Reading List Summary, September 2014

Mom's List
Carry On, Warrior (Glennon Doyle Melton)
Love is a Mix Tape (Rob Sheffield)
The Spark (Kristine Barnett)
Schooled (Gordon Korman)

Jack's List
Breakaway (Jeff Hirsch)
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies (Mick Cochrane)
The Julian Chapter (R.J. Palacio)
Schooled (Gordon Korman)
Million Dollar Throw (Mike Lupica)
The Secret of the Key (Marianne Malone)
Memory Maze (Gordon Korman)
The Land (Mildred D. Taylor)
The Big Field (Mike Lupica)

EJ's List
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Carnival Crime (Donald J. Sobol)
The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame)
April Adventure (Ron Roy)
Thanksgiving on Thursday (Mary Pope Osborne)
Doggy Day Care (AJ Stern)
Lucy (Ellen Miles)
Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell (Tanya Lee Stone)
Could A Robot Make My Dinner? (Kay Barnham)
The Dot (Peter H. Reynolds)
The Thoroughbred Horse (Gail B. Stewart)
Hands (Lois Ehlert)
Seashells (Ann O. Squire)
The Wonder of Our Solar System (Lisa E. Greathouse)
There's A Hamster in My Lunchbox (Susan Clymer)
Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey (Alex Milway)
Reefs (Sally M. Walker)

Olivia's List
Fox on Stage (James Marshall)
A Friend for Dragon (Dav Pilkey)
Dragon's Halloween (Dav Pilkey)
A Visit to the Zoo (Joe Slade)
What's Your Favorite Flower? (Allan Fowler)
Joe and Sparky Get New Wheels (Jamie Michalak)
Seed to Plant (Kristin Baird Rattini)
Gulf of Mexico (Pam Zollman)
Duck & Company (Kathy Caple)
What IS an Athlete? (Barbara Lehn)
The Big Box Fort (Johnathan Rand)
Apples of Your Eye (Allan Fowler)
Postcards From Mexico (Helen Arnold)
Levers (Chris Oxlade)
Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey (Alex Milway)
Can You Find These Bugs? (Carmen Bredeson)
Fall (Ann Herriges)
Could A Robot Make My Dinner? (Kay Barnham)

Thoughts From A Walk

I am so lucky to be able to walk places like this in my little city.  I really value all the quiet country-ish spaces tucked away in our mostly urban landscape.

That being said, here are some thoughts from my walk this morning:
-I spend a big chunk of my time looking at the pretty colors and truly enjoying the quiet.  I spend the rest of my time wondering how long it will take them to find my body (I've watched too much Law & Order).

-Everyone I pass going faster than me is obviously not going as far as me (especially those runner people).  #LiesITellMyselfSoIKeepMoving

-The same goes for those that are dressed cuter and are less sweaty/gross.  Obviously they are just out for a stroll.

-I try to embrace the nature, but it's so hard because BUGS!  But...I try.  My Grandma loved nature (Happy Birthday, Grandma!) and so I think I should too.  I stop and take photos of them every so often, so I guess that counts, right?
Counted 14 of these guys the other day

-Why do people sit in their car for long periods of time in Park parking lots?  How many traveling business-people can their be? Do they not have offices?  Are they drifters?  Are they napping?  This is both a valid question of mine and paranoia from the Law & Order habit.

-There is another park I walk at sometimes that I have named "The Old People Park."  I always leave smiling when I go there because seeing a bunch of older couples walking around holding hands is sweet.  Also, it's a great confidence boost when the old guys tell you that you are moving like lightening...even if they are in their late 80s.


Most summers we take a long weekend and spend it exploring a bit of nature in a new area close (but not too close) to home.  We don't do a big summer vacation (we like to save that for the colder months), but it's nice to do a little getaway towards the close of summer vacation.  This year we headed up north for some hiking, swimming, and a new adventure...rafting.

The first two days were spent hiking.  Liv might be small, but as long as you keep her in snacks, she can hike with the best of them.  The weather was weird (so you'll notice layers changing in the photos) and it was very buggy out (thank goodness for Deep Woods Off), but there were some awesome sights to see at Nicolet National Forest.

A lot of the trails we walked were created by men in the Civilian Conservation Corp.  In fact, they planted a lot of the forest as well.  Many of our state parks were developed by the CCC (one of my favorite trails at Devil's Lake is actually called CCC) and it is a piece of history that I am very interested in learning about as my Grandpa was part of the CCC.  So, when Matt found this amazing interpretive trail at a former CCC site, I may have become unbelievably excited!  I didn't take a ton of photos (which I now regret) because I seriously just took it all in...there were building remains and tons of information and these incredible historic photographs of the was amazing.

Some nights we ordered pizza and swam (and smuggled Spotted Cow into the pool area) and a few nights we went out to dinner (and entertained ourselves by taking photos across the table while waiting for our food).

Our biggest adventure of the trip was rafting/tubing.  Matt had called all over the state to find a place that would let the kids raft (most places were 8 years and up) and we actually picked the area based on this rafting place.  And then when our day came to raft, the weather was terrible.  So we sweat-shirted up and hoped for the best.  We had to wait for a big squall to come through, so we visited the Ranger's Station (the kids walked out with tons of Smokey Bear swag), had lunch and then headed out into the cold (air and water) in the afternoon.  It was cold, but so much fun!  These photos were taken with a disposable, waterproof camera so that quality is not great.  They are also deceiving in that we took most of these pics in the super calm part of the river, so crazy rapids are not shown.  The rapids were so much fun.  They weren't really big, but the water level was low so the kids were getting hung up a lot.  I learned that it is really hard to stay together in that kind of situation (and by learned, I mean had to bail into chest-deep water repeatedly to help out a kid or not get too far ahead).

EJ's "Blair Witch Project" selfie will always remind me of how my kids rose to the challenge of this rafting trip.  It was one of those adventures where we had to work together to get through it (especially because we were the only idiots rafting that entire day).  My kids really pulled together as a team and worked well and communicated well to get out of being stuck and to stay together.  They were so encouraging and it was so great to watch. translated into a week of peace at home after we returned.  It was crazy!  So...if you're ever looking to stop the fighting and gain a little peace, just take your kids on an Outward Bound-type adventure.

First Day of School 2014

They are off to the first day and it is super quiet around here.  Luckily we had a crazy, busy summer which means this house is seriously trashed.  It's not fun work, but it's keeping me busy and less sad to have no one to pick up at lunchtime today.

Speaking of lunch, I packed 3 lunches this morning.  Very weird to put them all into boxes instead of stashing Liv's in the fridge for later.  I decided to do something different with the girls' lunches and included a little joke with a note on the back (free printable here).  When I run out of these, I'm planning to include handwritten ones (using the ideas found here).  I hope it makes Liv have a happy lunchtime.  She was sad this morning that she won't be able to meet Grandma for lunch this year!