Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vintage book surprise

Look what arrived in the mail this weekend!

25 books from Burgin Streetman, author of the fabulous blog Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves. She's clearing out her shelves, and I won her resulting giveaway!

Burgin's blog is dangerous for me. She makes me want to run out to a library book sale right now, and adds new must-have books to my wish list on an almost-daily basis. When I first came across her blog, I went right back and read all the archives, and knew I'd love her new-t0-me recommendations because I loved what she had to say about the books I did know. When I'm at a library sale or thrift store, I love it when I come across a book she's reviewed, and grab it up like it's an old friend. I've discovered many wonderful authors and illustrators this way (and greatly endangered my already-groaning bookshelves).

So what a thrill to open that box and see what was inside!

So far, this is my favorite new discovery:

Doesn't look like much from the outside. But check it out inside:

So much to see! So much to talk about.

And the kind of slow, detailed storytelling that makes me think of a grandmother sitting beside you, telling you all about what life was like when she was a girl. They describe just the sorts of things a young child would be interested in, so that you can almost feel you are there: "But a farm in the country is not quite as deserted and quiet as it seems. Listen carefully. Cows moo. Dogs bark. The sheep complain. Cocks crow. Geese gabble. The cats meow. The tethered goat is bleating. A combine whirrs and rattles. A door slams. A shutter creaks. The wind gossips with the leaves."

She included lots of science and nature books. I love the illustrations in this one, and the interesting way that the animals are presented, with predator and prey together on a page ("polar bears and seals," for example):

(One of the reasons I love vintage science books is the way many of them rely on very detailed realistic drawings and paintings rather than on photos. Gorgeous and inspiring in a way not usually found in newer books.)

This one made me want to get out a magnifying lens and start studying stuff I'd never thought to before. I look forward to sharing it with Lucy some day:

There were some for sharing with others, too. This one was perfect for my horse-loving niece:

(I remember loving the cat book in this series way back when.)

And I had this one, but I have another niece who's fascinated by bodies, so it's for her:

That just barely scratches the surface of this big pile of books!

Thank you so much, Burgin!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Scenes from a long weekend

Time to tap the trees! (Actually, with this strange winter, I think we could have been sugaring for a long while now.)





An afternoon walk with Alexa, visiting from Michigan.

With gliding!

A morning at the children's museum, especially to see the ambulance (a current interest of Lucy's):

With climbing,

and big bubbles.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Our "baby" turned three yesterday. (She is so, so, SO far from a baby now! But in my heart, she'll always be...) I did a terrible job of capturing the day, but here are a few little memories:

We were up and celebrating in pjs by 6 am. Her cards and gifts, birthday crown, cake, and other things awaited her on the dining-room table. Here she is, dancing along to her favorite card--a musical one, sent by her cousin Katherine. (We must have heard that song 100 times by now.)

Here's a bit of her birthday table. Lucy had requested a "spinning Pooh cake" (because last year's cake had spun, and because Pooh has been a huge part of our life this year.)

I began reading The World of Pooh to the kids in my program sometime last year, and was amazed at how much Lucy was listening and understanding. So we began reading chapters ahead on the weekend, and soon it became our every-night-before-bedtime reading. Oh, how I love Milne's use of language (don't even get me started on the bland, watered-down Disney versions...ugh!) And I adore sharing my beloved childhood book with her. And she loves it, too. Her most-requested story is "in which Piglet is entirely surrounded by water," but she has many favorites. Her language is peppered with Pooh-isms (my favorite is "I'm not quite certain.") Our conversations about daily life often end up referring back to favorite Pooh stories. So...

Pictured above you can see a few of the Pooh characters I painted this past month as her main gift. (I haven't yet gotten a photo of all nine. Soon?) Pooh and Christopher Robin are perched on the sad-excuse-for-an-umbrella-as-boat cake, off to rescue Piglet (oh, well, the cake didn't work as I'd hoped, but Lucy was happy with it, and it was delicious). They're floating along through the 100 Aker Wood on a map Andi and I copied from the end paper of the book (one of Lucy's favorite parts of the book). Beside it is a birdhouse made from a Pooh book, a gift from Tim and Eric (it's perched atop my Pooh book and The World of Christopher Robin, which we started reading because we wanted to know more about Pooh, and now know almost as well. Do you know it? The poems are just brilliant. Daily I find myself reciting in my head from this book.)

I also made her a beehive pinata with honey sticks inside (Pooh's favorite, you know.)

(Horrible photo showing my inability to keep a tidy house. Boots I'm not sure I'm keeping yet under the piano; random ugly light fixture atop it...this is our house having been "cleaned up" for a party! Sigh. Other priorities right now...)

We continued the celebration in the evening, over dinner with family. (Lucy'd insisted on wearing her new summer dress from Granny right away, so we layered it up for her.) My mother (Nanny) was able to come (she'd started a new, very draining chemo this week, and we didn't think she'd make it), which made the evening extra special for me. Here, Lucy's opening a donkey-themed lunchbox from her, about to discover the stuffed donkey inside, ("Eeyore!"), which she hasn't put down since.

I didn't get a good photo of her party, but it was Nanny, Tim, Eric, and Randy there in person, and Granny there through Skype.

Here, Lucy tries to get enough air to blow out her candles. (I'd pulled Pooh and Christopher Robin and the umbrella's "handle" off the cake and was about to cut it when I realized I'd forgotten the candles!)

At the end of the night, as she tried to settle for sleep, Lucy was revisiting her day. She asked me "on my next birthday, can we have everything the same? But can I have balloons? Would that be all right with you?" Yes, my darling, that would be all right.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

6:45 am:



(and just so you don't think it's all sweetness and light all the time, this offering was greeted with a wail of "I didn't want that!!" She will be three tomorrow, after all.)
8:00 am:

(valentine's boxes)
Morning snack:

10:00 am:


Here's hoping your day was full of love, too.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A plain white slip




Whoo, hoo! I finished a project I've been wanting to do for years!

This free-to-us chair is super-comfy, has simple lines, and is nicely-scaled for our little rooms. But it's ugly!

Don't worry, it never looked quite that awful in our house; we kept it draped with a white chenille bedspread, which looked lovely for about five minutes each morning before the kids started climbing all over it. But all that drapey fabric took up so much visual space, and hid so many dust bunnies and long-lost toys. I've always wanted a nice tidy slipcover, but the estimate we got was for $350, not including fabric!

Then I was given a gift of 4 hours sewing time (thanks, Karen!), and it was just the motivation I needed to finally tackle it. A $25 painter's dropcloth, a morning sewing with her, several late nights by myself, a few choice words for the sewing machine and my ineptitude, and we have a slipcover!

Now to tackle the other chair, and then the couch... (just hoping it gets easier each time!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

How we know she's related to me

She may not be my daughter by birth, but our feet tell the true story.

Yes, there's still snow on the ground in places.
It was about 40 degrees.
Those are her nice warm wool socks in the pot.
This scene was preceded by her saying "don't look, Mama" and ended soon after when she decided that, alas, it's still too cold for bare feet.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reserved for family

There hasn't been much time to write lately, but that's because we're been spending our free time with family.

My mother moved from four-hours-away to only half-an-hour-away this past year, so Lucy and I are able to spend at least a morning a week visiting with her.

And this past weekend, Lucy's paternal grandparents were in town, so we spent lots of time playing, hiking, and eating out with them.

So there's been a lot of flexing schedules, messing with naps, and traveling around when it would be easier to stay at home.

But family is worth it. I'm so grateful for this time together, and for Lucy's opportunity to know her grandparents.

Please excuse our absences now and then.

This moment is reserved for family.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lucy's alphabet

In the past few months, Lucy's begun noticing letters everywhere we go. Crossing a parking lot with freshly-painted lines, she excitedly calls out "there's an A for Mommy!" (Mommy's name is Andi), "an L for Lucy and Mama!" (Mama is me, Lise), "a T for Tim!", etc.

We began photographing her letters, thinking some day we'd make them into an alphabet book for her. Because we're keeping it completely Lucy-led (in other words, we don't go out on a letter-hunting walk, but just wait for her to show us another one), it might have been a very long time before all the photos were ready for the book.

But I've begun to learn a good trick of making things, especially handy for busy moms. Don't wait until you're ready. Do it now, or you may never do it. So last week, I grabbed a little photo album (not the perfect one for the project, just the one I had on hand), and put in the four photos we'd taken so far. On the other pages, I put in index cards, on which I'd written the letters for which we don't yet have photos. Now her book is ready to read now, when she's most excited about the project. Quick, easy, not as beautiful as the "perfect" book I might have imagined, but here and in use, unlike those "someday" perfect projects.