Monthly Archives: August 2014

these days

These days are long, and I am tired.

Yesterday afternoon the heavens let loose, and rain and wind and hail and thunder meant that afternoon soccer practices and afternoon runs were cancelled. I headed home and everyone else arrived soon after. I turned to greet the little one, but she had already headed upstairs, two floors up, where she promptly put herself to bed at 6:30pm. Oh, but if we couldn’t all join her there!

But there is homework to be done, work to be done, studying to be done, and the evenings tick away with an eye to the clock and its uneasy relationship with the morning alarm that we some how managed to sleep through. Everyone shifted this morning – dropoffs and responsibilities, so in this strange and twisted way, oversleeping gave me more time this morning. I want to write, but that clock is ticking still towards the next thing, and the next.

I’m back to walking to school with the little one, and so far it’s the best thirty minute slice of my day. She traces the same lines as her sister did, in the same ways, and in different ones.

walk to schoolF, 2014

080909_9E, 2008


(story)time: Ramona the Pest (and all the rest)



We’re knee deep in the Ramona books around here. When we finished the bookshelves in our living room my parents brought us boxes and boxes of my old books, including most of Beverly Cleary’s works. A few weeks ago I was watching the girls walk ahead of me, and something about the two of them reminded me of Ramona and Beezus. I realized it was time to get them off the shelf and start sharing them with the little one.

We started with Ramona the Pest because the timeline aligned with the start of Kindergarten in our house as well. In the past we’ve read chapter books to F, but she’s still insisted on her typical “three books” before bedtime, which meant she was less into swapping out three shorter reads for one longer one. That hasn’t been the case at all with Ramona. The chapters are long ones – some take thirty or more minutes to read, but she’s completely riveted.


After Ramona the Pest we backtracked to Beezus and Ramona (when Ramona was four), and now we’re reading Ramona and her MotherI love reading these books again – I read them over and over again as a child, but I’d forgotten how wonderful they are. Ramona reminds me of F in many ways, but what is more interesting than her outward behavior is listening to and understanding her voice. Since we started reading them I’ve noticed that I’m watching F more, standing back a bit, looking for clues to the inner workings of her mind and her imagination. She’s connecting with these stories in a completely different way than stories we’ve read together in the past. And I believe I’m doing the same.


There are several books in the Ramona series, and many other books about secondary characters in the Ramona collection. Ramona and Her Mother might just be my favorite, but perhaps that’s just the me of now talking. Beverly Cleary knows her audience(s).

The series is perfect for five-year-old’s, and superb early readers for your new chapter book lovers.

Ramona bike

Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!

(story)book cookies

I have no shortage of ideas floating around in my brain at any given time, and most of them are pretty out there. I think a lot about projects I’d like to build, or something I’d like to make, or how I’ll finally find the time to do x, y or z. When I was decorating cookies the other night I remembered a long ago pretend-scape I had related to cookies. It’s a little embarrassing for me to actually write about, but then I thought, why not? Maybe you all have some hidden little fantasy about how you’d really spend your days or find creative fulfillment. So I’ll go first.

Making and decorating cookies is really enjoyable to me – the only part I don’t like about it is the late night time frame that I have to squeeze it into. Pulling out all the ingredients and equipment and supplies at nine o’clock at night can be a bit of a drag, but once everything is going, I’m really in a happy place. When I get there, I start thinking about how I can stay there, and that’s where this idea came from.

Curious George Cookies

I dreamed of opening this charming little storefront somewhere, preferably near a school and a library, and I’d call the place Storybook Cookies. All the cookies in the store would be based on book characters and storybook plots. There would be cozy places to curl up with big picture books and oversized cookies. It would host birthday parties centered around a child’s favorite book, and book authors and illustrators would come in for readings and signings and eat cookies that looked like replicas of their artwork. Kids would come in after school and drink tall glasses of milk and eat cookies related to books they were reading in school while they worked on their homework or took cooking lessons in the back.

I’ve spent many hours thinking through all the details, the shop and the kitchen, the signage, the business cards, the invitations for parties held there. Forget the fact that I can’t even fathom how you’d deal with all the copyright issues, or that I’d likely never have the actual patience or stamina to pull it off. It’s still a favorite little pipe dream – icing dream – of my own, when I’m working at the table, late at night, by myself. Tell me I’m not alone in my thoughts…