family life, reading life

A Thanksgiving update: babies & books!

We have a newly revived love for the library lately, with a lovely stack of books to show for it. We’re aiming for a library day every other week and I try to build in a little time to walk around town and do something like sit by the river and watch boats.

A certain young gentleman insists on carrying our books for us.

little boy with books

A revised read-aloud list.

I had a lovely Charlotte Mason-inspired elementary read aloud list, bringing in some of my favorites from my early years of homeschooling Kathryn — but 7 year old Jem just wasn’t enjoying them and I felt like I had to rephrase and re-explain every sentence because he simply wasn’t getting it. After a couple of frustrating months, I finally set aside books I thought we should be reading and built a list he’d love. It worked: now he enjoys read aloud time and actually understands what we’ve read!

I had to remind myself every child is different and he’s somewhat “young” in language skills at least partly because no one read to him in his earliest years. He’s making wonderful progress, though, and we’ll get to those other books when he’s ready.

recent read alouds

Our most recent read-alouds have included:

  • Bread and Jam for Frances :: a classic he (and Piper) loved — because food!
  • The Hiccupotomus :: a fun tongue-twisty book that had us giggling
  • Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons :: another giggly book
  • Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving :: an explanation of the holiday in little-kid terms. Even though Jem still says “minions” when he means American Indians!
  • Dog Loves Books :: a dog with a bookstore!
  • Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent :: We all REALLY enjoyed this one and I think I want a whole collection of Bill Peet books!

As for me, I’ve been mostly reading contemporary and historical fiction. Kathryn has been reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain as assigned literature, and she’s started the Harry Potter series just for fun.

Thanksgiving gifts.

I believe in gratitude all year round but Thanksgiving is an extra-good time to pay attention to blessings. A few of my favorites this month:

  • happy news that a longtime friend has become a mom to a precious newborn through the blessing of adoption
  • completing my first half marathon
  • cool fall weather and changing leaves
  • reconnecting with a long lost friend

. . . AND my brand new grandbaby Khloe Anne!

I might be biased, but she is so beautiful she literally looks like a little doll.
new grandbaby girl

When Lindsey first told me she was expecting, I told her I felt like the baby would come in mid-November, rather than mid-December as expected. Grandma instinct, perhaps? Either way, I’m glad we went ahead and had her baby shower in October!

Earlier this month, Lindsey went into early labor and spent a couple of days in the hospital to get contractions stopped and monitor her. Thankfully, she was able to keep that little bun in the oven two more weeks before her water broke; Khloe was born just before 11PM last Thursday. Although still a little early (36 weeks), she weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces, and mom and baby are doing well.

I’ve already been Christmas shopping for all my grandbabies — but I’m managing to keep it simple, and I’ve gotta tell you, that’s a Herculean feat. Have you SEEN how much cute stuff there is for babies these days? Oh, y’all, I am really liking this whole grandmother gig. 😉

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Congratulations to Lindsey! Khloe is beautiful, and I bet she’ll thank you for magically arranging that she doesn’t have a Christmas birthday – or maybe she’d have liked sharing with Jesus! Either way it’s great that they’re all doing well. I can only imagine what gorgeous things you’ve got for your littlest family members 🙂


We loved Bread & Jam for Frances in Australia too – it was a favourite of two generations :). Jem carrying all those books brought a tear to my eye. Little guy has come so far! And congrats on Khloe’s arrival – she’s a-dorable ?


Congratulations on your first granddaughter.I think it’s probably good that my older kids don’t seem likely to provide me with grandkids anytime soon. I would have a hard time resisting all the great stuff out there.