Thursday, October 24, 2013

Happy Things (Including Grace and our "Wizard of Oz" Day)

I've been writing a lot about my mom lately--and about the things that are hard for me.

Grace had a little talk with me about that last week, and she said, "Mom, you need to write about happy things. Like me. And the fun things we do."

She's right. So here we go . . . first a little bit about Grace:

Grace is my darling 11-year-old. She squeals when she sees me in the morning and gives me huge hugs. She's my child who really likes back tickles, so she's always the first to snuggle up to me on the couch and let me hold her (and tickle her).  She's also got a great sense of humor, and when I'm around her, I laugh--those good, solid laughs right from my tummy.

Grace is responsible--always the first one to make her lunch for the next day, always the first one to check off the squares on her responsibility chart, and most always the first to finish her homework. And she has the most sensitive spirit. She wants to make good choices and be sweet and kind, and she wants to serve God.  (I'll have to share some more specific conversations and experiences in the future.) I just love her.

Last week, we were putting together a couple of photos for her 6th grade yearbook.

We started with this one:

and then moved to this one:

This growing-up is happening way too fast, but yes, Grace is such a "happy thing" in my life.

Another happy thing was our day trip to San Diego last Saturday. We had a "Wizard of Oz Day" that was more fun than I expected (and practically free!).

I read in a AAA magazine that The Wizard of Oz was actually written on Coronado (a small island in San Diego).

So we sang songs from the movie and read snippets from the book during our drive down, and then we started our adventure at the former home of L. Frank Baum.  Isn't it darling? Can't you just picture him writing all about Dorothy and her journey from that sun room in the front?

Here's a closer look at the front of the house.  (See the "Wizard of Oz Ave" sign?)

Coronado has a darling public museum right around the corner of this house, and they have three original Wizard of Oz books on display.

They also had tons of photos and interesting exhibits the children explored.  Here's Ethan filling out the scavenger hunt form they gave him:

Perfect name for a local store:

And my boys thought they'd died and gone to heaven when they saw this candy factory (nothing to do with The Wizard of Oz, but boy, was it fun):

 I think it's cute how Spencer always finds the car displays and then makes himself right at home:

We also walked around the Hotel del Coronado, which is beautiful. They say this was Baum's inspiration for the Emerald City.

And then after lunch, right before we headed home, we stopped by the Coronado Public Library.

I'm already a huge library fan--just because I adore books. But this library is unbelievable.

They had this little scene set up with Madeline, Ramona, and Pippi:

And this one with Arthur, D.W., the little engine that could, and Paddington:

LOVE The Boxcar Children . . .

And if I could have stayed there all day, reading to my heart's content, I would have:

The children could have put on another 100 puppet shows:

 Seeing this beautiful Wizard of Oz glass art display was the perfect way to end the day.


It was such a happy time. (Overall, I mean . . . because of course we had some bickering, and I was a tad moody, and we walked around looking for lunch for way too long, and then the children were whining a little, and Eric was wondering why they had to whine when they had just eaten snacks in the car, and they couldn't possibly be that hungry. You know how it goes.)

So that's all for today. I just wanted to make sure I'm giving enough coverage to the fun parts of life--because, really, I am grateful.

As I read about Davion Only this week, and as I attended a cottage meeting with a member of the school board tonight (and discussed many ways families are struggling), I realized more and more that the work we do in our homes to love and cherish our children is critical. It doesn't often feel that way, but there is zero doubt that what we're doing matters.

And the more we can do to strengthen other parents--and help them to see how their positive influences will impact generations to come--the stronger our communities become. This work is huge. This work is long-lasting. This work can be so, so happy.

I'll just close with my mom's favorite Dorothy quote:

"If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard."


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