Wordless Wednesday (okay, not really wordless)

The “moving was crazy brutal but it was worth it and this is why edition. (And maybe not entirely wordless. I mean, let’s not get carried away or anything.) (Ahem.)

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There was a little reading aloud, a little lunching, some poetry writing (Prim just writes and writes and writes- there’d be no stopping her even if I wanted to!). The boys ate grass and pine needles and leaves, and Posy went around licking the mayonnaise off everyone’s sandwiches.

It was bliss. A fenced flat backyard is not to be taken lightly when there are hundreds of babies mucking about.

(p.s. Andrew Pudewa sang the praises of the Lemony Snicket series in the first episode of the Read-Aloud Revival. I remember starting it years ago but being a little flummoxed as to why anyone would recommend it. I’m willing to give it another try, though, so I downloaded the audio version of the first in the series (The Bad Beginning) from Audible and am going to give that a go. What say you? Have you read Lemony Snicket? What did you think of it?)

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  1. Kristina says

    I had a similar reaction to Lemony Snicket. I’ll be interested to hear what your second impressions are.

    Also, your children in your new yard – just lovely!

  2. says

    I had a fenced yard when my boys were young and it truly was so incredibly freeing (an oxymoron if I ever heard one). Green grass from edge to edge, swings and a puppy in between — what more does a kid ask for? (Not much — Popsicles maybe).

    One of my boys read that entire series — just ate them up — and I think it was partly language (at 22 he still has an affinity for unique words (the only one of my children who used “taciturn” correctly and voluntarily in grade school) and partly why I still enjoy reading “Angela’s Ashes” every year or so — it helps them feel how fortunate they are.

    Love your images, as always, of happy, healthy children. I wish you were my neighbor (sounded very Mister Rogers, didn’t it?)!

  3. says

    We just finished listening to book #1. My children 7,6,5,1 (not necessarily the 1 year old) LOVED it. I could not stand Mr. Poe’s cough on the audio. They have been walking around using the new words they learned, which tells me they really listened. I am wondering how age appropriate the later books in the series are, but I think we will be brave at try at least one more.

  4. Patty says

    We thought Tim Curry’s reading of the series positively droll. My kids aren’t particularly sensitive, but hearing the smirk on Curry’s voice led us to interpret the plot machinations as completely ridiculous rather than horrifying.

  5. says

    I tried reading it aloud (meh) and then got one of the books that Lemony Snicket read (double meh). However, the ones read by Tim Curry are brilliant and we always take one with us on every road trip.

  6. says

    Ah, so glad you’re in!! I love the symbolism to what Barbara mentioned above…fences providing freedom and peace :)

    No experience with Lemony Snicket but isn’t that the one where Jim Carrey starred in the movie? That’s all I picture and enough to (unjustly) shy away from it!

  7. says

    I was always put off by his books but may try one with my 10 year old daughter.

    The pictures are just lovely…I want to be there!

    PS…off topic..is your hair long or short…it’s just adorable!

  8. says

    I can’t like Lemony Snicket because I learned too much about the author’s other books after reading the first one in the Unfortunate Events series. It just didn’t sit right with me (the dark tone, the macabre feeling, the distant uncle who tries to marry the niece even though it was only for reasons of gaining the fortune…weird). And I don’t like pseudonyms when it comes to my children’s books, I want to know who is writing the book, so I looked him up and found out what he has to say about secular humanism and what else he had already written for adults also with very dark themes including incest. That ruined the whole series for me. I couldn’t read any more and I’ve never offered them to my kids. I don’t judge anyone else who has (since I’m sure plenty of people would argue with my letting the children read Harry Potter), I just think there is better stuff out there. If I’m going to let my kids read fluff, I want it to be fluff I’m comfortable with.

  9. Lisa says

    I couldn’t find any redemption in Lemony Snicket
    I have to say, I’ve not found one “perfect” reading list. Even

  10. says

    So happy to see you settled in your new digs! Lovely pictures, and I do have a thing for wooden fences. So charming and romantic looking, and I can just imagine the delightful freedom you now have!
    We don’t read Lemony Snicket, (I admit that basically if it’s modern and popular we’re not interested – that’s just how my family is) and after reading Charlotte’s comment I’m quite thankful.
    I found Patty’s comment above interesting. I’m not a fan of audio books (just because we love ‘live’ reading aloud so much) but it’s true that your interpretation of a book is affected by the ‘tone’ of the reader. Curious to think about regarding audio books.

  11. says

    Ill admit that I read lemony snicket quite a few years ago, and with an eye to not like it, but I didn’t enjoy the darkness of the series. And that’s coming from a lover of Grimm! With Grimm good always wins out, however, no matter how dark the road may be, and there was always a lesson to learn. I could not find any redeeming lesson or triumph over evil in the Snicket series. In my opinion its exactly the kind of book warned against in Tending the Heart of Virtue. But like I said, I read it with a negative eye several years ago, so I may have been mislead. If my kids got interested I’d probably re-read it to see if I get the same result.

  12. says

    The above insights are very interesting. I also picked it up at the library this past week based on Mr. Padewa’s recommendation, but maybe I’ll read it to myself before I read it to the kids to see if it suits our family. For now, we’ll keep working through “Farmer Boy.” :)

  13. says

    As I am a writer, I prefer not to give negative critiques of the work of others, though I am irrepressible when I ADMIRE what they have done. But it was because of what I perceived as a dearth of Good Reading (especially in what GKC liked to call “Boys’ Books”) that I set off to do my own, and have done so, as you can find out here. Since the Saga is quite large, you might like to try these four which are available on Loome’s blogg:

    The Story of Driftwood

    The Story of Serendipity

    The Story of the Wreck of the ARGENT EAGLE

    The Story of How Mark Earned a Dragon

  14. says

    1. Your backyard (and all the kiddies) looks lovely and wonderful.
    2. I absolutely love your podcast. I listened to the first two episodes this weekend and I found it insightful, affirming, and intelligent.
    3. I understand why so many commenters dislike Lemony Snicket and the Series of Unfortunate Events for being dark and dealing with heavy themes *but* Harry Potter dealt with all the same issues (adults with less-than-altruistic motives making choices for a child robbed of agency, very evil adults murdering and causing destruction because they like it, orphans, bad situations getting worse and worse, kids going up against bad guys with almost no backup from grown ups, etc.) minus the evil uncle attempting to marry the teenage girl. I read the series in elementary school, all of my friends and my little sisters read them (at a private, Protestant school where Harry Potter was blacklisted and then banned altogether) and we really enjoyed the stories and the idea that no matter how awful the situation was, this little family stuck together. I also loved that the prose didn’t talk down to children, but gave them a great deal of very powerful vocabulary words that were then defined within the text.
    I understand that it’s largely dark material and that some children are more sensitive to that than others, but in the 6 years I worked at a children’s bookstore I had great success recommending the series to 9-12 year old readers. So there’s my two cents.

  15. says

    After getting a few dozen book reports that made no sense, I finally read the first book. It helped me understand the future reports, but I thought it so…dark. And I read a lot of Bronte and Dickens ;) so tragic tales work for me usually, but this didn’t. (I do like Curry’s voice, so that may be worth a listen!)

  16. says

    I wouldn’t let my young daughter read Lemony Snicket past the first book because I read ahead in the series and was pretty disturbed by the violence and the general dark creepiness. I don’t mind creepy, but there was such a grim, clammy spirit to the characters and the settings, it felt unhealthy especially for a child. I think they should be Young Adult books rather than for children. Also, by the last book I was completely bewildered about what was happening, they had become too surreal for me. But all of that is just my personal opinion, and is coloured by the way I chose to parent my child when she was younger.

  17. says

    These are my favorite of your posts – not the wordless-ness, ha ha, but the everyday-ness! Your new home looks marvelous, and I am very impressed with the will power you have to move your big family :-) You’re off to a good start for the summer!

  18. Heather says

    I made it through all the LS books a few years ago. I agree with Andrew that they are beautifully written. I think its hard to bring dark and complicated themes to children without them being overwhelmingly sad. This series is just absurd enough for children to understand that this is all fantasy and just real enough that the only reason I stuck it out to the end of the series is that I knew these kids needed (and I as the reader needed) a happy ending. My main complaint was that to story went on far too long and got crazier and crazier. It was like reading a spinner vortex that the writer did not know how to get us all out of, by the last few books. I think this series may appeal more to boys, my girls are not the least bit interested.

  19. Elizabeth says

    LOVE your yard, the photos in the new house look comfy and cozy, Tulip looks so old, and those eyes on your twins, oh. my. goodness. Gorgeous. Thanks for posting the new pics!
    I have only ever heard Lemony Snicket was a little creepy but I’m looking forward to your opinion…

  20. Elizabeth Fern. says

    LOVE the photos of your new house! You have amazing photography skills! I still have no idea how to get my pics as crisp as you do. Is it just me or do your twins look exactly like Posy when she was their age?

    I think Charlotte brings up a good point when it comes to the author’s other writing. I run into this issue all. the. time. My daughter will like 1 book by an author and want to read all of the author’s books and then I have to say no because some of their other works are questionable. Seriously, I wish there was a book review site like pluggedin for movies so I don’t have to do so much pre reading. I’m trying to cultivate my own mind with great writing, I don’t want to spend that time reviewing tween twaddle.

    Speaking of cultivating my own mind, I can’t wait for Schole Sisters to open up!

  21. Cheryl Wilcox says

    Hi Sarah,
    First I want to say that I loved your first podcast. You did a great job interviewing Andrew, or hosting the podcast. (I’m new to podcasts so I’m not sure about how to describe it.) I am so pumped up to read aloud again. We got away from it and I really miss it.
    Secondly, I want to chime in on Mr. Snicket. I listened to audio versions of maybe 6 or 7 of the books in the series. I started to get bored or busy after awhile, but my kids finished them all. 13. Tim curry is superb. Mr. Po’s cough never got old. The books are hilarious. I loved the voices. One book we had to get read by Lemony Snicket because that was all the library had available and it was still great. I especially enjoyed all the translations of what the baby was saying. There was an interview of lemony snicket on one of the audiobooks that was so funny. He pretended he wasn’t home and answered the questions. I can’t even remember exactly what he did, But you got to hear it. I’m having some trouble typing this on my phone so I better go. Keep up the good work.

  22. Sheryl Finley says

    Dear Sarah,
    PICTURES, PICTURES, PICTURES! Thank you. I have been longing for more pictures. :) Glad you survived your move. Totally worth it for a flat, fenced in yard! I continue to enjoy all your other adventures here. Pod casts, photography, newsletter, your writing. Wordless is nice in title only. :) I was never able to appreciate Lemony Snicket for all the reasons articulated above. Sheryl in PO

  23. Mimi says

    Lemony Snicket is the only series that my 12 year old daughter gobbled up! I was always curious as to why…now, I’m looking forward to listening to your first podcast. I fell in love with podcasts after listening to them (yourself included!) during the RESTORE workshop. Podcasts seem to make my chores lighter :) Thank you for sharing!

  24. Gina says

    After listening to the podcast, we, too, revisited the Lemony Snickett series and before I could even find the time to read-aloud, my 4th grader had already read the first two books! We have always loved the movie (which is a bit dark, but witty), but the books are great for vocabulary lessons! And what’s even better, is often the author will stop the story to define some of those big words. We are loving them!

  25. says

    I am a long time reader here. This is one of my fave blogs! I am really enjoying the podcasts. I was surprised by the Lemony Snickets recommendation as well. I had heard mixed reviews from other homeschool moms, but when I was a teacher in a school one of my very favorite students absolutely loved these books so I sorta gave Pudewa the benefit of the doubt. I was in Barnes and Noble this week and was asking the book lady what she thought (she was an older, English, former teacher who knew her juvenile lit) And she said she was unimpressed. I will be interested to hear what you think! I didn’t pick one up because my son is not up to that reading level yet. I can’t seem to find anything he is passionate about reading…and it might be his age (he is 6…been reading since he was 4 kinda of kid). He will read if I give him something or tell him to or for school. But he is rarely picking up books to read just for fun.

  26. missy says

    We are planning to move soon but the thought of selling our current home with six children is mentally exhausting. Keeping it clean and ready to show to potential buyers seems so crazy…how did you do that??

    • says

      Oh we didn’t have to! We were renting and so I only had to show the house once and it wasn’t anything like the pressure to get a house ready to sell. I will pray for you, Missy! Moving is so exhausting and overwhelming. Hang in there!