How we got banned from the library and my plan

I love to study. Sometimes it baffles me when children in this house do not share my desire to pour over books and take notes. I love it. This is what I do. It’s what I have done my whole life.

When JD, at 2 years old, would wake up in the morning, pull up a kitchen bar stool, and say, “Let’s study shapes, Mom!!” my heart would swell with pride. This is my boy.

When Joshua memorized all the species of whales at 3 years old, and checked out every single library book on badgers at 5, I knew that this apple was not falling far from the tree. (These days he memorizes sports statistics instead.)

By the end of my own kindergarten year, the library was my favorite place. It’s sad that all these years later we are banned from the library.

I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking it’s my kids’ fault, or my fault for not controlling my boys. But that wasn’t it at all. My boys love to go to the library, and while they are sometimes a little rambunctious, they have never actually caused any problems there.

It was me. I’m the reason.

In 2015, I paid $250 in library late fees, which included some fees left over from 2014.

In 2016, I paid ~$80 in library late fees, because I was trying harder and being more careful.

In Monterey, I could keep it under the radar. The librarians there were cool with us. Who doesn’t want the lady who donates $250 to the library?

But here in the South, I made the mistake, hefty mistake, of signing up for text alerts for when my books were due. I think the texts also went to the email account that I share with Alan, the same Alan who is very sensible with his money, maybe a little more sensible and organized than his wife…

Alan soon realized that I don’t bat an eye at returning a book a week overdue and continuing to use my library account.

I figure if the library lets me, I’ll just put it off until later, and they do always let me carry a balance. The library here is kind of far away, and I have trouble remembering where it is exactly and how to get there….

Poor Alan. The stress was too much. He was all calling the library to make sure we’d returned them all, going by there and paying all the late fees, and then he said it. He did.

“Can you please stop checking books out from the library?”

At least I think he said it. If he didn’t say it out loud, he was surely thinking it.

So I said it: “Okay. I know. I was wrong. I’m sorry. We will never check books out from the library again.”

I can be dramatic like that.

Alan was all, “Phew!!! Yes, I mean yes, obviously, you should not.”

Sigh.

And that was how we got banned from the library, and how I started shopping more at Book Fairs, Scholastic store online, and Amazon, so I’m not altogether sure we’re saving any money, but we do get to keep the books now…..which is actually sort of a storage problem.

And that is why the library is part of my New Year’s Resolution for 2017.

Yes, I’m aware that I didn’t actually make any New Year’s resolutions back in January, but I’m making one now. Right here, in the month of April, or as you might say MY MONTH.

I am getting my organizational act together!

I have actually been writing in and checking that planner that I bought. This is a BIG DEAL for me.

Every 2 to 3 years, we get completely uprooted, and I have to basically start life all over again, so maybe that helps you understand why I do not have the deeply engrained schedules that you may have. For a military wife, life changes drastically constantly. In 1 more year, we will probably move yet again.

Sometimes I’m guilty of feeling like why bother.

But you know what? I’ve got a lot of kids’ schedules to figure out now, and the older they get the more activities they have, and I’m going to have to get used to writing all this stuff down.

To be fair, it’s a lot of people to keep up with. 😉

So here’s my plan to lift the library ban.

  1. Look at my planner every single day.  I’m going to do that as soon as I finish this article.
  2. Take my planner with me, and write down each upcoming responsibility down on the calendar so I won’t forget.
  3. Check out 1 library book, write down the due date in the planner, and see if I can get it back to the library on time.
  4. If that works, I’m going to check out 2 books the next time!!!

 

So what about you guys? Have any of you ever paid $200 in library fees? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve also lost books and had to buy the library new ones. I didn’t feel like this made me a bad customer. I felt like it just made me a frequent flyer, and these things were inevitable. Right? I say yes.

Have a FUN weekend, y’all. Life’s too short to not.

“Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God. ” Ecclesiastes 5:7

 

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.   Psalm 20: 4-5

 

This Week: Library Days, Bed Sharing, and Amanda

Art by Joshua: Grandaddy, with rocket boosters and lasers.

There are cupcakes in the oven. I can hear two children having a discussion about who knows what downstairs. JD is asleep, and another boy is serving penance in his room.

It’s over. I can’t believe it. The school year is over. I’ve been keeping records of grades and attendance all year, and now I need to actually put that into an official document. I printed out this one from donnayoung.org

Click here if you need one too! Report Card Printable

It’ll do for now, but I want to personalize it with the typed out name, address, and contact information of our school. Alan, do you think you could help me with that?

Poor Alan. He has been doing my helping me with my computer assignments since my senior year of college. I never bothered to learn Excel, and as an adult, wouldn’t you know, that’s the one computer program from my adolescence that is still relevant!

So here’s what’s new with us this week:

The boys have become obsessed with baking. Once one discovers that delicious food is actually not that hard to make, it’s really unavoidable.  This has become quite the delicious house to live in!

They are such practical boys:

Caleb was admiring Daniel’s uniform the other day, and he asked me, “Where’s my old soccer uniform?”

“You had to turn it in,” I reminded him.

“Oh. What sports let you keep your uniform?”

“Baseball. Would you like to sign up for baseball?”

“No, I just don’t want to ruin my own Saturdays.”

HAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Joshua feels the same way, so when it comes to the sports circuit, we have it very easy as parents!

Daniel only has two games left, and he’s going to miss the last one because we will be on vacation. None of you are allowed to tell him that. He would be crushed.

sweet brothers

What we did on our last day of school:

We did quite a bit of testing, to make up for the teacher that had spring fever and wasn’t taking very many grades the last few weeks. Then I made them tell me everything they liked best and least this year and things they’d like to do this summer.

For Joshua, everything seems to revolve around Big Nate.

I broke the news gently to them, “I’m making you each a packet of papers, and over the summer you will still need to practice spelling and math…”

*Sounds of agony and protest*

“That way you don’t lose everything you learned over the summer. You have to practice to keep your brain working,” I explained to my reluctant work force.

Joshua was surprisingly calm and rational about it, “Oh, yeah, I read about that in Big Nate, so yeah.”

Yes, we have a new obsession. Yes, I sometimes exploit that to my advantage. For every 3 chapter books he reads, he gets 1 new Big Nate book.

I went on to tell the boys a few things we’ll be learning about next year. I mentioned ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Joshua perked up, “Like Greek myths!! I know all about Achilles, and his heel.”

He went on to tell the full story about Achilles’ heel, and that people now refer to it, meaning weakness. He learned all of this from Big Nate’s sister’s school assignment.

See, everything revolves around Big Nate. Wedgies aside, this has been one hobby that I have viewed favorably. He LOVES those books, and I love that he’s reading and learning so much.

Some parents look down on comic books. We do not. I love that my boys read Garfield, Charlie Brown, Calvin and Hobbes, and Big Nate. It encourages a love for reading. It’s a great bridge between picture books and longer chapter books. When I was their age, I read every single Charlie Brown book our library owned. I remember we had to dress as a book character for one of the Summer Reading Program days at our library. I went as Lucy. A local talk show host came and filmed it all, so I even got to be on t.v., in my royal blue flower girl dress, and my hair in the bun that almost never was. Trying to get my 30 pounds of hair into a bun was about impossible.

My mom hauled us to the library faithfully every summer. We went to every puppet show or children’s reading day there was. Those were great times. My mom was quite the trooper. My sister, Amanda, cannot walk, talk, see, or think past a 16-month or so level, due to a neural tube birth defect. Amanda was a year older than I was, so we’re talking about a 50-ish pound child, but Mom would rise to the challenge, and load up that wheelchair in the trunk of the car. Then she’d pile us in, along with the three kids she babysat, and cart us all off to swimming lessons and library days all crammed into the Mercury, sharing seat-belts. Those were the days! All total, that was 6 kids, including my sister who you can’t leave for a second.

I remember we would all take turns sitting next to Amanda. See, blind people have a need to touch things more. Amanda loves to grab the arm of whoever she’s sitting next to. That’s not so bad, except her hand was usually wet. Plus, she had this talent for squeezing your arm with her fingers, right between the two bones in your forearm—eeeek! I still shudder at the thought! Ha! It was just the kind of minor nuisance that would take you by surprise and about make you jump out of your seat! You better believe we were pretty happy when my parents bought their first mini-van!

Just thinking about those summers makes me smile. I hope I can give my own boys those kind of memories.

I’ll leave you with one more story: sharing beds!

The boys love each other so much, sometimes they try this, and we go along with it. Last night was one of those nights. JD climbed into the bottom of Dan’s bunk while we were putting Dan to bed. We let them try it, and they were very good and quiet for a little while. Eventually, Dan got JD out of bed, and we had to send him back to his own room, but they were awfully cute and happy for a little while.

Joshua and Caleb also tried sharing beds last night. They begged us to let them sleep in the double bed in the guest room so they could watch for our owl. There’s a great horned owl that frequents our yard. It’s as though he knew they were waiting for him last night, though. For the first time in ages, we never heard him once. Those poor boys. They waited in that room, silently, believe it or not, for a long time. By the time I went to bed, Joshua and Caleb were both passed out, each in their regular twin beds, as usual. Oh well. It is terribly difficult to sleep in a different bed than your own!

They might think it’s hard to share a bed with their brother, but you don’t know anything until you’ve shared a bed with Amanda, my sister! She used to pat the wall, over and over again, and she hummed a lot. The humming never bothered me, but she sure got me one night. I’ll never forget it. I was already asleep, and I was the kind of kid that had an overactive imagination. I regularly saw toys moving on my shelves and couldn’t get to sleep because I just knew a ghost was going to come into my room. (I read one too many 13 Ghosts of Alabama books.) I had just drifted off, when SPLAT! A hand cupped my face, straight across. I’m pretty sure I screamed. Poor Amanda. She was just giving me a good-night pat.

Caleb, showing off his latest drawing

I hope you all have a great weekend. I’ll be announcing the winner of the give-away tomorrow!

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