Monday with Mo and Dale

A month or so ago, I grabbed a book that looked like a read that my twelve year old daughter would enjoy. Little did I know that we would be making new literary friends. I decided to read Three Times Lucky before I passed it along. And I so enjoyed those late night readings. The author, Sheila Turnage, is a native of eastern North Carolina and so am I.  That makes almost kindred spirits, right?

And that is where we meet Mo and Dale; in the small town, Tupelo Landing, in eastern North Carolina. Moses LeBeau, better known as Mo (and she’s a girl), was found as a baby floating down a river after a hurricane by the Colonel. The Colonel, who suffers from amnesia, and Miss Lana have raised Mo together and also run the local small town cafe. Dale Earnhardt Johnson III is Mo’s best friend and they are quite the duo. When a murder occurs in Tupelo Landing, Mo and Dale decide to solve this mysterious event. And this give us the Deperado Detective Agency.

“We got peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and raisins, and a delicate peanut butter/peanut butter combination. These come crunchy or smooth, on Wonder Bread, hand-squished flat on the plate or not, as you prefer. The special today is our famous peanut butter and banana sandwich. It comes on Wonder Bread, cut diagonal on the plate, with crust or without. What can I start you with?”

Three Times Lucky is just the first offering of Mo and Dale we have from Mrs. Turnage. She has given us two more books: The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing and The Odds of Getting Even. All three are charming, witty, hilarious, and delightful. Not only do these books offer up mysteries and humor, but also meaningful relationships with family and friends. It shows that family and home goes beyond bloodlines but is truly found in the heart. You see a community of people that have their quirks and issues but they love and care for one another.

“The truth is like Spandex…It may not look like a good fit at first, but if you ease into it and wiggle around, it winds up fitting your skin.”

My four oldest children (12-16) and I thoroughly enjoyed these stories. As one book was finished we passed it to the next in line. There may  have been a few threats if someone gave away parts of the story. Quite literally one day my daughter finished The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing as I finished The Odds of Getting Even. As I closed the book, she grabbed it from my hand and jumped right back into reading.

“That’s how we lose people…detail by detail, day by day, until they’re pale, pale memories.”

My children are well read enjoying the likes of Dickens, Austin, Christie, Wodehouse. They can be a bit critical of literature and have no qualms about sharing those thoughts. A good story is one that can be enjoyed across the ages. Mo and Dale certainly offer up a good story. My only regret is that I did not read this aloud.

If you haven’t enjoyed Three Times Lucky and the other Mo and Dale books from Sheila Turnage, what are you waiting for? These are great for readers ages 10 and up.  I’d love to hear your thoughts when you give Mo and Dale a  try!

In the words of my daughter: I need some comic relief in my life. When will there be another Mo and Dale book?

Please tell me there is another Mo and Dale on the way, Sheila Turnage.

Random Thoughts of a Mom of Nine

Hours ago the plan was for this blog post to be a book review. If nothing else, we read a few books in this house. I have several that I want to share with you. But, well, guess what? It didn’t happen. Because I’m a mom. And I’m forgetful.

Today, Mary and I restarted our running. Hopefully we will get back in the groove quickly and be able to run another 5K in December. After a few months off I was prepared for intense pain and a near death experience. It went much better than expected. We only ran a mile today but, hey, it was raining!

I love to encourage my children’s creativity. Some may need a little less encouragement. While I was deep in the trenches of grammar and mathematics, Ezra was developing his love of Sharpies. On a door. In my house. Quiet toddler = Trouble. Rookie mistake, mom. Rookie mistake.

No need for fancy candles or warmers in our home. We have mastered the Burn Smell. Mastered it so well that we no longer notice when something is truly burning. You know, like the plastic mixing spoon sitting in the empty pan on top of the very hot burner? Yes. The browning meat that mom forgot about while rocking a toddler back to sleep? Yes. I am sure that Burn Smell will be the next big wave in candles. Trend setters we are.

It all works out in the end. The Sharpie masterpiece met its match in the Magic Eraser. I scrubbed the burnt pan within an inch of its life and it will live to cook another day. Even better? In an effort to mask the charred ground beef, Mary volunteered to make homemade hamburger helper. I love getting bumped off kitchen duty. Go, mom!

Just a normal rainy Tuesday. Bring it on, Wednesday. Bring it.

Any aspiring artist in your home? What medium do they like to work with? Sharpie has always been a favorite here.

Monday Mayhem

I have  friend who lives in the midwest. She works in the local public school system that has implemented a most ingenious concept. Every Monday the school flows on a two-hour delay schedule. Mondays are hard, am I right? A two-hour delayed scheduled seems simply brilliant to me. Brilliant!

I thought to myself, “Well, this concept is so scrumptious that I should give it a go here. And if a two hour delay is great, well a four hour delay is even better! Right?” (Side note: Every time I type “delay” I spell “dealy”. I may be suffering from a caffeine shortage. )

Perhaps a four hour delay was a bit much but we definitely hit the two hour delay this morning. All of us seemed to have trouble jumping out of our cozy beds and jumping into school work. Add in that it was an absolutely gorgeous day outside. The struggle is real.

It was a bit chaotic. This happens when you have a 16 month old who is quite fast at destruction. Wooden blocks + mommy’s computer = a mom/sibling attack from both sides. Three kiddos worked in shifts on my computer. A simple “game” with index cards with line drawings and craft sticks counted as preschool math and my three year old was so glad to be “finished with her hard math”.  Screaming and not so nice words over an allegedly stolen peg doll. Two kiddos begging to do grammar because we get to start a new week and they are so ready to do their poster. Can we please do it now? Checking math. And then checking another level of math. And checking another level of math.

Then. Yes. Everything seemed to settle down. No one was fighting. No one was screaming. Work was underway. Laundry was washing and drying. All math was checked. The computer was available for Spanish. Ahhhh. Then. Yes. Then my daughter noted that the time was 1pm and the little ones might want lunch. Really? Is it necessary to eat three meals a day? Really.

And those phone calls I was suppose to make? Yeah. Let’s just bump those to Tuesday.

On the bright side, my little ones and I had a lovely discussion on sin, consequences, discipline, and forgiveness. My kitchen is clean. I have a lovely dragon and knight on my dry erase board. I finished another book from the Cybils nominations. We enjoyed a loud, lively dinner with lots of laughs. Another episode of the Great British Baking Show has been enjoyed. Many adventures happened in the backyard. My three year old loves me and loves her footed sleeper. I, thankfully, do not have a footed sleeper. Much to smile about, am I right? Why, yes I am.

Just keepin’ it real.  How was your Monday?