November 16, 2020
October 4, 2020
September 20, 2020
As we're getting ready to move to Oregon (by the way, we're moving to Oregon!), I thought it would be fun to do the same Before and After series that I did for our Pullman home.
When we moved in, everything was brown, dead, and dry. There were very few flowers, and a lot more fruit trees. Our outbuildings have changed quite a bit. Are you ready? Here we go!
Front of House
I do enjoy this front corner bed. It's got all kinds of things in it these days: sedum, daylilies, asters, roses, peonies, irises, scabiosa. It makes me happy all summer long.
Front Shade Beds
Garden spot, orchard, and the woodshed there on the right.
Looking back at the house. New deck.
September 28, 2019
August 15, 2019
August 7, 2019
Newbery Honor 2014
4 stars: Warm hearted and simply delightful!
Billy's Papa is an artist and his Mama is an High School English teacher. Unlike most other kids he knows, his mom is the one who goes to work every day, while his dad stays home and takes care of him and his little sister Sal.
Billy's going to start 2nd grade soon, and he has some worries. 1--Is he smart enough for 2nd grade? 2-Is it babyish to call his mom and dad Mama and Papa? 3-Will his teacher like him? In the introductory letter his teacher sent home before school she said it was the Year of the Rabbit, but his Papa says it's going to be the Year of Billy Miller. He's pretty sure his Papa is right!
* * * * *
I didn't know what to expect going into this one, and to be completely honest, I had been putting off reading it a bit, because it just didn't catch my eye. It was a happy surprise to find how much I enjoyed it. It reminded me of a Beverly Cleary book, in that the situations are all everyday stuff that every kid goes through. The family is generally happy, even though the father is struggling with his art ("looking for a breakthrough".)
Sal made me chuckle a couple of times, and Billy's worries and the resolutions were like a window into my own 7-year-old's world. Things that seem small to the grownups loom large when you're 7. It's good to remember that. There was so much that made me smile. Billy is surrounded by loving adults--even the babysitter! You know that he's going to get all this stuff figured out.
I'm encouraging my boy to read it. I hope he does, because I think he would find a lot in common with Billy, and a lot to like about the story.
Have you read this one? What did you think? My favorite were the Drop Sisters.
July 31, 2019
Newbery Honor 2016
4 stars: Troubles associated with growing up, plus ROLLER DERBY!
Astrid had never even heard of roller derby, until one night her mom takes her and her best friend Nicole to see a bout. Astrid loves every minute of it! She wants to do it so bad! She is very excited when her mom points out that they are offering a camp for girls ages 12-17 over the summer, and even more excited when her mom signs her for the camp. The only damper to this fun time is that her bestie Nicole isn't doing it with her. You see, Nicole actually likes ballet and wasn't really into the whole roller derby thing. They have been attached at the hip for years now, so this is going to be a big change.
Despite her dreams of instant success and stardom, as it turns out Astrid isn't very good at roller skating, and also, she is way out of shape compared to everyone else. What she lacks in skills, however, she makes up for in determination. She is going to do this! Make way for this girl!
* * * * *
Roller derby ladies are like, 1000x cooler than I will ever be, but I think they're awesome. Also, it doesn't sound fun to me at all in reality, but reading a book about it was great fun. One of my favorite parts were all their roller girl names. I'm not going to lie--I spent a good portion of the book trying to come up with a name for myself. Haven't thought of a worthy one...yet. I may or may not get back to you on that.
Like so many middle grade novels, this one was about changing friendships, and discovering yourself. The roller derby itself made for a fresh take on the age old topic, and the graphic novel format was a perfect fit, keeping the narrative moving at a fast clip. Astrid's growth was satisfying and realistic. I liked her as a character very much.
I don't read very many graphic novels, but this one was a hit! Glad it got some recognition. Oh, also my 9 year old daughter told me that it was "a really good one." So there you go.
Content: One swear word, mentioned as something Astrid was called by a bully.