Sunday, June 29, 2014

Best in Bag, June Edition

I'd like to introduce you to a new little segment on my blog, called how to avoid a terrible library haul.

Every time we go to the library, we leave with a bag stuffed to the brim with books.  Usually we're also carrying a few last minute finds that won't fit in the bag.

And every time we go home to read them, we end up with quite a few duds.  It's to be expected when your almost four-year-old starts blindly pulling things off the shelves and shoving them into a canvas tote bag as fast as he possibly can.  On some visits, I feel like we've reached success if we don't end up with duplicates when we get to the checkout counter.  

Each time we hit the library, we also end up with at least a few fabulous finds.  Reads that make me want to rush to Barnes and Noble, purchase two copies for each of my children, pen some meaningful inscription on the inside covers, and stash them on our bookshelves to be taken down upon any whim to be savored again and again.

So.  At the end of every month, I'm going to start sharing the best of the best from our library adventures. The books that gave my kids the giggles or sparked a thoughtful conversation.  The books that couldn't be parted with and had to be renewed on our next trip.  Or, at the very least, the books I looked forward to reading to my littles more than once before we returned them.

If you, dear reader, get at least a few successful kid library hauls because of a few recommendations from the Reese clan, I will consider that success.

Without further ado, I give you June's favorites:

These books won my preschooler over this month:

Mister Bud Wears the Cone by Carter Goodrich 
Kaden loved this book and requested it over and over and over again.  I'm not a huge animal lover, but this book made me want to go adopt two dogs from the SPCA.  The furry characters were endearing, and there were parts that definitely had us laughing. 

No Bath, No Cake!  Polly's Pirate Party by Matthias Weinert
This story was charming.  And I LOVED that it threw gender bias out the window.  Who says girls don't love dirty, smelly pirates as well as little boys do?!

Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch
Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess happens to be one of my all-time favorite picture books, and this story also didn't disappoint.  An adorable read about a little girl's battle with a mud puddle, Kaden donned this his favorite book of the month.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
We have loved every story by this author and illustrator combo, starting with Room on the Broom, when Grandma bought it for us one Halloween.  I know I am completely behind the times, since I'm pretty sure there's an animated short that goes along with this story, but this is the first we've read it.  This was actually one of our top picks in May, but we checked it out TWO MORE TIMES in June.  Kade loved it!  This author is exceptionally brilliant with rhyme, which makes her work perfect for reading aloud.  

The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket
Classic Lemony Snicket in a picture book, with two of my favorite qualities about his writing making an appearance:  awesome vocabulary exposure and dark humor.  I LOVED this read.  Kaden loved it, too, but I think what was truly hilarious about it went a bit over his head.  If you know anything about classical music I think you'd adore this.  Check it out for you; even if your kids don't go completely gaga for it, it's a fun find!

My Crocodile Does Not Bite by Joe Kulka
A darling story about a little boy who's trying to win the pet contest at school with his trusty crocodile.  A great surprise ending to boot!

  These were our favorite baby reads this go around:

Yawn by Sally Symes
Fun, colorful illustrations, and a yawn that travels from one tired little boy through a series of animals, make this a perfect bedtime story for a little one.

Trucks Go by Steve Light 
It is officially ridiculous that I don't own everything this man has ever written for children.  I think we've probably checked out this title alone a good three thousand times.  We ADORE his bright, colorful, transportation-themed board books.  This author is a master of onomatopoeia, which makes reading his work aloud an absolute joy.  Kaden loved this book as a baby, and Everett loves it, too.

Yum Yum! by Yusuke Yonezu
A cute little story with simple die cut illustrations.  Everett really liked this read and would ask (with his pterodactyl scream) to read it again as soon as we finished.  

Happy reading!  If you check any of these titles out, I'd love to hear what you and your family think of them!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Last Day of Joy School

I can't believe it, but our year of Joy School has come to an end.

We had a fun little party for the kids to celebrate the year.

Jamie made this giant water blog for the kids to jump around on.  They had a blast and then had even more fun trying to pop it on purpose.

We played with water balloons (and the amazing dollar store water soakers that were previously such a hit).

Then we had an award ceremony and presented each student with a special award.  Ashlee made these adorable candy medals for each kiddo.  Kaden was named, "Best Cleaner-Upper."  He really is the world's best cleaner-upper.

Then we lined the kids up and tried to recreate this photo that we took on the first day of Joy School back in September.

We had the best time doing Joy School with this group of friends.  I already miss it!  Kaden is very excited to go to "real preschool" in the fall, and I know he's going to love that just as much.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Grandma Left Today

And our house suddenly feels a bit too empty and a lot less fun.  

Most of the time I do OK with my family living across the country.  Most of the time.  But at the end of a nice visit with family, I always remember why I miss living close to them.  I usually slump into a depressed puddle of spontaneous tears for at least a few days after dropping them off at the airport.  Today, while I was crying on the way home from dropping Mom at RDU, Kaden kept telling me to turn around, so we could go with her to her house.  I sure wish it was that easy, buddy.

We had a fun-filled ten days with Grandma.  Pretty much right after her arrival, we headed to Wilmington for a weekend at the beach.  Everett loved taste testing the sand and dumping it all over his legs and feet.  

Is there anything better than a baby at the beach, I ask you?

Grandma and Kaden found a kite at Target that turned out to be a stellar flyer.

And my little heart was pretty thrilled that Kaden ran straight into the water this time.  I've always wanted to raise beach bums.

We ate fresh seafood and explored the charming waterfront of downtown Wilmington, while Kaden insisted on chauffeuring Everett the entire time.

We hit up the aquarium.

And on the way back we stopped at the famous Britt's Doughnuts.  We bought a dozen (fried to perfection and dipped in a glaze that begged to be licked from sticky fingers when the treat was gone).  While we chowed down on our doughnuts in the car, we watched this sweet little gaggle of geese cross the street.

We stopped by the beach on Saturday night after dinner to take some quick shots of the boys, before the light was completely gone.

My mother in law is a treasure hunter of children's clothing, and I found this darling romper hanging in a stash she had in a closet.  Even though it barely fit, I knew I had to get a portrait of Everett in it at the beach. Thanks, Joy, for the darling outfit!

Everett was super tired, the sun was fading fast, and it was pretty amazing we got any shots with smiles before he completely fell apart.

This is how I will always remember Evers as a baby--he is such a thumb sucking fiend.

Windblown family snapshots:


We had such a great time in Wilmington.  The place we stayed seriously had the most amazing staff.  Everyone was SO friendly.  Kaden loved swimming in the pool, getting to have "cherry juice" with his breakfast each morning (cranberry juice mixed with apple juice and water), jumping on the beds, and guessing which elevator was going to arrive first each time we went up or down.  He also developed a love for showers.  Up until this trip, he would never take a shower, but our hotel room didn't have a bathtub.  We told him if he wanted to swim in the pool, and especially if he wanted to go to the beach, he would have to take a shower afterwards.  He ended up loving the shower so much, that he has taken a shower every night since we got back.  Our water bill will definitely act as a testament of his new found obsession, since he wants to stay in there for twenty to thirty minutes.

While mom was visiting, we also did lots of fun things in Raleigh.

Kaden finished filling his marble jar so, as promised, we took him to Monkey Joe's to get his bounce on.

Poor Everett was such a trooper.

We went to Pullen Park and rode the train, boats, and carousel.

There was Chick fil A.  Twice.  In ten days.  Kaden was a pretty happy camper.

We swam in the neighborhood pool and made new friends.

Chad and I went out on a date and bravely tried the first beets we've eaten since we were kids.  

We made lots of yummy dinners.  Kaden helped Grandma make some biscuits to go with the ribs we cooked on the grill one night:

And, of course, we had lots of time to just hangout and play.

Kade became semi-obsessed with Superman while Grandma was here.  He's seriously had these jammies since Everett was born, but when he got some new Superman underwear to go with them, it was like a spark ignited.

Here, he is showing us how strong he is, after eating his cucumbers and carrots:

Everett started to cruise like a crazy man while Grandma was here.  The baby gate has become our new best friend.

We love you, Mom!  We are so glad you came to visit us!

Please, come back soon!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...