Saturday, December 21, 2013

Celebration Saturday

Discover. Play. Build.

 I'm so happy that Ruth Ayres started a Celebrate Link-Up on her blog!!!  I will be joining the celebration every Saturday!!
This was a great week, and I have lots to celebrate (I'm going to stick with 5 this week because I have a lot to write about each one):
1.  In October, I blogged about the college visits I took with my daughter.  As I explained, we have a long and happy history with Miami University in Oxford, OH.  My mother graduated from there, and my husband and I met as residence assistants in the same residence hall, and married there (we're part of their tradition of Miami Mergers, and we get a Valentine's Day card from them every year) at Kumler Chapel after a proposal under the Upham Arches.  When our oldest daughter decided to go there, we were very excited, and she loves it.  So I have to say, we kind of assumed our youngest daughter would choose the same path.  However, when she toured The Ohio State University campus, it became her number one choice.  I could see why - it fit her personality and preferences perfectly.  Now to the celebration part - she received  her acceptance on Saturday right after I wrote last week's Celebration Saturday post!  She was SO excited, and so are we.  We're thrilled that she found a place she can call her own, it's an excellent university, and we get to explore new experiences there.  We couldn't let it go, though, without a little teasing, so we had fun with our Christmas card this year:
2.  Three authors connected with my classroom this week.  We got e-mails from Deborah Wiles, who responded to a letter I sent her from a student who wrote brilliant things about Countdown.  We also got an e-mail from Liesl Shurtliff, who answered some questions students wrote in their thank you notes after our Skype visit with her.  One of the things she talked about was their frustration that she wouldn't answer their questions about the name of the mountain in Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin.  She explained that sometimes authors choose not to answer every question a reader has so that the story would continue to live in them and not be over.  That got another student thinking who wasn't sure she liked Sharon Creech's The Boy on the Porch because of its vague ending.  She rethought that and decided she DID like Creech's decision to leave it a bit open-ended.  Awesome!  The third e-mail came from Kazu Kabuishi because I had written to him inquiring about the 6th Amulet book.  My students are HUGE fans and many of them have read books 1-5 over and over again.  Unfortunately, even though we were excited to get a prompt e-mail from him, we learned we have to wait until the Fall of 2014 to read it!!!!  Ugh.
3.  My Mock Newbery Club met for the last time in 2013 and chose their winners for the year.  I was excited about their choices.  They didn't pick the exact same ones as I did, but I liked knowing what had "kid appeal," and they mostly agreed with each other.  The big winner was A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff.  Don't you love the cover?!  My club members have good literary taste because it was named as a National Book Award Longlist choice.
Honors went to: 
See the whole list of favorites on this blog post.
4.  My parents made it safely to their new home in Florida this week.  Even though I am sad they won't be here for Christmas, I am so happy for them.  This was a big decision and one that they searched for and thought long about for years.  They built a beautiful house in a vibrant retirement community near Tampa, and they are currently enjoying the strong sunshine and warm weather.  They've already met friendly neighbors and explored activities, and I know it will be a happy place for them for many years to come.  We look forward to visiting them in February.
5.  Winter break is here!  Yesterday was fun and crazy, just like every last day before break, but it's always a great time to reflect on what we've accomplished and an opportunity to regroup and make goals for the future.  I was blessed to receive a ton of gifts from my students, piling high on my desk by the end of the day.  I was amazed and humbled at how generous and kind their presents were.  They also know me well - I got many book store gift certificates, books, and Starbucks gift certificates!  A couple charity gifts were really neat - one was a donation of a flock of chicks to a needy family through Heifer International along with a cool, crafty chicken ornament.  Another was a bracelet that raises funds for a water charity, and another piece of jewelry from the Alex and Ani company, which has a positive energy/charitable philosophy.  I love that the kids and their families made the gifts meaningful in many ways.  Thank you to my amazing classes!!
This week will bring many celebrations, too!  For those readers/followers who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a blessed week full of family, friends, and making memories!!


  1. So much to celebrate! It is wonderful to read these posts that are filled with celebrations and goodness of life! Wishing you many more celebrations during your break!

  2. Lots and lots to celebrate this week! I love your family Christmas card! Absolutely perfect! Enjoy this first day of break- sounds like visits to bookstores and Starbucks may be in order.

  3. Love the Christmas card photo! I'm sure that gave the recipients something to smile about. It will be interesting to see what book the "experts" pick as the best book of 2013. I think mock Newbery's are awesome! How nice you have a warm place to visit in February, it sounds like your parents are adjusting well. Enjoy the holidays, especially since you now have some gift cards to spend. :-)

  4. All three of my daughters chose different colleges, and they were all very happy with their choices. We have to let them go and make their own decisions. The photo is hilarious.
    Someday, I'd love to have a conversation with you about books and authors. We seem to both want to make those connections with our students. I am reading May B over the break to prepare for a Skype visit in January with Caroline Starr Rose. Maybe we could connect our students with blogging about books. Think about it.

  5. So many wonderful things to celebrate in your family, Holly, across the generations. Enjoy the holidays!

  6. Excellent reasons to celebrate Holly. My students will be bummed about the 6th Amulet book. I didn't know it would be that long of a wait for them. I LOVE your Christmas card!

  7. Your Christmas card is hilarious!! Go Bucks! (...although I only have about a nickel in that dollar -- a Master's Degree in Children's Literature!)