Jenna Wynne and I have been friends for 23 years. We’re very close, but I’m forever learning something new about her, or remember something wonderful about her. Jenna lives with her husband and their three children in a south Minneapolis craftsman. She agreed to show us around some of her bookshelves. I know you’ll enjoy a glimpse of her sentimental, scientific, and connecting nature.
“As soon as I moved into the house I envisioned this space at the top of the stairs, and right outside our bedroom as being filled with books. Long term, I’d like to create built-in bookshelves here, but with the demands of three kids and two full time jobs between us there just hasn’t been time to tackle that project yet!
Rick Walton, children’s book author and teacher, recently passed away, much too soon. I came across this old picture of Alexandra and I with him on a post I wrote about his picture book workshop I attended five years ago. Here’s a great article about his influence. He had more than 90 books published.
The most accurate map of the world! YES! You can even print a version that folds into a sphere!
Growing up, I always considered myself 100% Finnish and 100% American. I am Finnish on my mother’s side, born in Finland, and raised in the United States. I didn’t feel the need to choose between or split my identities, and I believe that was in part because I grew up speaking Finnish with my mother and English with my father. I married an American who happened to have lived in Finland for a couple of years, and so he speaks Finnish. We decided that I would speak Finnish to our kids, and he would speak English to them.
We now have a 6-year-old, Alexandra, and a 3-year-old, Gabriel (whom I call Kaapo). So far, their fluency in Finnish has developed well enough for them to feel confident, and they are often mistaken as residents when we visit Finland every two years. In Minnesota, where we live, there is a large Finnish-American community, so I have met families in varying stages and with varying approaches to Finnish language in their homes. I believe each family should do what’s best for them, in consideration of their priorities and circumstances. Whether you’re going for full dual language fluency in a one-parent-one-language approach, or you are making a light introduction for a second language, I organized my reflections on my own experience into 5 takeaway tips:
I’ve been following the updates on the re-opening of the Rose Room of the New York Public Library. This article in The New Yorker is so moving. Here’s a fascinating time-lapse video of the shelving of 52,000 books. And maybe you’ve already seen the new book trains there.
As soon as cold weather rolls in, I start daydreaming about becoming a full-time hermit with a stack of books and a hot tea. I’m definitely in Fall Reading mode, so this edition of What We’re Reading includes more review than usual.
While visiting Finland this summer, I was struck by how much safer it felt–I’m not talking about crime–but the cultural and legal sense of every person’s right to basic well-being. My husband had to visit an urgent care clinic, but we weren’t worried about what it would cost; in fact, we paid less out of pocket than we would have for the same care here in Minnesota with health insurance. So when I read The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by journalist and Finnish expat Anu Partanen, I wanted to shout from the rooftops.
A few weeks ago, I went to J.C. Penney’s portrait studio for a couple of school photo supplements, and I was shocked that despite the fact that a rainstorm ruined the kids’ hair and they hadn’t had their afternoon snack and they were on strike from standing in one place, the photographer got some cute shots.
I tend to be a frazzled mess during photo shoots of my kids. I feel like I want to capture something priceless and the clock is ticking, so I am basically asking the photographer for an instant miracle. I know I am not helping when I constantly fuss over their hair and hiss, That’s not your real smile! Just sit by your brother for one minute! What are you doing with your hands?? I know I need to just get out of the way. In an effort to convince myself to chill and trust the pros, I asked two photographers for their best tip for a photo shoot with kids. If you’re preparing for family photos, these experts have some golden advice for you.
For the first month of the school year, my husband and I had morning battles with our 6-year-old about appropriate school clothes for first grade. When we said, “Go get dressed,” she’d come out of her room wearing a leotard and ballet flats. Veto! And then we had an exasperating back-and-forth of which clothes were appropriate for the weather and school activities. A simple rearrange of the dresser drawers drastically reduced our morning drama. I have two easy tips for you.
Sending love to the Minnesota Lynx! The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the defending champion Minnesota Lynx 77-76 for the WNBA championship. It seems timely to bring up Maya Moore’s piece on increasing visibility for women’s basketball. And to say: #equalplayequalpay.
If my kids seem tense while they’re trying to fall asleep, I give them this 5-second energy sweep. I swear by it!
These clip lights are great for trick-or-treating, and for playing outside after dusk.
I’ve been coloring in Color at Home: A Young House Love Coloring Book while I watch TV in the evenings. I don’t find coloring to be especially relaxing, but I’m having fun with it! After nearly two hours, I’m almost done with the cover page. I listen to the YHL podcast while I’m cleaning and mowing the lawn, and it’s always delightful.
I have to start Christmas gift plans now, because everything craft-related takes me 10x longer than I think it will. I’m really excited about a couple of these Homemade Gift Ideas in Country Living.
While shopping for some winter clothes for my kids, I found such adorable new must-haves that I had to share. I only chose the softest and kid-friendliest cold-weather basics that I was sure would get approval from both kids and parents. Here are my finds for little girls and boys (6 years and up), and in another post I’ve got toddlers covered.
My 6-year-old, Alexandra, will wear dresses but not pants (not even sweatpants!), and tights but not socks. That makes her winter wardrobe straightforward: long-sleeved dresses and thick tights. But for those of you who can get your kid to wear pants, check out these picks.