A Wednesday list....

1. Remember how last week I said I was feeling unfocused and mentally off. Yeah...turns out I had a stomach virus. On the bright side, my house is super clean now.

2. We've got two new books in heavy rotation at our house right now: Quest, by Aaron Becker and I Stink! by Kate & Jim McMullan. Quest is a story with no words, an invitation to each reader to harness their own creativity. The illustrations are beautiful, straightforward enough for readers to tell a simple story, but detailed and thoughtful enough for more imaginative storytellers to get tell a story more intricate and expansive. It's a companion to Journey, recommended to me by my friend Melissa. I like that my 2 and 3 year old find the book captivating, but that it would also be enjoyable for an older reader too. In a very different vein....I Stink! is a little day-in-the-life book about a garbage truck who's stinky, loud, and confident of his purpose and place in the world.It's funny and fun to read -- which is a big plus for me -- and offers just enough potty humor to appeal to kids, but not so much that it's annoying or inappropriate.

3. In case you don't know, I grew up in Missouri and that's where most of my family is from and still lives, so my Midwestern roots go deep. Those roots are what I blame for my obsession with blankets. Y'all. I live in Houston, Texas. But I have enough blankets to keep a family of six warm through a Midwestern winter. But you know what? I'm not sorry. To be honest, most of my blankets are quilted or crocheted by a family member, pieces of history and family that I can literally wrap around myself, and that's part of the appeal. It's part of why I'll keep collecting blankets (the other part is because you NEVER KNOW when you might need a blanket for something).

4. Speaking of Midewestern roots...when we reach the end of a season of family sickness, one of the first things I want to do is throw open all the windows and air out the house. My Houston born-and-raised husband humors me when the weather cooperates, but I can tell he thinks I'm a little weird. To be fair, in Houston it's generally either A) too hot B) too humid C) too pollen-y D) or that one week a year when it's too cold. It got me thinking -- is this idea of "airing out" the house a Midwestern thing? A family quirk? Anyone else get those urges?

5. My kids got balance bikes for Christmas -- little bicycles with no wheels. You just use your feet to push along the ground, like you do if your riding a scooter. I was first introduced to them through my friends Ryan and Nicole, and the idea is that kids can learn to balance before you give them pedals, and often they can skip training wheels or not have to use them as long. Right now, they are loving them and now that the weather's nice again we've been taking them out almost every day on increasingly longer trips through the neighborhood. C is already starting to balance on hers, and even though poor M's legs aren't quite long enough to actually sit on the seat, he straddles it and walks/jogs along like he's riding it.

Happy Wednesday!