As I'm typing, I'm recovering from Mac's first ever "sleep" over.This was an 8th birthday perk, expertly negotiated by that kid as an addendum to the

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As I'm typing, I'm recovering from Mac's first ever "sleep" over.This was an 8th birthday perk, expertly negotiated by that kid as an addendum to the Birthday Buy-Out Plan. There are lots of things I've failed at as a parent (let's not even talk about the family bed), but I love, love, love my approach to birthday parties, detailed in today's post.

I'm also recovering from the school year. This is a delicate process, and if you screw it up, you end up with a summer-threatening malaise akin to The Bends. Like in scuba diving. I mean, not really, but it can be jarring - not just for the teachers, but also for the kids. I've got some thoughts on planning summer below. I've also got a couple of few book blurbs and links! Let's do it!


I'm slightly behind on my reading, but I've listened to some good ones lately!

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. If you love genre fiction, there's a good chance you've read this or seen the movie, but I hadn't; and I relished it! I wrote a full review for Literary Quicksand, in which I discuss the writing, the story, and the narration.

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell. This was enthusiastically recommended to me by several people. Here's the skinny: It's for history buffs who want lots of details about the Revolutionary War. I didn't want quite so many details about the Revolutionary War, but I'm happy to have learned about the extent of French involvement in our own fight for independence. Also, I love Vowell's weird little voice, unexpected sentence structure and quirky word choices. I just wanted it to be a little shorter.

Great House by Nicole Krauss. I'm listening to this right now. Krauss's second novel, The History of Love is a favorite of mine. This one is a series of intersecting stories centered on a desk. Like, a piece of furniture, and the lives of the people who interact with it. It reminds me, so far, of Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed, which does a similar thing with a house in Kabul.

What have you got on your nightstand or in your earbuds this summer? My list is growing ever-longer, and I can't wait to rack up a long list of finished titles in June, July, and August.

Both Sides of the Desk

I don't have tips this time, so much as goals for summer "programming" with my kids. I can't be the only one who struggles with the balance of structure and down-time. Here's what I'm hoping for this year:
1. The Book-Per-Week Requirement. This will be the third year of forced reading in our household. It's simple: you meet your quota (one book each for Mac and me, 200 pages for the tween), and you don't use screens until you do. This is the only academic work I require or recommend, unless your child is actually behind in something at school, as reported by an educational professional. Or, if she really loves to do something else like problem-solving activities or logic puzzles.
2. Comfort With Boredom. At school, we talk about comfort with ambiguity. It's a big sixth grade skill. For summer, I can already tell comfort with boredom will challenge our daily (hourly?) existence. "I'm bored" ignites rage in my gut. I'm tempted to reign down ridiculous punishments (20 pushups! 30 minutes of yard-work!) for uttering these infernal words, but I'm pretty sure that's the wrong approach. I'll try explaining the cognitive and creative benefits of boredom, but let's be honest, that probably won't work either. I'll keep you posted.
3. Sibling Harmony and Mutual Respect. Hahahahahaha. It's probably time to read Siblings Without Rivalry by my favorite parenting authors, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

Looking at this list, I feel like I'm staring down a summer of frustration and failure. But, as an optimist, I'm hoping for the best.

Links 1

On the Blog

I was so crazed last week, that I forgot each of my children.

Off my #TBR List

I finished The One and Only Ivan yesterday. I can't believe I waited so long. Katherine Applegate's Newbery Acceptance Speech is excerpted in the back of the book, and I loved this line: "Children know all about sadness. We can't hide it from them. We can only teach them how to cope with its inevitability and to harness their imaginations in the search for joy and wonder."

On our Table

The latest in our "veganism" by Dan. Spoiler alert: I'm still eating cheese.


That's It!

Thanks so much for reading and responding. Can you help me with my summer "I'm bored" problem? Please, please, oh my heavens, please tell me what to do.

And, totally send this to a friend if you feel like it.

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