Posted tagged ‘Family’

Sea Glass Summer

December 12, 2019

If you’re like many of us who have been inundated with snow, sleet, wind, and rain, this may be the book that will lift your winter spirits.

sea glass

Sea Glass Summer written by Michelle Houts and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline tells a story of how a young boy called Thomas spends the summer at his grandmother’s island cottage. She gifts Thomas with a magnifying glass that was his grandfather’s. Each day, Thomas and his grandmother search the beach for treasures left behind by the sea. His grandmother finds a piece of sea glass which she hands to Thomas, saying “…after being broken, tossed in the saltwater and sand, the pieces turn smooth and cloudy.” She adds, “…your grandfather used to say that each piece of sea glass has a story all its own.” That night, with his sea glass nearby, Thomas dreams of a ship from long ago as seen in Ibatoullines’ realistic illustrations. As the ship is christened with a bottle of champagne, pieces of the bottle fall into the ocean. Sea glass days and sea glass night dreams make up Thomas’ summer. At the end of the summer as Thomas and his grandmother are ferrying off the island, Thomas drops his grandfather’s magnifying glass and pieces fall into the sea. The story fast forwards to many years later when a young girl who is visiting a family island cottage shows her Papaw Tom a piece of sea glass she found. He carefully examines it and says, “…each piece of sea glass has a story of its own.” That night with her sea glass nearby, she dreams of a boy named Thomas.

I’m fascinated by this story because our family loves hunting for sea glass on the beaches of New England. Bagram Ibatoulline’s realistic illustrations are beautifully rendered, and Michelle Houts’ story inspires imaginative thinking. The author and illustrator weave a story of family, history, and the art of sea glass. Make sure to check this out!

Happy Holidays!

December 20, 2018

FullSizeRender (38)

In this season of hope and goodwill, may your heart and home be filled with the joys of love, family, and friends.

Merry Christmas!

 

Christmas Chaos

December 13, 2018

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

Actually, it’s beautiful and sunny, but the atmosphere inside is frightful.

I’m behind in my Christmas prep. This is not my normal self. I’m usually on top of things.

It’s time to make my list and check it twice.

“Deck the Halls!”

IMG_4542

Done!

I’m Dreaming of a “White Christmas” with every Christmas card I write!

IMG_4543

Done!

Christmas Cookies – Wh-a-a-a-t?

IMG_4544

Recipes – waiting patiently!

Presents – That’s Santa’s job!

Wrapping –  Can’t wrap without presents!

What else?

Laundry baskets full of dirty clothes.

Dust bunnies hopping in every nook and cranny of the house.

Grocery shopping – the cupboards are bare.

There is chaos in our household. Guests invited weeks ago are expected for Saturday dinner. Family will be here on Sunday –  because there’s “No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”

I keep telling myself, baby steps. Oh, oh, those baby steps remind me of the three sweet girls coming on Sunday. Curiosity will get the best of them. That means to get ready for the “Jingle Bell Rock” and roll of the Christmas tree.

All of this is making me a crazy woman. If I keep this up, “I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ for Christmas!”

“Breathe in…breathe out,” says my husband. “You can do it.” And then he points to the tree in our backyard that he decorated with me in mind. His heart lights up my life!

IMG_4490

Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. ~Washington Irving

 

 

 

Time

November 8, 2018

“…it can come and go and you never even notice it was there.”

forever

In Forever or a Day, Sarah Jacoby’s poetic text refers to something that is elusive. The first two pages depict a young child staring out a window as the sun rises. In the almost deserted street with skyscrapers in the background, there is a newspaper truck with Times written on the side. This is the first hint of what that elusive something is. Throughout the book, readers see a family as they move through the day. They pack suitcases, ride on a train, visit family and spend a day with them at the beach followed by an evening campfire. All too soon, their visit is over, and they retrace their steps back to their city home. Sarah Jacoby‘s illustrations are rendered in watercolors, color sticks, and mixed media. Page turns reveal bright and colorful daytime scenes and dark and sparkly nighttime scenes. Within the beautiful illustrations and text, there are layers to this story. It’s about family, love, mindfulness, and the passage of time –  time that can be elusive. This is a book you need to read slowly. Enjoy it. Appreciate it – especially with someone you love.

The Simple Pleasures of a Birthday

September 13, 2018

Tuesday was my birthday. My husband bought me flowers, an ice cream cake, and took me to lunch. Simple but so enjoyable.

IMG_4139

Lunch in Portsmouth Harbor

When I was young, every year on my birthday I wished for a pony. I never got one. Now that I’m older I understand why that wish was never granted. A horse is too big to wrap. There wasn’t enough room in a bedroom shared with my two other sisters. And a horse is definitely not a house-friendly pet when you live in a city.

While growing up, our family birthdays were never extravagant, but they were always memorable.

Birthday wishes began in the morning from my mother, father, and siblings and ended with a special homemade birthday dinner of my choice. The pièce de résistance was Angel Pie. It’s a cherished family recipe that I requested for my birthday every year. Chocolate perfection made with my mother’s magic touch!

Then there was the year our oh-so-fun next-door neighbors brought over a watermelon half with birthday candles stuck in it.

There were always cards from family and friends lined up for me to enjoy.

IMG_4144

Tuesday’s Flowers and Cards

On my 16th birthday, my mother prepared a party luncheon that included fresh flowers, silver, china, a delicious main dish, and Angel Pie for dessert.

On my 21st birthday, my parents took my best friend and me to a nice restaurant where we celebrated our September birthdays with champagne.

When I went away to college, my father made sure a proper birthday wish was always there for me. In the early morning hours of my birthday, and that meant in the middle of the night, he would call to be the first to wish me a happy birthday. He never ever missed a year.

The year my father passed away, I realized how much I would miss those obnoxious early-morning birthday calls. Then sometime in the middle of the night on my birthday that year, my phone rang. Being in a sleepy daze, I imagined it was a call from my father in heaven. On the other end of the phone was not my father’s voice but the voice of my daughter saying, “I’m calling to wish you a happy birthday, just like grandpa always did.” Ah, the pleasures of having a wonderful, thoughtful daughter!

At 1:32 am on Tuesday of this week, my phone rang. It was my daughter calling to say happy birthday. She is insistent on keeping up the tradition that she knows means so much to me – no matter how annoying!

It’s the simple pleasures of life that bring you happiness.

Cake anyone?

IMG_4145

It’s not Angel Pie but ice cream cake will do!

 

The Relatives Came

February 8, 2018

“One of the things that binds us as a family is a shared sense of humor.” ~Ralph Finnes

We came from California, from Texas, from New Hampshire, from Massachusetts, from Florida, from Washington state, and from Washington D.C.  The core group: A brother and his wife. Three sisters and their husbands. Along with us came our daughters, their husbands, and their children. Three generations of the family were together again. We hugged. We kissed. We laughed. We cried. We’re a small family with big hearts. In all, there were nineteen of us plus one on the way. We were missing only two who were unable to attend. While the children played, the adults gabbed, ate, drank, and laughed some more. For one long weekend, we were a wild and crazy family again.

IMG_4551

Sometimes you don’t realize how much you miss your family until you come together, and the love that surrounds you is magical.

 

“You go through life wondering what is it all about but at the end of the day it’s all about family.” ~ Rod Stewart

One of my favorite books is The Relatives Came written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Stephen Gammell.  It’s a Caldecott Honor book filled with charming illustrations and a story with heart.

relatives

Embrace your family!

“I think the family is the place where the most ridiculous and least respectable things in the world go on.” ~ Ugo Betti

 

 

 

 

 

Let There Be Light

January 25, 2018

When we moved to a new state and a new home in a new housing development, everything was … new. Meeting our neighbors helped us feel more comfortable in our surroundings, and as we cultivated new friends, smiles lit up our faces.

Sometimes you find neighbors don’t always agree with everything happening in a community, but when the developer of our neighborhood put a new “street light” at the entrance to our development, we all came together. The decision was unanimous. The light must go.

It’s wasn’t a street light. It was a  light pole that belonged in front of someone’s house to light up a driveway or walkway. If you blinked, you’d miss the tiny glow it cast. I kiddingly said, “Maybe the snowplow will take care of it for us.”

It did.

IMG_3214

As of now, the light post lies face down in a puddle of slush. It’s a sad ending to the tale of the little light that didn’t shine brightly enough. The homeowners are in the process of replacing the light with a genuine street light that has a luminosity that will guide all those who enter our community.

Speaking of light …

Here are two sparkling books that will throw light on the subject of light.

Rabbit

The Way Home in the Night written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi, Kids Can Press, 2017

windows

Windows  is written by Julia Denos and illustrated by E.B. Goodale, Candlewick, 2017

Both of these books take place in the evening when lights illuminate the inside of neighborhood homes and businesses. Those looking in from the outside can catch a glimpse of what is happening on the inside. These slice of life images inspire curiosity, imagination, and a safe feeling of home and community. I especially love the lyrical language in The Way Home in the Night. The charming illustrations and text in both of these books make them a must read. And once you do,  I know you’ll agree with me.

Now, if you’re in the dark like we were this week because of a power outage, you might like this book.

blackout

Blackout is written and illustrated by John Rocco, Disney-Hyperion, 2011

When the lights go out, what’s a family to do? With the electronics down and out, a family learns how to reconnect with one another. Appealing text and illustrations show how family time can turn into quality time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: