Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Goodbye Georgia

Lately I've been so nostalgic and sentimental, I may have been at risk of buying some kind of cutesy figurine at Hallmark just to remember how sentimental I was feeling. Then I could look back on that time fondly. With nostalgia. That word sounds like a tumor. I have a nostalgic growth in my left temporal lobe.

As we're about to leave one place for the next, I gain a new appreciation for all of the areas that are part of our daily lives. Suddenly everything seems like it's already part of a memory and I know I'll miss it in some way. This was our home in 2006, when Donn was between deployments for a year, and for most of 2008. Regardless of our dislike for the city we lived in and even sometimes this whole area, our lives happened here during that time and without noticing, we settled in.

I wandered around the empty house this morning before we turned over our keys. With all traces us of us having lived there completely gone it was a blank slate, ready for someone else to drag all of their boxes and beds into and mess up like home. Even though I'm excited about moving on, I felt like I wanted to leave our mark in some way...as proof that we actually lived here in the cute little house in Georgia with big closets, a fireplace we never used, and a crappy backyard. Instead of leaving something behind, we're taking the pictures and memories with us. And if that's not enough, I've made a short list.

Some of the things I will miss about this area:

- Living so close to beaches with white sand and dolphins

- Being near Savannah

- Hearing my name pronounced with 3 syllables. Who knew Jessi was actually supposed to be JAY-eh-SAY? Not me, that's who.

- Palm trees

- Biscuits and gravy - although it looks gross, it's not! Creamy, lumpy, biscuity.

- Weather that is mild and lovely from October - May.

- Driving by old dilapitated, tin-roof houses. They make me want to sit on a porch, drinking tea out of a jar and swatting at flies.

- Hearing the tree frogs and crickets so loud through our open windows at night, it sounds like we live in a rainforest.

I wish I had some pictures to include, but my hard drive is packed away and we're living out of a suitcase for the foreseeable future.

On Friday we will be in England!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some of my favorite books have pictures

I know I mentioned before that I love children's books. It's taken me about 2 months to put together a post about it...and here it is! Over the summer we went to the library once a week and I let the boys pick out 4 books each. As they ran off to the non-fiction section to get books about kung-fu and tarantalas, I went through the picture books to find some stories that I might not mind reading over and over. Most of the time I went over my own limit I had set for the number of books we brought home. I lack self-control in the library. When I was a kid my mom set no limits to the number of books I checked out and I can remember checking out 37 one time. Then we lost a few and my mom didn't want to pay the fee, so that was the last trip to the library until I was in high school. Good times.

I wanted to share a few of our favorites. These are Dylann's favorites (excluding all those starring pokemon characters or sports teams):

Beegu - A story about a little yellow alien who lands on earth and discovers she doesn't fit in anywhere. It's a little sad, but all is okay in the end. I love the artwork and I actually made Dylann a stuffed version of Beegu with bright yellow polar fleece because I am Hattie Housewife.

Tikki Tikki Tembo - This is a retelling of an old Chinese folktale about two brothers and the trouble they get into. They have a crabby mother who plays favorites with her oldest son whose name is Tikki-Tikki-Tembo-No-Sa-Rembo-Chari-Bari-Ruchi-Pip-Peri-Pembo. The best character is the old man who spends all his time daydreaming under a tree with a ladder. That's my retirement plan.

In the Night Kitchen - A Maurice Sendak classic. A little boy wakes in the night to discover all the action that goes on in the kitchen while everyone is asleep. I never get tired of reading this story. The illustrations are comforting like a big mug of hot chocolate on a cold day. It's not too long or too short and it's also the first book Dylann ever read completely on his own.

And Jack's favorites (excluding the ones about bats and bugs and ninjas):

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! - This book is really fun to read. The main character is an insistent pigeon asking the reader to let him drive the bus in a typical desperate, repetitive preschooler fashion. I like to give the pigeon a New Jersey accent.

Haunted House - A pop-up book that we read over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. But it's short, so that's okay. Also, the pop-ups are really cool.

The Ghost of Sifty-Sifty Sam - This story has a southern flavor. It's like Paula Deen, ya'll. The story is about an old haunted house that a realtor wants to get off his hands. He decides to pay anyone who will spend the night in the house $5,000. The man who takes on the challenge is a chef who specializes in crispy, delicious batter-dipped fish. I will say no more!

And a couple more good ones:

The Day the Babies Crawled Away - A cute story about a little boy who rescues a group of babies that crawl off into the woods during a neighborhood picnic. The text is sing songy and repetitive, but I don't mind that in this story. The illustrations are unique with black silhouettes of the characters on a backdrop of bright colors. It's a great bedtime story because it wraps up with the little boy all wore out and tucked in at the end of the day. I need a nap.

Galimoto - This story takes place in a village in Africa. It's about a boy who is determined to collect everything he needs to make a galimoto, which is a little push car. The kids in the story make all their toys out of discarded junk like plastic bags and old wires. I make the boys read this story every time they complain about cleaning up their 500 toys off the floor. Ok, I don't, but I love the way this book highlights the creativity kids have even in the most simple living situations.

And that's how we roll. Reading Rainbow style.

Have any childhood favorites or other good ones to recommend?