Book Worm

I know i’ve mentioned before that I love books….but I love READING too (you’d think they’re mutually exclusive, but they’re not). However it occurred to me yesterday that I have a long “to read” list but rarely ever sit down to do it! So starting tonight I’m starting a “reading exercise”. For one week I will read at least 1 hour every night. After that I will commit to at least 1 hour 3x/week. I know that’s nothing, but after the kids go to bed the computer, tv (& knitting) and books all fight for my attention. Usually my brain is fizzled out from a long day & 30 min. of computer followed by an hour of TV win.

so now you know my deep dark secret. An hour of tv a day (or..shh…2!!) !!!!! ahhh!!!! wasting my LIFE away!

what’s funny is that i know some will read that & assume i’m 100% joking. Others will read it and feel pity (or disgust?) for my poor weak will-powered tv-owning soul. I’m 70% joking. In case you were wondering.

Right now I’m working on:

Drawing with Children. Very fascinating, but not exactly a relaxing, ‘fun’ read.

Heaven. Yes, i’m STILL reading this one. It started out fantabulous, but…it’s sort of lost me. I think it’s the combination of: how he repeats stuff incessantly & i have to assume it’s for the benefit of 1) people unfamiliar with biblical concepts & 2) people who aren’t reading it in sequential order & are skipping around to chapters that interest them, thus he has to ‘remind’ us of already laid out presuppositions (I’m looking at YOU ryan!). I’m trying to appreciate it for that, but it’s still annoying me. That & sometimes I feel like the things he draws from scripture are…well…i don’t know. I feel like sometimes he goes to great lengths to argue for something to be interpreted as literal that most people assume is figurative…but I don’t see how it REALLY affects anything either way (or in some cases it just ‘feels’ off..). Some things I can see….but a lot of it…I don’t know… I’m going to leave it there, because I am not an exegetical genius (or even very good at it….ok I don’t REALLY remember the difference between exegesis & uh..that other word I confuse exegesis with a lot). Anyway, there are AWESOME bits in it and I still recommend it…just not as “across the board” as I expected I would.

Stepping Heavenward. Ok…so i haven’t actually started this one. But I SHOULD HAVE started it weeks ago, because it’s for a women’s bible study I’ve been attending. Rumor has it I’m really going to love it (it’s autobiographical fiction)…I just hate the idea of 3 books on the burner at the same time…

Plus I’ll be getting A Well Trained Mind this month and I know when it gets here I’m going to want to devour it immediately (homeschool books seem to suck me in the way a good fiction book did back when i was a kid…so absorbed the earth could crumble around me & I’m left unaware…talk about nerd…). ..I don’t already have it b/c there’s a new edition coming out in February and I’ve reserved a copy.

Oh, Asher and I are also reading Froonga Planet together. Grace actually pulled it off a shelf in the “big kids” section, and due to the cover Asher made me check it out. I tried to explain that it’s a LONG book & there’s very few pictures, but no go. We’ve been reading at least one chapter a day (very short chapters), up to 3 (i only stop because I want to…Asher would prefer I keep going…but Grace isn’t the slightest interested so not a lot of long reading opportunities for us). It’s actually a very fun book. I am just sad that it’s a sequel. Had I realized that at the library I would’ve gotten the first one, then read this one. oh, I have to tell this quick story: The first day we read it, once he realized there aren’t hardly any pictures, he started just staring at the floor while i read. At one point it described one of the aliens & he started pushing at the book, looking at the cover. “look mom, that one is a Hoofnoggle”. It reminded me of when I first started reading chapter books & how I’d flip back & forth from the cover trying to figure out who was who as the characters were introduced.

But that book doesn’t count. ;)

Ok, so there you have it. Public announcement that I will attempt to stop becoming a vegetable upon bedtime & start enjoying books again. I miss books that are so good that they keep me away from other more important tasks. It’s been a long time i’ve read one of those. After I finish the current “to read” list, I will be reading a ‘fun’ book. I don’t know which yet. Feel free to recommend. It is ALLOWED to be a ‘classic’ or something that isn’t entirely brain candy, but only if it’s good enough to REALLY suck me in like a movie.

Which reminds me, Mommyknows is giving away a book this week.  I’ve still been too lazy to look up the reviews, but rumor has it it’s a really great book  (&  no i don’t get extra entries for plugging the giveaway.  I just enjoy her blog).

Seuss & Politics

Politics have been on the brain a little bit from yesterday.  It was amazing to watch the inauguration yesterday with the kids (i twittered through it so you can experience some of it from a toddlers perspective).  While I did not vote for Obama (there, i said it..whew…wait…ya’ll probably already knew that), I never HATED the idea of him as president.  I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for him when from what I gathered he planned to back a bill that would affect abortion laws in a way i deem unfavorable.  It’s a hot-button issue for me.  My heart is pounding even as i type.  But all that to say, yesterday was exciting (I don’t like to look back once things start turning, so might as well be prayerfully optimistic!)…historic.  I’m proud to have been able to watch it with my kids.   I should probably now reveal that i am MASSIVELY ignorant when it comes to politics, so please don’t try to draw out further discussion from me.  I won’t know what you’re talking about.

Seuss has been on the brain because the kids watched the movie, “Horton Hears  a Who” the other night when we had dinner at a friends’ house.  I must be desperate for adult conversations because I managed to not watch it at all even though it was right in my line of vision & I could hear it.  AND they’ve never seen it before.  I usually like to preview new stuff with them…yeah, i’m over protective.  actually, i’m mostly nosy.  I want to know where tid bits that enter their vocabulary & playacting come from (ok, so i’m over protective).  So I’ve secretly been wanting to rent that ever since.  I’ve also never read the book.  Today we went to the library & among the stack we brought home, is “Horton Hears a Who”.

Now I REALLY want to see the movie.  Surely what came across to me as the main message of this book is not what they based the movie around?  I would be shocked if it were.  I don’t know if this if is REALLY the message of the book (remember, i’m not that smart, i just try to put off that air), but the phrase, “a person’s a person, no matter how small” was repeated throughout the book…making it seem blatant.   A Seuss book…about the sanctity of life?   Surely I’m reading into it.  Regardless I darn near sobbed through the book….managed to hide it from the kids by making my voice sound excited and they thankfully never looked up to see the tears running down my cheeks.  Not up for explaining that one yet.

Army Strong

My dad is a retired Army Colonel. While I’ve never had aspirations to join the military myself (ok there was a fleeting moment of contemplating the Army band…), nor did I hope to marry a military man (in fact it was on my checklist of potential candidates, “will not be joining the military”….little did i realize I might end up moving all over the place for mysterious reasons anyway). Regardless of my feigned aversion to military…Army commercials usually get me choked up. So do Johnson & Johnson ones.

Anyhow, due to commercials during football games Asher picked up the phrase “there’s strong, and then there’s Army Strong” a few months ago. lately he’s been using it a lot. just now i went to get him from roomtime & i stopped in the hall to listen for a minute. he was playing with the bible character dolls (‘action figures’ i mean) that pop & gigi gave him for christmas last year (they deserve their own post…weird, but i’ve warmed to them…i still hide them when we have visitors though). “David” was saying, “arg! I’m ARMY strong!” that was funny enough, but then he said, (i don’t know who he was talking to…let’s hope it was Goliath, as he’s the only ‘bad guy’ in the group), “You are army weak!” A minute later someone (i don’t know who) was declaring him (or her) self “Army Powerful”.

and earlier this week he told me, “mom, you can be strong, but if you join the army they make you army strong”

this is why 99.9% of the tv they watch is DVR, on demand, or dvd’s. no commercials.

It’s my Birthday and I’ll laugh if I want to

First, a few notes on Technology. Obviously in the Burns’ house we have no aversion to it. Ok, so I don’t really have any deep thoughts on technology but wanted to prep this story that has nothing to do with the purpose of this post.

A few days ago I was watching Higglytown Heroes with the kids (have I mentioned that I love having DVR?). It was one where “Pizza Guy” (who is probably the most irritating character, mostly because I think all they ever eat is pizza) tells a story explaining how he knows where to go to deliver pizza’s (*spoiler alert*). The “higglytown hero” of this episode is a map-maker. At the end of his little song he says, “and when you give people directions, you too can be a higglytown hero” (or something to that effect). Asher, without skipping a beat says, “Or give them a GPS.”

Excuse me while I go laugh at my own story for a bit.

Ok, part 2 and the real reason for the post: I often start my initial computer time of the day reading Ryan’s twitter. Seems funny to stalk your husband online, but there you have it. We also IM or text more than talk on the phone, so take that. Anyhow, this morning I clicked through on a twit to find This video and I’m still laughing. Couldn’t pass up sharing it with you today (thanks Ryan for the birthday laugh).

did I mention it’s my birthday? I get to start calling myself “old” today I think. I’ve been looking forward to 30 since I turned 20. I think because I thought by 30 surely I’d be smart & not having my emotions run so much by my circumstances. Can’t say that’s true, but I do care MUCH less about being cool. Don’t get me wrong I still want to be cool…I just don’t try as hard anymore…I got lazy.

Oops…I was blogging about this vimeo…right. Here you go:
Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn’t seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Adventures In Reading to My Kids

The kids and I do a lot of reading around here. I’d like to say it’s because we’re all such deep intellectuals, but it’s probably mostly due to the fact that I can sit on my bum & not have to play imaginary games with them. Yep, I read ’cause I’m lazy. And I love books. And I want my kids to love books.  That makes laziness ok right?

Asher has been willing to sit through a book since he was…well I can hardly remember him NOT sitting through one… in fact, when I was pregnant with Grace & REALLY not wanting to run around playing dinosaurs or trash truck (that was his first imaginary game…trash truck), we would literally sit & read books for hours.

Then of course Grace threw me for a loop & wouldn’t sit for a book until she was 2…in fact it wasn’t until we moved here & Asher picked up a “Dora the Explorer” book at the library for her (he literally chose it for her…all together now, “awwww…”) that she sat still for an entire book without pretty much being forced to. As much as I’m not a fan of books spun off from TV shows or lame disney movies (i’m hard on disney aren’t i? I’m sorry disney…), i am grateful to those 3 Dora books we then proceeded to check out. Ever since then she seems to be sucked into the book vortex. In fact the two of them would ASK me to read a rather lengthy version of “The Nutcracker” the past month, and sit attentive the whole way through. I even had trouble with that one.

Anyhow, since I would like to encourage them to enjoy books & also introduce them to “really good” books….ok, that’s all a sham too….i do this because it alleviates fights & allows me to read at least ONE book that I WANT to read. heh. What I do is before naptime every day we have “story time” & we each choose one book (if i’m in a particularly generous mood or if grace chooses a baby board book with no words, i will allow Asher (or myself) to choose 2). I have had to set rules, like “Asher, no dinosaur encyclopedias” (or “Only 1 page of the dinosaur encyclopedia”) or the newest, “Grace, no baby board books with no words please”…. but generally I read whatever they give me. Even if it means I have to read an annoying Pooh Bear book 4 days in a row (thank-you Grace).

Lately MY favorites have been, “The Mysterious Giant of Barletta” (super fun to read with an italian accent…i can’t do an italian accent, but the kids don’t seem to have noticed. I would LOVE to buy this & then make my parents italian neighbor read it for us) and “Hotel Deep. Light Verse From Dark Water“. I have decided that Tomie dePaola is one of my favorite children’s book authors. His stories are just very….enchanting. I’ve never read anything else by the second author, but here’s my favorite line from “Hotel Deep” :

The angulated wentletrap, in alabaster white, is one of many enemies to any sea anemone. If it sees anemones, it always takes a bite. (Anemones regenerate, so everything’s all right.)

Doesn’t that just slide off the tounge like smooth chocolate? (ok, so I’m a reader, not a writer.)  I’m a sucker for poetry books…I just LOVE to read them outloud.  My kids are kind enough to humor me, even if Asher does ask, “Mom, why do you always choose the Ocean book?”.  Heh…..Because we each get to choose one & if I have to read that darn pooh book one more time, I want to read my pretty ocean poetry book too!

Resolutions & all that Jazz

Ryan & i practiced our annual New Year’s Eve festivities last night. Watch TV and go to bed well before midnight. Last night it was the movie “Hancock”. I really enjoyed it even if the end was a bit….i dont’ know. something unsatisfying about it. Though I was grateful they spared the morbid unhappy ending. I watch movies for happy endings, ‘realistic’ or not. so there.

We are Tre cool for sure. I don’t even own a little black dress. I do own a long sleeved turtle neck sweater black dress though. What’s the deal w/winter formal dresses being made for people who live in tropical climates? I couldn’t even FATHOM wearing a strappy dress in december here! I’d never be able to take off my coat. Silly.

Anyhow, I do however do the cheesy “resolutions” thing. I’m never very serious about it & thus not sure if i’ve ever stuck with any (or even expressed them outside my brain), but I make them anyhow. This year I’m trying to be very realistic with it. Go small or go home baby.

So here we go: Resolved:

- Read & meditate on the Bible ‘regularly’. kinda cheating here since I made (& mostly kept) this one last year, but I figure it’s a good one to keep refreshing. This means more than once a week. Preferable MUCH more often than that (& it usually is), but wanted to give myself some flexibility here. I am after a “rule-follower” so I’ll beat myself up when (yes when) I fail. Probably not God’s intention that I put him on a “to-do” checklist.

- Make & drink Beet Kvass ‘regularly’. Also intend for this to be near-daily. but ya know…. I *almost* enjoy my kvass. Not “dishish-oso”, but not gross. MUCH cheaper than spending $50/month on probiotics. Oh yeah, and offer it to the kids regularly in the hopes that leading them to water will encourage them to drink. a girl can dream.

- Last but not least: As I commented on the blog post I’m about to link to: “enjoy them now” (in each “now” phase they go through!), “there are no one-size fits all (even in the same family)” & “Love God over all else”. Being a rather impatient person who loves to get opinions from other people & books on how to do things, It’s easy for me to rush past all the “now”, NOT enjoy the kids where they are & think I have to everything in ways that other people do (or say they do). I still think it’s good to “take polls” & read books, but in the end we need to do what is best for our individual kids/spouses/families & circumstances. I forget all that far to easily. Written in a much more eloquent way: Just Live Life with your Kids!

Happy New Year!!! Any “resolvers” out there?

Princess Grace

Thursday is library day. Which lately seems to mean the kids (either both or one) sleep in late, thus making it a mad morning rush to get to the bus stop on time. Today? Grace slept in till 9:30. 9:30!!! The past few months (more like 6), i’m lucky to have her sleep till 8 (i know, i know, whine whine, most kids wake at 5am or some ungodly hour like that). …I have a weekly/daily schedule to maintain, and this random wake-up time really messes me up.

Ok enough complaining, lucky for us, storytime is on break until January 5 (Asher’s birthday by the way). So we were able to be leisurely about it. Unfortunately, we were a bit too leisurely & I didn’t account for the 15min. walk to the bus stop due to the snow. We missed our first bus. Next one was due in 30 min. and Asher decided to romp in the snow with no snow pants on (not his fault, I failed to set down the “we are NOT playing in the snow right now” rules). So we dredged back home, changed his pants & got back to the bus stop just in time to catch the next bus. I’m tired just thinking about it. Anyhow, while at the library Grace pulled a book off the shelf & asked if we could ‘have’ that one. True to form, on the cover was a little girl, dressed like a pink princess. Added bonus, I got to tell her the name of the book, “Princess Grace“. She was ecstatic to say the least (and I forgot to bring the camera). “It’s me! It’s princess Grace, that’s me!”. When we read it before naptime a little bit ago, through the whole book she’d point to the main character & say, “I’m dancing” or “I sit!” (basically whatever the main character was doing, that was Grace). 2 things were particularly funny though.

1) if you already clicked through to the amazon link, you’ll note that the Grace in the book is not a little white girl. I find it humorous that my Grace hasn’t seemed to notice at all that she looks pretty different than her. And Asher’s only comment was, “but her hair is different than yours Grace” ( Asher seems to have a thing w/girls’ hair….he complains about red-heads…i don’t know what to do about this…).

2) The book is actually about how these (cough *disney-esque* cough) princesses don’t really do much besides look pretty (cough *& kiss princes* cough), and how “there is more than one way to be pretty”. I’d like to say Grace had a world-view altering experience via the book, but unfortunately, she started losing interest once the pictures stopped having so much pink & diamonds. There go my feminist plans for her.

..have I mentioned we’re giving her a (little people) pink castle/doll house thing for christmas? heh…i’m still going to hold out on barbie (or any other equally scantilly clad, wildly disproportioned, sex-kitten hussie of a doll….hmm…sounds like a touchy subject…) as long as I can… that’s my story & I’m sticking to it. :)

oh & another oddity, apparently my older sister wrote the book.

Family Worship

Saw this on another blog this morning. Almost didn’t post it, i mean, it’s clear early on where it’s going & honestly it’s rather painfully convicting…but i figure that’s probably a good reason to post it. Not to say it’s “always us”…but we have definitely not been immune to it.

At Least It Beat Walmart

So, on this thanksgiving I am doing an morning ritual I haven’t done in months… drinking coffee and browsing the interweb. One site that I visit from time to time is “google trends.” This site basically shows you what queries are currently being searched the most on the day/time you visit the site. It is a VERY interesting way to track the day’s news.

So, I went there this morning and was not too surprised when “thanksgiving” was #1. As I scanned down the list I was happy to see that prayer made it in the top 15. While it isn’t a top 10, at least it beat Walmart!

Thankful for my mistake

Pretty much the moment my alarm went off it hit me that 6 is 1 hour too soon to put the turkey in. Thankfully I was a double idiot in that I had my alarm set for 5:50. As though I were going to get the turkey out of the brine, rinsed, dried, oiled, seasoned & in the oven in 10 minutes. Can you tell I’ve never done this?

Also Thankfully, it’s really only 10 minutes earlier than I usually wake anyway, so not a big deal (other than having stayed up too late to watch a stupid movie i should’ve just given up on halfway through). Had I set the alarm for 5:15 (ya know…giving time to actually GET OUT OF BED too) like I ‘should’ have if it was REALLY supposed to go in at 6….i would’ve been a bit frustrated w/myself.

Anyhow, happy Thankfulness day.

In other news, the kids and I have been learning hymns in the morning together. By hymns I mean in the past 2.5 weeks we’re still on Holy Holy Holy. They’re long! I think I might move one b/c they we at least have the first 2 maybe 3 stanza’s out of 5 down. For the sake of variety I think it’s time. Anyhow, yesterday (again w/my amazing forethought) I thought, “hey, maybe we should find a hymn that focuses on thankfulness”. I flipped through the book I’m using as a hymnal & almost immediately landed on “O Come all Ye Thankful Come.”

Since I’ve never in my life heard or heard of this song, I had to turn to the internet for help (the book doesn’t have music, just lyrics). After a cursory search this was the one I found with the least muddled melody. Organs are cool & all (ok I admit it..I usually don’t really like them. Sorry ryan I still love you though), but they really are hard to follow when you aren’t familiar with the tune. The kids liked it since it was kids, but I still couldn’t get a hang of that melodic line. Hey, maybe I should’ve learned it a week ago BEFORE introducing it to the kids! There’s a thought! Ha. I had visions of us singing it around the table before or after ‘dinner’. Perhaps we’ll just play it on the ipod instead. Bench it for next year.

I am inclined to nit-pick the first stanza on a “need vs. want” diatribe, but ya know what? God DOES provide my wants. Honestly, darn near everything I have, including an amazingly patient, longsuffering husband & 2 kids (and a feast set up for today) are not “needs”. And yes, I’m so thankful for them. I wish I could say I always am. Mark 9:24 seems to mark most of what i do.


Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.


All the world is God’s own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.


For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.


Even so, Lord, quickly come,
Bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come,
Raise the glorious harvest home.