Wednesday, February 27, 2013

reading right now

noah has been reading so much on his own lately.  he is reading right through the whole "jesus storybook bible" in bed at night.  his favorite story is david and goliath.  :)

he also just ordered "stink" from his school book order, and read it on bus on the way home!  now we have a bunch more from that series from the library.

and he is working on a project on the pioneers, so we have a bunch of pioneer books from the library too.  i love the "my first little house" series.

aaron has a few books going at once, as usual.  he is a guy with many interests...

isla has been super into the cinderella story for a while now, and i think we've read just about every version out there.  we found this one recently, which combines cinderella tales from many different countries.  and the pictures are by julie paschkis, whose illustrations i just love!

we read about the dancers book in smithsonian magazine and requested it from the library.  it is so cool!  the pictures are so clever and tell little mini stories about life.  isla loves is.

the bunnies book we found randomly at the library and just love it.  these little bunnies are fairly naughty, but the book is so surprising that we all just cracked up as we read it!  and the bunnies' jambes are really cute.

i flip through lots of books more than i really read any, but i am trying to make it through jim lynch's new book.  i really liked his book "border songs," and this is his new one.  it's about the world's fair in seattle in 1962.  it's interesting to learn about how seattle center came to be.  the kids and i really enjoy hanging out there now, and i like to imagine it back then.

and the "green crafts" book has lots of great, doable, not too messy ideas.  i am making a few copies of things before i return this one to the library.

ezra still eats books more than reads them, but he's sort of beginning to get the hang of flipping through the pages.  we ordered this one for him from noah's book order.  (have i mentioned i am having lots of fun with the kids' book orders?!?  i love them!)

and when a quiet moment presents itself, i love to listen to my new favorite podcast, planet money.  i love the hosts and i really appreciate how they are able to explain very complicated fiscal issues in laypeople's terms.  and they're funny!

on the drive to and from whistler this weekend, we all really enjoyed listening to the frances audio collection.  these stories are so wonderful and quirky!  and the narrator has a wonderful british accent.

and in car isla and i are enjoying the new ben gibbard cd, former lives.  she loves the first song, about singing acapella under an umbrella.  i love the songs "lady adelaide" and "a hard one to know."  and he's actually coming to western on sunday, and i am going to see him!  i'm excited.  it's rare that musicians i like come to town, and rare that it works out for me to go.  hooray!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

on letting go

--mary oliver
last night we had ezra with us in the ash wednesday service.  he had been in the nursery with the other kids, but our pager went off halfway through.  aaron went to retrieve him and they came back just in time for the imposition of ashes.  as i held ezra on the way to the altar rail, i could feel him taking deep breaths, calming himself from his crying.  i wiped the wet tears from his chubby little cheeks.  i set him down to perch on the rail while we waited for our turn.  aaron received his ashes, i received mine, and then our priest asked if ezra should have some too.  i said yes and watched as he made the sign of the cross on my little boy's forehead.  "remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return."  ezra was quiet and still, watching with wonder at the movements in front of him.

i don't like to think about my little baby being dust, or returning to dust, ever.  i'm sure it is the hardest thing possible for mothers to do.  and how?  he is so full of life!!  moving, talking, laughing, touching, tasting, crying, reaching, gobbling, yelling... nearly every waking minute!  even as the service continued, ezra's breathless little laugh filled the somber spaces of quiet in our big sanctuary.  serious parishioners, dark splotches on their foreheads, laughed too.

later, after we retrieved noah and isla from the nursery, they stared at our ashy foreheads.  when we had given them the choice to join us for the service or to stay and play, they chose to play.  but now they wanted the ashes.  we walked back into the sanctuary and found father jonathan.  "do you still have any ashes left?" i asked.  "we have a few more people who want to receive."  he smiled and led us back to the altar rail.  the kids were serious, knelt down and watched as he retrieved the small silver bowl.  he rubbed his thumb inside, made the sign of the cross on their heads, and reminded them that they were dust.  we thanked him and walked away.

on the way home, isla asked, "how did they make jesus's body stay on the cross?"  i took a deep breath, but noah answered quickly.  "with nails," he said.  "they nailed his body."  "where did they nail him?" isla asked.  "on his hands and feet," i answered.  "that doesn't seem like enough to make him die," noah commented.  "maybe it was because that made him bleed," i told them, nervously, hoping they wouldn't ask me to explain further.  i want to protect them from any more painful details, from any more sad reality.

but they don't seem bothered by it.  they accept it as the past and rejoice in jesus's rebirth.  they look forward to heaven.  they take comfort in the presence of angels.

i wish i could accept these hard things with their simple faith.  lent is hard for me.  i don't like this part of the story.  i mourn with mary, the mother, and mary, the friend.  i feel chastised too when jesus says, "do not hold on to me."  i want to hold on.  to a living, breathing jesus.  to my children full of life.  i don't ever want to let go.

so this is what i'm thinking about this lent.  how to trust like a child that everything will be alright in the end, even in death.  to not fear.  to be comforted by angels.  to let go.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


  • listening to the song "stompa" by serena ryder over and over.  i heard it on a vancouver radio station driving by myself home from vancouver the other night, and it was awesome!  you can hear it here.

  • watching downton abbey season 3.  can you believe what happened to sybil?!?!

  • valentine's day crafting.  we have made heart-shaped cookies, pancakes and biscuits, beeswax hearts, felt hearts, paper hearts, potato-heart stamps, and of course done lots of heart-shaped-foam stickering on everything.
  • frantically sending out the last of the christmas cards before lent begins and christmas cards become really inappropriate!

  • listening to noah read us "weird but true" facts from his new books. 
  • thinking about what will happen in the next wildwood chronicles book!  (i finally finished "under wildwood", and it was awesome.)
  • following ezra around the house saving him from dangerous situations.  loving his toothy, dimply, breathy laugh.
  • checking on the progress of the bulbs in the garden.  getting ready to plant peas.

  • doing laundry.  constantly.  how can we possibly have so much laundry!?!?!
  • biking again on non-rainy days.  i think it's time to get the green seat hooked up for ezra!
  • working on another pair of pants for ezra from this pattern.  these are really fun and so cozy!
  • doing some spring cleaning.  i am trying to go through every little corner of this little house and organize/eliminate!  it is slow-going but feels really good.
  • thinking about summer plans.  looking forward to camping/biking/island beaches!
  • getting ready for lent.  the kids are excited to try to "be serious and think about jesus" to get ready for easter.  now, how, exactly?