Friday, August 5, 2011

Vacation highlights, coming home, and more audio book listening

We are finally home from our month-long vacation out west. We had fun visiting family, catching up on all the happenings in their lives. My girls thought they died and went to Heaven when we stayed with my sister and they got to play with their girl cousins all day long. I loved the time I got to spend with my best friend (my sister) despite the many interruptions from various quarters of life. And I'm grateful to my bro-in-law for putting up with the added estrogen factor. We stayed at my sister's house for the first half of our visit, and then went to my parent's house for the last half.
I took my computer along with every intention of blogging during that time, but it was never really convenient.
My parents recently emptied their storage unit that they had had during their decades in Africa, moving the contents to their new-ish home. It was fun unearthing some of the treasures that haven't seen the light of day in 30 plus years, and hearing the stories behind some of the items I didn't recognize. And the books! So many old friends that I wanted to browse through, but couldn't due to a too-full house. (Next time I'm staying in the guestroom with the bookshelves, Mom!) I spent hours going through old school papers they'd kept for me, tossing out most of them. It was a fun walk down memory lane.
My older brother and his family came from Louisiana for the reunion, and we got to spend quality time with them as well.
And I got to meet my new little nephew, and nominally help my younger brother and his family move to their new house.
So, all in all, fun times were had, but in the end I was very ready to come home. It's hard to be away from home and Todd for so long (his work load wouldn't permit a vacation at this time), and my girls, despite all the bontemps, were chomping at the bit to come home to Daddy.
The drive back was sooo not fun; my girls were fractious and antsy and not behaving well, despite the following audio books:

1. What Katy Did At School, written by Susan Coolidge, read by Laurel Lefkow, produced by Naxos AudioBooks. My girls were anxious to hear the next installment of the Katy series. This story follows the adventures of Katy and her next sister Clover as they navigate the world of boarding school.

2. Best Loved Stories in Song and Dance, told by Jim Weiss, produced by Greathall Productions. The stories on this disc are The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and Rose Red.

3. The Mysterious Benedict Society, written by Trenton Lee Stewart, read by Del Roy, produced by Listening Library. I haven't read these books or heard much about them, other than one friend's recent recommendation, and so didn't know what to expect. I was hooked from the start. I loved this clever story and listened avidly. My girls, not so much. I'm not sure why, but they didn't follow the story very well, or listen very well. I think it was the anticipation of going home rather than the story itself. Now I'm dying to read the rest of the books, and see what other adventures the Mysterious Benedict Society has. Poor Grandma (my mom) was left hanging near the end, since we hadn't finished by the time we dropped her off in Nashville, and still had two hours left of the story. But we promised to buy her the books so she can find out what happens.
(I forgot to mention that the highlight of our drive, going and coming, was that my mom came with us. She flew to Nashville, where we picked her up, and she drove west with us. Then we did the same thing in reverse on the return trip. It was so wonderful having that time with her, since she had to work for most of our visit and wasn't able to spend a lot of time with us. It was fun listening to books with her.)


  1. I've read the whole Mysterious Benedict Society series, my girls have not yet. I really liked the stories. I have heard some people say that while they liked the first one, they didn't like the sequels as well. I'm curious to hear what you think!

  2. I've certainly read my share of less than stellar sequels. But I'm always optimistic going in. I'll let you know, Susan.

  3. Oh, I've missed you! I'm glad you're back and that you had a good time! I've read MBS but not the sequels. I like it a lot, too, but I think it might be too convoluted to enjoy as a read-aloud.

  4. I've missed you too, Amy! And I'm glad to be back.

    I think what made the listening of The Mysterious Benedict Society hard for my girls was all the conversation in the book. It's a conversation-heavy book. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; it was necessary for the story as the characters came to their own understanding and interacting. But my girls kept getting confused about who was talking, and what, exactly, they were talking about. Some of the issues are obviously a little out of my girls' league, too.

  5. It was so good to see you and the kids! I hope you ALL are able to make it next summer! It has been a long time since we have seen Todd! And I'm glad y'all made it home safely! Love you! (Aunt Jennie)