Classics Challenge - Mike

For my Classic Comedy selection, I picked Wodehouse's Mike. I was really trying to start the PSmyth series but I think I misunderstood because PSmyth isn't actually in this book. Or I think he's in the second volume/second part which my book lacked. I'm still a bit confused. But anyway, I read Mike, which is about a young British boy, who, and I bet you could have guessed his, is named Mike. Mike heads off to school and there is a lot, and I do mean, a LOT, of talk about cricket. I think this book would probably have been much more enjoyable and humorous, if I actually knew something about cricket. I don't. Other than that it's kinda sorta like baseball but not really. And they wear white. Which is not a lot. But I muddled through.

Now, the non-cricket parts were at times funny. I've never been a young teenage boy let alone one at a boarding school, but I do feel like Wodehouse must have been because he seems to understand their thought process. And as long as I'm not having to parent one of teen boys (yet) I could laugh at his foibles. But overall, I was disappointed. I think I just need to give up on Wodehouse which breaks my heart. He seems just like the type of author I would love but when I actually read his books, I'm underwhelmed. Alas and alack, I think he just isn't a good fit for me, humor wise.

Classics Challenge - The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby. I can't believe I had never read it before.  Now I can say I have. It's not my favorite classic ever but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say I didn't find it as depressing as I expected. That said, I still think it very clearly fits for the Classic Tragic Novel selection.

It was a quick and easy read but I am glad I listened along to the Close Read Podcasts. It slowed me down a bit and I know I would have missed a lot if I read it on my own. I actually didn't know much of the plot going in which is surprising given how popular the book is. My intial ideas abotu the book where mostly on the mood and themes and those were pretty spot on and I tended to focus on the ideas of reality and illustions.

It was an interesting reading for our summer trip to Colorado because it really illustrated the contrast between the characters life and my own. Spending time with my family kept reminding me how much I, well, like them. Long car rides can be tedious with small children and there were moments when I wanted to pull my hair out but 90% of the time, I was just so grateful for them all. And while I don't get to see my extended family nearly enough, they are lovely people and I genuinely enjoy catching up with them and talking. The whole trip just made me remember what's important, what's real - relationship and people. I felt such a profound gratefulness for the realness of my life and the people in it.

I may not be enticed by the same illusions that Gatsby, Nick or Daisy fall prey to but I do have my own I must guard against. Like the illusion of productivity. It's very easy for me as a homeschooling mom to fall toward the checking off of boxes trap and miss out on the purpose and relationships I'm supposed to be cultivating. Not just me with my children but them with each other and them with the world that they are learning about. So it was a perfect read for a summer vacation and I hope I can keep that lesson in my mind as we start up our second summer mini-term this week.


Colorado Road Trip - Part 2 - Pagosa!

I won't be too wordy here because the pictures are better. But we packed in the fun - hiking 

A selfie with the baby cyclops 

Family selfies get harder as your family gets bigger. 

Craig has longer arms so that was a bit better...

A stranger took pity on us and got a pretty good one although Craig's really got to work on his preschooler holding skills. You'd think he be better at it by kid #3.


I think last time we had to use a tripod. But our family has grown quite a bit since our last visit to this hike.  (But Jude wore the same red fleece jacket that Jonah is wearing below on this trip and that's the same chambray shirt I have on (it's my hiking shirt I guess!)


Downtown for some ice cream. Jude didn't get his own cup but don't feel bad for him for a second. There was a line of siblings waiting to share their flavors with him. 

The mini-golf trip that shall remain unblogged about except to say that someone hid under a bush for a good 5 mintues and more than one child was crying as we left...ah, the joys of vacations!

But fishing was a hit! Lucy caught her first fish here on this very lake on our last trip and Jonah and  here this trip on our first night of fishing. A storm was moving in so only to big two got to go out on the boat but Norah was patient and flexible. I was actually very proud of her.

And then she caught two on our next fishing night. The first when she got to go out on the boat with my Uncle Rick. Sshe said he helped her catch "a big fish. Not like other fish - a movie fish!" I'm not sure what " a movie fish " is but it impressed her. 

Then when the bigger kids got their turn on the boat, she got another with the help of a cousin. This one wasn't a movie fish - it was a cat fish. But she touched the side of it and was happy with that. 

I'm not really a big fisherwoman myself. Well, I do like fishing except for touching worms or fish which really makes the whole process difficult. But it was fun to have the kids do this with family that has a bit more skill than I do. I guess we'd better bring Jude back in a couple years for his first fish catching experience since they know what they are doing here.

No need to touch worms to enjoy the scenery which truly is one of the best parts of Colorado.

Another first was that I actually went to the Hot Springs. They are probably the biggest attraction of the town but I'd never gone before. It was a lot of fun. The 97degree pool was quite enjoyable. As a kid, cold pools never bothered me much but the adult me really likes the warm water. 

And clearly the kid's didn't mine the comfy temperatures either. 

Jude and stayed home for the trail ride but Norah was happy to be included with daddy and the "big kids" for a trail ride. One hour was just perfect for everyone but Lucy - she said she  could have gone longer. 

Walked around the town and river area

Visited the Rocky Mountain Wildlife center.

Here's my picture of the kid's looking at the center's cat that followed us on the walking loop. But Craig's perspective was a bit funnier because right behind them was this big black bear! But no, the cat was much more interesting.

  He (she?) was actually my favorite animal there. He got very close and was eating dandelions. I didn't realize so much of a bears diet was leafy stuff.

And of course, we had to go to the Red Ryder Round-up Rodeo!

Ah, the preschooler who insists on inspecting every picture someone takes of her. 

Fourth of July fun with the cousins. Eryn had gotten us all matching shirts and decoration which the kid's painstakingly arranged. 

Then we hit up the smalltown parade, made some patriotic desserts,

 telling "Alexa" to play the Star Spangled banner so they could wave flags before we finished off the night with their first big fireworks display. Every year I think we'll go to one then I realize how late they are and convince myself to wait until the next year. But this year, we did it. They loved the first half with Norah exclaiming "Oh, that's a pretty one! Oh, I like that one!" with each explosion. But either all the fun was exhausting or the back of a pick-up was too comfy because by the end they were all asleep. 

I can't give them too much grief because I definitely took my fair share of naps on this trip. Although I prefer this location: 

Actually, that's probably the best part of the trip. Time. We took hikes around the cabin, grilled, caught up with the family with popsicles and ladder golf in the afternoon and with smores around the fire in the evenings. My aunt helped Lucy and Norah set up a fairy area with twinkle lights in the woods next to the house (tricking the lights to come on with a towel bc otherwise it wouldn't get dark enough until after bedtime) and Jonah was a game playing fool. They learned card tricks (which still require a pretty big dispension of belief for the audience ;-) and new games like Speed and Spoons and we all just took a few deep breaths. 

One thing we failed at was getting a good picture. I only got one with more than half of the whole group in it and I won't be posting it online because I think a few of them wouldn't appreciate it very much (just the general, candid photo shot issues of blinking and middle of a sneeze looks kinda thing). Oh well, next time!