Monday, December 23, 2013

A Magical Library

We went out caroling yet again this evening, but left the house so late that we only went to half the houses we planned on. It didn't help that we stopped by The Mangum Family Christmas Lights...

Rachel was so mesmerized she didn't want to leave. Miriam, on the other hand, had fallen asleep in the car and was super annoyed when we tuned the radio to the correct station and jazzy Christmas music started blasting through the speakers.

When we noticed the time we decided we'd skip our other stops (sorry other people we were planning on caroling to—my kids already ate your treats) and just go to Miriam's primary teacher's house since we knew they didn't have any little children to wake up with our obnoxious Christmas music (and we know how annoyed children can be when they are awakened by obnoxious Christmas music).

Visiting this sweet couple is always such a treat. Always.

They invited us inside to play (and took plenty of pictures of us doing so):

We look a little rag-a-muffin-y today. Benjamin still had bits of dinner clinging to his ear (of all places), which I didn't notice before we left the house. Also unnoticed was a series of splotches down the front of Miriam's shirt, where a piece of chicken had avalanched into her lap. Andrew said he thought he noticed some dinner stuck in Rachel's hair.

Obviously we're barbarians.

But the Woods welcomed us into their home, anyway.

Brother Wood took the kids into the sunroom to show off his model train—an original from his childhood in the 1940s! It was pretty impressive.

Their tree was magnificent! It was easily ten feet tall, perhaps taller, and was covered in glittering, shimmering, and even bubbling ornaments. But the best treat of all was when Sister Wood invited us to see her library.

I'd heard her mention her library upstairs and I'd assumed it was something similar to ours. We have several bookshelves stocked with stories—overflowing with stories, even. We just put a shelf up beside Rachel's bed and she calls this her personal library (she wants to be a librarian when she grows up so she can be surrounded by books all the time).

So, we followed Sister Wood up to her library and our minds were blown. It was like stepping into...into...the TARDIS (it's bigger on the inside). When Sister Wood says she has a library in her house she means she has a library in her house. It felt like we'd stepped into some sort of alternate dimension or something and found ourselves thrown from her ordinary staircase into a the coziest little library you could ever imagine.

Thousands upon thousands of books. Row upon row of shelves. Original prints from famous children's books illustrators adorned the walls. And it smelled gloriously like old books.

Sister Wood, you see, is a rare book collector/vendor. The things you learn when you go caroling!

Walking into her library was like walking into heaven. My girls didn't want to leave.

And Sister Wood is so kind, and so supportive of literature. She took the girls around and showed them her collection and talked to them about her favourite books and their favourite books. She selected some of her "readable" books and let them take them home (they each got a Christmas story as well as a signed copy of Mr. Pine's Purple House—the Woods know Mr. Kessler quite well). Benjamin got a couple of books to take home as well, including Chicken Soup with Rice (which Andrew had never heard before I read it to him in the van).

The collectable books are, unfortunately, completely off-limits to children (even though the vast majority of the collection is children's literature). One mistake in handling the book can drop the value from $5000 to $5.

We were all on cloud nine walking out of their house. We thought we were giving them a treat but they gave us so much more! My girls simply love books. They love reading. And they love the Woods.

We had to stop by the grocery store on our way home (even though it was way past bedtime) and Miriam started doing the potty dance, so I took her (and Rachel) to the restroom. It was there that Rachel sighed and confided, "I wish I could live with Sister Wood instead of you, Mom."

Miriam, on the other hand, simply berated herself for not going potty before we left the house.

"I should've gone potty at home," she tsked.

"Or you could've gone at Sister Wood's house," I pointed out (because who likes using grocery store bathrooms? They're about on par with gas station bathrooms).

"No, I couldn't have! She doesn't have a potty!" Miriam said.

"Oh, I'm sure she has a potty," I said.

"No! She doesn't have room in her house for a potty! She's got too many books!"

"She does so have a bathroom," Rachel said. "I saw it!"

"Oh," Miriam said. "Then I want to go live with Sister Wood, too."

I almost want to go live with Sister Wood, myself! That library is amazing and is something we can only dream of at this point in our lives (and perhaps for all of our life)!


  1. Alright, when I visit you, I think a visit to the Woods should be on the agenda. And maybe, while I am there, I will just move in...since she DOES have a bathroom.

  2. Amazing and horrible...I mean horrible in the fact that it would stress me out to have so many books I was worried about destroying. I'm not going to lie...I eat, sleep, bathe with my books when I'm really into them. I'm a bad girl ;)