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Showing posts from February, 2017

Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky

One decision can end everything . . . or lead to unlikely redemption. On October 8, 1978, a Canadian national by the name of William Dyson stepped off a plane at O’Hare International Airport and proceeded toward Customs and Immigration. Two days later, William Dyson ceased to exist.The identity was a KGB forgery, used to get one of their own—a young, ambitious East German agent—into the United States.T he plan succeeded, and the spy’s new identity was born: Jack Barsky. He would work undercover for the next decade, carrying out secret operations during the Cold War years . . . until a surprising shift in his allegiance challenged everything he thought he believed.

Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky is his memoir of his very interesting life of a spy for the KGB. Barsky does a very thorough job of detailing his childhood and adolescent experiences that led to him becoming a spy in the United States for Soviets. While I found the beginning of the book a bit slow moving, things certainly pick…

Gideon - 10 months

M(om): Gideon. What are you getting into now?

G(ideon): What? You mean I shouldn't eat this dirt? But I can reach it? Doesn't that mean I can have it?

M: Even though you think that is true, it is not really the case. We can't really take our eyes off of you now because you are always into something.
G: There is so much to explore in the world, Mom.

M: I know. What else are you up too?

G: Well, I love to stand and I am starting to cruise around the window sills. It is fun to look outside and see everything that is going on. I am also getting really fast at crawling. I like to look at books and play with toys that make noise. I am starting to drive cars around too and that is really fun.

M: It is fun to see you figuring things about this world. Any new foods?

G: I love to eat and try new things. I really like yogurt, peaches, pears and bread. And cheese is pretty good, too. And blueberries are very yummy, but I need to test them all to make sure they are not too squishy.
M…

The Polygamist Daughter by Anna LeBaron

My father had thirteen wives and more than fifty children . . .
So begins the is the memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. Ervil’s criminal activity kept Anna and her siblings constantly on the run from the FBI. Often starving, the children lived in a perpetual state of fear—and despite their numbers, Anna always felt alone. Would she ever find a place she truly belonged? Would she ever be anything other than the polygamist’s daughter?
I picked up this book because I was interested in learning more about polygamist life since it is so different from the life I lead. And LeBaron's story of survival and escape certainly is heroic. I didn't have any background knowledge of her father and the crimes he committed and I wonder if I would have known about him if that would have made this story even more harrowing. It was a great story of the redemptive power of God and also the power and importance of family. LeBaron told her story cl…

Listening Lately

When I am in the kitchen (which is a good chunk of my day) I really enjoy listening to different podcasts on the computer. I like that they keep me thinking and learning and, since Wilbert listens to several of the same ones as I do, it give us something to talk about. 
Here are some of my favourites as of late.
The Allusionist: This one appeals to the word geek in me. It looks at the history of words and the stories behind words and why we say the things we do in the crazy English language. Bonus: host is British and has a fantastic dry sense of humor. Lots of fun, though some episodes are a little less family friendly than others.

Radiolab: This is one of Wilbert and my favorites. The loose description is it stories from science and technology, but you almost always learn something new. Like "blow-your-mind, I-never-knew-that, God-is-amazing-something" new.

The Memory Palace: A short podcast. Each episode is a little story that the writer tells in a masterful way. Think &quo…

So Big on a Snow Day

Yes, it is snowing again. There was school yesterday, but that might turn out to be the only day this week, depending on how long today's storm lasts. 
Here is Gideon to bring a smile to you by showing off his latest trick.

A Farm Boy Already

I don't fully understand how this happens, but Gideon already loves the tractor. If he is in the kitchen or the living room and he hears the sound of the tractor, he crawls to the closest window and has a look outside. When he sees it, he often starts drumming on the window sill, so excited. He repeats a little "T" sound, like he is trying to say tractor. He hasn't actually gone for a ride in the tractor, yet. But I think he will be pretty excited to that some day soon.

Snow Day Jam Session

We had a quick moving winter storm move across the island last night. It was an already scheduled day off of school, so we all stayed nice a cozy inside. 
Joash decided this was a great time to made the craft that came in his latest issue of High Five magazine - the shoebox guitar. So then, of course, Mataya needed one too. And when Wilbert came in for coffee time, they thought they should all play their guitars together.  Gideon was a fan of the music, too, once he woke up from his nap.

Some Things I Read in January

It is no secret, I love to read. And in just the last year or so, my love of reading has intensified. I see how it is the best way I rest and get rejuvenated for the day. 
And I don't know how I missed the boat on the whole Goodreads thing, but I finally have an account, which is so great. It is very satisfying keeping track of what I have read. I am looking forward to seeing how many books I actually read in this coming year. And since it connects to easily with my Amazon account, it is so easy to upload the book titles I have on my Kindle.
And speaking of my Kindle, I just found a website that will track the titles on my Amazon wishlist and send me an email when they drop below a certain price I have set. It is amazing! I keep saying I am using my Amazon wishlist as a place to keep track of the books I want to read, so when I have read everything on my Kindle, I will just order these books from the library. But so far books on my wishlist have been going on sale quite regularly…

Just Do It

Are any of you on this "Word for the Year" things? I am not totally die hard about it, but as we have already flown through January, I have made an unofficial one for myself. Well, more of a phrase actually.

Just do it.

Which yes, I know it is the Nike slogan, but I am talking about many things other than running really fast. It plays out in many contexts, which is why I can't really find one other word or phrase to sum it up well. This just fits.

1) Just do those things you keep putting off. Like writing our will. Today, we had our appointment with our lawyer to sign those. They were pretty standard and we know we will need to change some things in 5  years or so, but after three years of saying we should do it, we finally did.

2) Just do those things with your kids. Take 10 minutes to colour a picture with Mataya before you tackle the farm book keeping. Take 15 minutes to read a book with Joash before you clean the bathrooms. Take 5 minutes to give Gideon all of the at…

Skating Time

If you are friends with us on Facebook, you have been seeing a few videos of the kids learning how to ice skate. It has been fun to see them be so excited about this and Joash especially has been very motivated.

Now, I have ice skated, but I am not confident enough on ice skates to teach the kids. This is Wilbert's territory. But today was such a lovely, sunny and calm day that Gideon and I went along.

I did have on my skates for a bit, and I can do it, but I am no where near comfortable enough to teach the kids or do all the things Wilbert is able to do with them.

Talking about it with Wilbert the other day, he asked, "So you didn't have skating parties with your school or anything?"

"We had roller skating parties," I replied, and a flood of memories came back.

We did all of our roller skating party at The Grand Roller Rink. We had roller skating parties with church and school growing up. I remember learning to skate in the kiddie rink. And then graduating…