First Snowfall of the Year!

Yesterday morning we woke up to the first snowfall of the year! James told me at bedtime it was the best day he’d had in six months, all because of the snow. 🙂

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The kids and Jeremy built a lovely little snowman.

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Meanwhile, Alice has taken a fancy to June’s birthday gifts and loves to walk around in a fancy skirt and loves, loves, loves to snuggle June’s doll. I think we know what she’ll be getting for Christmas. 🙂

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What We’re Reading, Nov. 2016

Me
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry: a thoughtful and thought-provoking story that made me think a lot about how much of our lives are directed towards buying rather than making.
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry: an exquisitely written story of a woman’s life. Profound and deeply moving. I cried through more than half of the book either because of the sadness of it or because Hannah’s thoughts were so perfectly expressed.
Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge: an engaging story of two women who love the same man who can’t for the life of him pay attention to details, like names. This serves him ill in the most lamentable way, and the rest of the story is about the hard work of day-to-day love. About half the story takes place in wilds of New Zealand – so neat, seeing as my parents and brother and sister-in-law are there right now!
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden: a really, really interesting look at the life of nuns. The book focuses on Philippa Talbot, a woman living a posh life in London who gives up her career and home to become a nun. Fascinating!

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James (5 years old)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis (again!)
The Last Battle by CS Lewis
Excalibur by Hudson Talbott: the illustrations in this book about King Arthur are fabulous!
My Book House #4 by Olive Beaupre Miller
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel (reading with help)
Dick and Jane stories (reading almost independently!)

June (3 years old)
Autumn Story, Winter Story, Spring Story, Summer Story by Jill Barklem: June got this set of four books for her birthday and loves the stories of the little mice of Brambly Hedge. The illustrations are intricate and paint such lovely portraits of home life! Wendell Berry would approve. 🙂
– Miss Suzy by Miriam Young: delightful!

Birthday Rainbow

The afternoon of June’s birthday there was a rainstorm followed by a brilliant rainbow!  It was so beautiful.

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And this morning on the drive home from work, the snow line had come down so far that all the trees on either side of the road were dusted with a pretty film of fresh white snow. Winter is fast coming to the Kootenays!

June’s 3rd Birthday

It’s June’s 3rd birthday today!!!

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June is such a fun and sweet little girl! She’s spunky, passionate and loves to laugh. (We end up telling knock-knock jokes every dinner time because she loves them so.) She snuggly and cuddly and loves dressing herself (scarves and shoes are favourites these days). She gets frustrated so easily, but also gets over things quite quickly. James is her best friend; they play together all the time and have such fun together. She doesn’t really know what to do without him around!

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We lost June’s doll, Pearl, somewhere during our move to Fruitvale, so we picked out a new one for her birthday. She was pretty pleased. 🙂

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Jeremy made a bed for her new doll (also named Pearl) and I knit her a blanket.

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June also got some dress-up clothes from Grandpa and Grandma’s dress-up bin! 🙂

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June loved hearing us sing “Happy Birthday!” to her, and we all enjoyed the Old-Fashioned Apple Cake w/ Brown Sugar Frosting.

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I did a little birthday interview with James when he turned three, and did the same one with June a few days ago . . .

Q: How old are you going to be on your birthday, sweetheart?
A: Three!

Q: And what can you do now that you’re three?
A: Oh! I get to have some cake! And some candles! And some balloons! Ummm . . . you’ll say, “Happy birthday to you!” That song! That’s the end.

Q: What are some things you enjoy doing?
A: I like to spin the globe. Alice was spinning the globe with me and I said to her, “Good job!” and she said, “Bah!” to me!

Q: And what else do you like doing?
A: Uh, just a minute, I need to get my journal. I really like my journal! And I like . . . to go outside and play, and I like to read books with dad . . . and you do school with James and dad would read me books.

Q: What stories do you like to hear about?
A: I like to read that one (points to The Library) and that one (points to A Mountain Alphabet). And Jamberry! And Little Red Riding Hood. And I like to colour! And I like to write in my journal.

Q: What do you like about James?
A: I like to wrestle with him!

Q: What do you like about Alice?
A: I would like to play with Alice! We play with the globes. And we play outside and . . . we play on the piano.

Q: What do you and I do together?
A: I do that (spins around on one foot). And we go to the parking lot.

Q: What are some things that you and dad do together?
A: We wrestle. And I would like to snuggle with dad. And have coffee with him! And tea with him!

Q: What makes you happy?
A: I would like to sleep.
Q: So, sleep makes you happy?
A: Yep.
Q: Oh, okay. What else makes you happy?
A: That’s the end.

Q: What is something scary?
A: A wolf! (June says this with wide and frightened-looking eyes.)
Q: Oh really? Tell me about the wolf.
A: It can eat me. It has sharp teeth!
Q: Oh dear! And who would protect you from the wolf?
A: You would!!!

Q: What are you really good at, June?
A: I would like to go to church!
Q: What are some things that you’re really good at doing?
A: Playing with James’s Lego and some Duplo. That’s the end!

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: A man!
Q: A man? You want to be a man when you grow up?
A: No, a lady! A lady with a baby!
Q: You want to be a lady with a baby? That’s one of the best things in the world, hey?
A: Yep! And I would like to go to the Play Place with you and I, and to Grandpa and Grandma’s! And go camping!

Q: What is something new you’d like to try?
A: That’s the end.

Q: What do you think about before you fall asleep?
A: I would like to hear about Booster the Bee. And about if a wolf should come, and eat me.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about God?
A: God gives us things. And I would like to talk about Jesus, and hear about Jesus talking in the church.
Q: Who is Jesus?
A: God!
Q: And what did Jesus do?
A: He gave us our lives back. And I would like to play soccer!

Recommended Reads

I’ve read a couple of excellent books this year, the sort of books to savour and to think about for months afterwards.

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Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset – this is actually a trilogy that describes the life of a young Catholic woman living in Norway in the 1300s. The characters are utterly fascinating! Kristin’s father is devout and exemplary. He has the qualities of a man born to be a leader, but instead moves to a small and unimportant part of Norway to work as a farmer so his wife will be – well, not quite happy, but at least less mournful. And even there in the back country, he finds opportunities to live out his faith. I loved the small details the author included about Lavrans, like how his eyes would be red-rimmed after confession. He’s generous to his servants, he works so hard, he even takes in two orphaned girls and raises them as his own children. It’s a remarkable account. Kristin herself is fascinating, too, in a different way. Lavrans has smaller struggles in his life, while Kristin chooses to act unvirtuously and really spends the rest of her life wrestling with the choice between sin and God. There is so much here to reflect on. I totally recommend this book!

That Distant Land by Wendell Berry – this book is a collection of short stories mostly about farmers in a little out-of-the-way part of Kentucky. Wendell Berry has this amazing ability to notice all the little details about a person – shirt untucked, hair sticking up, hat clutched in a hand – and uses those little details to figure out the bigger picture about a person, too. I absolutely adored this book, and can’t wait to read more by Mr. Berry!

(PS – I listened to this as an audiobook and loved Michael Kramer’s reading of the book.)

The Island of the World by Michael O’Brien – this book tells the difficult story of Josip, a young boy growing up in Croatia during WWII. The first half of the book is filled with unspeakable suffering, but there is also much beauty and grace. When I read Gone With the Wind several years ago, I was left with a restless heart over Scarlett’s incredible, unflinching selfishness – and the opposite was true with this book. I was undone by Josip’s quiet strength; my heart grew through reading of his forgiveness and his sacrificing selflessness. A book to remember. And for a much better review of the book, read this blog post! 

Walk in the Woods

We went to Beaver Creek today to toss some rocks in the water, but the water had risen so high all the stones were covered! The gentle little creek was replaced with a rushing river. So we went for a walk in the woods instead.

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