It’s Christmastime!! Everybody loves this time of year. Or hates it. Depending on whether they are at home enjoying their own Christmas tree, mugs of cocoa, and family, or they are out shopping.
People shop all year. We all have things we need to pick up week to week–food, supplies, clothing. So what is it about shopping for Christmas that makes some put on their Belligerent Hats and shove through like nutcases? I suppose we’ll never know. I’ve always thought shopping for gifts should bring out the best in people, not the worst. So when I am out this time of year, I put on my biggest smile, and even when someone accidentally-on-purpose heels me with his or her cart for some imagined slight, I offer kind words. I may not think them, but I speak them. You know what a big believer I am in paying it forward.
It always makes my experience a little bit better, being kind in the face of all that irritation. Hopefully, it makes the experience of those who come in contact with me better, too. I am, after all, an optimist.
Halloween is over. It’s a little sad, but now we’re on the downhill slide to Thanksgiving, the one day a year I refuse to diet, so it’s all pretty good. This is the time when I start to plan the enormous feast we’ll have. I love to cook; have I ever told you that? It is one of my great joys. Many years ago, when it became obvious that trying to fit in both families by driving to Martin’s family over an hour away and to my family who are very close made for a miserable Thanksgiving for all five of us, we decided to just have Thanksgiving here. Unfortunately, my house is too small to fit either family in let alone both, so that decision meant we have to have Thanksgiving on our own. Sometimes it hurts my heart, but we make a big celebration of it anyway, and we don’t have to spend 2 hours on the road or be unfair to one family or the other, and we get to relax for Thanksgiving. Well, all the boys do. I am busy, busy, busy that day. But I like it that way.
I told you, I love to cook.
It is still autumn, though the days are shorter and it may be getting quite cold where you are. (Unless you’re one of my Australian readers, then you’re enjoying the slide into spring. Lucky.) It hasn’t gotten cold here yet; we’re still hovering between 60 and 70 degrees, which doesn’t bode well for deer season, so if the weather gods could do me a favor and have the temperature go ahead and drop in the next couple weeks? Thanks. With the time change the world is bright again at 7 a.m. instead of dark, but I know that will only last a few weeks. Then winter will set in, and a whole new set of adventures will befall us.
However, since it’s still autumn and Halloween is over but it’s not quite time for Thanksgiving, let’s do a Story Time about another autumn book.
Let’s go old school on the Story Time today with Gus Was a Friendly Ghost by Jane Thayer, a gem from my childhood. For me, if you’re going ghost story, nothing quite compares with this warm-hearted story of friendship and the simple but imaginative illustrations by Seymour Fleischman.
You guys. I’m the one wiggling with excitement right now. One reason is simply that it’s October and October is everything wonderful. We took a walk in our woods last evening and a crisp breeze cooled us and brought that spicy, cinnamon scent of decaying leaves (ever noticed how leaves are the only things that smell good when they die?) wafting into the valleys. We made a family effort to collect the most beautiful leaves from the forest’s carpet. Then, as we headed back to the house, the sun was setting over the field and it looked like someone had lit a jack-o-lantern candle behind the trees. It was gorgeous.
The other thing I’m excited about is the new series I’m starting today. Story Time is going to concentrate on one picture book per post and will be full of suggestions for lessons you can add into your homeschool day. Or your fun Saturday with your Littles. My favorite part of being a children’s librarian was planning and conducting Story Time every week, especially when my dear friend Abby and I got to work on it together. I miss it. So there’s no good reason why I can’t keep doing it, right? The planning part, anyway. I’ll let you guys play with your own kids.
If you haven’t read this book with your littles yet, I have to assume you’ve been living under a rock.
Just kidding. But it is a very popular book for a very good reason. It’s one of those books that encourages courage and kindness while getting your littles up and moving. Do Not Read This Book Sitting Still.
When the boots go clomp, clomp, stomp your feet. When the pants go wiggle, wiggle, wiggle your whole body. When the gloves go clap, clap, clap your hands. When we first started reading this book years ago, I was the one doing all the movements, and my Littles cackled every time, especially when I sang out, “WIGGLE WIGGGGGLLLLEEE!” In a very short time, they were joining in the fun. So that is your first activity. Read this book With Feeling.