Hello! Happy Friday!
Hey, how’s your summer been? Overall, ours has been pretty good. I feel like we had a nice mix of structured camps, travel, and weeks of nothing. We’ve been gone for the past few weeks visiting family in Tennessee, and it was awesome. I forgot how GREEN everything is in the summer there. I have gotten so used to our “golden” (read: brown) hills of California that every time we got in the car there, I exclaimed, “Look at that hill! Look at those trees! Look at all this nature!!” I took so many random photos from the passenger seat (see above).
This is our last Friday before school starts, so we’re gearing up to get back into our structured routine. Here are a few things on my mind this week:
1. Biltmore Estate. This past spring, I ordered this book for BB. It’s a mystery novel set at Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. We spent a couple of weeks’ worth of afternoons reading a chapter or two out back on the daybed. I pulled out an old guide book about the house that I had saved in my scrapbook from the time I went with my class in 4th grade. He loved looking at the pictures of all the rooms and reading up on the history and construction of the property. After we finished, BB spent his own money to buy this coffee table book about the history of the house and more details about its rooms. I loved Biltmore as a child, and I loved that he fell in love with it, too, so Husband and I planned a surprise trip there while visiting our family in Tennessee. (It’s a little over an hour to drive from my hometown to Asheville.) BB’s excitement at being there was contagious. Every room we walked into, he shared facts he had gleaned from his books. “I see the Napoleon chess set! That’s the Winter Garden! There’s the secret door to the Smoking Room!” At one point, he went off in search of a docent because he had some questions.
“Is the 4th floor completely closed off?” he asked. I smiled knowingly at the docent, fairly certain that there were only 3 floors plus the basement.
“Yes, you’re right, the 4th floor is usually closed to visitors. It is mostly made up of servants’ quarters like you will see in the basement.”
BB nods knowingly.
“But if you do the rooftop tour, you will be able to see a few of the rooms on the 4th floor.” Wow. I was so impressed with my boy, not only that he knew so much more than I did, but that he so confidently went to her to ask his question. How did he get so big? (BG had fun at Biltmore, too, because she got to see a horse, pet some chickens, and eat ice cream at the Creamery.)
2. “As long as you don’t forget your breath, anything is okay.” I have thought about this short video about one hundred times since I watched it, which means I have technically meditated about one hundred times as well. Love this wonderfully simple approach.
3. The Land of Stories. Speaking of books, my mother-in-law bought this one to read with the kids while we were in Tennessee. It’s a fun story that kept the 7-year-old and the 4-year-old (and the 38- and 36-year-old) engaged. On our trip to Biltmore, we listened to a few chapters of the Audible version, read aloud by the author, Chris Colfer (of Glee fame). The voices he does for each character are a wonderful addition to the story. We’ve continued reading it aloud after we got home, but we’ve had to edit it a bit. (In one scene where Goldilocks confronts Little Red Riding Hood about something that happened in the past, there are a few words our kids don’t know and that I REALLY don’t want to explain to them yet.) All in all, a fun page-turner that all of us look forward to reading after dinner each night. (And this book – another one set at Biltmore – is up next on my read-aloud list. Have any of you read it? I’m hoping it’s a good one.)
4. This quote.
5. Made me chuckle.
The Olympics! We didn’t even really talk about the Olympics! What’s your favorite competition to watch? I love diving, and I always watch it equally amazed at their skill and terrified they are going to hit their heads. (Having seen Greg Louganis do it, I can’t unsee it.) It’s been fun to see my kids’ interest in the games for the first time. I’m looking forward to a low-key weekend of watching a few events, reading, and finishing up the last thing on our Summer Bucket List. Whatever you are up to this weekend, I hope you have a good one! Thanks for reading!