Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On a New and Improved Thing-a-ma-jig

When we moved to Virginia, we had to leave our old thing-a-ma-jig behind and there was much crying and gnashing of teeth involved in this decision.  The kids were kind of attached to the old thing.  In case you don't know, a thing-a-ma-jig is a contraption built completely from found objects and leftover bits and pieces of this and that.  You can't have any plan in mind when you start construction, it's always a work in progress and it's never really finished.  It's all very technical.  In Florida all the wood we used had been collected by us from the river on base.  Alas, here we don't have a river right across from our house so we haven't done any thing-a-ma-jig constructing since the big move.  However, over the past few weeks Chris finally took the initiative to haul bits of this and that home that washed up out of the Potomac River at some of our favorite parks.

It's not stealing, it's free beach clean up services.

Well, long story short, a new thing-a-ma-jig has been born--this time with the added bonus of wheels thanks to a defunct lawn mower that the boys stripped for parts.  I think Chris loves working on it just as much as the boys do.  It justifies his hoarding of any part or do-dad that could ever, maybe, possibly, come in handy.  The kids love to pull it back and forth across the yard and David is desperately trying to figure out how to install some sort of engine.  Probably because he's the only one strong enough to pull it while it holds passengers.  The cousins seemed to like it too.

Who doesn't love a thing-a-ma-jig?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Sunday Best and a Summer Book Report

I've never done a Sunday link up before, mostly because I wear the same thing to mass each week switching only for the change in seasons which is not super interesting.  Also, I almost never remember to take pictures on the way out the door to early mass.  In an effort to document the latest addition to the family though, today I finally managed it.

"But you didn't even take a shower today" chimed in my darling husband.  No, no, I didn't, but these pictures do fairly accurately capture how tired I've been feeling the last few weeks.

Also, I really should have grabbed the lip gloss before we started.  Lip gloss makes everything look better, right?  I'll try to remember that for October when my outfit changes.

And since I've got you here, and these book reviews have been floundering in my drafts folder for way too long I'm just going to throw them in too.  You are welcome.

 I set aside my more challenging reading when summer officially hit and went on a couple of week bender with these.  It was pretty glorious.  I mean I had to read through them quickly.  They were library books.  Well except for the last one.  I've been unsuccessfully trying to finish that one since January.

The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

This was my favorite of the bunch.  I was telling Chris all about it and he asked about the setting.  I replied that it took place in post WWII England to which he responded, "is there any other time period?"  I suppose it is my favorite time period--for both fiction reading and television specials.  The book is told through a series of letters from the main character (a journalist) to her family and friends and then to members of The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society through which she finds out about the Nazi occupation of the Guernsey Island and also finds her own place in the new post-war world.   This book was wonderful not only for the story, but also for the history of the island which I'm just going to go ahead and assume is accurate because I'm really good at source checking. So good.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson

This book was perfectly fine but as the whole plot revolved around a widower and a widow finding love later in life I just couldn't fully appreciate the story.  I mean, if something should happen to me obviously Chris should spend the rest of his life in mourning--reminiscing about how wonderful I was and resting secure in the fact that no one could ever replace me.  If the children were grown he could maybe join a religious order of some sort.  Or take up one of those hobbies he never got to commit to because of family obligations--like golf.  He definitely should not pursue a relationship with the local shopkeeper no matter how exotic she was or how awful our children might turn out to be.  I of course would do likewise.

The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown

Three sisters who've lost their ways in various ways return to their childhood home and find themselves again.  Growing up the eldest of two sisters I found the relationships between the sisters very relatable--if not quite as dramatic.  I loved the tag line on the cover, "See, we love each other.  We just don't happen to like each other very much."   What sibling couldn't relate to that, at least at one time or another.  Also, Shakespeare references abound so that's fun.  

The Awakening of Miss Prim, by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

I started out not enjoying this one very much because the story felt a bit...forced, but I ended up enjoying it and it has stuck with me after I finished it.   The main character, Miss Prim, finds herself in a town that I know I'm not the only one who fantasizes about.  One where everyone knows everyone and a real community exists to help each other and interfere in each other's lives--but you know, in a good way.  It's kind of a manifesto on the joys of living more simply and finding the things that truly bring a full life--which obviously include lots of time outside, time to think, time to read and of course time to drink tea and eat cakes.  I actually came away inspired.  

The Everlasting Man, by G.K. Chesterton

This is an outline of Christian history with sections comparing different world religions that I really wish I had read when I was younger.  It's Chesterton so obviously it's amazing but I picked it up and put it down so many times in the past six months that by the time I finished it I completely lost the thread of the thing.  I'll have to try again later and really it's worth reading several times anyway.  Luckily this one is not a library book so I can do what I like, although apparently I do better with library deadlines hanging over my head to give me that nudge I need to focus on one book at a time and finish the ones I've already begun in a timely fashion before moving on to other things.  


And going back to what I wore to mass, this maxi is slightly too short.  I tried to explain it to the husband but he really didn't understand at all.  Also, he didn't manage to get any pictures of the entirety of the thing so I could show you.  Do I hem it and make it more of a tea length dress or should I just leave it as is, chalk it up to giantess problems, and just be thankful I never have the problem of my dresses dragging on the ground?

dress // Old Navy on super sale a couple of weeks ago.  I'm talking $10 ladies :)
            (same dress, different pattern here)
shoulder covering wrap // I'm thinking from an airport somewhere round about fifteen years ago

Also, my Amazon links are affiliate but all others are certainly not.  I'm not that fancy :)  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer Beginnings

Or alternately titled, Margaret Always Finds the Dirt.

I sped up the last few weeks of lessons here so that we could officially be done with school by Memorial Day--mostly because I was done.  Really done.  I'm doing David's standardized testing this week so I guess we aren't officially finished just yet but I've called the official start of summer anyway.

It's glorious.

We went to NC for the holiday weekend and had a lot of fun visiting, playing in the pool (the children) and sitting quietly nearby reading (me).  When so many of your family members live so near to each other it's hard to fit all the visiting in that we would like, but we were able to get in at least a little time with everyone--although not nearly as much as we would like.  Hopefully we'll be able to get back for longer than two and a half days soon.

Now that we're home we're settling into a summer routine which I think will be something vaguely along the lines of nature adventuring first thing in the mornings before it gets too ridiculously hot and then hitting the pool after naps where daddy can hopefully walk over and meet us after work.  With a week of Vacation Bible Sschool sprinkled in so the children can't complain that we never sent them to camp.  VBS counts as summer camp right?

I think it's pretty solid plan.

Now we get to spend the next three weeks frolicking as we watch the poor public school kids trudge up the road to school every day.  David desperately wants to set up a popsicle stand in the front yard to try to sell them treats as they pass by in the mornings but I think that might just be too mean.  He really wants to earn twenty-five dollars so that he can reach his goal of buying the Lego train monstrosity of his dreams.  I'm not sure if taunting the neighborhood children with goodies that I'm pretty sure their parents won't let them buy on the way to school anyway is the way to go.  I told him I could think of some extra chores he could do around the house to make up the difference but he didn't seem very interested in my boring mom solutions, opting instead to ask me if I would just "spot" him the money instead.  Um, nice try punkin' but no.  And also, when did my baby turn into a teenager?

Welcome summer.  We missed you.
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