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Our Family Video – 2016 Year In Review

2017 January 31
by Becky

It’s official, this little yearly project of mine is actually getting easier. Our 2016 Year in Review family video was a snap to put together and, while it’s a couple minutes longer than I’d prefer, I’m happy.

And the boys loooove it. They never get tired of watching themselves on screen. Finn gets a little confused watching videos before his time, always saying “There’s Finn!” when it’s Ethan…they look so much alike I don’t doubt him for being confused. Ethan looks forward to seeing the video every year, always complimenting my work, making me feel like he really appreciates the effort.

Hope he feels that way when I show them to his girlfriend when he’s 16. :)

The best part about this video is watching Finn go from his first wobbly steps to running, jumping, and climbing. All in 365 days. Never will it cease to amaze me, how fast kids grow up.

The family photo album was finished right before the holidays so, with the video complete, another year is officially documented. My computer will be so happy when I drag this last giant folder on to our external hard drive.

Turns out my speed this year was all about organization. While I used to dump all my videos into one folder for the year, in 2016 I divided that folder into months—like I do for our photographs—and just that little bit of extra tidiness made this process exponentially faster.

Music choosing went faster too. Every time I heard an inspiring song or one our family just loved, I saved it in a playlist on iTunes. Not all of them worked out, some didn’t vibe well or were too busy, but I filled up 13 minutes with no problem, skipping the endless searching I’ve done in the past.

So that’s our family in 2016! It was an awesome year.

What I’m Reading:
Kindergarten Chapter Books – The Wild Robot

2017 January 28
by Becky

Kindergarten Chapter Books - The Wild Robot

Our most recent read with Ethan get’s a post all it’s own…The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is an epic tale our whole family thoroughly enjoyed so I have to share it with the world!

I don’t honestly remember where I heard about this book, a blog or podcast or instagram…somewhere. I thought, Robots? Good. Wild? Sounds fun. So it was downloaded as a sample on my Kindle for future reminding—that’s my little trick so I don’t forget what I want to read. After two Harry Potter books in a row, we were ready for something very different.  I love Harry but man those are some loooooooong books and they just get darker and more serious as the series goes on. I told Ethan we needed a break and at least another year of age before we read the rest.

So we started The Wild Robot.

The gist of this story is a robot gets washed ashore on an island inhabited only by animals. Some curious sea otters open her box and activate her. That’s right, the robot is a HER. Ethan wasn’t phased, why wouldn’t it be a female robot? I was over the moon. HER name is Roz and she immediately starts exploring the island, making friends with the animals, and—after a few bumps in the road—becomes the center of a diverse, peaceful community. She adopts a baby goose to raise as her own son, learns from the beavers how to build structures to help all the animals survive the harsh winter, and develops an animal-like, or “wild”, personality in the process.

Kindergarten Chapter Books - The Wild Robot

Right from the start, this book sparked incredible conversation topics. We talked about machines vs. humans. Bullies. Discrimination. Adoption. Loyalty. Love. Families. Disabilities. Teamwork. Even climate change. The book is quite long, so for weeks we read several chapters a night (they are very short chapters, there’s lots of them) and always spent extra time discussing. Ethan got quite animated in his concepting toward the end, speaking very seriously and with passion. It was adorable.

Heads up, I feel like I must tell you there are a few guns involved near the end of this book. I am very much against guns and would prefer to read books without them, but the author is tactful in how he handles the subject and it sparked more productive conversations.

As we finished the book, it was clear we’d grown quite attached to the characters. Full disclosure, I shed a few tears at several points. The story is just so meaningful and imaginative. Stu enjoyed his nights reading with Ethan and my Mom even got in on a few chapters during her visit after the holidays. None of us knew what was coming next so we’d fill each other in after our shifts.

Kindergarten Chapter Books - The Wild Robot

That’s a robot riding a bear, leading a parade of forest animals. The few illustrations are really whimsical and fun, there were just enough of them to keep Ethan very happy.

I liken this book to a modern day Hatchet or Island of the Blue Dolphins, a survival story at it’s best. I LOVED The Wild Robot and can’t wait to read it again with Finn in a few years. I think Kindergarten is the perfect age to read this book aloud. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a sequel since it was left wiiiiiiide open, but we’ll have fun coming up with the rest of the story on our own till then.

Now we need a new book! What have you read with your kindergarten lately? We need a recommendation!