Friday, May 30, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol 7: Reading, a Water Battle, and Other Random Thoughts

May is almost over. I have been enjoying this month between the end of school and the beginning of summer activities. I gave myself this month without school planning (or at least, without too much of it). I spent most of it reading, and that was lovely.

I also spent much of May in physical therapy, which was not quite so lovely. I have at times been very discouraged about the likelihood my upper back and shoulder would heal, but I am currently optimistic.

Over the course of the last month, I have been thinking often of those who are always in pain. I have been horribly short-tempered with my children and know it's because I am a complete failure at handling pain and discomfort well. I have been trying to remember to offer it up for those who cannot go to physical therapy and get better. Surprisingly, this offering often makes it a tiny bit easier for me to be nice to my kids.

Those of you who are facebook friends with me might have seen a link I posted to this blog post, How to Make Your Children Hate Reading. We signed up for one summer reading program this week and will participate in another one at a different library as well. I have been requiring a chapter a day from the two readers this summer (along with some math facts practice). The chapter has to be from a book I select, though I have let First Daughter choose from different options. First Son could, too, but he's mainly interested in getting it done, not wasting any time thinking about what he might like to read.
I try to choose fun books for summer. For example, First Son is now reading the The Half Upon a Time Trilogy and the third installment of the Hero's Guide series, which just came out, The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw. First Son and I did rock/paper/scissors to see who would get to read it first and I lost, so I have to wait my turn.

More than once, they have read more than one chapter of their books; that's what I want from summer reading programs. I look for books that are at or slightly below reading level with lots of humor and excitement.

On Memorial Day, the children convinced Grammy and Kansas Dad to have a water balloon and water gun battle. When I told First Daughter I never liked water balloon fights very much, even when I was seven, she was shocked. Kansas Dad said, "I can think of one word for that."

First Daughter replied promptly, "Boring!"

Yep, that's the word.

Second Son didn't last very long before he decided it was too hectic and too chilly. He and his puppy snuggled next to me.

I think the children have now decided all summer holidays warrant swim suits and water battles.

I'm not very good at following the news, but I saw this blog post linked off facebook about the Amazon/Hatchette disagreement. I'm an affiliate with Amazon and don't intend to stop shopping there entirely. When you live as far as I do from stores and have four kids to haul around with you, online shopping can be a great blessing.

I do, however, try to give my business to smaller bookstores when I can. My school shopping is almost entirely split between RC History and Sacred Heart Books and Gifts. (These are not affiliate links.) Unlike the local bookstores (and there are a few wonderful independent ones within driving distance), these stores carry books I need to buy for school. I've also had the pleasure of talking with both of the owners on the phone or through email, a delight unknown at giants like Amazon.

I also firmly believe in adequately compensating people for their work, whether it be making soap, writing or illustrating books, or making plastic do-dads. For that reason, I prefer to purchase fewer things or do without so I can a higher price if necessary to feel like I'm supporting someone's ability to properly feed, clothe, and support a family. It's not a perfect system and I'm not always consistent. Luckily, when you mostly want to sit at home and read a book, the needs are few.

My birthday was this week. I don't feel like I should be old yet, but my gray hairs beg to differ. Can you guess where we went to celebrate?

Kansas Dad has started painting our white picket fence. It's going to look amazing when he's done. We're going to try to get the kids to help paint, too. Luckily they really will think it's fun because the older two already know the Mark Twain trick.

Have you checked out the Unbound blog yet? I've mentioned it before. If you've glanced at it and didn't find anything interesting, now's your chance to help guide the content. They have posted a short reader survey (very short, I promise) and are looking for lots of helpful responses.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. 2 -- that was a great article.
    3 -- i hate water fights too and can picture aaron having the same convo with one of our kids about me. he often asks me if i was ever a child before...
    5 -- sushi? bookstore?? both???

    1. With the kids we went out for frozen yogurt with all the toppings. Kansas Dad and I went out the following night, just the two of us. Normally we would have had sushi, but my stomach was a bit blah, so we opted for something less exciting. Then we went to see the X-Men movie, which was really fun.

      Kansas Dad asked for funny stories from when I was a kid one of the first times he met my family and there weren't any. No one could think of one. He was dumbfounded and thought I'd be embarrassed, but I was actually kind of proud.


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