Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Only in Books...

"Only in books has mankind known perfect truth, love and beauty." -George Bernard Shaw

A while back on one of those meme’s going around on Facebook or through email where you have to check off all of the things on a specific list that you had done at this point in your life, one of the listed items was “Read at least 50 books in one year”. I rarely complete those meme’s and I don’t think I did that one, but it got me to thinking about how many books I do and don’t read. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever even come close to reading 50 books in a year. When I was younger I didn’t like to read that much. Oh, I read most of the Sweet Valley Twins books and all the Christopher Pike books I could get my hands on, but I just wasn’t a voracious reader. It might have been because I tend to be a slow reader, or the fact that I can’t have any distractions while I’m reading (I actually tend to listen to Jazz music with no words to help tune out any other distractions) or possible I just didn’t like a lot of the books I was “given” to read at school. Who knows, but then I worked at a book store one summer and each of the employees had to write up a little review of a book they liked to have it displayed on the “employee pick of the month” wall. So, I started reading more and fell in love! So, I decided that this 50 books in a year thing might be a fun challenge for me. It would have been a lot easier back before I was married and had kids and a full-time job because my “free” time was a lot more plentiful back then, but I’m still going to give it a try. What have I got to lose? Reading a lot more books along the way, of which I’m sure some will be wonderful and life changing, while others I’m afraid will be lacking. But how else will I ever find out.

I actually started this challenge back in February. So far I’m up to eight books! Since it is just for myself I’m making the rules however and I’m including books we read together as a family and books that I read with Ari. I am not however including books I read with Devyn...ha ha ha. I would be up to my 50 books in no time since I read multiple books a day to her. A few weeks ago Ari was complaining a little that I read at least two stories to Devyn every night at bedtime, but I don’t read to her anymore at bedtime. I kind of just thought she had gotten old enough that she didn’t care if I read to her anymore and she is a voracious reader herself so she if often trying to sneak in a few pages of whatever book she is reading at the moment at bedtime anyway. But, I decided since she asked it certainly couldn’t hurt to have a little one on one time with her so we started a book that she had gotten from a book fair some time ago but never gotten around to reading, The Giver by Lois Lowry. We also like to read together as a family, well the three oldest of us that can actually understand what’s going on in the story anyway, and we read all the time in the car instead of listening to the radio. Right now we are reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and I’m thoroughly enjoying them. That leaves 4 books that I read just for myself. The Book Thief, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Last Song and The Lucky One. I liked A Thousand Splendid Suns by far better than any of the rest…a must read in my opinion! If you would like to follow along with my reading journey I will be tracking all of my books on Good Reads. I only tend to review books if I have strong feelings but I do always rate them. Right now I'm reading four books, The 4th Percey Jackson book as a family, Gathering Blue with Ari, The Color of Water on my own and The Lost Symbol with Ken! Also, if you have any suggestions for must read books I’d love to hear them…I’ve got a ways to go to get to 50 books :-)

While I’m on the topic of book suggestions, if there are any teachers out there, or just anyone who knows a lot about books, I’m looking for good ideas for Ari. She is a very good reader. In fact while we were at her parent teacher conference the a couple weeks ago her teacher told us she had the highest Lexile level (just a way for teachers to determine a student’s reading comprehension ability) in her class…even higher than the teacher’s (although it’s a bit of a misnomer seeing as the teachers was rated at 1500+ and Ari’s is 1502). The problem with this is that most of the books that fit into her reading range either aren’t necessarily appropriate for her or they are just not interesting to her. She is only 11, but wants to start reading more “teenage” type books like the Twilight series. Most of her friends have read it, her teacher even has them in the classroom, but I just don’t think they are appropriate for an 11 year old (especially the 4th book) so I’m making her wait. I told her she can read them when she’s 13, which she’s not thrilled about. But how do I continue to encourage her love of reading and encourage her to read at a “challenging” level without compromising on what it is that I allow her to read? Any suggestions would be helpful!!!

Follow up on dresses

Thank you for all of your suggestions.

We finally found this cute matching skirt and dress for Ari and Devyn...thanks Grandma...and the skirt for Ari is perfect. Plenty long enough and the shirt she picked out is cute and modest as well.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Every year growing up my sisters and I got new Easter dresses. I loved getting a new dress in the spring and I loved the tradition. My mom even continued it on into my college years and I have a sorority sister that still remembers that and thought it was the neatest tradition. I just thought it was what everyone did, but apparently that isn’t so.

Because I loved it so much it’s a tradition I’ve kept up with my girls. Often they are beautiful dresses made by Grandma (my mom). My 11 year old is growing up though and she’s not so into dresses to begin with. She is starting to be able to wear clothes from the Jrs. Sections and that is her preferred area to shop since she is 11 going on 17. And I have to admit that the dresses in the kids section do seem to be a little on the juvenile side for her. My issue is that as I’ve looked around online (we don’t have any department stores in my city) I’m very disillusioned with what I’m able to find:

Don't get me wrong, some of these dresses are "cute" but definitely not appropriate.

Either it’s too short, too low cut, sleeveless or pretty much looks like the wearer should be working a corner somewhere. Most of which I wouldn’t even let a 17 year old wear let alone an 11 year old. Ari is also very picky. She’s pretty much a tomboy and prefers jeans and t-shirts and preferably in black, so finding any dress or skirt that she’s willing to wear in the first place is pretty difficult without all the challenges of modesty.

We recently had parent teacher conferences and all the 6th graders had to bring home, sign and have their parents sign a behavioral contract because there have been so many issues this year, and if they didn’t follow these rules they would miss one or more of the end of the year activities including 6th grade graduation. One of the bullet point items on the list was that the students follow the school dress code. I’ve long thought that the school was way too lenient on what the kids could wear to school and it’s sometimes a challenge for Ari to understand why she can’t wear some of the things her friends are wearing. But during this conference we asked the teacher about the contract and if Ari was an offender in any of the category. She went over the list with us point by point and said that she didn’t feel Ari was having issues with any of the items on the list, but she did mention that they were having a lot of problems with girls showing too much cleavage…but that Ari had never been one of them (to which DH replied…”nor will she be”), but seriously, showing cleavage in the 6th grade? What is wrong with parents these days?

So, anyone have any good ideas as to where I could look for a not too dressy, yet not too casual (it will be for church) dress that’s not too immature, but doesn’t make my daughter look like she’s trying to be a street walker?