Friday, July 16, 2010

Momma, too!!

Joel has kindly granted me permission to start adding the books that I read to Gus.  (Didn't want you thinking that Gus' momma doesn't read to the little munchkin!)

Piglet and Mama
by Margaret Wild

Anybody who knows me well knows that I have always loved pigs.  (I wish I owned one...don't worry, Joel keeps telling me "no".) So naturally, I was excited to read this book.  Not only that but it is about a little pig in search of sweet!  I loved that this book had us wandering all over the farm searching for Mama.  All of the other animals offered to do fun activities with Piglet...but Piglet wanted Mama!  How could you not love a book where the child passes up all sorts of fun stuff because they want their mom?!?  I also loved that we got to say "oink" so many times.  My little piglet giggled each time that I read any sentence with "oink" in it.  The only thing that I didn't like about the book was the the piglet was a girl...but I changed that!  There were no visual descriptors, such as a bow or a dress, indicating that this was a girl I changed it to being a boy piggy.  And yes, I realize that Gus can't read yet, so he would never know...but I know!  Overall, I would give this little book 1 1/2 thumbs up.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Home from Granma's

Well we got back from Gramma's house and we did not get a chance to read a book at nap time. So here are the books from Thursday and Friday.


Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born
By Jamie Lee Curtis

This is the story of a child who was adopted and wants to hear the story about her parents getting the call and going to the hospital the night she was born. This is a great book for kids who are adopted to help them understand how important their birth was and the excitement felt by their parents. I really like this book and gave it five stars, but I might be biased.


I Love You this Much
By Lynn Hodges & Sue Buchanan

This is a story about a baby bear and his mother and how they tell each other how much they are loved. This book also came with a bonus music CD. I thought that this was a good book and I give it four stars.

Llama Llama Red Pajama
by Anna Dewdney

This is the story of little llama and his going to bed. He calls for his mom and when she does not respond right away he gets alittle distraught. I think that this is a great story for moms to read to thier kids as they put them to sleep I give this book a three and a half stars.

Have a good weekend Beth, Gus, and I are doing a 5k walk fundraiser for Bethany Christain Services, the adoption agency we worked with for Gus's adoption. If you would like to donate got to thier website and search for Race for Home.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Aunt Annie's Birthday

July 6th

Beth and I were out with friends and so I did not read Gus a book.

July 7th

Today is Gus's Aunt Annie's Birthday! Happy Birthday to Aunt Annie. We had lots of fun going out to dinner to celebrate this special day. Two books were read to Gus today.

At Naptime we read the classic,

Put Me in the Zoo: A Book of Colors
by Robert Lopshire

This is a Bright and Early book that is from the collection with all of the Dr. Suess books. This is a classic tale about an animal that wants to be put in the zoo and the zoo says no. He then proceeds to tell the children outside the zoo how he is able to change the colors of his spots. I like this book it is a classic and is more than just a color book. It tells a story while it teaches colors. It also has a great rhyme scheme, which you would never doubt about a book associated with Dr. Suess. I give this book five stars.

Bed time after the birthday celebration:

Ten Tiny Tadpoles
By Debbie Tarbett

This is a fun book with lots of color that helps to teach children how to count and subtract. It tells the story of ten tadpoles and how as they are playing they slowly get separated doing different things. Until at the end they all come back together as frogs. I like rhyme scheme in this book also the tadpoles stick out from the page with one on each page and a cut out for the others. This allows the children to feel them. I like this book I give it four and a half stars. Not because it is bad but because not every book can be one of those classic books.

Stay tuned for our next installment.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Fourth of July

I forgot to post yesterday, too busy celebrating the birth of our nation! Happy Birthday USA. So here are the books from yesterday and the book from today

July 4th!

Little Dragon Makes Friends
by Steve Smallman

This is a great book. It teaches kids about not judging people by their appearance. Just because someone is a dragon does not mean they are not nice. The illustrations in this book are wonderful with great color and they help to tell the story. I am starting to give books a rating out of five stars. This book gets five stars.

Baby Touch and Feel Farm
A DK Book

This is an interactive book that we read before Gus's afternoon nap. There are not many words in this book it is all about texture with patches that feel like animals fur. We have a number of books like this and I will say that this book did not impress me. I knew that there would not be much of a story with this book but the problem is that on every page is a picture of an animal. The problem is that not every picture has a texture to it. I found this very frustrating. I would look for another touch and feel book before I choose this one. I give it one star.

July 5th
We are at Granma's house and this is one of the books on her shelf.

by Olivier Dunrea

This is the book about a little duckling that likes to eat everything. He eats a bubble and this leads to problems. I think that this is a cute story but lacks much of a moral message. I give this book three stars.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July so the the Book I read Gus tonight has an Independence theme. I guess because I am a History Teacher, I think that it is important to start Gus early.

John, Paul, George, & Ben
By Lane Smith

This is a book that discusses the founding fathers as children, with each having a specific trait. It then goes on to discuss how those traits were used to help us win our independence from Britain. The leaders discussed were John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. I liked this book, it is cute and it gets kids from and early age interested in History.

Bonus: It is summer so I also read to Gus earlier this afternoon.

If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart
By Jill Roman Lord

This is a book that discusses if Jesus lives inside each of us and how he could then see the things we do and how we learn from them. I think that this is a great book that teaches kids how to live with the Lord and to do what is right. I would recommend it to anyone.

Happy Fourth of July! Remember why this is an important day and why we celebrate it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Been Awhile

I wish to apologize that I have not been good at this. I plan to change that and to change the direction of this blog. This blog is going to focus on the books that I read to my son Gus every night. I am doing this to track what books he has read and to comment on them. My goal is to update this daily with just a paragraph or two on the book. Today I will discuss the books that we started here in July.

July 1st, 2010

Skippyjon Jones: Shape Up
by Judy Schachner

This is a book with the famous cat Skippyjon Jones. This is a great book that focuses on shapes and helps to teach kids about them. It is a short book that is full of colors and shapes. I liked this book and Gus enjoyed it.

July 2nd, 2010

Duck for President
by Doreen Cronin

We read this book because of all the books on his bookshelf, Gus choose this one. It is the story of a duck and how he wants a better life. He journeys for the farm to the presidency, trying to find a life that is easy and enjoyable only to find that his role on the farm is what he wanted. I really liked this book it is a great story, has great illustrations, and is fun. I will say it was little long for a one year old but I think it is a great book for a little older kids.

I will hopefully have tomorrow's story for you!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Track season is coming and I don't know how often I will be updating my blog. I will however be creating a team blog so anyone can follow how the rams do. Also I will be starting a series on some of my favorite authors.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I started this blog to catelog my try to read 100 books. While I have been reading alot up until this week I had only read one book this year, which I described in my first post. So here are a couple of books I finished this week. Both books are rereads, books I have read in the past.

(2) Love and Honor by Randall Wallace

This book follows a young cavalry officer from Virginia. He is on his way home to help with the coming troubles with England (The Revolutionary War), when he is recruited by Ben Franklin to instead travel to Russia to convince the Tsarina, Cathrine the Great, not to send mercenaries to the colonies. The book is a great story, it is well written, and thought provoking. I read this book about three years ago, I had completely forgotten about it until I found it in a box. I would recommend it to people who like to read historical fiction.

(3) The Bleachers by John Grisham

Grisham is best known for his legal thrillers. He has written a few books outside of this realm. I am not a fan of legal thrillers, I find them somewhat boring. Bleachers is a great book. I recommend it to every fan of football, former high school player, or coach. I first read this book on the recommendation of someone I consider a mentor, Kieth Green, a former teacher and current administrator where I went to high school. He said I should read this book so I did and I was rewarded.

Bleachers is the story of Neely Crenshaw a former high school All American quarterback. He returns home fifteen years after high school to stand vigil as his high school coach is dying. Eddie Rake is a legend in a small town, he puts the town on the map by winning at football. He is fired after an athelet dies of heat stroke during practice. Every night his former players gather on the bleachers to tell tales and pay homage to thier coach. Crenshaw says it best at the end of the book "Do I love Eddie Rake or do I hate him", because at different times he meant different things to his players.

I have reread this book four times, that is how much I enjoy it. I have leant it to people because I think it is that good. I would say that this is in my top ten books.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Well it is official I am 30. I still feel like I just got out of college. But that was 8 years ago. I had a great birthday and want to thank everyone for everything they did for me. First my student teacher had the students sign a poster for me and then made cupcakes for all the kids. Gus sent me a cookie bouquet. My mom sent me balloons, of course to school. Beth, Gus, me, Hannah and Sarah went out to dinner at Logans (Jason was busy coaching Brendan's first Basketball practice). Then played a card game with me, Beth, Sarah, and Jason.

Then the surprise party on Saturday. My dad convinced me to go to the track and bet his horse. I made a few dollars. My brother in law Jason convinced me that we were playing cards. Well that was the story and it got me there. I was stunned. I thought why is Murph here? It was great. I thank my wife for having the surprise party. I thank my sister and brother in law for having the party at there house. It was great.

To Sports:

Colts vs. Saints

Called it before the playoffs. The two teams I was hoping for won. My only reservation was the fact that the never been club is down a member. I don't want that club to shrink again until the Lions are the team leaving the club. I have to go with the Colts as my pick. I think that it is going to be a shootout which means a great game to watch. I am excited for the game.

AFC Championship

No more JETS makes me happy. If you told me that a team was down 11 in the AFC game I would probably say game over. Not the Colts 24 unanswered points. Peyton Manning is on Mount Rushmore of Quarterbacks with Montana, Elway, and Unitas. If he wins he is the best quarterback of the generation. I know Brady has 3 rings and that is impressive but Peyton is the man. This is hard to say because Brady is my boy having played at Michigan.

NFC Championship

Turnovers are killer. Hahahahaha Farve nice pick. I teach my jv quarterbacks not to throw across their body. 12 men in the huddle penalty? Really I thought I was watching professional football. How do you get that penalty? Vikings over thought themselves. You are playing for the Super Bowl. Nice job Saints.

Books update

Gus Books

A Cuddle for Little Duck by Claire Freedman and Caroline Pedler

I liked the rhyme great story.

Lullaby Moon by Rosie Reeve

Just like the previous book I recommend both.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

This is a classic that I remember from my childhood. I love this story and I would recommend it to anyone with children. I have read this book to Gus more than any other.

I love reading to Gus. He is reaching for the books and loves to look at the pictures. I love this type of little moments.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Apologies and some Education

I would first like to apologize, I promised I would not discuss politics. However, I must talk about the election yesterday. Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts is significant. First, it takes away the democrats domination of the Senate. Checks and balances are what makes this country great. It means that our leaders end up old men not stains on a wall. The filibuster is that important. It gives the minority party a chance to be heard. For those of you who don't know what a filibuster is: A filibuster is when a Senator holds the floor of the Senate, meaning they cannot do anything. With 60 Senators the Democrats could derail a filibuster. With 59 they cannot. The rules of the filibuster are the Senator cannot sit down and he or she cannot yield the floor. The record for a filibuster is 24 hours and 18 minutes by Strum Thurmond in 1957 when he tried to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1957. My big problem with how the filibuster is currently practiced is all a Senator has to do is threaten to do it. I think that they should make them actually do the talking. The second reason I like it is that our best legislation was made through bipartisanship. That is what we need no one party rubber stamping legislation.

Gus book of the night

A Cuddle for Little Duck by Claire Freedman and Caroline Pedler

I liked it, great rhyme patten and great story. Great pictures and illustrations.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sports thoughts for the week.

First Lane Kiffen is a bum. I understand why Pete Carroll left. Sanctions are coming and he is the first rat to jump ship. But seriously Kiffen promises kids things, recruits them and jumps ship after one year. If gus is a blue chipper and kiffen comes to call he will not make it past the front porch. What happened to the great ones like Joe Paor beau or even woody? one year really you suck kiffen. This is just another reason for me not to like USC. I hope they crash and burn. Go the rest of the Pac 10.

Second, Tigers sign a closer. I understand the move, the American League central is week and winnable. I don't like it because we lose the draft pick, that is the down side I see. People say but what about the Granderson move? I think we sold high. I liked Granderson he was personable and fun to watch, but common he has been in the league how long? five years, and he can't hit left handers. I think that had we sold high on someone like Bobby Higginson we would have been better off and DD did just that. Now Granderson is going to have a huge year. New Yorks stadium is tiny and people will say that it was a bad move but I think we got a great foundation for the future. And who knows we could still do well in 2010. I mean outdoor baseball in Minnesota in April and May that could cost them a few games and in 2009 that means the Tigers are in the playoffs.

I am rooting for Indy over the Jets. I wish Indy Baltimore could have been the AFC championship game. I am cheering for New Orleans over Minnesota. I hate Brett Farve and I hope he falls flat on his face.

Way to go Wolverines beating UCONN. Why could you not be more consistent. Also huge win for state over Illinois. You are in the drivers seat of the Big Ten.

Can't wait for the winter olympics. I love watching the olympics because I always wished I could win a medal and be on a podium hearing the national anthem.

Have a great week.

Monday, January 11, 2010


First, I want to comment on Pete Carroll's move back to the NFL. My take: First rat to jump off a sinking ship. I think that he is leaving big NCAA sanctions. And the news about the assistant with the Painkiller problem shows it exactly. I hope that this is USC going back to what they were in the 90s because I am sick of hearing about them. Now all Michigan needs to do is get rid of the snake Rich Rod. He is in the same mold.

I love movies. I think that this dates back to my childhood. Two of my closest friends growing up were Jacob and Brandon S. There dad, Joe, was the king of movie rentals. He was on a first name basis with the people in the meijer movie store (which no longer exists). We were always watching movies. I have a netflix account. I love it but they just raised the rates which angers me.

So far this year I have seen three new movies. All of the movies are action flicks. The first movie I saw this year is Star Trek. Great movie, all action. Best Star Trek film ever (5 out of 5 stars). The second movie I saw was G.I. Joe. I liked it. Good action. Only part that was annoying is when they forced the line "knowing is half the battle" into the early part of the movie. It did not go well (4.5 out of 5 stars). The third movie is Transformers: Rise of the Fallen. Decent movie, not as good as the first but still good (4 out of 5 stars).

Gus Book of the Night

Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton

Better book than last nights.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My first book of the year.

The Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry (1)

Steve Berry has wrote a number of books following the same character Cotton Malone. Malone is a former U.S. agent who ends up in a number of activities. Each book involves a historical subplot. In this book they are looking for a treasure hidden by Napoleon. Berry uses historical references, changing some things and makes a fast paced action, adventure, mystery. Berry is one of my favorite authors and I would recommend him to anyone.

I also want to keep track of the books I read to Gus. While this is not the first this year it is the first I am recording. The book is:

Blue Hat, Green Hatt by Sandra Boynton (1)

Not the biggest fan but it is a decent childrens book.
I have decided to start a blog. In this blog I will put thoughts, feelings, and ideas. I have decided to limit this to random thoughts, books I am reading, movies I have seen, and books I have read to Gus.

You will see me comment on sports in this blog. I am a teacher and a coach and for that reason I will not be discussing high school sports. I will try to refrain from discussing politics on my blog. If you want to know I will tell you, I just don't want it dominate my blog.

I am also starting this to track my books. A friend since childhood, Matt B., told me his goal is to read 100 books in a year. I am going to see how close I come. I have no clue if anyone will read this but I will be able to use it to see what I accomplish in a year.