The Sweetness of Childhood

30 Days of Thanks- Day 4

Today I am thankful for the sweetness of childhood. My grandson, CJ, received a children’s bible with a nice zipper carrying case from his other grandma over the weekend. He promptly emptied the bible out and started gathering up any writing utensils he could find. While his Uncle Kris was watching him today, he asked if he could borrow some of his uncle’s pens. He folded up some of his drawings to make them fit inside the carrying case. When we asked what he was doing, he said, “Making a binder, just like Uncle Kris’s.”

Uncle Kris has a leather portfolio that apparently caught little CJ’s eye. We never even noticed. While we thought it was so cute and sweet, that was nothing compared to the look on Kris’s face when he realized that his nephew wanted to be just like him.

So for today I am thankful for that sweetness. There is something special about the love of a child but seeing Kris, who has been struggling for awhile now, swell up with emotion when he realized that his nephew looks up to him and admires him, well that’s priceless. cropped-cropped-cropped-cropped-cropped-dandelions2112.jpg


City Street

Photography 101: Assignment- Street


Looking at this picture, I feel claustrophobic. And I’m transported back to the moment I took the photograph with my iPhone 6, in frustration. I’m trapped behind the wheel of my car during rush hour in the heart of Chicago. I have circled (and I use the word circled loosely because it’s more of a slow moving rectangular drive) the block at least three times searching for a parking spot. As closed in as it looks being surrounded by cars, the added outer layer of buildings towering over me on all sides seals the deal.

10 Things · Family

10 Favorite Books I Read to My Children When They Were Young

For my son and daughter-in-law’s baby shower, we asked guests to bring one of their favorite books in place of a card. I’ve always given my children books for their birthdays and Christmas and I have continued the tradition with CJ. Choosing the perfect book for the newest little baby was a decision not made lightly. It got me thinking of all the books I read to my kids when they were little and that inspired this post for my 10 Things feature. Reading is one of the my favorite past times and its one I hope I have passed on to my children. I had to laugh when I found out that Michael and Jasmine were letting CJ check out 10 (TEN) books from the library and then they were reading all 10 to him every night! (That didn’t last long. I believe it got cut down to 3 or 4. Much more reasonable.)


  1. The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. I discovered this book quite by accident but I immediately fell in love with the simple lines and the illustrations, also simple but detailed. I gave it to Michael when he was very young and it quickly became a favorite. It tells the story about the big red barn and all the animals around the farm, using great description of their appearance and sounds they make.
  2. Owen by Kevin Henkes. Owen has a yellow blanket that he takes everywhere with him. When it is time for Owen to go to school, he is faced with a dilemma. He doesn’t want to leave his blanket at home. I have a blankie baby myself. Actually I had two but I broke one of his blanket habit and then felt so bad, my second blanket lover took his to college with him.
  3. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. Who doesn’t love Madeline? Kris could recite this book from memory by the time he was three years old. I was always drawn to the illustrations- not only the colored pictures but the black and white line drawings, too. My grandson, CJ, enjoys hearing the Madeline books. We have a video of a young Kris sitting with this book open in his lap, appearing to read, “In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines.”
  4. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. Andrew really liked the repetitive feel of this book. Looking back, this shouldn’t be a big surprise, considering his love of music and his innate sense of rhythm. I had purchased the board book for CJ a few years ago and it was only by accident that I found out that Michael is not a fan of this book. Oops! “A told B and B told C…”IMG_0445
  5. The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. This book is a favorite of Andrew’s although I did read it to all three children. It chronicles Grover’s growing fear of the monster that he knows is at the end of the book. Grovers antics to prevent the story from ending are very silly and it always makes me smile.
  6. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. I resisted this book until Andy came. I was convinced if I read a book about a boy drawing on his walls that my kids would draw all over our own walls. As it was, I had Michael drawing in the door jamb of his bedroom door. Andrew loved the exploits that resulted from Harold’s drawings.
  7. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. There’s nothing like a good rumpus and a little boy named Max who is behaving badly! One of my children confessed to being slightly scared by this book as a child. I think it might have been Kris.IMG_0449
  8. Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss. This was always a regular read in our house. I’m convinced that it was the reason Kris knew all of his letters by the time he was 2. I have memories of him writing his ABC’s on the blackboard at Michael’s pre-K when we went to pick him up. I think we all have this book memorized.
  9. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. All of these books are favorites. The mouse, the moose, the pig. I love the moose making sock puppets and the pig getting sticky from syrup and needing a bath. I’ve heard that there are also a cat and a dog book. I can’t wait to get them to read to CJ and his little sibling!
  10. Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough. Kris has always loved teddy bears. It was his love of bears that caused me to pick up this book and it quickly became a family favorite. Eddie has lost his teddy and he is shocked to see that it has grown incredibly large when he finds it. The illustrations are the perfect complement needed to complete the story.

There are so many more- Little Critter books, Clifford, Curious George, Arthur, Thomas the Tank Engine…

What are some of the favorite books you read to your children? Or if you don’t have children, what were some of your favorites as a child?