Thursday, February 11, 2016


I'm thankful for life.

What's something that you're thankful for?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

MOVIES I WATCHED: 12/15/15 - 2/8/16

A Smile as Big as the Moon
I read A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and Their Inspiring Journey Through U.S. Space Camp, written by Mike Kersjes, back in 2012, but our library system didn't have the movie at the time. They have it now, so we watched it as a family and everyone enjoyed it. It's a great story, whether in book or movie form. We actually watched it in the late summer or early fall, but I forgot to list it back then.

Ramona and Beezus
This was our selection for a family movie night and it had each W laughing at one point or another. I've only read one or two Beverly Cleary books, and only when the kids had them assigned for school, but this movie almost made me want to read more of them.

War Room
Tim and I watched this together one night. It served as a good reminder to make prayer a high priority, to take responsibility for our own behavior, and that there are always consequences for our choices, even in the midst of grace.

Home Run
A professional baseball player whose alcoholism is destroying his life and career finds himself coaching a kids' team in his hometown. It's definitely a "happily ever after" kind of movie and fairly predictable, but it was fine. Celebrate Recovery, an organization I have no personal experience with, but that friends have been helped greatly by, is part of the movie,

He Named Me Malala
This is the documentary of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani young woman who, at age 15, was shot in the face by the Taliban for speaking publicly about the importance of and right to an education in girls' lives. She'll be 19 this year and continues to make advocacy her life's work. Tim and I watched this together, but will be having the big boys watch it soon. It pairs well with Girl Rising, for those who haven't seen either movie. I plan on reading her book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, as well, and will check out Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words, written by Karen Leggett Abouraya and illustrated by L. C. Wheatley, or something comparable if the library doesn't have it, for the younger kids.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


I'm thankful for the internet.

What's one thing that you're thankful for?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


This window is right above my kitchen sink and I love being able to see outside while I'm standing there. It's hard to see in this picture because it's currently bare, but there's a small tree right in front of the bushes at the edge of the yard, between the bushes and the house. We have two bird feeders hanging on it and the leaves are really pretty in the spring and fall, so it's a nice view from the kitchen.

I've lived in one other place with a window above the sink, but this one has an advantage the other didn't. It opens to our front porch. That means it's handy for acknowledging guests and telling or motioning them to come in, even if I'm in the middle of something and can't come to the door. It's also really handy for solicitors I don't want to ignore, or can't ignore because we're three feet away from each other and have made eye contact, but don't want to get locked into a conversation with. Window conversations just don't last as long as door ones.

Monday, February 1, 2016


Orphan Train, written by Christina Baker Kline
I loved this novel and read it in one sitting. A great mix of historical information, multi-generational relationships, foster care and adoption, overcoming difficult circumstances, and people helping those in need.

BiblioTech: Why Libraries matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, written by John Palfrey
Jennifer mentioned this book in a reading group and I thought it sounded interesting. I read every word of some chapters and just skimmed others, but there's a lot of good information in it. Among other things, Palfrey talks about the importance of free, public access to information in a democracy, the value of both of print and digital books and information, how libraries foster a sense of community, the importance of libraries for students who otherwise wouldn't have quiet places to study, people to answer their questions, or access to the internet that they need to complete assignments.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, written by Frederick Douglass
We recently picked up Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass, written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by London Ladd, from the library. I read it to the kids at lunch one day, realized I'd never read anything about Douglass before, then put this book on hold for myself. I read the introduction and preface, which were written by other men, but it was the actual narrative that I truly enjoyed. Of course, one can't actually enjoy the description of a life that no human should ever have to live, but Douglass was a well-spoken man, discerning in what information should be shared, and able to give a glimpse into the realities of slavery that many slaves could not for lack of ability to speak articulately or write legibly (if at all), or would not because of the incredibly valid fear of retribution. I'm going to have the big boys read it soon.

p.26, ... an expression of feeling has already found its way down my cheek. (Speaking of songs sung by slaves, but so fitting for the reader of  his narrative.)

p.89, They do nothing towards enlightening the slave, whilst they do much towards enlightening the master.  < snip>  Let us render the tyrant no aid; let us not hold the light by which he can trace the footprints of our flying brother.  (Speaking of those who shared of their involvement in the underground railroad and his belief that their words did more harm than good.)

p.92, But I remained firm, and, according to my resolution, on the third day of September, 1838, I left my chains, and succeeded in reaching New York without the slightest interruption of any kind. (The brevity of this sentence, given its significance in his life, really struck me.)


Tinkers, written by Paul Harding
I really wanted to like this book about a dying clock fixer's memories of his childhood and his dad, but I just couldn't get into it. I like the idea of it, but it felt disjointed to me.


Why? Answers to Everyday Scientific Questions, written by Joel Levy

Friday, January 29, 2016


We usually hunker down at home for most of the week, especially Monday through Wednesday. Those three days usually find us buckling down on school stuff, then we have a lighter load on Thursday (it's often a rough day because we're up late on Wednesday, so we set the bar low) and Friday (we meet with our homeschool group morning and aren't motivated to do much work after we get home). 

This week, though, the sun was shining on Monday and wasn't going to be for the rest of the week. I set my Type A tendencies aside late morning, told everyone to get dressed, and we headed out to move our bodies and soak up some rays for a little bit. I mentioned on Facebook that we were heading out, so Desiree and her kids were able to join us as we walked through Graham Oaks

Homeschooling isn't always dreamy (no life choice ever is), but one of the things I like the most about it is having the flexibility to seize the moment ... and sometimes the moment is Oregon sunshine in January. Fresh air, sunshine, and an hour or so with friends was a great way to start the week.

Tuesday morning found us at the library. Wednesday night we went to Bible study.

On Thursday I was able to enjoy a kid-less (well, except for one cute newborn that I got to snuggle) lunch with Pam and Megan at Singer Hill Cafe. We're all from the same town, but Pam and I hadn't seen Megan in over twenty years. It was great to spend a couple hours visiting with each other!

As a sidenote, that was my first time eating there. I'd asked for restaurant suggestions in that area on Facebook and Singer Hill was recommended by multiple people. Tasty food, great atmosphere, outdoor seating in good weather, tons of plants, and an art gallery. 

Friday mornings are always spent with our homeschool group, but they were going on a field trip today that we opted out of. We headed to OMSI instead and spent four hours having fun there, including running into a couple families from church. Tim had a sub meeting in Portland this morning, so he popped in for a surprise visit between the meeting and heading to Magnum

The kids and I came home for about five minutes, just long enough to check accounts, gather things that were due, and snag everyone's cards, then we headed off to the library. I didn't have my regular camera, but I snapped a few pictures on my phone. I'm so glad the little Ws enjoy reading!

We'll definitely need to get back to our normal routine on Monday, but this week was fun!

Thursday, January 28, 2016


I'm thankful for flowers that bloom in January.

What's something that you're thankful for?