Sunday, September 30, 2012

Best Dinner Guests Ever

Some people are surprised to learn that, although I love to cook,  I'm not much of an entertainer.  We talk about having people over to our home all the time, but I hate to admit that, except for the kids' friends,  it only rarely happens. Part of my issue is that I'm too distractible when I get out of my normal routine.  If I'm in my cooking groove, then rallying my troops to try to get the house clean enough to have guests over will just about knock me out.  And if I'm committed to getting the house really clean, then I couldn't be bothered with cooking or other tasks that invariably make the house even messier. 

...my humorously mismatching, chipped dishes don't help either. 

The only people, besides all the kids' friends, that we have over on a regular basis are these guys....
the missionaries from our church .   We have them over for dinner once a month and in addition to the good excuse it gives us try out new dessert recipes on them, we also love the spirit they bring to our home. 
They  never laugh at our mismatching dishes or scoff at my dusty mantle and they happily eat anything we put in front of them.   Best of all, before they leave they pray with us and  share uplifting messages that invariably inspire us to be better people. 
If you ever get the chance to meet these guys (or others like them), I recommend being nice to them for sure and if you have the time and interest, listening to their life-changing message about the restored gospel on the earth. 

If nothing else you can put them to work by having them  help you weed your garden.  Or carry that heavy box up the stairs.  They are far away from their families, have a lot of doors slammed in their faces each day,  and are just doing what they can to make the communities where they serve better places!

Random facts about Mormon missionaries:
  • There are more than 50,000 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving around the world.
  • Young men serve for 2 years.  Young women serve for 18 months. 
  • They do not choose the location where they serve their missions.
  • Glen served his mission in London England.  My Dad went to Quebec, Canada, and we have siblings that have served in Germany, Russia (3 of them), Ukraine, and Switzerland.   Spencer has always wanted to go to either China or New Zealand. 
  • They put aside worldly cares for the entirety of their missions and do not date, go to school, work, watch tv, or listen to secular music. 
  • They spend their days studying, teaching, and serving.   
  •   Most missionaries are around 20-years-old.
  • Missionaries and their families completely pay for their own missions. 
  • In addition to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with people who are interested, missionaries also spend a significant portion of their missions serving the communities in which they live.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

A {not very} Rough Life

My kids are fascinated with the "rough life" I had as a kid.  They'll watch a funny video on youtube and  ask me if I liked it when I was a kid too.  They can hardly believe when I tell them that not only was there not youtube, but that the internet hadn't even been invented yet. 

Then I tell them how if I wanted to listen to a specific song, I either had to wait for it to randomly come on the radio or spend 10 minutes finding it on my cassette tape.  They're dumbfounded when I tell them about how we actually had to call people on the phone when we wanted to talk to them and that we both had to actually be at home for the conversation to happen, because not only was there no texting, but there weren't even any cell phones. 

It's usually about then that they ask us  whether cars had been invented yet when we were kids.  Or they ask me to tell them what it was like when Abraham Lincoln was president. 

Undeterred by their gross over-estimate of how old they think I am,  I revel in my ability to shock them and I proceed to tell them about how my siblings and I had to walk 3/4 a mile to school every day.... in 3 feet of snow. 

They always think that I exaggerate about the snow part, but then I remind them that three feet of snow is not all that far-fetched in the great state of Minnesota where I grew up.   I foolishly believe that this tidbit of info from my youth should help them appreciate their cushy bus ride to school everyday.  

Instead, they invariably are jealous.  

About the three feet of snow and the walking to school. 

Although we live about a mile and across a busy highway from their school, they beg to walk on an almost daily basis.  Sometimes I'm too busy or the weather's not very nice, but we usually end up walking either to or from school at least 2-3 times a week. 
In the mornings, the temps are a little cooler and I love the brisk pace we walk  to make sure we get there by the time the bell rings.
I enjoy the kids' energy and enthusiasm for their days ahead. 
In the afternoons, we walk more slowly and I get to hear all about their days...

We  laugh together as they retell me  the funny joke their friend told them.  We marvel at the teacher's creativity when we hear all about the cool experiment they did in science class. 
I hear all about who did what at recess.
Morning or evening,   it's invariably a time to reconnect
and I treasure our time together as we walk...
Later on I can't help but wonder what stories about their childhood
they'll end up telling their kids someday.



***********

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

4-Month Check-Up

After a couple of eventful appointments at the clinic, with near-faints while getting his IV placed and random itchy rashes developing along his arm during the Pentamidine infusion, I am pleased to say that today's appointment is going much more smoothly. 

The IV went in uneventfully, the intravenous Benadryl has knocked him out, and so far he is free of itchy rashes.

And best of all....

the docs have declared him healthy as can be! 

His blood test was great and the doc was 100% unconcerned about the one random symptom that we were slightly worried about.    WBC=3.2, ANC=1750, Hgb=16.2, Platelets=135, Weight=68kg.  His platelets were the one count that had remained slightly abnormal in previous blood tests, but this month they are very close to being back to normal again. 

Whew...now I can breathe again!   

The Bright Side

In rereading my last couple of posts, I  realized that I have been dwelling a bit too much on the negativity in my life right now.  Although I am the first to admit that we've had a bit of a rough year this year, I am also the first to acknowledge that our blessings far outweigh our trials.   In an effort to refocus my brain to paying more attention to the bright side again, I've compiled this list of some of the blessings that have been most meaningful to us lately.  The list is definitely not all-inclusive and is not written in any particular order. 

10.  The gorgeous weather.  Clear blue skies and mild temps have been the norm the last few weeks and I am loving it!  I am trying to get everyone to spend as much time outdoors as possible and am considering moving my washer and dryer to the backyard for the next few months to help me amp up my vitamin d levels before winter hits. 

9.  Politics.  Although I am growing weary of the increasing negativity between parties, I am so grateful to live in a country where the people have a voice in who will run our country.

8. Having Glen home.  For as much as we pray that he will find a new job soon,  in the meantime I am enjoying having my hunny to keep me company during the day and also to have him around to help with all the driving. 

7.  A nearby grocery store.  When I am missing an ingredient or two for dinner, I absolutely love being able to walk to the grocery store which is only about 3/4 mile from home.  It's a good excuse for a walk and knowing I have to carry everything home prevents me from buying too much. 

6.  Early morning seminary.  It's a challenge for Spencer and Cami to get up at 5:00am each day, but   I seriously couldn't imagine a better way for them to start each school day  than by studying the New Testament.  On the same note, I love weekly Institute where I can study and discuss the New Testament as well.    

5. An amazing support system.  Family and friends have flocked to our aid this year and never have we felt so indebted to so many people.  Your selflessness in attending to our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs this year has been a blessing beyond measure for our family. 

4.  Good music.  When I am having a hard day, I love how soothing it is to my soul to listen to good music.  I especially love upbeat classical music (like the Piano Guys) and soundtracks (like Les Mis and Wicked). 

3.  Great teachers.   Once again, I love all of the kids' teachers this year and have a sense that they are a good fit for each child's personality. 

2.    The gospel of Jesus Christ Nothing has brought me more comfort during the difficulties of the past year, than knowing that God was over all of it.   Although the leukemia itself was a pretty stinky thing to go through, we have witnessed far too many miracles, large and small, along the way not to realize that God has truly been with us every step of the way. 

1.  Five sweet kids.  A couple of them have been doing more than their fair share of fighting lately, but I love and live for those gentle moments when they are kind and sweet to each other. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

This Week: The Good, the Bad, and the Ironic

A little glimpse at our week this past week....the good, the bad, and the ironic! 


The good:

  • Cami got bumped up to varsity for this morning's cross country meet and despite the hilly course got a PR by 2 minutes!
  • I love working with the young women at church!  It's a busy calling, but they are fabulous inside and out and I am enjoying the opportunity to get to know them better!
  • We just learned that Ellie's 1st grade teacher from last year just had her baby.  Ellie is beside herself with joy and hopes she gets called to babysit soon! 
  • The swelling in Glen's lip has reduced somewhat today and for the first time since it happened, he's starting to feel a little better. 
  • I've been making some apple recipes for the Recipe Shoebox.  Yum! 



The bad:
  • I spent most of the week doing double duty while Glen was out of town.  I may or may not have gotten a little grumpy about it some days. 
  • Glen had only been home a couple of hours when the deck incident occurred.  Not quite the welcome home we'd planned after being apart for a week. 
  • I drove 40 miles to Cami's cross country meet this morning in the middle of nowhere Virginia and missed seeing her run by 2 minutes.    The country roads were not equipped to handle those kinds of crowds and I was more than a little flustered when it took about 45 minutes to drive the last 3 miles to the event.   And I'm a little embarrassed to admit that he poor parking attendant who demanded $5 payment  from me after all that traffic frustration, may or may not have had to pick up the money from the ground.  

The ironic: 

  • That the reason Glen was on the deck in the first place was to check for the loose board that Emma had discovered a couple days previously while he was out of town.  He found it the hard way when his leg went through the deck propelling the other end of the board up to his face. 
  • While Glen was kayaking in Maine for an entire week, I worried for his safety every day.  And I found it sadly ironic that within a couple hours of arriving home safe and sound from Maine with nothing more than some stinky socks and a few blisters, that he ends up in the ER getting 7 stitches. 
  • After a week of eating freeze-dried food in Maine, one of the things that Glen was most looking forward to upon arriving home was some home-cooked meals.  Now his diet consists of cream of wheat, pureed soups, and mashed potatoes.  I'm thinking of buying some baby food for him.  ;)
  • Since injuring his lip, he's had two job-hunt related events (an interview and a career workshop).   And he's had two job offers to be a Botox lip model!  (just kidding on the job offers)


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Definitely Not Funny in Real Life

Remember Wile E. Coyote and all of his little "accidents"?  He'd fall off cliffs and get blown up like seventeen times an episode and everyone would laugh uproariously every time...


Well when Wile E. Coyote incidents happen in real life, they're not quite so funny. 


Like when you go out on your deck and step on a loose board and promptly get whacked in the face with the board, knocking you out briefly, and cutting so deep into your lips that the doctor has to stitch the muscle back together before stitching the skin. 



A tetanus shot, vicodin, penicillin, two lidocaine shots into the roof of his mouth,  and 7 stitches later he's feeling numb faced and a little woozy, but otherwise fine. 



And although he's not excited that it happened, we're both exceedingly grateful that by mere fractions of inches that:

a)  it did not damage any teeth
b) it did not touch his nose
c) it did not go all the way through to the outside of his lip.  According to the doctor it was very, very close to ripping all the way through. 
d) that it happened to him and not to one of the kids


Now if anyone has any helpful hints about redoing decks as inexpensively as possible, please let us know.  Ours will be out of commission for a while. 

The offending board.
This is the end he stepped on, which got pushed downward causing  his leg to fall  through
as the other end of the board swung up and hit him in the lip. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Feeling it in His Scar

Most people tune into the Weather Channel with its high tech radars and myriad of meteorologists to get their weather news ...


We have something much more reliable in our house....
Spencer's scar from his central line. 

Although he likes to tell people it's his bullet wound, in actuality the scar has quite a knack for predicting the arrival of big storms. 

About a day before a storm rolls through, his scar starts aching.  It doesn't ache any other time and since we don't have a working tv in the house, often his aching scar is our first hint that bad weather is coming.  I don't know if it has something to do with the barometric pressure or some other weather factor that changes before a storm, but just like someone who says that they can feel it in their bones....

Spencer feels it in his scar. 
And for the record...yes, his scar was totally aching last night and this morning. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

For the Record

With five kids, including two teens and an almost teen in the house, I can rest assured that I will be reminded on a daily basis of my mothering shortfalls.    And believe me when I say that according to anonymous sources, I have lots and lots and lots of shortfalls.    

So instead of dwelling on how lame I am, I've decided that today I'm going to document some of my better mothering moments from this week in hopes that one day they'll look back at this post and realize that I am not lame all the time... 
  • Packed them lunches every day of the week without a single repeat main dish (and no PB&J's)!
  • Three times this week I took advantage of the stellar weather and walked the kids the mile to school.
  • Found Boggle at a yard sale and started giving the kids Boggling lessons.  I figure they have to start young if they have any hopes of beating their Daddy someday...aka Master Boggler of the Universe! 
  • Won a grumpy face contest vs. Adam, which means he laughed first.
  • In the middle of an ugly screaming catfight between two kids (an increasingly frequent occurrence, which usually revolves around one particular child), I cut them off and got them back to smiling playfulness in just a couple minutes' time.  They had to write 10 nice things about the other person. 
  • Started a sewing project  for the first time in years.  Unfortunately it had been so long since I last sewed, that right when I was ready to start sewing, I realized that an important part of my machine (the bobbin case) was missing.   Hopefully once the part arrives from Ebay, I'll be back to it!

  • Caught a cool paparazzi shot of Spence asking a girl to homecoming.  (you can see Spence holding out a dozen yellow roses to the girl in the middle of the track)
(she said yes)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Savoring the Moments

 With the kids heading back to school and the autumn weather settling in, September more than January has always felt more like a new year to me.  There's something about the starkness of the change from the lazy do-little days of summer to the run-a-gazillion-miles-an-hour craziness that September brings, that makes it feel like a more natural time to evaluate priorities and set goals.   I find that the good habits that I struggle doing consistently through the year almost always get a solid jump-start every September.

This September more than ever before,  has brought with it a feeling of renewal and moving forward.    With all the kids back in school for the first time in 9 months, I find my days feeling more familiar than they have in a long time.  Although the familiarity mostly stems from my time spent doing daily tasks that never seem to end,  somehow it all doesn't seem as monotonous as in past days.   I sense the fleetingness of it all a little more than I used to.  

Things seem almost normal. 

But not quite. 

Underlying the comfortable routines and new-found zeal for improving myself, there is still an pervading sense of unease in the air.  Every time Spencer collapses onto his bed after school for a long nap, I wonder if his fatigue is normal or if it's a sign of something else.  Never mind that he got 6 hours of sleep the night before, my brain now goes straight to the worst-case scenario.  And it's not just me. In the wake of Spencer's bout with leukemia, the whole family seems to have developed a minor case of hypochondria.  I see every rash, bump, and scrape not just once to evaluate its seriousness and to impart comfort, but I get updates on them 4 times a day with a questioning tone about whether they should be worried.    My new catchphrase is, "It looks normal.  It will probably hurt for a few days.  Let me know if it gets worse." 

Intermingled with the contended boringness of day-to-day life and the worry that we just can't quite shake, there are the ever fleeting moments of togetherness that I treasure.  It can be as simple as a family dinner with everyone there (a rarer occasion these days).  Or a night of board games and cookies.  Or even just a drive in the car with the whole family. 

These are the moments I live for. 

I know all too well that even in normal, no-leukemia life that these days are far too short.  A year from now Spencer will be away at college (he doesn't know where yet, but he assures us that it will not be a local school that he chooses).    Two years later it will be Cami. 

In the meantime I'm determined to take whatever time we can get...

and remember to laugh....

and to play...
and perhaps...

take as many pictures as possible...



And although Spencer may be have been the black sheep on that breezy day, refusing to fly kites with the rest of the kids, seeing him run and exert himself without getting sick was a magical sight for me to behold. 
"... if we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.  ...don’t close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day’s ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life."  
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering...

I remember that morning like it was yesterday. 

We had just bought this house a few weeks earlier and after unpacking a few boxes, we had gotten in the car to start our day.  Glen was already  off to work, I had dropped Spencer off at first grade, and I was taking Cami to her first day of preschool.   I remember admiring the clear blue sky shortly before flipping on the radio. 

Instead of the easy-listening music that I expected to hear, though,  the first sounds I heard from the radio that morning were a voice screaming, "OH MY GOD!  OH MY GOD!  Another plane has just hit the second tower!"  

Although I had absolutely no idea what was going on or what tower they were speaking of , I remember my heart leaping into my throat at the alarming tone of the radio announcer's voice.  I listened in horror as the announcer recapped what was happening in New York, then somewhat relieved that it wasn't any closer to home decided to go forward with my day as I had planned it.  I remember a whispered and worried conversation with Cami's teacher as I dropped her off that day. 

Emma, 10-months old at the time,  was still with me in the car as I drove onward to my next destination--a bible study class held at our church each Tuesday morning.  It was the first class of the year and I wasn't sure how Emma was going to do.  She was a little too young for the nursery, but old enough to be mobile.  I sat in the back and hoped that she wouldn't be too disruptive. 

It was only a few minutes into the class when abnormal amounts of people started exiting the room to take phone calls.  I did not really fathom why until someone interrupted the class to announce that a plane had just hit the Pentagon. 

Up until that point, I had been sad and worried for the people in NYC, but I wasn't panicked.  Although Glen did not work at the Pentagon, he did work not too far from the White House and this new turn of events seemed entirely too close to home for me.  I immediately scooped up Emma and drove home to try to get in touch with Glen. 

Not surprisingly, the lines were jammed and not owning cell phones meant that we couldn't even text each other.  I stayed glued to the tv,  praying constantly, and waited to hear from Glen.  I remember worrying that if there had been three planes, why not thirty?    Would they bomb the Metro next?  I wondered if this was what war felt like. 

Eventually Glen called me from his co-worker's cell phone and informed me that he and his co-worker were walking out of the city to his house in Arlington.   There was no way he was going to take the Metro home and traffic was too bad to drive out.     As they walked over the Key Bridge, they could look over and see the smoke rising from the Pentagon. 

At his co-worker's house, he borrowed a bike and rode the rest of the way home--in all about 15 miles.   We spent the remainder of the day huddling together in shock, glued to the tv, and wondering what on earth was going to happen next. 

In the following days as our brains processed what had happened, I  remember watching with pride as American flags sprang up everywhere-- on people's houses, on overpasses, and lining the main streets of our town.  I was so proud that amidst the horrors that that day had brought, that we as a nation could stand together in solidarity and faith. 

Faith that good would prevail over evil.

Faith that God would bring comfort amidst the heartache.  

And faith that we will never forget the great strength that comes when we, as Americans, stand united for a cause.  

God bless America!  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Family's List of Recommended Books

I am a bookworm by nature, devouring books in single sittings when I can.  In elementary school, I went through a phase of reading a book-a-day and sometimes my mom actually had to tell me not to read so much.    While motherhood has definitely slowed the volume of books that I read, reading is still something that is an important part of who I am and for the sake of my sanity, something that I have to make time for no matter how busy life gets. 

A couple of my kids (Spencer and Emma) have taken after me in this regard, reading voraciously whenever they can, but with the other three kids it's a little more of a push to get them to read.   They like books when they're reading them, but they're not as likely to select it as their activity of choice.  So to me it is a beautiful thing when I walk into a room and am greeted by this sight.....

Shortly after taking this picture, I got the idea to make a list of our favorite books--partially to capture the moment in time, but also to share with all of you some of the books that we like the best.  I asked each person in the family what books they would recommend and why.  I tried to use their own words whenever I could, but you will note that some of us are a little more verbose than others.  :)   Since we're always looking for new material to read, feel free to leave your recommendations (for adults or kids) in the comments. 


Glen's Reviews
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain-- Intriguing research about how exercise affects our status of mind. It addresses how exercise has proven to be effective in treating common ailments such as stress, ADHD, depression, aging, addiction, and many other ailments and a great facilitator to increase learning. If you want a clinical study that's sure to inspire you to get moving, this is a great read. It is a little heavy on the medical terminology, but I have read it twice now and will likely read it again.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
-- If you have any inkling for a passion to run, this is a great book.  It chronicles the true life experiences of Christopher McDougall in his quest to become an ultra marathoner. Among other stories, he talks of his experiences with the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico, a native Mexican tribe of Indians that have held distance running as a part of their everyday life for centuries. This book is fun and fascinating for the runner in you.

Lone Survivor
-- This is an inspiring and humbling true life story of Marcus Luttrell, a Navy Seal member. Marcus Luttrell is the leader of a small elite team of Navy Seals that were given a true mission to covertly enter Afghanistan and apprehend or kill a head member of Al Qaeda believed to be very close to Osama bin Laden. During the course of the mission, something goes horribly wrong and the book is the true experiences of this Navy Seal team's struggle for survival. WARNING - this book has some colorful language you might expect to hear on the battlefield and some very real description of war sequences. It is however a very real insight into who I believe our military heroes are and the hell they are asked to live through on occasion to preserve and protect our freedom as well as the freedoms of peoples all over the world.

Lara's Reviews
These is My Words--This story is of a woman living on the American frontier in the 19th century.  I loved the characters, the romance, and the beautiful life she forged amongst the harshness of that time and place.    

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
--I sat incredulous through most of this book--incredulous that one man could endure so much.  Incredulous that men could be so evil.  And incredulous that someone could rise above all the evils/hardships he faced and do so much good. 

Book of Mormon--I have read this book again and again in my life and I am always amazed at some piece of wisdom I've missed in past readings.   This book goes hand-in-hand with the Bible and is an account of Christ's visit to the people living in the Americas.  I consider this book to be the most influential and inspirational book I've ever read. 

Edenbrooke
--I'll be the first to admit that this book was cheesy and predictable, but I also found it charming and fun.  If you are in need of a light and clean romantic read, this book is perfect. 

Spencer (17)
Inheritance series--Spencer says that these books are "exciting and interesting" and he wants to be a  book reviewer when he grows up, so he can get paid to give such enlightening and descriptive book reviews. 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
--Spencer finds this book quite entertaining and quotes from it liberally.  He recently talked Glen into reading it too which is helping Glen to understand a little more Spence-language.  He has yet to convince me. 

Cami (15)
The Goose Girl -- This book is full of good old-fashioned romance and adventure when a princess finds her life and kingdom in jeopardy.  She has to keep herself in disguise and use her unusual gifts to save herself and her kingdom. 

The Last Song
--This book is as sappy as most Nicholas Sparks' books, but as always it's an engaging story that will make you cry.  

Emma (11)As you can see, Emma is quite a bookworm who enjoys a plethora of different genres. 

Boston Jane: An Adventure --She liked it because it was a romance, historical fiction, and an adventure all in one book. 

Dear America
series--These books are historical fiction stories about girls living through famous moments of history.  It gives you a glimpse of what it might have been to live through them through the eyes of a child. 

Saving Zasha
--A historical fiction book about life in post-World War II in Russia and a boy's journey to save a German Shepherd, which are forbidden in Russia at that time because of their affiliation with Germany. 

The Underland Chronicles
--Written by Suzanne Collins (the same author as Hunger Games),  these fantasy books have adventure, strange creatures, and an everyday boy who becomes a hero.  Emma loved this series. 

Alex Rider--a series of mystery books about a boy who helps his uncle and  becomes an undercover spy. 

Adam (9)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory --This is a book I read over and over again when I was a kid, so I was so excited when Adam recently discovered this classic tale too.  I would skip watching the movies, since they are a bit odd, but this book is full of fantasy and imagination that will draw in even the most reluctant readers to its fantastic story.

Geronimo Stilton books--It's all about fun with these these popular chapter books.  They're fun adventure stories with full-color illustrations and fonts to match the words.    Adam says they're among the most popular books among boys his age and the school library was all checked out of them after only one day. 

Ellie (7)
Little House Chapter Books (easy readers )-- Based on the original Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, these easy-to-read books are Ellie's favorite right now. She wants me to mention that she loves books that are based on real stories. 

The Josefina Story Quilt
(easy chapter book)--This book is a touching account of a little girls' joys and sorrows as she crosses the plains with her family.  Although there is a sad moment, Ellie absolutely loves this book. 

My Chincoteague Pony
- (a picture book)--a sweet story about a little girl who goes to buy a pony at an auction, but does not have enough money.  The crowd feels her disappointment build as she bids unsuccessfully on pony after pony and then chips in to help her buy it.  Afterward she saves her money all year, so she can help someone else buy a pony the following year. 

Favorite Picture Books
Edward the Emu--a fun story about an emu in the zoo who decides to try out being other animals for a time.  In the end he realizes that he being the emu is the best.  We love the rhyming cadence of this book and at any given time some of my children have had this book memorized. 

Caps for Sale--a classic story about a cap seller who gets his caps stolen by monkeys while he is taking a nap.  My kids find this book wildly funny. 

Make Way for Ducklings --I loved this classic book when I was a little girl and now my own kids love  it too, especially after a visit to Boston and seeing some of the scenes from the book in real life.  The story is quaint and realistic and the illustrations simple yet beautiful. 

If You Find a Rock--I love the gorgeous pictures in this book almost as much as the simple but elegant text describing  rocks in a way that everyone (child or adult) can connect with.  Although not scientific in the slightest, it is perfect if you have any rock collectors in the house. 



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