Weekend Shenanigans


This weekend was the first spent as a family in over a month. Andrew and I passed the baton back and forth, back and forth for the whole month of May and though we have enjoyed all the traveling (well, I have enjoyed all the traveling), we needed time to reconnect. Friday was spent frantically gardening and mulching, racing the clock before the skies opened up for a weekend full of rain. It happens that way sometimes — the weather is beautiful for so long and then, as soon as you have a truckload of mulch delivered half onto your yard, half onto the street, it decides to rain for three days straight.

But working alongside Andrew for the full morning and much of the afternoon was so good. We match each other’s pace and somehow compliment the other’s work habits (Andrew with the speed and heavy work, me with the detail work and finishing). I found myself spreading straw under full strawberry plants with cool rain pouring down onto me after too much hot sun and I kept working as my boys looked bewildered at me through the open back door. Oliver in particular seemed amused and after shooting me a Cheshire grin, joined me in the rain by running around the back yard squealing. Milo joined him soon after, and then we all got too cold and came indoors. A lot of work completely stalled, as the rain hardly let up for the next few days, but once it warms up and dries out a bit, we’ll be back out there to finish up.

Saturday was very bittersweet. We got together one last time as a family with our dear friends Kim, Dave, Hugo, and Ezra before they head out of the country. The good-bye has always been inevitable, but the past two years passed much too quickly and my heart has been heavy at the thought of losing them. Of course, good friendships survive the test of distance and time, but we have been spoiled by this amazing family and the ease we feel whenever we’re around them. Ah, well, another good excuse to travel abroad (I keep telling myself)!


I will miss this guy so very very much! I met Ezra when he was an hour old, wrapped up tightly in his strong mama’s arms in bed on a lovely October day. His brother, too, is a sweet and smart and sensitive little guy, and I know Oliver in particular will miss their pretend games and snuggles. DSC_0359DSC_0369

The above shot is just how I think of both of them, Kim witty and funny and generous and thoughtful, Dave just as witty but more soft-spoken, tender and patient with our boys, both smart and just delightful to be around. Kim and Dave, we love you and will miss you so much!

The rest of the weekend was very low key and reflective. We spent time together indoors, as it was dreary and cold on Sunday. A short trip to the science center yielded silly family photos, we grocery shopped together and talked about more upcoming travel and summer plans. And of course, the standard loads and loads of laundry (it’s amazing how much more we do in the spring and summer with all the mud and outdoor play… and popsicles). DSC_0439DSC_0458

Milo has been completely obsessive about reading. He reads and reads and reads — nose in a book first thing in the morning, reading through breakfast, taking a break to play with his brothers only to go back to the book after ten minutes. He curled up in the shopping cart and did not so much as look up during the whole grocery trip, car ride back, even carrying a bag of groceries with one hand while holding the book open with the other, reading, reading, reading. He is reading now as I type this. His preferred series right now is Goosebumps (really geared more towards kids twice his age), which I went back and forth about and even discussed the appropriateness of with our favorite children’s librarian (who assured me that as long as we were also reading good literature along with it, it certainly wouldn’t harm anyone). And well, as long as they don’t give him nightmares, it’s okay I think! What’s your take on it? DSC_0415DSC_0400DSC_0374And Emil, of course, pushing any and all boundaries at all times as any three-year-old will: What happens if I put the tricycle in the kiddie pool? What is it like to wear Mama’s high heels? How many popsicles can I get away with eating in one day? How many costume changes can one kid accomplish in one day? Can I wear a cape backwards and inside out? Two capes at once? How many times will my brother let me knock down his magna-tile structure before pummeling me? All good questions, really.

Happy June 1st. I hope it’s a good day for you!


8 thoughts on “Weekend Shenanigans”
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  1. I think most kids go through a Goosebumps phase. My older two have, definitely. It was only the first in a bunch of books they adored and I despised. But I read a book by Donalyn Miller, called “The Book Whisperer” that really advocated for respecting children’s choices in reading. So whenever they reach for a book that I think is less than awesome I keep my opinion to myself and listen to what they have to say about it. Sometimes they even manage to change my opinion.
    (That does not stop me from suggesting other titles, or from reading different kinds of books to them at night, but that’s another topic for another day.)

  2. As someone who read a lot of garbage as a kid and ended up wanting to study literature, I think it’s totally fine. Eventually he’ll get bored with Sweet Valley Twins–I mean Goosebumps–and move on to even more exciting things!

  3. I agree with Brooke and Ami – I give the girls pretty free reign on their book choices (within reason – no trashy romance novels or anything). I also survived the Sweet Valley High phase and lived to tell the tale.

    One of my biggest goals is to get to the library more this summer. Seems like an easy goal, but I still find it a challenge since we work and are in camp all day on the weekdays. It feels like the weekends fill up quickly with outdoor things, but it’s just a mindset I need to overcome.

    My mother was a teacher so we had summers off and I was always the girl that made the most ridiculous reading goal for the library’s summer reading program, and my cowboy, astronaut, dinosaur, sandcastle – whatever the summer theme was – always had the most metallic stars on it for number of books read. Ella is the same kid. She finishes a book and flips back to the start to read it again – sometimes reading it six or seven times in a row because she might lose precious reading time if she had to walk over to the bookshelf and select another title. This used to drive me batty, but then she told me how much she discovered new on the second read, and the third, and the sixth, and so I shut up. Reading too much is never a bad thing.

    I sort of want your Milo to be my guinea pig. Ella loved the Penderwick series, and all of her girlfriends (and many of my adult girlfriends) love them. I’m curious to know if boys would relate to them as much. Maybe pick one up at the library next time and let me know. It seems like there’s so much crossover with girls reading books that look like they are marketed to appeal to boys or have male protagonists, but I feel like I don’t see it the opposite direction as much. Ella and I have talked about this. She feels like the entire bookstore is open to her – but when she was going through some of my boxes of old books, she wondered if the Babysitter Club books, etc. would have appealed to boys (doubtful). I’m convinced the Penderwicks would, but have no test subject! 🙂

  4. Oliver and Emil look so much a like in those photo strip photos! Wow! And love the music selection for Music Mondays this week! Thanks!

  5. Kristin, I will give it a try! Right now, Milo’s goal is to read every single Goosebumps book our library carries, and he’s already getting close! So as soon as he finishes them, I’ll steer him in the Penderwick direction. I think they look so cool!

  6. My just-turned eight-year-old is a crazy reader too, and has tried the Goosebump series, but admitted that they scared him, which I was surprised by–he’s read all the Harry Potter books and a few other really good, but somewhat scary books (right now he’s reading Sword of Mercy, fourth in the Peter and the Starcatchers series, which has some scary parts in them). My only guess as to why Goosebumps scares him but the others don’t (at least not to the same degree), is that perhaps the primary goal of Goosebumps is to give the kids a little scare, and the others have more story and character development to them, thus watering down the fear factor. Or, the other storylines and characters are so intriguing, they prod the reader on, no matter how scared they are? Just a guess–I personally haven’t read the Goosebumps books, but have read Harry Potter and three of the Starcatchers.

    I absolutely agree on letting them pick their own books, within reason, while also letting them have access to good literature. I so often want to go the library by myself to pick out his books, but when I see his stack of self-selected books, I’m usually happy with the mix-some “meh” books, some sports books I could care less about, and some really good picks (in my mom-opinion). I think any reading, even comic books-which I admittedly have a soft spot for-can lead kids of every reading level to new imaginary places, and stretch their minds. As far as making sure they also read “good” literature, I tend to leave a lot of books of my choosing around to tempt him (and his sister, who’s just begun to read), which they usually indulge in. I also tend to offer a book of my choosing when we read together, back and forth, before bed. It doesn’t have to be my pick-I just offer it when it’s time for a new book, and he usually bites. Some of his favorite series (because they do tend to love series at these ages), are “Seekers,” “Warriors,” “Beasts of Olympus,” “Peter and the Starcatchers,” “Series of Unfortunate Events,” and of course, “Harry Potter.” Love this age of burgeoning, furious reading!

  7. Ahh Goosebumps, those were good times. My 9 year old enjoys the I Survived series and has just finished the Shiloh trilogy. Also popular among his friends is the My Life as a Dog series and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

  8. Great question about book choices! I’m struggling with that myself. We go to the library, and my son returns with a stack of questionnable choices. I cringe at his choices, mainly because I am still helping him to read (and am thus forced to read the garbage – er, books, alongside him). He hasn’t found a series that has clicked, yet. We tried “The Familiars,” which is supposed to be less scary than Harry Potter. Our local bookstore suggested the “Bad Kitty” series (bad Kitty gets into some tough situations but always learns from it). Other than those, it’s been random Star Wars, and comics-style books. 🙁

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