief when I read, “Kristen currently lives in Northern Michigan with her three children, Anya, Mia and Van.”

Who would’ve thought that across the country, in a store I’ve passed dozens of times, I would eventually discover the creativity of an artist living mere hours from me.  I can’t help but think it’s serendipity.

The book fairy

Being rather into words myself, I’m thrilled that Calder seems to enjoy his books.  Often times, amidst what I’m sure is brilliant baby-onics, I’ll hear his recognizable “A, O, U!” when he’s looking at text.  Mind you, it might be a book, the bottle of lotion or what have you.  This little vowel game started way back in May when Garth and Calder spent a weekend up north so he could speak at a banquet at his high school.  Apparently Calder found the vowels to be highly entertaining when Grandma recited them, and well, now he says his vowels!

Well, “O” and “U” are almost always said, sometimes “A.”  The “E” and “I” however, haven’t quite made the cut.  We’re singing “Old MacDonald” in hopes that they’ll grow on him!

I’m always trying to find books to share with Calder – those I love, and new ones as well.  While we’ve been blessed with several books from family members, it seems that a recent visit from Aunt Julie (aka. the book fairy) has taken our level of bookcase fullness to new heights.  The huge box was loaded with all sorts of books enjoyed by her boys, the youngest of whom is now in middle school.

It’s been fun sharing these stories, and finding early cursive handwriting in the “This Book Belongs to” labels inside some of them.  When I finally got around to sorting them a little, I found this…


I know I’ve done it myself – purchased a book only to find I already owned it.  But this really has me wondering how they came to have four (I think there might have been five actually, but I wasn’t about to wander into a napping child’s room to check) copies of this little classic?  If I ever find out, I’ll be sure to share!

While I know this is extremely late, I had to share my multiples for today, and thought these were much more interesting than piles of dirty laundry!

Head over to Stacey’s for more Theme Thursday!

One, Two, and Ten

For Calder’s first year, we did the picture thing every three months.  I loved all the props, the cute poses and the professional quality.  Then I got my camera for Christmas.  G. jokes often about how I can’t go anywhere without it, but I think he secretly loves it (read: is darn thankful I’m using it considering the cost!). 

When we went to get Christmas pictures we were quite disappointed.  We ended up using one my brother-in-law snapped at our house – and we love it!  So instead of spending the time and money going that route again, I’ve been inspired by friends and fellow bloggers to capture the moments myself.  This is a great challenge for me because I always go for the candid shots, which is great.  But I also want more posed or portrait shots too.

Here’s my attempt to get a picture of my little lady at one month.  The subject is breathtaking (think I’m biased?) but the image was a little weird, so I processed it a bunch and was a little heavy-handed with the softening effect.  I still want to improve my post-processing skills but have decided to cut myself some slack and do what I can for now…until I really have the time to get a good grasp of PS. 

Seneca ~ One Month

Regarding yesterday’s post about my sleepless night…well, we know the reason for Calder’s case.  Double ear infection!  If we can actually get him to swallow his antibiotic he should be feeling better before too long.  And last night, I put Garth on duty at 10:30.  Imagine my delight go have enjoyed 7 straight hours of sleep!  I don’t think my body was sure what to do with so much rest!

We took a walk to the library this morning through the light drizzle and checked out a few books.  We’re on a Dr. Seuss kick, and I remember loving Ten Apples Up on Topwhen I was a kid.  So as my sicky snuggled in for his afternoon nap, we read our way back to my own childhood!

Leaps and Bounds

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it a million times more, but I swear that motherhood keeps getting better!  I am absolutely amazed at how much Calder changes each and every day.  While he’s far from a perfect walker, and still struggles a bit over rough terrain, his toddle now has a bit of attitude or expression to it, depending on his mood that particular minute. 

In the past few weeks he’s exploded with language and interaction, slowing moving from calling most things “Dis” (this) and pointing, to signing and/or attempting to say many new words.  He’s been using “more,” “milk,” “water,” and “bird” for a while now.  And now he’s also using “ball,” “dog,” “chew,” “cheese,” “Xanther,” “flag” and sometimes “tree.”  He is constantly thinking and solving, playing and pretending.  There are so many words that he knows when we say them, that I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before he starts using them too. 

And not that I expect he “knows” what’s going on, but if you ask him where the baby is, he points to my belly and gives a big grin.  I’m just stunned at how much of a little boy he is becoming and how it was just a fleeting moment ago that he was a tiny baby. 

We’ve been trying to make a better effort to read more with Calder and tonight before bed was no exception.  After just a few nights of this routine, he’s quickly learned to go to the bookshelf, pick a book then snuggle in the chair for the story. 

I found him irresistably cute as he spent nearly two minutes grasping at the straw in the drink and the potato chips in one of the illustrations.  He ultimately decided that pulling the book close to his face would allow him to taste the yumminess of the treats.  He even gave his typical “ahhh” after his fake drink.  I’m stunned by his imagination! 

And if that wasn’t enough, two pages later, when we learned that the little fish was all alone, he flashed me his concerned expression and my heart surged.  I know there’s going to come a day when I’m no longer cool, and I’m begging him to open up to me.  But right here, and right now, I am totally head-over-heels in love with the transparency of his emotions. 

As he eagerly snuggled in with his blanket and paci and giggled when I said “I Love You” I knew that tomorrow would hold a whole new adventure for us.