Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Eric Carle!

The wonderful children's author and illustrator Eric Carle turns 78 today. This week, read a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to a child in his honor, or perhaps one of his other terrific books!

We have more Carle favorites than we count. Some of the sweet girl's absolute favorites lately have been Mister Seahorse and Dream Snow. Caterpillar probably still wins out as her all-time favorite though, not just among Carle's books, but among books period.

We like Carle's work so much that we recently did our own "Very Hungry Caterpillar" art project, based on the instructions in the book The Art of Eric Carle. His main artistic method is collage made from painted tissue paper, and the instructions in the art project teach you, step by step, how to paint the tissue papers. Sweet Girl loved it, and we even got a lesson in patience -- she had not realized how long it would take for the papers to dry before we could cut them out and assemble our own collage.

By the way, here's a picture of our final masterpiece, which currently graces our fridge:

Besides learning patience, my little girl learned an important lesson in artistic individuality. She really liked our caterpillar when we were done, but I could tell she was struggling with something. Finally she said, "He doesn't look EXACTLY like the one in the book." And I got to explain (happily) that no, he didn't, because no two artists are exactly alike. We used Eric Carle's methods, and even some of the same kinds of materials he used, but we brought our own special gifts and way of doing things to the picture. I told her I thought Eric Carle would be very pleased about that. Which pleased her too.

Note to all who want to try such a project: if you're using water-based paints (which we were, because washable paints make a great deal of sense when you're painting with children) you don't need to use much extra water to thin the paint before you stroke it onto the tissue paper. The thinner the paint, the more likely that the tissue paper will tear. Although Carle recommends that you only paint on one single piece of tissue paper at a time (and lay it flat on a newspaper to dry) we had more success doubling up the tissue paper, though we only painted the top layer. The papers came out really nicely...we will likely try painting more sometime, and assembling other collages. Right now our remaining scraps are in the sweet girl's top dresser drawer (where she keeps art and craft things). She definitely wanted to put them in her drawer because, as she pointed out, Eric Carle puts his finished papers in drawers too!

Friday, June 22, 2007

A few sweet-girl-isms

Just because I haven't posted any of the wonderfully funny (and sometimes astute) things my daughter has been saying lately...

"Mommy, I'm putting the clo on the bed." (Spoken while she placed one of her teddy bear's shirts on her bed. "Clo" is her unique singular form of the word "clothes.")

"We can't really walk on water like Jesus can. Unless it's frozen. We can walk on ice."

"I'm trying to make myself 6!" (Said while standing on tip-toe and holding her arms up in a ballerina pose over her head. She's just discovered that she has to be six to officially be able to attend the sports camp run by our church. She turns 5 next week.)

"One quarter of ten is two and a half." (Casually mentioned during dinner a few weeks ago. Aftering affirming that was true, her astounded Daddy and I changed raised eyebrow looks and then conferred to find out if either of us had given the little math whiz that information. Neither of us had!)

"When will I get to be one thousand?" she asked me earlier today. "People don't live that long," I replied. "Well, I'll get to be a thousand in heaven!" she rejoined. (Amen! And it may only seem like a day...)

Hooray for Dogger!

A few years ago, our family discovered Shirley Hughes at our local library. She's a UK author and illustrator whose picture books capture childhood and childhood's feelings better than almost any books I know. Her books quickly became some of our family favorites. My daughter is especially fond of the Alfie books.

But the very first Shirley Hughes book we ever read (and so in some ways a sentimental favorite, since it was the book that introduced us to this beloved author) was David and Dog. David and Dog is the American title; in the UK it's known as Dogger, and it won the Kate Greenaway Medal (the equivalent of our American Caldecott Medal) back in the late 70s. The book was published in 1977, and I think won the award in 1978.

I just read this morning that Dogger has been awared the "ultimate" Greenaway honor, in that it was chosen by readers around the world as their favorite of the Greenaways (apparently readers could vote from a short list of previous winners). What wonderful news, and what a lovely honor for the now nearly 80 year old Shirley Hughes.

If your family's never discovered Dogger, it's well worth looking for. Hughes' books, especially the older ones, are not always easy to find and buy here in the U.S. (at least for reasonable can often find used copies for higher prices). It's a marvelous tale of a little boy who loses his beloved stuffed dog and how his older sister helps him get it back. So simple, so ordinary, and yet so perfect, both in text and illustrations.

In honor of the day, I've added Dogger to my sidebar list of books I love. It's a randomly generated list from a favorites catalog I've just recently begun keeping at I had to go searching in the website to find it, but I couldn't resist adding it. I hope some day I can really add a copy of this lovely book to my actual (not just virtual!) shelves.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Three Harry Potter Questions

Janet Batchler over at Quoth the Maven has posted three questions about Harry Potter which she found originally on two other HP-related sites. It's a bit of a Harry Potter meme!

I posted my answers in Janet's comment section, but they got so long that I thought I'd post them here too.


1) How/when did you become a Harry Potter fan?

I came late to Harry Potter. Somehow I missed almost the whole, early phenomenon, maybe because I was in graduate school and didn’t yet have a child! I think it was probably not long after Goblet of Fire was released that I first began reading the series. A friend loaned me Sorcerer’s Stone, but loaned me a heavy dose of literary snobbery along with it (“well, you know, it’s not Tolkien”). I hadn’t heard of the religious concerns that had been voiced by some, so that wasn’t an issue, but I admit I went into the first book highly skeptical because I knew it was so popular. I figured anything that popular must be pandering to the lowest common denominator of its audience’s taste and intelligence (how’s that for cynicism?!).

I liked the first book but it wasn’t until a few months later that I really became a fan. By then I’d had my baby, and I was home a lot with her, nursing her and getting in lots of reading time. I picked up Chamber of Secrets thinking I would finally get around to reading the second book, since I had enjoyed the first more than I expected. Somewhere in the first few chapters of Chamber, something clicked in my heart and mind and I just fell in love with the story and its characters. I read the whole thing very quickly, then went out and bought POA and GOF almost immediately. By the time I’d finished POA, I was definitely a big fan. It’s still my favorite book in the series.

The last two books have been very different for me, because I’ve waited for them along with everybody else, taken part in reading groups and discussion forums, and also come to them with a background of reading some of the secondary literature that’s sprung up – especially John Granger’s work. I found his work very early because the librarian at our seminary, where I was then working, had met him and purchased his first book on HP for our collection. I gobbled that right up and it opened my eyes to deeper qualities in the books that have enriched my many re-readings.

2) What was your first reaction (physical and/or mental) when you read the scene in which Snape killed Dumbledore?

I wasn’t stunned that Dumbledore died, because I had expected that. I was stunned, however, by the identity of his killer.

I don’t know what made me weep harder (and I did weep, sitting there on my couch) watching along with Harry as his wise and beloved mentor was blasted off the tower, or watching Snape make what I then believed to be an irrevocable choice to turn back toward evil. I know everyone has theories and speculations galore about Snape and his allegiances, and I’ve had my share, but my FIRST and immediate reaction to the scene was the feeling that Snape, who had been given so many second chances and so much forgiveness by this gentle, gracious man, had finally given into the darkness that had always been a temptation for him and made a terrible choice. When Dumbledore said “Severus, please…” I really thought he was begging him not to make such a wrong and terrible choice.

As I’ve re-read the scene since, I think my tears often come at other moments than the actual killing, especially those moments where we see Dumbledore, so true to himself and his loving nature until the very end, offering dignified speech and tangible mercy to so many.

3) How/when will you read Deathly Hallows?

I’ve pre-ordered at a local bookstore, and actually hope to get to the midnight release party with my husband (if we can find someone willing to babysit that late). We’ve never gone to one, and we figure this is our last chance!

If we can’t make it to the party, we’ll go early the next morning and pick it up as soon as the store opens. I’ve asked for a “Harry Potter Day” as much as possible, with plenty of hours just to go somewhere quiet and read. I don’t know how realistic that is, but we’ll see.

After I read it once, I will start it again and read it aloud to my husband, as that’s been our pattern with pretty much every book. I only hope I can stop myself from talking about the book with him before we settle in for the read-aloud. I’m afraid I let slip way too many spoilers before we read HBP aloud. (Probably my weeping on the couch gave away lots all by itself!).


Would love to hear others' thoughts on these three questions!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sabbath Musings

On Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Lauren Winner speak at the seminary. Lauren Winner, for those of you who might not be familiar with her work, is the author of several excellent books including Girl Meets God (her spiritual autobiography) and Mudhouse Sabbath. That second is a slim volume of reflections on various spiritual practices/disciplines (including Sabbath-keeping) and how Winner's roots in Judaism enhance and enrich her understanding of how to embody and live these practices.

The all-day seminar (thank you, Dana! what a wonderful gift!) explored the topic of Sabbath: a Biblical understanding of what Sabbath is (and isn't). We read, drew, prayed and discussed for several hours, wrestling with what Sabbath keeping could creatively look like for Christians in our culture today.

There was so much food for thought packed into those hours. I know this is a topic my exhausted and stressed out little self needs desperately to come back to. It's not just a matter of balancing work and rest (though that's important) but learning how to live in/dwell in God's rest, the rest into which He invites us. I want to think and pray more about this.

So from time to time, you may see what I'll call "Sabbath Musings" pop up here in my blog.

One of the first things we talked about, and an insight I'm still pondering, is how in our culture we have tried to commodify time. Have you ever considered how much of our language concerning time is taken directly from the worlds of business, finance, economics? We SPEND time. We MANAGE time. We INVEST time. We KILL time. We WASTE time.

Lauren suggested that perhaps a better, healthier (more truthful?) way to think about time is to discuss how we INHABIT it, DWELL in it, LIVE in it, and ORDER it. That last becomes especially important in a culture in which our sense of time is broken and disordered.

Again, much food for thought. I'm sure I will be reading through my notes and jotting more thoughts here in the coming weeks.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

That Moon's Not Waning Yet!

Well, here's an interesting piece of news: in honor of the upcoming 60th anniversary of Good Night, Moon, HarperCollins and Johnson & Johnson's (yes, the baby lotion people) are sponsoring a bedtime story competition.

Submit a maximum of 1500 words by July 16. If your original bedtime story is chosen as the grand prize winner, it will be published in a limited print run by HarperCollins. You also could win a slew of really nice prizes, including a few hundred dollars worth of good children's books from HarperCollins.

I just read about this today in a children's writer e-letter I receive regularly. I clicked on over to the official competition website. Looks like fun!

Do I have time to do this? No. Will I try? Maybe. I've not had a good year as far as writing projects and publication attempts, but I've had modest success in writing competitions before, and I've had several children's story ideas brewing for a while now. This afternoon I picked the sweet girl's brain (and her memory) to get her to talk about some of her very favorite bedtime stories.

Of course at lunch I mentioned it to D. and we got to giggling about a silly possibility that apes the classic itself (which of course would not have a chance of winning, since originality counts). How about "Good Night, Spoon"? I suggested, and D. laughed and said yes...a bedtime story for a child with a cough!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reading Round-Up As We Head Toward Official Summer

I know, I's felt like summer for a while already. We hit 96 degrees last weekend. When we went to the library they were having their summer reading program kick-off, complete with an ice cream booth in the parking lot. In fact, we've already signed up for summer reading programs at both libraries we go to regularly. Our air conditioner is laboring. The sweet girl is back into shorts and koolots and has already begun to wear out her newest pair of sandals (as have I). We've been eating plenty of fresh corn and fresh strawberries. S. went through her preschool graduation program (complete with cardboard mortarboard hat and "Pomp and Circumstance") and finished up her last day of school last week. D. spent last evening in the first planning meeting for our church's Vacation Bible School.


And of course it officially starts next week, even according to the calendar. So I thought I'd offer up a reading round-up, since I've been trying to do that more regularly this year.

Currently reading:
From Homer to Harry Potter: A Handbook on Myth and Fantasy by Matthew T. Dickerson and David L. O'Hara. The title snagged me (for obvious reasons) and I also picked it up because I like and trust the publisher, Brazos Press. Even though I didn't know either author, I suspected this would be a very good book. I'm in chapter three and thus far it's surpassed my expecations. Well-written, basic (but not overly so), and grounded in Tolkien and Lewis' understanding of myth and faerie. I'm looking forward to the later chapters when the authors apply what they've said about myth and fantasy in the more general overview to some of the writers writing such stories today, including Rowling.

Midnight for Charlie Bone
by Jenny Nimmo (and no, it's not even coming close to satisfying my ardent desire for the final Harry Potter book...not that I really thought it would).

And speaking of HP, I finished Order of the Phoenix a couple of weeks ago. So I am 5/6 of the way through my pre-book 7 re-reading marathon. I have been very reluctant to pick up Half-Blood Prince. I've got such oddly mixed feelings knowing the "finish line" to the series is in sight.

Love's Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness
(by Rowan Williams et al.) This is a great collection of Anglicans down through the centuries, with brief introductions to each person and excerpts of their works. I'm trying to read through two per week, as time allows, and hope to offer some thoughts and reflections here as I go.

The History of the Ancient World
by Susan Wise Bauer. This one is going to take me a while, but I don't mind. I like sipping at books this rich.

Five in a Row (Volume 1) by Jane Claire Lambert. This is the first in a wonderful series of books written with homeschoolers in mind, though I think families that don't homeschool could also benefit from them. Lambert has developed a "curriculum" (for want of a better word) that derives lessons in language arts, math, science, social studies, etc. from well-chosen picture books. I will probably try to weave some of her ideas (in a supplementary way) into my own kindergarten curriculum for S. next year. More on this in another posting perhaps.

I'm still trying to finish up several of the books on my "currently reading" list from last month.

I'm also reading "at" various chapters and articles on apostolic succession and teaching, in preparation for an adult ed. course I'm giving a talk in (either tonight and/or next week).

The sweet girl's favorite reads right now include: Library Lion; Come on, Rain!; The Life Cycle of Honeybees; and Hop on Pop. For family reading time, we're working our way through the fourth Betsy book in Carolyn Haywood's series (Betsy and the Boys), and we're listening to a wonderful audio version of Charlotte's Web read by E.B. White himself.

Although this counts in the watching, not reading, category: thanks to Netflix I am finally getting to watch all the Gene Kelly movies I've wanted to see for years and could never find. Well, most of them anyway. I'm getting one every couple of weeks and reviewing them for Epinions as I have time. His films always give me a real sense of joy!

Changes to the Blog Roll

Over on the left hand side-bar, I have a list of blogs I love to visit, which I titled "Resting Places for Heart and Mind." In general these are blogs I enjoy reading regularly or at least semi-regularly, whose content I find encouraging, funny, thought-provoking or simply beautiful. Lots of them (though not all) feature a love of God, a love of good books, and a love of children, families and parenting. Quite a few of them are blogs that discuss homeschooling as well.

I've just added the blog Semicolon to my list. I only recently discovered it and have been enjoying it a great deal. The woman who blogs there reads more than I would have thought humanly possible, and she often shares her passions in well-ordered lists of books and other resources. A great find.

On the other end of the spectrum, I've been contemplating taking the Austen Blog off my list. I do check it from time to time and find it a fun round-up of Austen-related "stuff." They're especially good at keeping track of all the Austen citings in popular culture -- books, stage, and screen. But I sometimes find the tone a bit too "inner-circle"ish, as though there are a lot of private jokes I'm just not in on. However, I enjoy it enough that I'm going to keep in on for now. If anyone has any recommendations of other good blogs engaging Austen, I'd love to hear about them. I know about some of the big websites, like Republic of Pemberley, but I'd be most interested in the personal, thoughtful musings of a passionate Austen reader. If they're engaging her work from a faith perspective, even better!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Lessons from a Hummingbird

Ah, Saturday. How I love Saturday mornings, the one day a week when our family does not have to rush off (sometimes in three different directions, seemingly all at the same time) and be somewhere at a certain time. We've taken to giving ourselves sleep-in time (I didn't get up till 7:30!) and also leisurely breakfasts, usually featuring fruit smoothies made by Mommy and egg omelettes made by Daddy.

This morning D. had some things he had to attend to, which left me and the sweet girl with an extra hour or two at home after breakfast. I had some cleaning to do, but I also knew we would likely get in some good cuddling and reading time. And so we did. She stayed in her jammies and after a while we crawled back into our just-recently-remade big bed, along with her huge pink bunny Flopsy and a stack of library books. One of the books I'd pulled from the stack for us to read was Thimbleberry Stories by Cynthia Rylant. This is a new Rylant book for us, though it was published several years ago. Still, she's an author that in general does not fail us, so we opened the book with great anticipation.

It's a lovely collection of four stories featuring a chipmunk named Nigel and some of his other animal friends who live on a beautiful country road called Thimbleberry Lane. The illustrations by Maggie Kneen are lovely too. All the animals dress nicely, have adorable little homes and furniture, and talk a lot. If you're not into talking animals, then I'd skip it, but if you are, you'll love it. We're in the latter category.

My favorite moment thus far (we've only read two of the four stories) comes in the first story when Nigel meets Dipper, a hummingbird who has recently moved into the neighborhood. Dipper has a tiny, round home which he zips in and out of with great zest. It turns out that Dipper is also an artist. He paints pictures by dipping his beak in paint. When he asks Nigel if he'd like to see some of his paintings, Nigel politely says yes, of course, but he doesn't quite know what to expect. He's a bit surprised...

The hummingbird hovered near a flat rock and began placing tiny squares on it.

"My paintings," Dipper said proudly.

Nigel peered at each little square. Never had he seen paintings so tiny. Tiny as sunflower seeds.

"Why, these are landscapes!" he said in surprise.

"Yes," answered Dipper.

"I thought you would paint small thinigs," said Nigel.

"I live small but I see big," answered Dipper. "Do you like them?"

"I live small but I see big." Out of the beaks of hummingbirds. I'd love to be able to say this about myself. Sometimes the wisdom of story gives us just the words we need when we need them.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Butterfly Cookie Cutters, Anyone?

Well, I give up. Almost anyway.

I've been attempting to find butterfly cookie cutters...or to be exact, ONE butterfly cookie cutter...for the sweet girl's birthday celebration. Who knew this would be such a challenge?

I've tried several stores but thus far haven't turned up one. I decided to see if I could find one on Amazon, since I was placing an order for some books and another couple of small gifts for her birthday. Found one that looked just about perfect, and it only cost $1.17. But then they tried to throw something like $7 dollars shipping onto the amount, since it doesn't ship directly from them.

Sorry, but I'm not spending an extra $7 for someone to mail me a light-weight thin piece of metal shaped like a butterfly. I am guessing actual shipping costs on something like that would be a dollar or less.

S. has been adamant that she wants no cake this year, only ice cream and my special banana chocolate chip muffins (with candles in them). Which is grand. But her love of butterflies led me to think what a neat idea it would be if I made butterfly shaped cookies that we could then use to make ice cream sandwiches.

I'm sure someone crafty is probably thinking I could just shape/cut the cookie dough into butterfly shapes by hand, but unfortunately I am just not that artistic. And I'd like them to actually look like butterflies instead of amorphous shapes that might look like butterflies if you squinted really hard and used your imagination.

Oh butterfly, butterfly, wherefore art thou butterfly!?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pre-Ordering and Re-Reading

Well, I've finally done it: pre-ordered Deathly Hallows, the final and seventh book of the Harry Potter saga due out July 21. Pre-ordering felt like a bit of a dilemma for me this time around, as I recalled oh so vividly checking and re-checking my mailbox for Half-Blood Prince on the day of its release. I'd pre-ordered from Amazon and the book didn't arrive until 2:00 pm. By then, I could have bought it (without even standing in much of a line) at a local store.

This year I decided to change tactics and pre-order from our local Borders. It's about twenty minutes away, so even if I don't make it to the midnight release party (doubtful if we can get a baby-sitter) I should be able to get it fairly early on Saturday morning. And then I plan to hole up for the rest of the day and read...well, as much as life allows for that. My dear hubby is very understanding, in part because he knows he won't get to read it until I'm finished anyway. I usually read it first and then read it aloud to's sort of our tradition!

With book 7, I am more conscious than ever of wanting to make sure that I read it very early before I have any chance to hear any inkling whatsoever about what happens in the story. I will not go anywhere near the internet until I'm done, because I don't want to see any headlines akin to FRODO LIVES on the subways of old. And it goes without saying that I won't go over to the HogPro boards or any other forum (will there be another B&N reader's group moderated by John Granger, I wonder? It was such an amazing cyber-community last time...)

I had to chuckle when I finally ordered the book. The woman who took my order was effusive in her own anticipation over and delight in the series. I love that Rowling has helped create this kind of climate, where grown-ups can delight (out loud! without embarrassment!) over reading children's literature (or at least stories with young protagonists -- it's getting harder to call HP children's literature as the series progresses.) These are truly books for everyone.

Perhaps the most interesting part of my exchange with the saleslady came after I'd finished placing the order. She brought out the Snape stickers Borders is giving away to everyone who pre-orders: the bright purple flowery-star with "Snape is loyal" printed on it, and the bright orange flowery-star with "Snape will betray." And she told me I could choose. Without a moment's hesitation, I reached for the purple loyalty sticker. "This one," I said. "There's not a doubt in my mind...or, well, hardly any doubt." She smiled and informed me that adults were almost always picking the loyalty sticker, but that children thus far were mostly picking the betray sticker. Fascinating. Either JKR has hoodwinked all us grown-ups good, or else she has done a marvelous job of taking her primary audience of young readers along for the ride with Harry, so that they're fully and completely on his side and into his feelings at the moment. (Which I still argue is right where she wants us...)

I'm still enjoying my re-reading of the books and sharing musings back and forth with my friend Erin, who is also re-reading. I just finished re-reading Order of the Phoenix last week. Erin's in the same place. I find it interesting that both of us feel a bit reluctant to pick up Half-Blood Prince for the final time. We know the finish line is ahead, and while that's exciting, it's also a little sad. I was reflecting just the other day on how much I cried when I first finished Lord of the Rings oh so many years ago now. It wasn't so much that the ending was sad (though there were elements of that) but that I didn't want to leave Tolkien's world and the friends I'd made there. I've got similar feelings about Hogwarts and Harry.

And just this week, I've had two friends I hadn't heard from in a long while get back in touch with me because they're both anticipating HP 7 and knew I would be too. I love how beloved books bring people together!

Monday, June 04, 2007

White flower framed by fence

Even here, there are bits of beauty...I snapped this photo the other day while out walking around the neighborhood. The peonies that peek through this nearby fence are always one of the small blessings of spring in our town.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Birthday Scrapbook Project

I have been busier than a hive full of bees for the past couple of weeks. It's hard to explain why. Nothing too earthshaking has been happening, just a lot of "stuff" to do at work and home (projects, paperwork, cleaning, syllabus writing, etc.) and all of it seeming to come in a flurry of have-to-get-done-immediately-if-not-sooner. Hence my lack of much time to blog.

June promises to be yet another busy month, though I hope to have at least a little time for some creativity (among other things, my poem a day idea for May fell by the wayside relatively early on into the month...urgh). One project I've barely begun, but have a definite deadline for, is the sweet girl's birthday scrapbook.

I am not a huge scrapbooking gal. But I love making cards and paper collages, so the notion of making an attractive scrapbook has some real appeal. I got the idea to create a birthday scrapbook for S. sometime last year when it dawned on me how woefully inadequate I have been as a chronicler of her babyhood, toddlerhood and early childhood. Yes, I've written a lot about her, that's true, but none of it is in one easily accessible place (it's mostly in e-mails to family, some of which are on a computer that's not been used/accessed for a few years). I started two separate baby books when I was pregnant with her, workbook type keepsakes given to me as gifts, neither of which I ever finished filling in or actually glued pictures in. I have a scrapbook I put together with a lot of the cards people gave us when she was born, and I have two boxes full of photographs in roughly chronological order from her birth onwards.

Several months ago I got the idea to put together a scrapbook where I would create a couple of pages of pictures, along with some notes, from each birthday. I bought a lovely pale pink album at a craft store, stuck it on the shelf, and promised myself I'd get to it this year -- meaning I would go ahead and create the pages for all of her birthdays so far and then show it to her right around her 5th birthday, the one coming up, and then continue to create new pages each year as the birthday comes round again.

Well, her 5th birthday is now coming up in three and a half weeks, and I've still not put the scrapbook together! I have made some headway though: I managed to gather the pictures for it. This was trickier than I expected because not all of our photo sources are in the same place either. I didn't want to use my one and only copies, so I thought I'd order extras -- which was fine for the photos taken up through her 3rd birthday, which we'd taken with a film camera and stored in an online film developing website. But then I had to go hunting for photos from the last two years which we've taken on our digital camera. I thought we had them all on our computer, but turns out that some of the earlier ones were only on CD. I had to find them all, sort them all, choose, upload the digital ones to the online ordering site that had our film photos (sometimes resizing them for best quality). It all took much longer than I planned on.

But it was worth it. The pictures came in the mail Friday, and it was such a fun experience to look through the whole set and see how much she has changed and grown from the day she was born. We have some wonderful pictures and it will be fun to arrange them attractively in the book, along with a few well-chosen (I hope) words here and there. I've begun going through all my beautiful crafting papers and even bought a few fancy birthday scrapbooking stickers. I'm not sure how much time I will have to pull this together, but I would really love to get it done before that birthday rolls around at the end of the month. We shall see!