Hi, Blogland

We three.

Hello, readers - is anyone still there? I decided to shake the dust off the blog. It's been a while.

I have a desktop computer again, which is my preferred way to blog. Alas, I'm still stuck with camera phone pictures.

I thought I'd do a quick catch-up on life here in Kansas. After this post, the focus may change a bit. You see, when I started this blog in the spring of 2012, I was mom to two little girls, ages 6 and 4. I had recently lost my bookstore job and getting used to the idea of being a stay-at-home mom.

Today, I am the mom of a 13-year-old 7th grader and an 11-year-old 5th grader. I work part-time at Little Sis's elementary school, where I am also the PTO co-president. This will change, too, as Little Sis starts middle school this August!

This blog is in flux, but I don't want to throw it away yet. Just bear with me as I adjust.

After this post, I may not feature the girls much anymore. You can keep up with us a bit via Instagram.

Big Sis is on her 4th pair of pointe shoes. Dance is her favorite thing in the world. She is in the junior repertoire company at her studio, and she recently danced en pointe as a party child and off-pointe as a ginger cookie in a new production of The Nutcracker. She still thinks about being a teacher someday, but she is also interested in law. As she tell me often, "I love to argue!"

She still loves to read. She rips through books like nobody's business. She is much better than I am about putting down books that bore her. Unfortunately, that means putting down a few of my recommendations. (Please, Big Sis, His Dark Materials is fantastic! Really!) She is still obsessed with Harry Potter everything, but she has also fallen in love with Libba Bray's The Diviners series. (One of my favorites, too!)

She loves '90s music. Nirvana, Beck, and Fiona Apple are among her favorites. Her favorite TV series currently on-air is The Good Place. Most of her favorites are canceled shows that she still rewatches via streaming: Friends, New Girl, 30 Rock, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, and of course, Parks & Recreation. And while she is not a crier, she cries during the last episode of Adventure Time every time we watch it.

Oh! And I am so excited. Her dance studio puts on two recitals, one for the littlest dancers and one for the older dancers. The junior rep group dances the character roles in the little kid recital. This year's little kid recital is "Olivia at the Circus." She's dancing in an Olivia-themed recital! Longtime readers know how much I love Olivia!

Little Sis is no longer taking dance classes. Instead, she is trying her hand at theatre and violin lessons. She played Ms. Darbus, the drama teacher, in her performing arts magnet's production of High School Musical Jr. and killed it! She also played Maxine in the local children's theatre production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever this year.

She is my fantasy buddy. For Halloween this year, she was Edward Scissorhands in a skirt. She adores anything Jim Henson and Muppet-related. Her favorite shows are Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, and The Amazing World of Gumball. Classic rock is her jam, as she says. When she listens to music, it's usually David Bowie and Pink Floyd. Little Sis did attend her first grown-up concert. (Imagination Movers was still first, she says.) She saw The Breeders with me at the Orpheum! (Big Sis was supposed to go with me, but she was sick.) She loves books, but isn't much of an independent reader. While Wonder remains her favorite, she has lately started on R.L. Stine's backlist.

Oh, and it's Girl Scout Cookie season! Little Sis is a junior Scout, with a vintage uniform. (And pink hair. My mother dyed it for her for Christmas!)

Art is her favorite thing. You can follow her Instagram art account to keep track of what she's doing.

Now, for what I'm reading. 

This year, I decided to participate in a local, city-wide book challenge. I'm only two books into the challenge, because I've gotten side-tracked. Thanks to our recent Scholastic book fair, I'm devouring the latest Mary Downing Hahn books. I just finished The Girl in the Locked Room. Big Sis loaned me her hardcover copy of this one, which I just started:

One For Sorrow: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn.
Clarion, 2017.

It's total nostalgia on my part. I first read Wait Til Helen Comes when I was in 5th grade at Little Sis's school!

Speaking of nostalgia, I also checked this out from the library:

Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction
by Gabrielle Moss. Quirk Books, 2018.
So many of my girlhood favorites made it in here: Baby-Sitters Club, Nancy Drew Files, Sweet Valley High (with a mention of Sweet Valley Twins), Taffy Sinclair and the Fabulous Five, Sleepover FriendsCandice Ransom's Kobie Roberts books, Wait Till Helen Comes, plus a couple that I read for a Pediophobia post a few years ago. The only series missing among the ones I loved is the Satin Slippers series by Elizabeth Bernard. I got a full set off eBay and re-read them right after college, but most of them are missing again. That series calls for a re-read, soon!

You can follow my "Bookstagram" account on Instagram, as well, if you want. It isn't beautiful, but I try to update it once in a while.

That is where I'll leave you for today.

I hope winter is treating you well. (If you're on the other side, I hope you're not frying this summer.) Let me know what you're reading and how you are!

Merry Reading!

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Happy Fairy Day 2018

It's June 24, my favorite pseudo-holiday: International Fairy Day! Except it's stormy and dreary (but still miserably hot!), and we have done nothing to celebrate it. Actually, we're soon headed to celebrate my niece's fifth birthday (actual date: tomorrow), Disney Frozen-style. But I have such a lovely book to share! And it only came out this year!

Backyard Fairies by Phoebe Wahl.
Alfred A. Knopf, 2018.

Phoebe Wahl is the amazing illustrator and author behind one of my favorite recent picture books, Sonya's Chickens. I could not wait to get my hands on this beautiful book.

The premise is simple. Have you ever thought you saw a little space that looked like it could be home to fairies?

Or perhaps you've seen a strange light, heard strange music, "or seen a suspicious-looking stone?"

It's a tribute to the magic of imagination, rendered in gorgeous color.

And of course, it speaks to me and the joy of fairies, fairy tales, and fairy houses.

For those looking for ideas for celebrating Fairy Day, feel free to click around on any of the hyperlinks above, or visit these lovely books on the interwebs:

And while Pinterest isn't what it used to be, I still recommend my magical boards:

Whether you celebrate or not, have a magical rest of your weekend!

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I didn't forget about my blog.

The holidays passed, the year changed, dance recitals passed, my little blog's six year anniversary passed. 

I've often planned to blog again, beginning with a little note of apology and how things would have to change going forward. Then the world gets crazy and scary and my dumb little blog seems frivolous and trivial. 

So hello, Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes readers. I haven't forgotten you. I've just been on a terribly long break.

When I began my little blog, Big Sis was six and Little Sis was four. One had just finished kindergarten and the other still had another year of preschool. Today, they are twelve and ten. One finished her first year of middle school with straight A's, and the other has one more year of elementary school. Things have changed. 

I don't know where my good camera is. Not that it matters much, as I'm a bad photographer. Prolific, but bad. I use my phone, which has a tiny crack on the lens. I can't win.

My house remains small and dark, and now it's more cluttered than ever. I'm trying to fix the last part.

So embarrassing.

My desktop died, and I use my kids' laptop or Chromebook, or my phone. I miss my desktop.

If I keep blogging, Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes will be dedicated to the occasional book. Probably older books, as I'm far removed from my bookstore days now, and since my girls are on to chapter books, I'm no longer tuned into what's new.

I am very small potatoes. 

But I thought I'd give this space a try again. My other thought is to hit the delete button and end the whole thing, but I might destroy some Pinterest pins in the process.

Of course, Pinterest has ceased to be much fun anymore, either, but that's another post.


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Halloween '17, and Little Sis Turns 10

Well, Halloween is over, my spooklies - almost a week over, in fact - but I decided to post pictures anyway. It was a fun weekend. We spent Friday night at the Torchlight Tour at the Historical Museum, then Sunday the 30th, we threw a backyard bash for Little Sis. Her birthday is All Saints Day, November 1, but Nutcracker rehearsals put a kink in our plans for a unicorn party. In the end, we decided to throw another Halloween-themed costume party a few days prior to the actual date.

We prepped the front yard and the mantle earlier in the month...

I roasted and pureed two gorgeous pie pumpkins, and as she requested, made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and a pumpkin pie. (I also cheated and made some plain white cupcakes from a mix for those folks who couldn't handle pumpkin.) We bought ice cream from Braum's: one carton of homestyle vanilla and a carton of pecan pie, which is Little Sis's favorite ice cream in the whole world.

Activities were super-easy to plan. Besides our trampoline and a tent Mr. B made from a tarp and the old swing set, we had pumpkin painting...

...and chicken-petting and feeding. (Yes, hands were washed immediately after touching the hens.)

Big Sis has decided she is too old for dress-up and trick or treating, but I convinced her to don her long black skirt and t-shirt to wear with this fabulous hat I found at the grocery store. The best $3 costume purchase I think I've ever made.

I gave Little Sis the option of blowing out candles on a cupcake or on her pie. She chose the pie.

Oh! Did I mention she was Jareth the Goblin King from Labyrinth this year? Her auntie surprised us by wearing this costume to her party last year. Little Sis loves all things Labyrinth, especially David Bowie, and begged to borrow the costume. Her uncle in DC sent her a little stuffed Ludo and the Worm. To top it off, one of her friends from school came to the party dressed as Sarah, and her awesome mom donned a headband and sign that said, "Ello!"

This Halloween was my first not trick-or-treating with my oldest baby. She stayed home with her dad, passing out the occasional bit of candy, rewatching Stranger Things, and working on school stuff. Little Sis and I braved the cold weather and headed to the College Hill neighborhood to meet her bestie and her parents. Little Sis was Jareth, of course. I borrowed her pink Japanese pigtailed wig and went as some sort of witch.

She got a lot of attention, mostly from people my age. A few folks thought she was Rod Stewart, though.

College Hill is magic on Halloween.

And ohmygoshohmygosh there was a Stranger Things house this year! Complete with an Eleven and Barb to pass out candy!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween. I'm sorry I slacked off this year. I hope to have more to share this November. Crossing fingers I'll be back on track by Advent!

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Edgar and Poe

Happy October, dear spooklies! I am so sorry for my incredibly long absence. Life has definitely interfered with my blogging. I am down a computer, I've given up on learning my Canon Rebel, I have a middle-schooler AND an elementary schooler now, I just started a part-time job at the school, I was in a play, one kid is in rehearsals for The Nutcracker, the other performs with a repertory group at her dance studio, and there are a million other excuses. Blogging just isn't the same for me as it was three or four years ago, and I'm sorry. You can always see a bit more on Instagram.

Today was a day off of school, so the girls and I went library-hopping. Both are attempting Battle of the Books again at their respective schools, and Big Sis also wanted some Edgar Allan Poe for this week before Halloween. I bought her a used paperback copy, but we couldn't resist checking out this lovely Annotated Poe [edited by Kevin J. Hayes, Belknap Press, 2015]. 

As we explored the kid books, we ran across the adorable Edgar books, published as part of the BabyLit series.  I wanted to blog about these a couple of years ago, and never got to them.

First, we have Edgar Gets Ready for Bed, in which cute little Edgar argues with his mother over bedtime. As this book is clearly inspired by Poe's "The Raven," you can guess little Edgar's stock phrase: "Nevermore!"

Edgar Gets Ready for Bed by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Ron Stucki.
Gibbs Smith, 2014.

The next two books pay homage to a couple of Poe's most famous short stories, "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher." First, we have Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart, in which young Edgar accidentally breaks a bust of a certain famous author. His sister, Lenore(!!!), wants him to tell their mother the truth, but Edgar isn't sure he can. 

Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Ron Stucki.
Gibbs Smith, 2014.

Edgar wants to hang out with his friend Rodrick in Rodrick's treehouse, without his sister, in Edgar and the Tree House of Usher. Lenore tries to crash the party, but when the three are caught in a storm, he realizes how important his sister is to him.

Edgar and the Tree House of Usher by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Ron Stucki.
Gibbs Smith, 2015.

As with the other books in the BabyLit line, these picture books are cute and clever, but this time, they're allowed to expand into relatable stories for young children. And while the plots have nothing to do with Halloween, the prominent Poe references make these perfect to set out amongst your Halloween decor.

And these photos are more atrocious than I thought. Honestly, that's another reason I haven't blogged in a while. My photo skills contribute nothing worthwhile to the blogosphere. Please, check out these books for yourself, and IGNORE me.

I hope everyone is finding time to enjoy the fall! I've pureed four pie pumpkins so far, and we're planning another Halloween-themed birthday party for Little Sis!

Happy Reading!

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