Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Open Book ~ October '19

Acedia and Me; Monks, Marriage and a Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris: is an exploration of acedia or the 'noonday demon' as it was known by medieval theologians Norris began when clinical depression didn't quite fit how she was feeling.  Using the writings of the Desert Fathers and psychologists Norris shares how the eight bad thoughts became the seven deadly sin.  I found this book more academic and less memoir than her earlier books and I missed the personal reflections but did enjoy the book and questions posed.

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott is the story of Rose Campbell who after the loss of her father goes to live with her two great-aunts on the Aunt Hill; surrounded by her many other aunts, uncles and cousins.  This delightful coming of age story is smart, funny and wholesome without being preachy. I'm not sure how I missed this story during my growing up but am very glad to have it recommended and will definitely be reading the sequel at some point.

Please head over to Carolyn's for more Open Book.

Monday, September 16, 2019

9 Fun Facts

  This weekend we had the great fun of celebrating Liam and all the wonderfulness he has brought into the lives of his friends and family; and so I thought I would share some fun facts about him.

  • He has an extensive knowledge about the Pokemon universe and the strengths and weakness of many Pokemon ~ and great patience with his mom who is not quite as knowledgable and therefore falls quickly behind in discussions of creating elite teams.
  • He is a deep thinker and will pondering many things during the day and while he is running ~ and will remember his many deep thoughts and questions for us ~ about ten minutes after tuck-in for the night.
  • Funny ~ having learned much in the last year about punning and what makes a good pun.  He enjoys laughing and making others laugh.
  • Has a great circle of friends from school, soccer and Cub Scouts which he can be very zany with; and then disappears into his room for some intense quiet time like a true introvert.
  • Favorite food include Bangers & Mash (sausage and mash potatoes), Shepard's Pie, ice cream, and fried eggs. The last one often requested for breakfast has greatly improved my technique.
  • Favorite subject in school is Math; still hesitant about reading out-loud but has great fun reading Pokemon Manga's on my Kindle app.
  • Currently wants to be either a Veterinarian or a Carpenter.
  • Currently obsessed with old dances and therefore often asks 'Alexa' to play the Macarena song or if anyone in the house wants to Conga!
  • Affectionate, he checks in throughout the day and asks how my day is going; and recently requested a bedtime tradition with me because while Dad is still tops ~ he wanted some Mom time at bedtime.
Happy Birthday Liam! Nine looks good on you!!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

O'Canda continued

Part 1 here

 After our lovely day in Sydney N.S., we left Novia Scotia and woke the next morning docking at the port in Charlottetown, Prince Edwards Island.  This was our one port of call where we rented a car as the place I most wanted to see was across the island from Charlottetown.  While the kids and I had breakfast Dr. Daddy most gallantly figured out the bus system and went to the airport to get the car. Soon we were off to the Anne of Green Gables Museum otherwise known as Silver Bush, L.M. Montgomery's aunt and uncle's home and the inspiration for Green Gables in the Anne book series.  The weather was perfect and so the drive across the island was breathtaking and probably a good chance of pace for the kids who had toured three towns in the previous three days.  When we were on PEI for our honeymoon 16 years ago it had been winter, so it was also fun for us parents to see the island in a different time of year.  The museum is lovely and strikes a nice balance between details from Montgomery's life and references from the Anne and Pat books; and I enjoyed so much going through with Lisbeth who had at my request recently read Anne of Green Gables (in return I read the first of the Wings of Fire books).
    Afterwards we headed to Cavendish beach where walking the bluffs trail might have been a better 'Anne' experience, playing in the water was the better family choice.  We then stopped a Tim Horton to pick up some lunch before heading back to the ship; by complete coincidence the cemetery where L.M. Montgomery was buried was across the street!!  Back in Charlottetown we just enough time to drive past our Honeymoon hotel to show the kids before Charlie dropped us off at the port and went to return the car.

The next day was our one day at sea which was a great chance for the kids to swim and do crafts at the Kids Club and the grown-ups take advantage of the some of the ships presentation ~ or in my case; read.

   Quebec wins the award for the most beautiful views while docking.  An old city built on a hill touring involved a lot of walking but gorgeous views and for the going up portion we took advantage of a fun elevator called the Funicular.   Also of note were the beautiful old churches, entertaining street performers, and the delicious crepes we had for lunch.  We walked and wandered our way down back to the ship and found a fun vendor rolling up yummy maple candy on a stick.  All of the kids warmed my heart so much by doing their best to speak French to the waiters and sales clerks.


Samuel Champlain
  Finally it was time to pack up and disembark in Montreal.  Luckily we were able to store our bags at the port which made it much early to explore a bit before we could pick up our rental cars for the trip back to Maine by way of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Top memories include a historical Farmer's Market located in the city's original town square ~ though the animals were for petting not for sale; another beautiful Church, and Lisbeth found a friendly Corgi to pet.

  All in all it was a wonderful vacation and one that I'm sure we will be referring back to for quite awhile. Thank you for reading along!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Quick Take #282: Endings and Beginnings

  1. I promise to post the rest of our Canadian vacation recap next week but wanted to take time and put down some thoughts as our summer ends and the school year begins.  As many of you parents know come next June my threesome may look very different.
  2. Given how fast this summer flew we must have had a lot of fun! Certainly two trips contributed to the speed I'm sure; but also the kids enjoyed their camps, friends and pool time (when the afternoon thunderstorms stayed away).  Summer work was done largely without complaint and a good amount of reading was done by all of us.
  3. First days are always a bit rough with completing supply lists, forms to fill out and books to cover but all in all I'm happy with the launch week we had.
  4. Elisabeth is starting 6th grade, excited about Advanced Math and considering switching back to drums after playing violin for the past two years.  She is continuing with gymnastics and choir.
  5. Liam is starting 3rd grade, and has the same teacher Lisbeth had. Good group of kids in his class with several of his 'buds'.  He is playing soccer this fall and is asking for guitar lessons.
  6. Caitlin is starting 1st grade and was quite nervous about moving into the main school but after visiting her classroom and seeing many of her friends from Kindergarten she is getting excited about the year.  Will be continuing with Daisy Scouts and has been asking for ballet lessons.

 Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Open Book ~ September'19

The Guensey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows was as wonderful as many people had told me.  Told entirely in letter form I appreciated the many different voices the author managed to create as well as how the letters shifted in formality as characters came to know each other better.  The lead characters prove to be excellent narrators and help to keep the many minor characters straight.

Becoming by Michelle Obama was an unexpected fun read.  My mom lent her copy to me during a recent visit and told me to read it; and being a wonderfully obedient daughter I did.  Joking aside; I really enjoyed this autobiography/political memoir.  I found the writing very good, and felt Mrs Obama found a wonderful balance of explaining not only what happened in her and the President's life but some of the why and how.

The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick continues the story of William Marshall begun in The Greatest Knight.  In this book you see Marshall react to King Richard's death and the tumult of King John's reign; as well as challenges within the family as his children grow and seek to make their mark in the world.  I continue to really enjoy this author; especially her attention to detail and ability to made history come alive.

I also read These High Green Hills by Jan Karon which is the third installment in the Mitford Series and as lovely and as funny as the first two.

Please head over to Carolyn's for more Open Book.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Quick Takes #281: Canada, O'Canada

  1. In a bit of a departure from our usual August vacation, thanks to the generosity of my MIL we as an extended family have recently returned from a Canadian Maritime cruise.  Which in summary was wonderfully exhausting and hopefully have left us with many, many memories to reflect back on over the years.
  2. It all began very familiarly with driving to Maine which actually went fairly smoothly with minimal traffic for a summer Friday; the next morning we quickly repacked and headed down to meet up with the rest of the family and head to the port. Boarding the ship involved the excited nervousness of having never done this before and being unsure of how independent the kids would need to be with holding their own passports and answering security questions.  In the end it all went very smoothly and we found our room which was very nice and well set-up for four people (Elisabeth was staying with her TCBFF in Gma's room).
  3. Bar Harbor was our first port of call and our first experience with the process of getting off & on the boat made more interesting by having to take a tender (small boat) to the port as the Zaandam had anchored off-shore.  Bar Harbor is a lovely old seaport town where we found tasty sandwiches and a wonderful park to eat them.  After while some of the party went shopping the rest of us followed a walking trail along the coastline. Beautiful rocky coast, with evergreens right down to the shore line and lovely old homes.  Other highlights were the cannons the kids could climb on and the ducks by the tender dock.
  4. Halifax allowed for a wonderful and unusual welcome; as we walked down to breakfast we heard a bagpiper welcoming us to Nova Scotia otherwise known as New Scotland.  On our walking tour we saw the Government House, a beautiful old church, the Citadel overlooking the city, and the Public Garden.  After a lot of walking luck smiled on us and we found a playground for the kids to blow off some energy and the grown-ups to sit a spell. Then back to the boat to prepare for our first fancy dinner on the ship.
  5. Sydney was our stop in Cape Breton Island (also a part of Nova Scotia); and we were again greeting by a bagpiper.  After all the walking of the day before I decided to hang back with the kids and we explored the shoreline while the rest of the group headed into town to shop and sightsee.  During our wandering we found a fun ice cream spot that we returned to later in the afternoon while others enjoyed an American Taste Kitchen demonstration.
  6. And so as to not cram too much into one post I will leave the overview here with one lovely hint ~ our next port of call allowed me to visit the house that was the inspiration for Green Gables!!
  7. Photos: 

    Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Quick Takes #280 ~ August Daze

  1. Happy August! How is your's going? Feeling the panic yet to soak up all things summer before school starts?
  2. Before I tell you about our recent road trip I need to document how awful the traffic was; because it was awful ~ the worst I've experience in quite a while. Which has the unfortunate outcome that siblings stuck in a car together for too many hours fight, and jump on their mother's last nerve.  On the upside said traffic did not in the end effect our ability to do any of the things we had planned and so in time can fade from memory.
  3. Now on to what we did in Virginia ~ wonderful family time started first with a wonderful brunch hosted by one of my sisters where I got to catch up with my heading off to college nephew and beginning to think about college niece and the kids got in some cousin time.  Later that afternoon we headed to a local pool where in addition to more quality cousin time; Lisbeth and Liam were able able to work on their front flip technique off the two diving boards.
  4. Sunday the kids and I headed west to Monticello.  First spending some time in the Discovery Center the kids enjoyed many of the hands-ons exhibits demonstrating different aspects of life at Jefferson's home. We then caught a shuttle bus up to the mountaintop and explored some of the outer buildings before the start time for our tour of the mansion.  I had signed up for the family tour and the tour guide did a wonderful job catching and holding the attention of all the kids on the tour; while still happy to answer any questions from the adults.  
  5. Thanks for a major traffic jam we arrived at the hotel too late for any swimming that night but did manage a swim after breakfast the next morning before heading home.  The way home including the kids first views of West Virginia.
  6. Life now largely consists with looking over school supply list; finishing up summer reading and trying to sneak in a few more pool trips around the pop-up thunderstorms we have been having all week.
  7. Pictures: 

    Have a wonderful weekend!!