52 Weeks of Sisterhood: Raising Readers

My husband and I have been reading to our girls since they were born. They have their favorites and so do we. We know that the Dr. Seuss books are fun but long. We know the books that rhyme and the ones that don’t. We know which books require special voices or sound effects. And we know which books are sure to get a laugh. 

In that latter category of humorous books, my little one has been favoring “The Pigeon” books lately. Are you familiar with the Pigeon? OMG he’s hilarious. The author is Mo Willems and he used to write and animate for Sesame Street – which totally explains why I love his humor. Among her faves right now:



She laughs at just the right spots. And she can’t wait to turn the pages. She’s even memorized some of the words so far, which makes me beam with pride.

(As a side note, my husband and I have a standard baby gift. We always buy a Pigeon book and the accompanying stuffed animal. We had generous friends and family contribute books to our girls’ library and we want to pay it forward.)

My nine year old is also enamored with books. She most recently finished the memoir, “Behind the Secret Window” by Nelly S. Toll. It’s the story of a young Jewish girl’s experiences during World War II.

My daughter’s always been fascinated by Anne Frank, but I’ve spared her some of the horrid details until she gets older. This book so captivated her that she hasn’t stopped talking about it for weeks. As she was describing the book to me last week, she said how much she’d love the chance to meet this woman (who now probably in her 70s or 80s).

This might sound morbid, but I did some research to see if the woman was still alive. Turns out that until recently she was teaching at a college near where we live. There was no mention of a death date online so – onward! I continued researching and found what appeared to be a viable email address. I sent her a note.

No response yet.

But whoa. My daughter will completely freak if she gets the chance to meet this woman. I’ve met a few authors whose works I’ve loved and for me it was like meeting a rock star. I’m in awe of authors and how they can inform, educate, entertain, persuade, or frustrate me by the words they so carefully string together. I adore the fact that my daughter feels the same way.

I believe reading to kids and in front of kids is something really special. Oh sure there are lots of studies noting how it helps with the developmental and cognitive abilities of children…blah, blah, blah. That’s all true, but I read to my kids for different reasons. I want them to discover how books can transport you to another place and time. I want them to know that books can make you laugh and cry and leave you thinking about characters long after you’ve turned the last page. 

OK fine. It’s really because I can’t resist the extra cuddles I get when it’s storytime. 🙂

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52 Weeks of Sisterhood: Smiling Eyes

I come from a long line of proud Irishmen. And Irishwomen 🙂

St. Patrick’s Day was always a big holiday when I was growing up, especially on my mom’s side of the family. We shared a duplex with my grandparents where we lived on the first floor and they lived above us. March 17 was definitely a day to be celebrated and to wear your green. I remember green carnations, corned beef and cabbage and the sound of my grandfather singing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” as he puttered around the house in his signature blue jeans and white t-shirt.

I’m proud of my Irish heritage and I’m glad to share a little bit of it with our girls. Shortly before we were married, my husband and I traveled to Ireland. I remember the beautiful green countryside, quaint little thatched roof cottages, stone architecture, the narrow roadways and SHEEP! It was gorgeous. We toured all the famous landmarks and explored some of the lesser known parts of the Emerald Isle. My ancestry is pretty firmly rooted in Ireland (County Cork, to be exact) and my husband has some Irish heritage as well. We can’t wait to bring the girls someday. I know they’ll love learning more about where they come from. In the meantime, we’ll keep celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. And smiling 🙂

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My little leprechauns enjoying green donuts and some smiles on St. Patrick’s Day.

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I love their smiling Irish eyes.

52 Weeks of Sisterhood: Teamwork

My girls don’t always get along.

Their seven year age difference is part of the reason. But when they do get along it makes my heart happy.

We’ve had way too much snow recently and it’s resulted in either school cancellations or two hour delayed openings for big sister. The most recent two-hour delay day happened to fall on the day little sister has her swimming class. So we all piled into the car and headed to the Y with plans to go to swim class and then rush home to get big sister on the school bus by 10am.

She wasn’t happy about having to rush. She wanted to stay home in her jammies for a bit longer and play on the latest tween obsession “Wee World.” Don’t ask.

But off we went. We sat on the bleachers alongside the pool, sweating and breathing in the humidity. We watched my little one practice her kicks and put her face in the water to blow bubbles. The class is only 30 minutes, but my older daughter’s face looked like she’d been there for days.

But then something cool happened. The teacher asked her class of toddlers if they wanted to swim the length of the pool to the deep end using their little floaties. Their eyes widened for a second before they all squealed and shouted, “Yay! Yay!”

The class slowly began kicking, making their way out of the shallow end. They swam in the crookedest line ever, but it was really cute. There are only three of them, but they each had a little cheering section on the bleachers. Kick. Kick. Kick. They were in the middle of the pool – headed straight for the deep end – when big sister got up and ran alongside the pool to the deep end. (Note: the lifeguards yelled at her for running, but she didn’t care.) She crouched down at the edge of the pool and started cheering and cheering and cheering for her little sister. “C’mon you can do it! You’re almost there!”

When the little one finally made it – all red-faced and breathless – it was her big sister who jumped up as if she had just won the kid lottery. And then she told her, “You did it! I’m so proud of you!” And my heart swooned.

Of course, on the way home, they fought about who was allowed to sing the Frozen songs. (For the record, my little one prefers to sing ALL BY HERSELF. Holy high maintenance.)

But I didn’t let it ruin my moment.

p.s. Cell phones aren’t permitted in the pool area so I failed to get a shot of little one kicking her heart out. So I include this one instead.

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Holding hands so they don’t slip on the snow…

 

52 Weeks of Sisterhood: Paging Doc McStuffins

(Disclaimer: I realize these are supposed to be weekly posts, per the title. But I got a late start, so I’m catching up. This one gets me current through the end of January, which is fine with me)

My girls are quite healthy. Sickness is rare in our home. *excuse me while I go find some wood to knock on*

I know how lucky we are.

Part of the reason they don’t generally get the normal colds, coughs, etc. is because I’m a total freak when it comes to hand sanitizer. There are easily four bottles in my purse on any given day.

But we’re not always immune when the stomach bug makes its rounds. Such was the case for my older daughter last week.

Luckily it didn’t last for long, and so as soon as she started to feel better, her trusty sidekick was right there with her “Doc McStuffins” tools to help fix her up and make her feel better. Have you seen this adorable character from the Disney Channel? So cute – and it’s such a good show. It usually has a good story, a nice lesson and a cute little song. I even watch it sometimes when no one under the age of 9 is home. Well that’s not weird at all, right?

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Doc McStuffins taking care of her big sister

Anyway, she’s got the whole doctor bag going on. And she can tell you the names of all her tools in her little two year old voice. Otoscope. Stethoscope. Bandaid. Needle for a shot.

She was even Doc McStuffins for Halloween.

If one of us isn’t feeling well, we can always count on our little Doc McStuffins to sing some songs and help us feel better.

Doc McStuffins

My little Doc McStuffins

52 Weeks of Sisterhood: My munchkins like munchkins

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Chillin outside the local Dunkin Donuts

No doubt you’ve heard about (or experienced!) the snow-pocalypse or snowmaggeddon or whatever you want to call the huge amounts of snowfall we’ve had in the Northeast recently. It’s beautiful and pretty but for goodness sakes it’s February and my older daughter has missed too much school.

We had a reprieve a couple of weeks ago in between storms when it wasn’t completely freezing (around 39 or 40 degrees or so), and much of the snow had melted. So we bundled up and loaded the car with their scooters and headed to the local park. It was muddy in places and still snowy in places, but they got to run and climb and scoot so they were happy.

My little one has had her scooter since last Christmas. It’s pink and has three wheels and she drives it like a pro. We’re thinking about getting her a “big girl” scooter for her birthday which makes me both happy and sad. Happy that she’s mastered this first little vehicle. And sad because, well, she’s growing up.

My older daughter on the other hand has had a scooter for years. She loves riding it and her confidence has developed over the years. She’s not as in love with it as she was just last year, but that’s OK. She still loves riding her bike.

After we played at the park and went for a walk / scoot around the neighborhood, we headed toward Dunkin Donuts for a well-earned treat.

Munchkins for my munchkins.

52 Weeks of Sisterhood – Week One

With all due credit to a favorite blogger of mine – Jenna at Stop, Drop and Blog – I’ve decided to follow in her footsteps and attempt to document the year through the eyes of my girls. She calls her project “52 Weeks of Brotherhood.” I’ve decided to call mine

” 52 Weeks of Sisterhood”

No points for originality.

But know this. I don’t want to just regurgitate what our week was like in a sort of diarist fashion. Rather, I’d like to capture just what milestones they’ve reached in their relationship with each other and also as independent people. My scrapbooking efforts have waned over the years and been replaced by a fondness for blogging and amateur photography. And when I say ‘amateur photography’ I mean the finesse with which I wield my trusty smart phone.

At the very least, I hope to have a good record of the important and mundane things that occurred in the lives of my two girls when the year ends. It’s hard for me to let go sometimes and let them grow up. Maybe this will help me freeze-frame these moments in my mind just a bit. I’m a little behind (already!) Here’s week 1 – I’ll post weeks 2 – 4 shortly 🙂

WEEK ONE

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Self-portraits

 

These two.

Honestly.

They play well and they fight well. They build forts together and watch Disney shows. And then doors slam, feet stomp, something is thrown across the room and someone ends up crying.

But at the end of the day my little one reminds her big sister, “You’re my best friend.”