When I was raising my kids, it was important to me to be intentional and aware of how our days were spent, even on summer break. That didn’t mean Sargeant Slaughter woke up the crew with a whistle at 6 a.m. on those Dog Days of Summer, but it did mean generally evaluating what we were doing with our time.

I’m a paper-list person so I kept a simple, cheap spiral notebook handy and I would make brief notes each day of what had taken place so I could scan and review and adjust if I felt we needed more balance. Nothing fancy, just for instance: June 20, 1996 boys helped me make a big breakfast – boys changed their sheets – boys wrote thank-you notes to grandparents – boys read for an hour after lunch – at the pool with the Smiths all afternoon – movie and popcorn – Daddy read Little House on the Prairie to us at bedtime etc. I’m also a save-that-memory freak, so I still have those journals. Hashtag paper tiger. 🙂

With a houseful of busy boys I wanted to be sure I wasn’t wasting our entire summer break frittering away the days zoning out on movies, video games, laziness of mind, body and spirit. I believe those blocks of ‘wasting time’ are valuable alternated with more thoughtful productive periods. Life is a constant learning process, whether the kids are watching a hummingbird for 10 minutes, building Legos, sweeping floors, chopping onions, swimming or digging tunnels out back with friends. I was never big on endless video game time; in my mind it was much more enjoyable and effective as a measured activity.

All that to say reading was always a key part of our lives. Reading all sorts of content; history, biographies, nature articles, animal stories, fiction, historical fiction, comedy stories were a constant in our boys’ growing up years and most always a habit first thing in the morning for a few minutes and after lunch so everyone could have some quiet time, thus Mom could also have some alone time.

I credit the habit of reading as a key ingredient in the building of the Mira boys and developing our family culture. Reading served us well and still does.

I recently began reading our 7 year-old granddaughter a favorite series of her father, the Exitorn Adventures, book 1 Brill and the Dragators by Peggy Downing. Once we began, she begged me to read another chapter each day and I love that! It will prove to be a pause of very special time for us throughout the summer and fall. 

Do YOU read?? What solid, valuable, real books are you reading? R-e-a-d seems to be a four-letter word that incites yaawwwwwwwwns because of either bad experiences or ignorance about what is available to the reader and HOW MUCH FREAKING ENJOYMENT IT BRINGS when you find the right book. If you’ve found reading to be a big fat bore, please don’t give up, please don’t settle for your past experience of reading. Much of what the world offers is CRAP. Yep. (And, P.S., audio books are changing my life by the way!)

This one (pictured at the top) The Wright Brothers,  the story of two American brothers, Orville and Wilbur, inventors and aviation pioneers who are generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful airplane (on a dime btw), is my current fav. It’s blowing my mind, changing my life, lifting me higher, fixing my gaze, teaching me more than I can comprehend, entertaining me to the point of outrageous LOUD laughter, carrying me on my bicycle rides throughout the city with joviality and, yes, tears all at the same time – the neighbors could be calling the cops as I fly by bahahahaha…David McCullough is a history author with no equal and I only wish he could live to be 1000 so that we could continue to expect his brilliant volumes to be released, for he is what I consider an expert and epic ‘documentor of history’ rather than a re-writer with a slanted view of history. He happens to be the narrator of this particular volume on the audio version of The Wright Brothers, and that makes this story even more precious! (My wholehearted secret wish would be for him to write the story of the Transcontinental Railroad that stretched from both my hometowns of Omaha, Nebraska and Sacramento, California)….happy summer reading to you and yours!