Monday, May 22, 2017

It's a personal update!

Hi guys! So here are some exciting things that are going on in my life right now:

1) I'm pregnant! Hurrah! We're expecting a baby boy in the next 4 months or so. I'm due on October 1, but with my first three kids I didn't make it to my due date, so I'm kind of expecting a late-September baby.

A friend of mine asked about timing and spacing between my kids: was this baby a surprise? No. Am I worried about having a larger age gap between the youngest and the baby? No. This little guy is coming a couple months later than we would have ideally chosen; he's coming at the start of the semester instead of the start of the summer, and has a college professor for a dad, but hey! We'll take it. And my belief is that siblings can have wonderful relationships with each other regardless of the age difference between them. Relationships are more about shared experiences, positive experiences, and love than they are about how far apart in age two people are.

Related: Here are my two favorite pregnancy books. I've been using them both again this time around!

2) I'm helping out with our church's Young Women's camp. I'm one of the assistant directors of the camp, and it is fun and challenging and thought-provoking and already rewarding to work on the project of putting together a week-long church camp for a lot of teens. I enjoy thinking through events and imagining scenarios that could come up -- planning for the big picture and planning for contingencies.

When people ask me how I'm going to camp while I'm pregnant, I can't help but smile. I am SO not worried. Whereas my experience as a teen was sleeping in a tent and cooking meals on a camp stove, I'll be sleeping on a mattress in a lodge and not cooking so much as a fried egg. There is a flushing toilet in the lodge, and, like, couches and electricity and stuff. I'm gonna be fine. And the vast majority of my work (planning, and preparing) will be done before the camp even starts. I'm looking forward to a week of relaxing in nature, reading my scriptures, and helping campers and leaders solve whatever problems may arise.

3) I'm leading the music for the children at church. This is such a fun way to spend every Sunday! I'm glad I have the chance to do it. Every fall we have a Sunday where the kids sing all their songs and speak parts, so we're busy preparing for that and I'm having fun making it fun for the kids. This last week I had the younger kids create a rainstorm with musical instruments, and I had some of the older kids pretend to be me, including choosing the song, leading the music, and giving the group feedback. They loved it and I did, too. I'm thinking once my turn at being Music Leader is done I might have to start teaching Kindermusik again. I love kids, I love music, it's just good times all around. Speaking of music I'm going to repost an old article I wrote for a friend about making parenting easier with music. I've had several people tell me they remember the article, so I figure it's time for a refresh.

4) I'm volunteering in Levi's classroom. He's in first grade, in a bilingual (English/Spanish) class. This is his teacher's first year, and when I asked her if I could start coming in to help she was super enthusiastic. So I go in once a week right after their lunch and mostly just work with individual kids who need some guidance on the assignment or help staying on task. Sometimes Jubilee is at preschool during this time, and other times I drop her off at a friend's house and we swap childcare.

5) I'm looking forward to going to BookCon in NYC at the end of next week. Loads of authors, tons of books . . . will I see you there?

Ok that's about all I can think of for now. Anything you want to know? How're you?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Favorite Gardening Picture Books?

Hello, friends! Well, I guess it's safe to say that it's tough for me to blog when I'm expecting a baby. More of a personal update coming from me, Alysa, soon. For now, I wanted to share with you this post that Bethany kindly wrote for us, when she heard I was pregnant and noticed that the posts here on Everead had slowed down a bit. Thanks Bethany! I'll chime in, too, on a few of these.

Favorite Gardening Picture Books

Bethany's son enjoying harvest time in their first family vegetable garden. 

This Spring my family is taking on the project of planting a vegetable garden. We had a successful garden out west, but living in New England brings different challenges to gardening. It’s worth the effort.

I’ve been gardening since I was little. I remember walking along the tidy rows of mounded dirt and using a ruler to measure an equal distance to drop in the seeds. In the summer, our days began at 6:00 am weeding the garden while the dirt was damp with dew and the sun was mild. Harvest time was my favorite. I liked pulling carrots straight from the ground, brushing off the soil and biting right in. I liked sitting on the shady porch with my Mom and snapping the beans to prepare for canning. Food from the garden tastes the best and I think some of that is because of my own effort put in.

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,” is a quote by Audrey Hepburn. I like to think this applies to raising children, too. Gardens are a great project to involve the kids and help more than just plants grow.

Here are some of my favorite gardening picture books to get you in the Spring of things:



Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller

This book quickly became my daughter’s favorite picture book. Sophie is a fun character and kids can relate to her way of thinking. It is a sweet story to help kids really love their vegetables.

Alysa: I really love this book too. It's very sweet, and so is its sequel!



Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens

Such a great story about using your smarts. It also introduces the concept of the different parts of plants. The book is read top to bottom, which is amusing because of the title, but kind of cumbersome for the reader.



If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

A beautiful book! The illustrations are captivating and the message meaningful. My little girls love animals and every page resulted in “ahh, so cute”.



Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

I love the vivid colors of this book. Everything looks delicious and inspires variety for the taste buds.

Alysa: We used to have this book! We let it go when we were paring down for a move, if I remember right. And yeah, I love Lois Ehlert's illustrations. There were some unexpected choices in food, too. Very fun.


Thanks again Bethany! We haven't done a full-blown garden here in Connecticut yet, but we did plant some peas. Tell me, fellow book lovers, what books would you add to this list?
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