Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Musings: Technology and New Shorts


1. At any given time, I have like…twelve books going, which I’ve decided is too many, so I decided to try this thing where I finish all the books I’m currently reading, and I only read one at a time (I’ll keep you updated on how this goes). Except it’s really two at a time because I always have one I’m reading with my eyes and one that I listen to with my ears. I usually finish about three audio books to every one read with my eyes because I listen anytime I am doing anything but sleeping basically. (That, friends, is the answer to the question I get more than any other of “How do you read so many books?”) Does everyone know about Overdrive at the public library? If you have a library card, you can get ebooks and audiobooks for free (because that’s how the library works). This is the reason Scott Johnson has not divorced me on grounds of book-related bankruptcy.

Anyway, a long time ago I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows and LOVED it. Loved. It’s an epistolary novel (that’s a big word that means written in letter form), and I’ve recommended it hundreds of times. When I saw that Annie Barrows had a new book out, I put it on hold at the library immediately in both ebook and audiobook form. The audio came through first, so I started listening. First, the readers are DELIGHTFUL, and secondly, the book is exactly as good as I thought it would be.

So here’s your homework: get a library card, get on Overdrive, download this book. Or just check out the real version or go to a bookstore and buy it. You’ll love it.

2. You know how people talk about preteens clamming up because they’re too cool to talk to their parents. Well, we’re not quite there yet, but I see it on the horizon, and I refuse to accept this reality without a fight. The thing I’ve figured out is that sometimes you have to enact Operation Sneaky Parenting. WonderBox is how I am sneakily loving my eldest who turns TEN in 13 days and is starting to show the telltale signs of being too cool for me (see: eye rolls, sarcastic comebacks, huffing loudly). I don’t want to talk about it. 

Anyway, about the app—WonderBox is basically a collection of educational activities and videos. Example: Will watches a video from the art category about Leonardo DaVinci and then makes a talking Mona Lisa gif. He can choose to send it to his friends, and it shows up in their feeds. I am one of his friends, so I see it and can comment or click “Yay!” (like liking something on Facebook). It’s basically a way for us to talk without talking. When he woke up this morning, he asked where the iPad was. He wanted to check his Wonderbox (where he found a gif of me with my face painted like Groucho Marx saying Will and Ben are awesome). When I got home from walking the boys to school, I had an email of an environmentally friendly car he’d designed after watching a video about fuel efficiency. OH, DID I MENTION IT’S FREE!?!!! If your kids want to try it out, I can send you our friend codes, and we can share all of this ridiculousness with you, too.


1. Mornings in our house are pretty chill. Scott leaves before the rest of us wake up, and Will, Ben, and I have a serious understanding about our need for quiet. We don’t talk unless we have to, and this works for us. There’s a rhythm to what we do. 

My alarm goes off at 6:36, and I go downstairs to start making lunches. (If it’s a day when both boys are buying lunch, it goes off at 6:48.) I shower, and as I’m leaving the bathroom, Will enters. He wakes up at 7:00 on the dot like a robot. While he’s in the shower, I prep breakfast. Ben showers every other day (this is the compromise we came to because he would shower exactly NEVER if he didn’t have a mother). The boys come downstairs to eat breakfast at 7:20, while I go back upstairs to get dressed and/or take care of bills/start laundry/do other fun mom things. I pop back downstairs to brush hair, check backpacks one last time, and put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. We leave the house at 7:53.

Very rarely does this morning routine differ, which sounds glorious, right? It is. It really is. Unless I throw a wrench in the day like offering Ben new shorts that have never been worn. This results in fifteen minutes of crying while getting dressed because “shorts should never be touching my knees—that’s why they’re called shorts!” followed by a somewhat rushed breakfast, followed by more tears over the fact that I helped him with his shoes because Will is standing at the door, hair combed perfectly and shouting, “IT’S 7:54! WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE!”

So, yeah. That was Wednesday, and somehow we recovered on the walk to school. Ben even held my hand—the same hand of betrayal that tied his shoes.

2. We have a new development this week.

And this is how our dog, Bokonon, feels about it.

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