On Saturday morning, two of our favorite activities came together. The children's librarians from the Arlington County Library joined Long Branch Nature Center for Trail Tales. The basic idea of Trail Tales is that story boards have been put up along the nature trail so can read as you walk. Currently Woodlice by Sian Smith is posted. One of the naturalist told me that they planned to change the stories with the seasons to keep the story relevant to what the kids can find at the nature center.
To celebrate Trail Tales, there were many activities Saturday morning. The librarian who regularly leads a fantastic story time at the library's main branch brought her books, songs, rhymes and puppets to the nature center's mini-amphitheater and led a wonderful story time in the woods about insects. One of the naturalists had leaves and dirt in which the children could find insects and then look at them under various microscopes and magnifying glasses.
There were also fantastic crafts for the kids. Both Meg and Clare made adorable bookmarks. And to the girls' great excitement, there was face painting. I was quite impressed that the artists matched the girls' dresses with their artwork.
It was a very fun morning. We hope the nature center and library will continue working together on events like this one.
I am happy to report that Meg's surgery appears to have been a success. We are hopeful the finger will heal correctly now. The last few days she's had some pain and has had trouble sleeping due to the discomfort, so this morning she caught up on sleep and we've had a fairly quiet day.
So what do you do when you have an injured child, a slightly fussy baby (Anne's nose is a little runny) and a middle child who is feeling like she is not getting enough attention. Oh, and it is raining outside, so gardens and parks aren't an option. We head to the library. Of course, Arlington County has so many great library branches that it is a major discussion to decide which branch we will go to. Meg has been wanting to check out the Snow White DVD for awhile now. Her favorite fairy tale varies and currently it is Snow White. In the Fall, her favorite was Cinderella (she absolutely loved Cinderella's ball gown with the poofy sleeves). During the Winter, her favorite was Sleeping Beauty. And with Spring, she changed her favorite to Snow White. A computer search of the library catalog revealed our best bet for Snow White was the Shirlington branch, but the girls really wanted to go to Central library. With nothing better to do, our plan was to go to both.
At the Shirlington branch, we hit the jackpot of DVDs. We found Snow White. We also found Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Sofia the First and the Nick Jr.'s Peter Rabbit. We no longer have cable or satellite, so our kids stay up with Disney Jr. and Nick Jr. shows through library DVDs. Having found all the DVDs we wanted, we decided to head to Central library for books. However, the rainy day got the best of Clare and she fell deeply asleep in the car. What to do? After some discussion, Meg and I decided we should head to the coffee shop drive-thru for some hot tea (for me) and some yummy coffee cake treats (for the girls). Every rainy day needs some coffee cake and hot tea.
Meg and Clare (who finally woke up) are now enjoying Snow White, Baby Anne is sleeping and I finally had a chance to catch you all up on Meg's recovery. Quiet days can be quite nice.
Clare takes great comfort in books. You can barely make her out in the picture to the left, but this is a typical scene: Clare snuggled under a blanket asleep with a pile of books on top of her. This past weekend, she began running a slight fever (quite unusual for her). Her solution to "being sick" was to pile fifteen books on top of my bed, situate herself in the midst of all the pillows and allow my husband and me to take turns reading to her.
Clare only goes to preschool two days a week, so on the mornings when Meg is at school but Clare is not, we often find ourselves at the library. On Mondays we might go to the Shirlington branch of the Arlington County library just to read books and check out a few for home. On Wednesdays and Fridays we go to the Central Library for storytime.
The storytimes at Arlington County Public Library are superb. We have tried numerous storytimes at various bookstores, but few come close to the excellent library presentations. The librarians use music, rhymes and even flannelgraphs to keep the children focused on the book theme of the day. Clare, who can be painfully shy at times, has come alive in these sessions. When we first began attending storytime, she would sit in my lap and rarely participate in any way. Now she sits on her own carpet square, sings along with the songs, attempts any actions that accompany the rhymes and songs, and never hesitates to yell out a response to the librarian's questions. I now watch her from the side of the room (where I attend to Baby Anne) and feel proud of each tiny step of independence she takes.
I hope these storytimes will remain special to Clare for a long time. Meg has already deemed storytime for babies and refuses to go no matter how much we try to explain that there are different storytimes for each age group. I hope Clare won't be influenced by that. Periodically Clare will say, "I wish I lived in the Hundred Acre Wood." She very much wants to turn our back patio into Mr. McGregor's garden. In the library she visits all her favorite books: Madeline and the Cats of Rome and the McDuff books. Books are a comfort to her sensitive little soul and I hope they remain a comfort throughout her life.
I am Sandra Penfield--a one-time lawyer who is now a very happy stay-at-home mom. This blog is about making every day the very best it can be and preserving those memories for my children.
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