Little One: The Things They Say

Little One sits-

perched precariously on my one leg. Sitting together,

on our deck. Playing little trucks in sand. 

Leans back. States companionably,

“Tell me a story, Mom. ‘Bout Ama and Grandad.”

All by himself. No big sibling speaking, he just repeats.

He’s just two. Two and one month.


I tuck him in tight. Kiss sweet cheek and say,” Long, long ago, when I was a little girl, I went swimming in my Grandma’s pool.”

He grins. “I swimmin’. I put feet in wat-er.” He’s remembering our weekend away in Atlanta.

I breathe deep. Tell him- soon he’ll be swimmin’ at Ama’s and shake head a little to clear away amazement.

Little Ones. The things they say.

A Summer Book Basket

A Summer Book Basket

Our summer book basket is too full and not unified. It doesn’t capture the flavor of what I want for our summer fun reading. But it is what it is- for now.

The Storm Book by Cynthia Rylant

The Life Cycle of A Tree by Bobbie Kalman

It’s Summer by Linda Glaser

How a Seed Grows- Let’s Read and Find Out Science

Web Weavers and Other Spiders by Bobbie Kalman

Red, White, and Blue: The Story of the American Flag

Landmark: Liberty!

Summer with the Moody’s by Sarah Maxwell

Fireflies! By Julie Brinkoe (will need parent discussion while reading)

The Sky is Full of Stars- Let’s Read and Find Out Science

One Small Square Pond

One Small Square Seashore

One Small Square Night Sky

One Small Square Tropical Rain Forest

One Small Square Swamp

Oil Spill – Let’s Read and Find Out Science

Assateague: Island of the Wild Ponies

The Cloud Book by Tomie de Paola

Dandelions: Stars in the Grass

Dandelions by Eve Bunting

The Dandelion Seed by Anthony

The Snail’s Spell by Joanne Ryder

Otters Under Water

The Fourteen Bears in Summer and Winter

The Reason For A Flower by Ruth Heller

A Nest Full of Eggs- Let’s Read and Find Out Science

Dancers in the Garden by Joanne Ryder

A Salamander’s Life

About Birds

Ant Cities –Let’s Read and Find Out Science

Butterflies and Moths by Bobbie Kalman

Where Butterflies Grow by Joanne Ryder

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

Roxaboxen by Barbara Cooney

Summer Story

Books on their way to the summer time basket:

In honor of our rolling, rocking, mountain shaking thunder storms:

Thunder Cake by Patricia Pollacco

Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll- Let’s Read and Find Out Science

Fire Safety

Stop, Drop, and Roll (A Book about Fire Safety)

Books I wish were in the summertime basket

Star Spangled Banner by Peter Spier

Summer Days by Sarah Maxwell

The Fourth of July Story

Picture books about Mary Cassatt

And art prints up on our wall

Summer Days: What’s On My Mind

Summer bursts- busy.

Days – jolt by.

And it is hot.

It is even hot here in these


It shimmers down.

It almost chokes.

We lose air for a week.

I drip sweat.

Finally- after weeks of unrest. Homeschool settled. First time- four students. Oldest- rising fifth grade.

So many choices and so many decisions have to be made. Finally made.

Now- to begin (July 19th or so) and find our new groove. Help me, Lord.

Weeks feel choked full and it is hard to catch breath.

Different pace than tax season.

Different pace than any other time, too.

Memories- crowd and they are hard to catch.

We head out to Atlanta.

Jonah sits up high in car seat. Looks all around.

“There are mountains everywhere.” He says. He’s right.

I see a billboard. These billboards are making me think.

“Come home to your get-away.”

I think- my home is a get-away. A mountain home. Right now of lush green-ness

With beauty draping mountains changing every day. Misty blue.

Yet we drive away. We drive away to the city. To high speed internet and convenience

And a church, and air conditioning…and even T.V.

Little One and Brother- “walk’n’ gether” hand in hand with Mommy.

Little One takes big steps. Brother walks proud. Mommy smiles down.

We stroll together outside Burger King in Atlanta.

Boys holler from the car. Despairing cause they are not

Out, too. I try to catch the memory.

Little One wants to “smell the Fwowers”

Big Brother wants to walk this end to that.

Tenderheart in tears.

Strong seven Mutinies.

I sigh hot and tired.

They splash wild, wet in the “wat-er” in the pool.

All love.

Jonah- brave.

He tries- he jumps, he tries to go under, come up. He loves. Blue eyes shimmer. Water and he- they go together.

Baby “putt’n Feet in Wat-er”

Asher Really Swims.

Nate Jumps off Side of the Pool.

Micah swims “under” Bridge.

Daddy holds his breath from one end to the other.

I sit on towel, supervising baby, and counting kiddos

Every few minutes. They are all there. Shew.

I sit- tied deep to high speed internet. Homeschool research zipping at my fingertips. Sigh astonishment

As I watch megabites download in seconds- spinning numbers.

We pick up dinner at Subway. I, in the car with five kids. Todd- in Subway with one. It gets loud. It gets hot.

Finally- I begin telling stories. I tell about the Great California Earthquake. I tell about when I was a little girl. I

Tell about Ama and Grandad, and 7510. And I think- why didn’t I start telling sooner???


We sweat hot at the Zoo and I wander- confused. Not quite what I was expecting

And not quite what I was used to- in Philadelphia. But we enjoy-

All except poor little girl- who needs her glasses adjusted. Hard to

See those far away animals when your vision is only 20/70.

Baby Loves Giraffes.

Amazing to see Tiger Chelsea- so right, so right up close.

We see the baby Warthog and the big Warthogs.

We see the Elephants right up close, in their house, too.

Thermometer registers 104 when we drop Todd off at the Hilton in downtown.

We drive home- me and the kids. Alone.

Me, the kids, and Discovery- the GPS.
Me and Discovery- we talk.

Well- I talk. Discovery talks- and somehow- we get home-

Six lane traffic, wrong turn, in left lane- must move right-

And all.

We make it. We make it hot- with one stop and I try to stand up strong.

Be brave. Rock it out. Unpack car, get all wash done. Man the house.

Man the kids. All on my own.

It’s hard. But I sigh relief. I look around. My kids help so much. I am not alone.

I set my boys to do their chores and we work hard together.

I am thankful for my boys. I am thankful.

We pick up Daddy with balloons, Welcome Home sign,

Shout out Welcome Home…and I try to look my best.

And now-

We ready for our next big trip. PA. Here we come.

The packing has already begun.

We celebrate Nate’s number 9– our family party a week early.

Roast and Dig- Out Potatoes, fresh salad and watermelon, corn. Green Tea brewed just for him

By our master iced tea maker.

And of course: vanilla cake with blue and green icing. A pond, and grass. Chocolate Chip rocks and three horses.

Sweet Nate.

Happy Birthday, my precious. How I love you. Your tender heart. Your dark brown eyes. Your sweet spirit. Your rule-keeping temperament.

Your attention to details. Your way- of deliberately not- being burdensome. Bless him, Lord. Draw his heart and help me to, too.

First Summer in years, no little baby,and not expecting. And it feels weird. How can that big baby be my baby? He talks in sentences.

When I watch he and Jonah- I remember me and Amy. Big brother, little brother. Big sister, little sister. Little sibling dances loud in the safety of the big ones’ shadow. Little ones- they watch. Big One- is just so easy- going and I am thankful.

I struggle hard at times. I struggle deep. I give it up in the Lord.

Galatians 2:20, 21– it becomes real. It becomes- Life Song. I live it.

By YOUR Grace, I live it.



“Jonah, will you read stories to Joshua?” I asked my little blue-eyed guy.

“Sure.” He replies in inimitable Jonah-like way.

He gathers books, he gathers little brother, and off they go.

Sweet 4 year old voice wafts to me in another room. Word for word, sweet

Inflections rising, he quotes sentences from beloved stories we have

Read together.

I barely notice. Distracted, wrought over, thoughts cluttered.

 Little girl comes in, cheeks gentle pink. Eyes twinkle.

“Jonah… Jonah’s… reading…”

 I hustle over to doorway, grab camera.

 There they are. Tucked in, deep in –

 inside the play –yard.

Little one’s cheek tucked next to big bro’s head.

Chubby fingers pointing pictures.

Little One on lap. On four year old lap.

Word for word. Verbatim. He “tells” the story.

Sweet delight evident. Little bro contented.

Big bro engrossed in each page.

 Later, they emerge. Quiet, calm, peaceful.

Somehow, 4 managed to get 2 to sit through story

After story

After story.

Maybe- it was the “specialness” of


“read ‘t’ me”…

Maybe it was the interesting inflection

Lifting each unique word.

Maybe it was just “them-two”

Cementing their own bond

Of love and respect.

Best friends forever.

 My heart turns.

Tears mist.

These little ones- whom I adore.

I have poured in…something.

Something good.

For Them.