Little Free Library


I recently paid my first visit to a Little Free Library in our neighborhood. Have you ever heard of this movement? I think they’re all around the country but I’m not sure if there is an extensive list anywhere. It’s an honor system book exchange with a simple policy: take a book, leave a book. Anyone can use it. Anyone can start one. I left 4 of Ali’s board books that we no longer use and picked up a new one, But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton. Isn’t this precious? I love how the owners built the little free library to match their house. This one had one shelf of kids books and one of adult books.


“Read It!” – Ali’s Favorite Books


Evidenced by 15-month-old Alianna’s new two word phrase “read it,” she’s been really into books lately. When she’s getting sleepy before a nap or bedtime, she’s even more likely to have the attention span for me to get through a whole book. The other day my mom was reading my sleepy girl this book (below) and I wanted to capture the moment.

One, Two, Three by Sandra Boynton

These are some of Ali’s (and my) other current favorites to read everyday, sometimes many times a day:

Little Pink Pup – a great story for foster or adoptive families – it’s a true story so it uses real (poor quality) photos but it’s still very sweet

A Mother for Choco – another great one for adoption/foster dialogues about mother and child that don’t look alike, as well as what it means to be a mother

Rhyme Bible Storybook – the stories are just the right length and written as poems that are fun to read aloud. (Note: this is a huge book with tons of stories in it.)

All of Baby Nose to Toes – this is my favorite book to read aloud because it’s impossible for me to not sing-read it

Polite Elephant – we’re working on manners like “please” and “thank you” and how to welcome someone into our house, thank someone when we leave their house, how to play gently with other’s toys, etc. so this one is timely for us

Hug Time – about a kitty so full of love that he wanted to give the whole world a hug. Need I say more?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – we use this one to practice animal names and sounds

Hop on Pop – this is the only one in our current favorites pile that was also one of my favorites when I was little. Good old Dr. Seuss.

A Mother for Choco


A sweet friend recently gave us a copy of this book, A Mother for Choco. It’s the best kids adoption book I’ve seen, not that I’ve seen many. (My bloggy friend and fellow adoptive mom, Annie, recently sent me a long list of suggestions so I have many more to check out in the future!) But back to Choco and his search for a mother. It starts out sounding a bit like the P.D. Eastman book, Are You My Mother?, which I loved as a kid, mainly because of the way my big brother would read it to me and “SNORT!” for the crane at the end. But then A Mother for Choco takes a brilliant twist when Mrs. Bear helps Choco identify the qualities of a mother aside from physical resemblance. I won’t tell you the whole story here but it’s super sweet. I just read it again to Precious yesterday and she humored me by acting like she really understood the story. At the end she looked up with her big baby browns and melted me. I’m so thankful to be her mother. We don’t look alike and it doesn’t matter.

“No matter where Choco searched, he couldn’t find a mother who looked just like him.”

Just in time for Mother’s Day: A Mother for Choco. I highly recommend this one for foster and adoptive moms or ANY moms, really.

BONUS: There is an Ally the Alligator character in this book! (Ali-gator is my favorite nickname for Precious, whose real name starts with “Ali…”, in case you hadn’t guessed that.)

Pages and Tracks


I don’t usually post on media but I thought I’d share some new music and books I’ve been enjoying lately.

A friend loaned me her borrowed copy of Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child by Trish Maskew. It’s a little ahead of the game for us but I’ve found a lot of interesting information on culture issues with kids from different races and ethnic backgrounds and behavior issues with kids who are dealing with trauma, grief, loss, insecurity, anger, fear, etc.

Jason and I are Tina Fey fans so he knew I’d love the Bossypants book he got me for my birthday. I started reading it immediately and couldn’t help laughing out loud a few times. She’s smart, funny, successful and so is the book. I like it. Jason isn’t great at surprises. He asked me, “What is it that you hate about hardbacks again?” That kind of gave it away since I had mentioned I’d like her book. It’s only available in hardback. (It’s because they hurt more when they hit my face, in case you were wondering. I often read until I fall asleep.)

On the road earlier this year Jason had the honor of spending an evening with author Andy Andrews. We weren’t familiar with his books before but Andy generously loaded Jason up with books and DVDs. We both absolutely loved The Noticer. It’s a charming true story all about perspective. It was totally a life changer for us. Andy gave Jason this one free but I think we’ve bought 4 or 5 copies to give to friends. Everyone should read this one.

Last week, I told you about Matt Hammitt (of Sanctus Real)’s song “All of Me”. I got an advance copy of the album Every Falling Tear that I’ve been wearing out. Musically speaking it’s not what I typically love but I was totally sold on the stories. (Releases 09-13-11)

With an iTunes birthday gift from my brother, I got Marc Broussard’s new self-titled album. I’ve been a Marc Broussard fan for years but this is the first album I’ve bought since Carencro. I love this one. Again, it’s the stories. The songs are very real and story like. But with this one, I love the music, too. I found this interview while I was trying to figure out if he and his wife had split up (based on a couple of the songs.)

In recent months I’ve become an Adele fan. I usually prefer male vocalists (I don’t know why) so this is new for me. I bought both of her albums, 19 and 21, and I’ve been playing these over and over again too.

And, full disclosure, I’ve also been collecting kids books. I got a bunch of great ones from friends but recently added a few more classics from a used bookstore. Mostly Dr. Seuss and an old Shel Silverstein poetry book. I can’t resist reading the Dr. Seuss books. Aloud. Alone. In the kids room. They’re just so fun to read and I can’t believe how well I remember the illustrations from my childhood. Thank you, Dad and Mom for reading me lots of Dr. Seuss books.

Birthdays are Fun!


Actually, I could have called this post Gifts are Fun! But that sounds kind of … materialistic. Maybe gifts is my love language. Regardless, I’m so thankful for each of my thoughtful, wonderful friends and family members and I got some really neat things that I thought I’d share with you. Not literally, you know, just in pictures.

I mentioned yesterday that my first birthday gift was Gee-Wiz.

My sister and brother-in-law sent this beautiful bag from a recent trip to Nicaragua. It seems to match almost everything and is the perfect size!

My brother and his wife sent The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey since I’ve been wanting to read it. I forgot to take a photo but really, it’s not a pretty book anyway.

I got a canister of my all-time favorite tea, Mango Ceylon Republic of Tea, from our friends Nate and Kala. Yummy! I have this everyday and somehow never get sick of it.

My sister-in-law found some great things, just my style. A cute screen printed burlap bag containing a cute little retro journal, gift certificate for a manicure (we’ll go together), and this really fun book by Pop Ink called Fluffy Humpy Poopy Puppy. Tons of wonderful illustrations and funny quips. I need another copy to cut up and frame.

And the mack-daddy of crafting inspiration: Martha Stewert’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts. My parents got me this lovely book and a metal water canteen.

My dear husband got me some new tank tops that I LOVE! I can only find a photo online of this one, which is actually more of a beach cover up. (Hooray for beach vacation next month!)

And our friends Leila and Jeremy went over the top giving me a new outfit (skinny jeans and a shirt), candy (that I’ve already eaten), swimming googles (that are already in my pool bag) and a handmade pocket mirror (that I’m too lazy to dig out of my purse to photograph.)

Thanks everyone!! I feel very loved!