My parents had a little egg hunt in their backyard for Maeve on Easter. She was a riot to watch as she had to first understand what she was supposed to be doing, and then she was so focused on finding eggs that she’d walk right by anything else — even when it’s not something that would ordinarily be found in a backyard.
Ya know, like a box of Colorforms sitting on the sundial in the garden. Or the box of lacing cards on the patio table. Or the chocolate rabbit tucked inside a planter.
Tonight, as part of the “quiet time” in our evening routine — after daddy’s late arrival home had the two of them playing and getting all riled up very close to her bedtime — I brought out the lacing cards. (Props to grandma and grandpa, by the way. If she’s going to get some sort of toy, two classics, throwbacks from my childhood, were a sweet way to go. Colorforms! Lacing cards! Come on!)
So tonight, had someone peered into our living room windows, they’d have seen one little girl happily sitting next to her father on the couch, poking the lace through the card and pulling it back up. They’d also have seen her parents, each sitting comfy and concentrating on their own cards. (It is surprisingly soothing. Seriously. What?)
Each time she’d finish one, she’d shout, “Ta-daaaaa!” and hold it up. Then she’d climb down from the couch, her face beaming, and bring the card to me before excitedly picking a new one from the box.
Here are two of my favorites from tonight. Her turtle and the teddy bear I began and, ahem, she “finished.”
She’s so stinkin’ cute, I can hardly stand it.
Maeve and I had a fun Saturday, joining friends of ours (a classmate of Maeve’s and her mom) for a musical storytime at the bookstore, lunch, a carousel ride (with me miraculously not getting ill all over myself) and an impromptu meeting with the Easter Bunny. A good, long day with heavy eyelids on the ride home (the young girls, too!).
After my friend dropped us at home and Maeve and I made our way to the door, I realized my house keys were in the most unhelpful of places: inside the house. My friend was gone and my cell phone, which needed charging, sat on the buffet in the dining room. Ya know, the dining room inside the house. Thomas wasn’t home and I wasn’t sure when he’d be back.
At first I was frustrated — we were tired, Maeve should have been napping by now, and although we’d had a great “potty” day, as I searched my bag and the stroller’s storage areas to be absolutely sure I didn’t have the keys, she announced, “I did it. I peeped.” So much for the dry pull-up we’d been celebrating in various bathroom stalls all day.
Realizing there was nothing to do but wait for Thomas to arrive home, I reined in my frustration and worked to change my outlook. We made it a special Mommy and Maeve adventure, playing in the backyard, looking for squirrels, saying hello to a neighbor’s dog, taking a loooong walk around the neighboorhood led by Maeve (which then required the already-tired me carrying my 30-pound daughter home the last four blocks), and then returning to the still-locked house for a rest on the front steps.
And then! I remembered I had my camera from our day with our friends.
And so, without further ado, from the Lemons of being locked out, I bring you … Sweet, Sweet Lemonade.
Ooh, ooh, ooh! Thought I’d share two cool recent book-related website finds.
The first is for all you children’s book author wannabes (my name is soooo on that list!). Biguniverse.com is a fun new site that not only sells children’s books, you can read them online first for free — so if you’re looking to buy, but it’s not a book you’re familiar with, you can not only judge the book by its cover, you can actually read it, front to back, and decide if it’s for you. So far there are several hundred books available for purchase there, all of which can be read completely first.
My favorite part about the site, and here’s where the author-aspiration part comes in, is its “Create” tab — click it and get down to business writing your own children’s book. Choose your fonts, illustrations, text, title, cover, pages, all of it. It’s just a cool (totally time-consuming, be-prepared-to-get-sucked-into-it) exercise to see it come to life right before your eyes. You know, to help you keep the dream alive. If nothing else, it’s something to do with all that extra time on your hands. Ha.
The other site — and I know I’m late to the party on this one having only recently found it — is bookcrossing.com. I love the thinking behind it: recycling books you no longer want and “setting them free” to travel the world and land into the hands of people you’ve never met. And, best of all, you can even track your former book’s travels!
Imagine, the site says, leaving a book on a park bench, in a coffee shop or in a hotel while on vacation for someone else to find. I can’t help but think I’d keep wondering if and when someone found it and whether the surprise made their day! There’s something mysterious and romantic about the idea. Yes. I know. I’m strange that way.
OK, so imagine being the person who stops to rest on the bench and sees a book sitting all by its lonesome. You look around but don’t see anyone that looks like they belong to it. So you flip over the cover. A bookplate explains it’s been set free and is yours for the reading. An unexpected gift. (And we can all agree that books and reading are a gift, right?) Bring it home, log onto the site and mark the book “captured.” When you’re done, set it free and check in later on the site to see when it’s found a new home.
The site boasts that 651,923 people in more than 130 countries have “shared their passion for books with the world.” In fact, the term “bookcrossing: n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise,” was added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in 2004.
Yeah, I’m definitely late to this party. If you are too, don’t fret. We’ll go together. Click your state, find your town or the closest one with a book that’s been set free and not yet captured, and your adventure awaits.
(My problem is actually letting go of the books in the first place. Just ask all my stuffed bookcases, the boxes of books in the attic that I can’t part with, and my husband, who’s carried them up and down and around over the years with me pointing where I want them. Rrrrright.)
At 6:10 pm (EST) today, the state Assembly voted to pass (!) A-873, the measure that would give six weeks’ paid family leave to care for newborns, sick family members and newly adopted children.
The vote was 46-30 with two abstentions. The Senate this past Monday passed its version of the bill, S-786.
Next — and final — stop before being signed by the governor is ratification on Monday by the full Senate.
For all the details on the measures, including my own passionate (I admit it …) thoughts on why passing this law is so damned important (and no, it’s not just the adoption factor, although that clearly bears substantial weight in my argument), simply explore the Paid Adoption Leave Tab above.
The full New Jersey Assembly is scheduled to vote tomorrow on A-873 — its version of Senate bill S-786 approved last week — which would guarantee workers six weeks of paid leave for, among other things, caring for a newly adopted child. Click the Paid Family Leave tab above for past posts chronicling the bills, amendments and committee votes.
If approved by the heavily Democratic Assembly, the bill would then need Senate ratification — seemingly a formality after last week’s stamp of approval on its own measure. Since Democrats generally favor the family leave plan, it seems a nod of approval tomorrow isn’t a long shot — quite a change from years past.
Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corszine has said he will sign the bill.
While the amount of contact with B. has increased as time has passed, I’d always considered ours an open adoption. Even from our Day One in both her and Maeve’s lives.
Dawn’s written a wonderful post about open adoptions that not only covers some of the varied ways it’s defined — a nice primer for those new to the concept and making assumptions about what it means to all those involved — but simultaneously debunks some of its common misconceptions and talks about how foster care has impacted the movement toward openness.
Best of all, her words resonated with me as she stated what, for me and so many others, is the bottom line in all of this:
“… at the heart of it is that belief that connection — in whatever form works — matters to our kids.”
Hop on over and have a read for yourself.