Monday, October 24, 2011

We've been BOO-ed!

After years of apartment and townhouse living, I am really loving having our own home. One of the things I am looking forward to the most is finally amassing a collection of decorations for the all the different holidays that the kids enjoy. We didn't have too much for Halloween this season, but luckily the kids were happy to create some handmade decorations for me!

I love the look of our front door now! A closeup of one of the windows will reveal another reason we are loving our new home...

That's right! We've been BOO-ed! Earlier this week, the doorbell rang and the kids were confused to find that no one was there. They soon discovered that a mysterious bag full of candy and Halloween trinkets had been left on our doorstep. A letter of explanation explained that we had been BOO-ed! Our mission, should we choose to accept post the BOO sign on our door, and to BOO two houses that have not yet been BOO-ed.   So off to the store we went to pick up some treats for our version of the BOO bags. The next night the boys couldn't wait for it to get dark enough to head out and BOO some neighbors. They spent the day practicing how they would run away after they rang the doorbell. The stomping feet and giggles that spilled into the house when they came back were sure signs of a mission accomplished! I love living on a street where people BOO each other. I hope this is only the start of the boys growing up with a real sense of community!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ramona is still a pest!

Even though I have a kindle and rarely buy paper books anymore, I still love perusing the piles of books at Costco. It gives me ideas of what to download on my kindle, and I can always pick up great gifts there too. I also love seeing what children's books they have, and last week, I hit the jackpot! I found "The World of Beverly Cleary", a collection of 15 books, for only $25!!!

I was an avid reader growing up, and Beverly Cleary's books were some of my favorites. C reads well on his own, and O has just started reading, so I thought now might be a great time to pick up these books. I had a vision of sitting down with the boys and slowly working our way through this collection of books a chapter a night. But, there was a small wrench in the works... They're boys! Would they be as taken with Ramona and Beezus as I had been as a young girl? I think I would have put the collection back if it had only contained the Ramona series, but luckily it also included 3 Henry Huggins books and 3 Ralph the Mouse books, and I figured the boys might at least like those. And what a steal! How could I pass up that price?!

Turns out it would have been a huge mistake to put back the Ramona books. When we came home, the boys were eager to start reading. Hooray! The big propaganda speech that I gave them on the drive home (about how these were some of my favorite books when I was a kid and I was so excited to finally get to share them with my boys) clearly paid off.  I had planned to start with "Henry Huggins" but "Beezus and Ramona" was the first book in the box, so C wanted to start with that one.  So I took a deep breath and dove in.

And they loved it! After the first chapter was finished, they begged for another, and then another, and I ended up reading until my voice was hoarse. Both boys were taken with Ramona and how naughty she could be. They also seemed to really understand how Beezus was torn between loving her sister and finding her just so annoying, because I am sure they feel the same way about each other at times. I was amazed how quickly the stories came back to me as I was reading. I began to remember exactly what would happen as we continued on, eagerly anticipating how Ramona would eat just one bite out of all the apples and how she would bake her doll in Beezus's birthday cake.  We finished "Beezus and Ramona" in two nights and immediately the boys began begging for "Ramona the Pest." While they enjoy reading, usually they are begging for TV and videogames, so begging to read a book in the afternoon was quite a nice surprise.

It's been great to rediscover these stories with them, and amazing that they are still so relatable 50 years after they were written. Hours of reading, snuggles, and a whole new generation discovering Ramona. Not bad for $25!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Challenge accepted!

C seems to be settling into his new school nicely. He really likes his teacher and I'm starting to hear the names of certain classmates over and over, so hopefully he's making some new friends too. He was so excited that the first graders finally started to have homework last week, which included 8 spelling words, a reading log, and a couple of pages of simple addition and subtraction. Last Friday, he had his first "spelling challenge" and was thrilled with his results.