Tagged with "books"
27 Apr
2017
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For the Love of Humanities

It was evident early in our parenting journey that our children had an affinity toward sports. They enjoyed playing anything we exposed them to and watching sports was a family activity we rallied around. As a former sports reporter, having children who enjoyed something I loved was an easy way to connect.

Early on we decided, as parents, that our children would be exposed to a wide array of experiences. We didn’t want their childhood to solely revolve around fields and courts. There would be concerts, museums, plays, art supplies and books. They can be athletes, but they can also be artists, dancers, musicians and actors. We strive for them to be difficult to place in a defined box. Humanities play an important role in our daily lives.

boy playing flute in a concert band

Music is ever-present in our home. We’ve morphed from the days of The Wiggles to an array of  musical styles from Christian to Disney to Jazz and Top 40. Playing an instrument is something I regret my parents didn’t push me to do. I had a short run as a violinist in elementary school and wish that was a skill set I had as an adult. We encourage our children to pick an instrument to learn. As much as I want someone to play the guitar or piano, no one has picked either of those. One of our sons chose the pan flute first before taking recorder lessons and moving to the flute. I’m open-minded to where their curiosity leads them.

ballerina dancing in a recital

Dance, which is a mix of art and sport, is a large part of our daughter’s life. The girl has always been a dancer. One of our sons also helps out at the studio as a partner when needed. We’ve learned over the years that once one child opens the door to a new activity or love, inevitably, someone else will join. I even took ballet last summer and competed in a Spring dance competition.

Most people who walk into our house comment on the number of books in our home. There are bookshelves and book boxes in almost every room. Stacks of books are integrated in the way I decorate. The written word has a powerful, life-changing quality. Our kids know the magic that lies in the pages of a book, whether teaching you something or providing a gateway from reality.

There have been language camps and classes for painting and pottery. We’ve toured countless historical sites and museums. We’ve watched various people and groups perform in an array of ways. It’s all been done under the catchphrase of “well-rounded.” That term means something slightly different for every family. For us, it’s exposing our children to things we, retrospectively, missed from our childhoods along with things we would never have tried or knew was out there. It’s mixing those things in with what we know.

boy acting in The Little Mermaid

Our daughter has mentioned the desire to act. I see that on the horizon as something she’ll choose, but I didn’t see the acting bug coming last year with our oldest son. His middle school performed a musical which he acted and sang in. Admittedly, the director sought him out after hearing him sing in class and desired more boys to participate. Our son had never acted nor had any voice training, but he does read music, has a charming personality, is brave and has a memory like a trap. My role as parent is to guide and support. I helped run lines with him and offered suggestions based on my limited acting career in high school. We supported this new passion, but weren’t sure how enjoyable acting would be for him. He enjoyed it so much that he’s currently preparing for opening night of a second school play this weekend.

Our children our blessed to live in a community with strong support for arts and humanities and an assortment of entities and businesses geared toward those pursuits. However, we also live in a state hit with recent budget cuts and surely more cutting in the future. We can feel belts tightening, and I fear the humanities will shoulder more cuts than other areas.

I recently finished reading the book, Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel. The book is about post-apocalyptic life after a pandemic. There’s emphasis on the role humanities play in our world with a graphic novel and traveling group of musicians/actors playing predominant roles in the storyline. It’s difficult to imagine a world without humanities. Characters in the book rely on the arts to give a dark world levity and hope. The arts are a uniting force that bridges language, culture and socioeconomic status. People meet on the common ground of their passions whether that’s books, music, theatre, dance or art which enriches our community and lives.


 
Favorite Books of 2016
By     |    Dec 30, 2016
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Favorite Books of 2016

I’m a bibliophile. I have a rotating stack of books on my bedside table, a never-ending list of books on hold at the public library and keep track of the books I read each year. This year I read 60 books, not including the countless books read to and with children. What follows are my favorite books from 2016: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman This is not only a favorite book from this year but one I’ll be... [Read More]

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Surreal Moments of Mothering
By     |    May 2, 2016
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Surreal Moments of Mothering

Mothering has been a series of surreal moments lately. Last week, I traveled with our oldest and a large group of his 7th grade classmates two hours from our hometown to the University of Wyoming, my alma mater. UW is the only four-year institute in Wyoming. Both Craig and I graduated from there. Much has changed in the decades since we called Laramie and the university home. I was giddy leading up to this field trip. We’ve taken our kids... [Read More]

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Meaning Behind Childhood Heroes
By     |    Feb 3, 2016
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Meaning Behind Childhood Heroes

I was recently verbally slapped for my 8-year-old’s choice of heroes. They are, for the most part, athletes, and another adult expected better from me as the parent. I was told it should bother me he didn’t name a scientist or teacher or former president. It doesn’t. As he matures, his list will change and those larger-than-life people he sees on TV and in the news will no longer dominate his thoughts, but stay firmly planted in memories of his... [Read More]

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Lessons from “The Nightingale”
By     |    Sep 18, 2015
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Lessons from “The Nightingale”

I read the words, “I always thought it was what I wanted: to be loved and admired. Now I think perhaps I’d like to be known.” I slowly inhaled and gently closed the book. To be known, for someone to clearly and completely understand who you are, and love you anyway, this is what I want. I found the words for my feelings on the fourth page of Kristin Hannah’s “The Nightingale.” The story is lovely and sad, but honestly,... [Read More]

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One Thing that Changed Our Travels
By     |    Aug 25, 2015
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One Thing that Changed Our Travels

I remember five years ago standing in a visitor center making the decision to purchase a book titled, Passport To Your National Parks. I thought the book would be a nice way to remember places we visited but had no idea how much it would change the way our family travels. It was meant to be a souvenir but changed the way we travel. The passport is a blue, small, spiral book where tourists can collect stamps from visits to... [Read More]

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The Great Bedroom Swap
By     |    Aug 7, 2015
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The Great Bedroom Swap

I stood in Menards looking down a long aisle of shelving possibilities wondering why I was even at a home improvement store. The day started with the sole intention of moving one bed from the spare bedroom to the tween’s room. I was looking for shelving while the basement at home was filled with multiple dismantled bed frames and a dresser stood smack-dab in the middle of the upstairs hallway waiting to make the journey downstairs. This is exactly why... [Read More]

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Florida: Universal’s Islands of Adventure
By     |    Jun 30, 2015
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Florida: Universal’s Islands of Adventure

The main draw for us to visit Universal Orlando was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Harry Potter books captured my imagination in college and now I have my own muggles who wield wands and casts spells like their favorite Hogwarts characters. Universal Orlando consists of two parks: Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. In order to tour both parks, visitors need to purchase park-to-park tickets granting access to both parks. I’m going to discuss the parks separately,... [Read More]

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Percy Jackson Birthday Party
By     |    May 18, 2015
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Percy Jackson Birthday Party

My favorite birthday parties to plan are based on books. Our third son turned eight this weekend and celebrated with a Percy Jackson themed party. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan is a family favorite. Our son is well-versed in mythology and has a passion for weapons. We knew there would need to be training worthy of demigods. Characters in Riordan’s books train at Camp Half-Blood, so our basement was transformed into camp for the day. At... [Read More]

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Summer Reading with Children
By     |    May 15, 2015
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Summer Reading with Children

The school year is winding down and papers are arriving home with ways to keep children reading over the summer months to avoid the summer slide. Public libraries run reading programs along with publishing companies and book stores. There are quite a few options, more than I remember as a child. Reading is part of our family lifestyle. We have bookshelves, book baskets, book bins and use books for decorating. We’re known to ask our children to put the book... [Read More]

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Confidence Built Through Music
By     |    May 6, 2015
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Confidence Built Through Music

Sometimes my feelings seem too much to handle. Life hits me hard, the good along with the bad. Yesterday was intense, in a fantastic way. I was weepy on-and-off and spent parts of the day with a big grin on my face. I watched our middle son stand in front of several groups and play a solo on his flute. His band, from a local performing arts center, was touring schools talking about instruments and music opportunities for the summer... [Read More]

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Essentials for Family Road Trips
By     |    Apr 2, 2015
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Essentials for Family Road Trips

It’s spring break, and we’re staying home for the first time in years. We have an epic road trip planned this summer and vacation days are being stockpiled for the adventure. I’m antsy to hit the highways, Interstates and (sometimes) unpaved county roads to discover new places in the USA. Even though we’re months away from our next major family road trip, I’ve already started packing in my head. I have lists tucked away in notebooks for items to pack.... [Read More]

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