Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Old Library Bookshop

It took a few attempts, but we finally succeeded in getting to the bookshop of any bookish person's dreams. I only managed a few photos from the children's area of The Old Library Bookshop since I needed to concentrate on browsing and managing my flock of three. My mother came to the rescue and fully occupied Kate to prevent any disasters or mental breakdowns from happening to any of us. It was so nice to be able to go row by row, examining books and looking for the ones we needed.

Here are my purchases with only the E.B. White essays being on my list, but the rest were authors and titles I recognized as being great finds. I actually have a slight obsession or confession to spill.

The woman who has babysat our kids since they were little has a few books from her childhood in her house. She's not a reader, but she keeps them for sentimental reasons. She has several of Gene Stratton Porter's books in vintage hardbacks similar to these that I covet the very few times I have seen them on the shelf in her bedroom. I have wondered what will become of these books and how long I have to wait before offering to take them off her hands for a small fee. But to ask about them is too bold, so I covet in quiet. So to have found two copies for myself has unburdened me immensely in this area. I am now free to let those books go. Just completely free. Yep.

And very quickly, I will show you the other non-book item I could not resist dragging out of that darling bookshop. It slowed me down on my way to the children's area as I walked past it sitting on a little table cradling an open, welcoming book in its wooden arms. And then on my way out, I just knew we had to have that for our house. 

 Isn't it magnificent?  It fold so smoothly and delicately, yet it is sturdy and solid. My twelve year old son was happy when I told him I bought it. He said we could put a dictionary there for easy reference. Of course. But right now, it holds my copy of George Grant and Greg Wilbur's The Christian Almanac. Perhaps we just need a couple more for the dictionary and atlas and Bible and anything else we need to keep handy. But for this house, this little one is a good start.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

thoughts on abortion

I wrote this for my Facebook status today in light of the Planned Parenthood news and decided to post it here as well.

I'm just going say something that has long bothered Shane and I about the whole topic of abortion. When I was 22 weeks pregnant with Kate, we went in for yet another ultrasound which ended up being our fifth and final one. For 45 minutes straight, the technician explored her baby heart looking for abnormalities that would help the midwives and doctors involved know if she had Down Syndrome. They found nothing amiss this time, but a completely whole and perfectly functioning baby heart.
Before the ultrasound was finished, the technician asked me if I would like to see the rest of my baby. Yes, please. So I was given a final look at her little arms, legs and face until we met her face-to-face in a warm hospital room three weeks before Christmas.
After the ultrasound was completed, the results were sent to a pediatric cardiac doctor who was only a few rooms away. Minutes later, that doctor and two others met with us in a tiny room to tell us that they couldn't confirm DS and gave us three options to consider.
One was further genetic counseling which would involve an amniocentesis, the second was to do nothing and continue the pregnancy as normal and the third option was to abort her. The abortion, we were told, would have to take place within 2.5 weeks under Canadian law, or we could cross the border, they said, if we took longer.
We told them we were only interested in the second option and left the hospital. To have doctors who were so diligent in their care of our baby's health also be so diligent to help us kill our baby girl forever imprinted on our minds the divided or schizophrenic mind of these doctors who could care for the unborn as long as the mother wanted the baby, but would be so willing so kill the unborn if the mother no longer wanted the baby. It all hinged on what the mother thought of the baby. If it was wanted, it was a baby to be celebrated, if it was unwanted it was a fetus to get rid of. Of course, as it has been pointed out, a fetus is just another name for a young one, an offspring.
We have always understood that those who wish for women to be able to continue to kill their unborn babies are those who insist on holding at least two inconsistent ideas in their mind. 1) Babies are not babies unless the mother says they are and  2) Science is everything unless you are talking about the formation of babies.
Nobody is saying that every mother can be a mother to her birthed baby. Life is hard, sometimes you have to get help.
By the time Kate was 48 hours old, she had been transferred by ambulance through snow-packed roads to the children's hospital where she was to spend the next three weeks of her life drinking milk, gaining weight and getting strong enough to nurse and drink milk from a bottle. She spent most of those three weeks in a crib room with three other infants who all had very serious and heart-breaking medical conditions.
One of them was a baby boy flown in from Baffin Island who had many reasons to need hospital care. He was already in the foster care system and the nurses and doctors gave him the same wonderful care Kate was receiving. He was smiling and drinking his milk and in the best place he could possibly be.
For those who think that abortion is the best answer for some mothers and their babies, they are wrong. There are many families who are willing to take these babies in and be the parents that the mother could not be. We have several families in our small circle of friends and acquaintances here in Ontario who currently have such babies and children in their care. We also have friends who have gone out of their way to adopt special needs babies. I am humbled by those friends.
Abortion does not just kill a baby, it kills a part of us. It closes down our minds and hearts to what else could be done to help. It is not easy to care for an unwell baby. It is not easy to watch a baby need medical help. It is not easy to see a baby die in spite of a doctor's expert care.
But that is this life and no one can shield us from any and all suffering. I write this from a mother's heart who was asked to be part of an abortion protest in the eighth grade along with classmates. I continue to protest for many reasons, one of which is because I've been in that room and have looked in the face of doctors who thought they were helping. Killing the unborn never helps.

summer life (revised)

Time spent in Pennsylvania is always time well spent. We had several really nice days to enjoy the sunshine and some hiking and of course, time with my parents and the rest of my family.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

'our childhood remains with us'

"To borrow a phrase from Samuel Johnson, the noble purpose of literature is to allow us to enjoy life more or to endure life better. Children's classics which illuminate the mysteries of life both increase our capacity for joy and strengthen our patience and perseverance. They whet our appetite for life and instill a love of the noble, the heroic, the courageous. They make us rejoice in our childhood and the simple, innocent pleasures which form a lifetime of fond memories, and they remind us that, though we are older, our childhood remains within us and comes alive as we enjoy the company of the young or revel in our children and grandchildren."
~ Mitchell Kalpakgian, The Mysteries of Life in Children's Literature

Lovely illustrations on end paper of book in photo above, Our Animal Friends.
Another page of illustration taken from Our Animal Friends

"My college students began to suspect that maybe they had lost something in growing up--a sense of wonder and a yearning for the taste of the other--that might have been better tended and retained if they had been brought up on more of what we were reading in class. Perhaps the fourth graders they had met were actually nearer than they to the wellsprings of human morality and were better served by reading Pinocchio than they had been by taking a required college course in ethics."
Vigen Guroian, Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Magnetic Matching Game

I've been saving frozen juice lids for a few months. I only buy frozen orange juice for backup so it took me a while to accumulate more than twenty. I originally was saving them for some sort of picture game for Kate, but I didn't really have the images readily available, so I decided to use them to help learn numbers instead.
I printed off two sets of these numbers in black and white, and colored them with colored pencil one night while watching something on tv. After that I drew circles around them with a small glass and a pencil and then cut them out and used a regular school gluestick to paste them onto the clean lids.
Using magnetic wands purchased at a local children's store for three dollars each, we have had a great time playing matching with the numbers and then even more fun just playing with the magnetic wand and lids on their own. There really is a lot you can do with lids and magnetic wands. I've already started saving some more for future inspiration.

in the garden and out

Sometimes summer break means just heading out with your new camping chair to sit in the sun and sort your Pokemon card collection that your grandmother still supports. The whole collection has been underwritten by friends, family and Seth's own bank account since his parents do not share the same interest in these cards. They do heartily support being outside, however.

Growing up, I didn't like many of the flowers that my mother liked and grew. Geraniums, marigolds, and several others.  They all seemed to smell too strong, come in strange colors or have homely foliage. But when I started gardening and researching vegetable gardening, I relented and planted marigolds to help ward off pests. A couple of years ago, I saw some geraniums on mark-down and brought them home despite the strong odor and too-bright colors. This year, four-inch pots were marked down to a dollar each, same as the herbs. So I loaded up on my herbs and threw in a couple of geraniums for color. Terracotta and geraniums were born for each other, so I went back for two more. Now I have some serious bright lights in the garden to break up the green, yellow and white growing there.

I saw someone mention these Sweet Italia peppers called 'Carmen', so I checked them out and found that Bonnie Plants which I can buy at our local Walmart sells them. Sure enough, I checked and added these two plants in some empty spaces in the bean rows most likely caused by various chipmunks who are no longer with us because of our attempts to trap a rat. Growing peppers have not given me high yields in past years, but I'm always up for inexpensive experiments.

I watched a local black squirrel climb up our locust tree in the front yard with a long and leggy twig in this mouth.  I didn't realize at first that the mess of branches and leaves stuck in the branches was actually a nest until he stopped there and shoved his stick into this mess. I came back a few minutes later with the camera to witness two branches filled with leaves falling to the ground below as he re-worked the living quarters. We've watched other squirrels build nests in one of the other trees, and they hauled up mouthfuls of large maple leaves up the trunk and settled them into the crook of the tree. Watching animals work and play always is enjoyable and interesting.

The tent was a birthday gift from my parents at my suggestion. It looks quite solitary sitting there. Would you believe that it was actually full of kids in this photo? At least 3 boys and possibly two little sisters were all in there at one point before the nerf gun war got underway.

The tent occupants are ready to go and me and my camera appear to be in their sights. Better head back to safety and get the scavenger hunt ready.

And then here is a quick look around the garden. Peas are just starting to come, one zucchini seen below has already been consumed, along with some of that Bronze Arrow lettuce, my go-to garden lettuce.
Celery, beans, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes round out the usual suspects, along with two containers filled with various herbs.

And blueberry handpies made with puff pastry. Thanks, Kathleen for this idea.