6.16.2019

Classics Challenge - The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling

I finished it! Y'all, this book took me forever. And while it is my Very Long Classic pick for the Back to the Classics Challenge, I didn't expect that. It's not a difficult read in terms of reading level. It was difficult for me to maintain any motivation to pick it up. I know I'm not the only one reading this specifically because it is one of the books mentioned in Karen Swallow Prior's On Reading Well and that makes me sad. Perhaps once I've read On Reading Well myself* I'll feel differently but while I can't say this book is awful, I am sad that what I'm assuming is a lot of people-reading hours will be wasted this year on this book when there are so many other delightful classics in the world wanting to be read. Craig actively rooted for me to give up at one point. Not because he has anything against it. He's never read it or I'm sure he would have warned me away but he kept hearing me huff and puff about it. But when you've read 75% of a very long classic, its hard to abandon your efforts. And because part of me was curious as to what was going to happen. Just call me Joe.

This novel, not surprisingly given the title, follows young Tom Jones from his being found as an abandoned infant, through his childhood and into young adulthood. But most of it the story focuses on his beginning and then a short period of time when he falls in love and stuff begins to happen. To be honest, the latter part felt like I was in a weird mix-up of a period piece and a scooby doo montage with people running here and there and opening doors and "who is going to be in this room" moments. That part I could have done without.

Overall, it's not awful. The narrator, who has a very definite voice in this piece, is quite amusing at times. And the writing itself is fine. But I struggled with how of it is supposed to be satire. I know its a lot but surely I'm supposed to be rooting for someone in this story, right? I do like satire - hello - my girls middle names Elinor and Jane. That's some Jane Austen love right there! But Austen's version of satire still has some heart it in and characters you love and find endearing. I don't thinnk I'd want to read a book with every character reminding you of either Lydia or Mrs. Bennett either. You need a Lizzie! And maybe I was supposed to see some of our characters that way but I struggled to do so. But I did finish.  And I'm much more excited about my next few reads!

*once I've finished all of her reads, it's a committment that is now making me nervous

5.28.2019

Lucy's birthday interview - 9 years old!

Lucy and I read Anne of Green Gables together this spring and she loved it so of course, I had to make her an Anne dress for her birthday. Then we had a little mini photo shoot out in the front yard. Lucy and Anne certainly have a lot in common - they love books and words, they are creative, they feel things deeply, they are kind and caring and they carry a lot of emotions inside a small girl package. Growing up I love Anne Shirley and I feel so blessed to have my own little Anne to share those beloved stories with.



What is your favorite color? Coral and Teal

What is your favorite toy? Samantha Doll and Calico Critters

What is your favorite game? Chess

What is your favorite song? Star of the County Down and Minstrel Boy

What is your favorite animal? I have four - cat, rabbit, horse and guinea pigs



What is your favorite book? I'm going to have a few - Swallows and Amazons, The Felicity Series and Green Ember and Anne of Green Gables. 

What do you like to snuggle with at night? Nothing, laughs...Me: okay, I'll stop asking this question 


What is your favorite movie? Much Ado About Nothing, Dolphin Tale and I might add Anne of Green Gables as soon as I watch it (she got it for her birthday) and Parent Trap.

What is your favorite thing to eat? Pizza Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls

Where is your favorite place to go?  Disney World



What is your favorite outfit? My Anne of Green Gables dress and my red dress and my flower girl dress. 

What do you like to learn about? I like to learn French.

What have you learned in the last year? How to draw people with really long hair.

What is hard for you? Choosing things. 

What is your favorite thing to do as a family? Go to Church



What do you like about Mommy? That you love me. 

What do you like about Daddy? That he loves me. 

What do you like about Jonah?  That he likes to do things with me. 

What do you like about Norah? That she's so silly and she says crazy stuff and she likes to do the things that I like to do. 

What do you like about Jude? That he is so cute and loves to smile and it is easy for me to make him laugh and because he's a baby. 



What do you like about yourself? That I'm good at art and that I'm a good sister. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? Work at a restaurant and oh, be an artist. 

5.26.2019

Classics Challenge: That Lass O'Lowries

Written in 1877, That Lass O'Lowries is my Back to the Classics 19th Century Classic Selection. I actually finished reading this a month or two ago and I should have written this when my thoughts were fresh because I know I had more to say.  I did really enjoy it. I think Frances Hodgsons Burnett's novels for adults are underapreciated. Or maybe just sadly underknown. I read and re-read Secret Garden as a child but I didn't even know she wrote more than children's books until a few years ago.

I believe that this was one of the more popular ones during her lifetime and I see why. Set in Lancashire, it tells the story of several of the communties members from various social levels. It has a bit of a North and South vibe to it. Some of the description made it seem like it was dark but while it had a bit of grittiness to it, I didn't feel like the overall tone was dark. It's a redemption story (and a unapologetically Christian one at that) and I could tell a happy-ish ending was coming for at least a few of our main characters.

 I would say it's an easy read except for one thing - the dialect.  I don't normally struggle with dialect but this gave me a real run for my money. It's worth persevering for but I did have to persevere and read a bit slowly outloud. There is something to be said for a little less authenticity at times but then again, maybe it wouldn't have been the same without that.



Classics Challenge: Much Ado About Nothing

Ah, finally a fun read! I've really gotten some good deep reads in for the challenge so far and I love that because I do the Classics Challenge to, well, challenge, myself. But can one really ever go wrong with Shakespeare? I think not.

And Much Ado is probably my favorite Shakespeare play. I love it so much and I always get something new out of it even though I've read/watched it enough that I can quote long passages without having sat down to try and memorie them. This time was especially fun because while I was reading the full version, I was reading the Lamb's version to my youngsters. Lucy will begin Form 2 of her Charlotte Mason Education this fall (aka 4th grade) and with that comes regular exposure to the full plays of Shakespeare (we've been doing shortened versions such as Lamb's editions and Bruce Coville picture books from first grade). And Jonah's been listening in at times but this was his first to have to narrate. They both loved it! Honestly, that's one of my favorite parts of homeschooling, or really parenting in general. Sharing something I love with my kids and having them love it to. Whether it's a certain book or music or movie or game. I can't make them love it so it's always a question - will they? And I try to temper my excitement and seem even keeled because it's honestly okay if they don't always love what I love. And they don't. But when they do, it just makes me so happy!

We ended up watching the movie version. I had just meant to show a few clips on youtube but once they saw a few, they begged to watch the whole thing and the library has the Kenneth Branagh version so we went for it. And then the next day after they finished, the weather was yucky out and Lucy was sick so she asked to watch it again! Then I made Craig watch the Josh Whedon version with me after they were in bed which was a new one for me. And I listened to the Plays the Thing podcast while I read along and it was just all Much Ado About Nothing in our house for a few weeks. Which is as it should be. I guess I should actually talk about the play a bit now but really, it seems a bit ludacris for me to be reviewing Shakespeare. So I'll just tell you my favorite parts...

Benedict and Beatrice - Just a great couple. Maybe my favorite literary couple ever although that's probably too hard of a committment to ever make definitively. Great individual characters, so witty and loveable and yet, so easy to laugh at because they are just ridiculous. But its the kind of ridiculousness that I think we often recognize ourselves in which only serves to make them more loveable.

The unsaid - I like how we don't get all the details. What was Benedict and Beatrice's backstory? There is something there for sure. And the prince? He's not underdeveloped but at the same time, I'm always left wanting to know more about him. He proposes to Beatrice and gets turned down but seems like a good guy, why? (other than the obvious).

It doesn't take itself too seriously. There are some deep ideas here (constancy, knowing yourself, etc) but at the same time, it's just a whole bunch of fun and ridiculouslness. Sometimes when I read a Shakespeare tragedy, I feel almost worried or distraught...I'm missing so much, what does this mean, why did he say that. I don't feel that way about Much Ado About Nothing. I still know that I'm not getting all the references or the many many layers but each time I read I get more and that's fine. I just enjoy it for what I get from it with each reading and it's so enjoyable.

Much Ado About Nothing is my Back to the Classics Play Selection

7 months!

No, he didn't get younger. I just realized I had his 7 months post as a draft still. And I haven't even written his 9th month one but as he's almost 10 months old, I guess it's kinda late. But I will try and get the 10th one done. Poor 4th child ;-)

Oh Jude, you're just getting more and more personality with every passing month!



This month you were all about the food. You started solids strong and now your more and more insistent on getting exactly what everyone else has, even if it isn't really baby appropriate (you did not seem to like everyone eating bacon without you tonight!) And when you want something, you certainly know how to let us know. At the table, its mostly this deep grunt. The grunting is almost exclusively done in your high chair but its pretty much a constant through each meal and it kind of hilarious. I need to capture it on film except when you're grunting, my hands are normally busy keeping you happy by providing food so no time to stop and film or that grunting will become screaming.







The screaming is not a table only thing. You love to scream. It's a mostly happy scream though. You just know you've got to be loud to get everyone's attention - so you're loud! You love all the attention, especially from your brother and sisters. They'll look at you and you just stop and smile so big.



You're a pro at sitting and getting yourself from your belly up into a sit and back to a downward dog and can do all the individual components of crawling. Like moving your hands forward or picking up your knees and scooting them in. You just don't actually crawl. Maybe this is your month to start?



You don't mind playing on the floor but  even with just army crawling, you're super fast so we're having to be careful. You already found some dog food (and yes, tried to eat it) which frankly amazed me because Lizzie does not tend to leave any leftovers. But you're just as happy being worn.

You had your first round of croup this month and it was a bad one. But you loved all the people at the emergency room so you had them fooled for a few minutes until they brought out the stethoscope and could tell mom was right and it was time for the nebulizer (a first for me too! Never needed any professional help for dealing with croup before but Anne Shirley wasn't around with her so we had to rely on modern medicine this time). Luckily you bounced back quickly.

It was another busy travel month for you. That brings you to over 10 states I think? You're such a happy baby. When leaving the plane after our long flight from Hawaii to Colorado, I heard someone say "What? I didn't even know there was a baby on the plane?" Now, I don't feel the need to keep your existence a secret, babies are people too, but it was a nice flight!