Sunday, January 31, 2010

I like books.

Here is my record of the books I've read this year.
JANUARY:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Ended up really liking this one. At first it was a little hard for me to get past the lunatic in the attic but the ending was really wonderful. Jeff's mom let me borrow a copy after recommending it to another friend previously and that friend referring to it as "life changing". I read a few chapters and then told Cindy, "I've embarked on the life changing experience that is Jane Eyre." I know, I'm so funny! You know it's a good book when there's something a time when you say to yourself "I'll never forget that". That is how I felt when her only friend died while she was in the school. And when she left after discovering he was already married. I really COULD NOT believe she left with nothing! She has a lot of inner strength.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
I give this one a thumbs up. I'd mistakenly referred to it as Science Fiction earlier but my hubby corrected me that it belongs in the Fantasy genre. To which I replied, "I'm not telling people I read Fantasy books, that sounds lame." But I did, and I enjoyed it. The thing I most took away from this book is that a good leader encourages people to feel useful. I think there's a good parenting parallel there.

Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley by Virginia Pearce
Every stay-at-home-mom should read this one! I plan on reading it again and writing down some of the great advice. In a world that is so cynical and depressing it's good to read words that are positive and full of faith.

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
This is going on my list of Favorite Books of All-Time! Loved every word of it. It's a retelling of a fairytale so it has a wonderfully happy ending. Through her journey Ani learns of her talents, how capable she is and how to be a good person despite hardships. And of course she falls in love with someone who sees her for who she really is and appreciates all of her. When I closed the book I immediately wanted to raise horses, have a swan pond and maybe get some geese :) And read it to Leah.

FEBRUARY:
The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale
Uh, this book left me so confused. Shannon Hale is a good writer but I wanted Becky to end up marrying Felix in the end! It was FILLED with so much snarky banter and it brings up the question of whether or not a person should feel comfortable remarrying after their spouse dies. I 100% feel if you do remarry it does NOT mean you never loved your spouse but pretty much that's how I felt it was portrayed. And that's all I have to say about that.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
My friend let me borrow all these Shannon Hale books so that's why there are three in a row. Anyways, it's another young adult fiction from her and I loved it. A young girl goes through hardship to realize she's loved and useful and smart. And of course she falls in love in the end. During their study at the academy they learn the
Rules of Diplomatic Negotiations
:
1. State the problem
2. Admit your own error
3. State the error of the other party
4. Propose specific compromises
5. Invite mutual acceptance
6. Illustrate the negative outcome of refuse and positive of acceptance
A good thing to know as my role as a hostage negotiator mother of four.


Austenland by Shannon Hale
Last of the Shannon Hale marathon I promise, haha. I liked it. For me the main character is cute and adorable saying things like "I wasn't aware until this precise and awkward moment that when startled in a strange place, my instincts would have me pretend to be a ninja." and "If you're listening, Big Brother, I refuse to be Fanny Price.". I would recommend it to someone if they like British literature and want a light read.

Open by Andre Agassi
Sometimes I would wonder why people put their whole lives in print for others to read, like it's any of their business...and then we all started blogging. Now it seems normal. Anyways, I loved this book. Apparently he want to be completely honest and record his whirlwind life for his kids, which I completely respect. I've read a book his dad put out called The Agassi Story so I know a little about their family dynamic but it truly is amazing how much parents can shape their children, for better or worse. After his tumultuous life he figures out love and helping people are the most important things in life. He has so many great things to say about his wife Stefanie Graf and his kids. I especially loved the story where she leaves him with their baby boy Jaden for a few minutes, he goes to "trim" the baby's shaggy hair and ends up giving him a buzz. When she gets back she's mad but after a few minutes they all start laughing
hysterically. Days later he beats ROGER FEDERER in the final and he says the most memorable thing out that tournament was that laugh with his family! Stefanie gets voted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and he's asked to introduce her. Here's what he says of the experience: "I'm over prepared, and as I walk to the dais, I'm breathing hard. Then, the moment I start speaking, I relax, because the subject is my favorite and I consider myself an expert. Every man should have the chance to introduce his wife at her Hall of Fame induction ceremony." Well said Andre, well said.

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
These are the first two books of a planned trilogy and I realized now I should never read books from a series until the series is finished. The open endings make me unhappy. These books cannot stand alone. Overall I don't think I liked them too much anyways. The whole kill or be killed vibe really got to me, and not in a good way. I definitely liked Hunger Games better, Catching Fire seemed to be just more of the same. And there's a horrible love triangle. This is obviously the BIGGEST issue to be resolved in the final installment and I'm not sure there's a way for it to end and me be satisfied. And I don't "trust" the author. Anyone at any time can be killed. Jeff read Hunger Games before me (
he isn't interested in reading any more of the series) and I told him I want Katniss to end up with Peeta. "Love he who loves you best" is what I learned from Jane Eyre :) Jeff asked how I know Gale doesn't love her best? Because he never told her, he let her go off to the the Games telling her nothing of his true feelings! What the heck!? Odds were she was going to DIE and he felt it wasn't something she needed to know!? Dumb boy. Team Peeta all the way... but I have a feeling he's going to die.
** I skimmed them again and figured out I didn't like the way you thought all the districts were going to band together (because the tributes held hands) but in the arena it's as if it had never happened. And then how Haymitch is totally rude to her saying, "That's why we don't let you make the plans." She's an important player in this uprising he could at least treat her with common decency. And I STILL love Peeta. Gale who?

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
It was on okay book. She wrote one of my favorite YA romances called The Truth About Forever (which I highly recommend if you haven't read it) and I keep expecting likable characters like those. Unfortunately, all her other books have fallen short for me. I especially don't like how the teenage kids drink beer and smoke weed like it's normal. The main character is from a crazy broken home and that explains it but I still don't like it. I think my biggest problem was I just couldn't relate at all.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I almost don't know what to say about this book. After reading the first couple "chapters" I told Jeff, this author and I wouldn't be friends in real life. Eventually I grew to like her spiritual journey because it brought her peace but I do have a problem with spirituality that has no morals though. I know meditation to be a scientifically proven stress reducer so I'm all for that. I think this book even inspired me to re-read The Relaxation Response and take up meditating again. My last thought is that I've always FELT God's presence. From a very young age I felt the peace His Spirit brings through prayer. A close friend once told me that when she saw a baby born she SAW God and knew him for the first time in her WHOLE LIFE. Yes, I look at my children and see God. Of course this reminds me of some song lyrics from the song "Heaven" by Live. I don't listen to them but I've heard it a million times on the radio. Sometimes this song makes me cry...
"I don't need no one
to tell me 'bout Heaven,
I look at my daughter
and I believe.
I don't need no proof
when it come to God and truth,
I look at the sunset
and I perceive."

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
I think I had high expectations for this book. It's the same characters from The Goose Girl but with Enna as the main character. Overall I didn't like it very much. Enna, and Isi for that matter, struggle the whole time. When the happy ending comes it's not uplifting, it's like "finally SOMETHING good happens!". I think I will continue to read her other books but The Goose Girl is definitely the fav.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jeff and Grayson are BFF.

Ever since the bedrest incident Jeff has taken it upon himself to tend to Grayson's "extra" needs...and that's not an easy task. The bathing, lotioning, clothing and midnight scratching can be exhausting! And I know because it exhausted me for the last year and a half. Okay, that sounded a little saucy but really, I was exhausted. But now Jeff does it and it's wonderful!!!

And Gray's eczema is doing marvelous. He definitely STILL has it but he doesn't scratch it much during the day and he usually wakes up in the night just to have us get him a drink of water or go to the bathroom (which he still doesn't do by himself and if you don't get to him in time will result in peed in PJ's, TMI?). He's kinda sleeping through the night too...he doesn't always wake up, he just usually wakes up.

One time Jeff did say, "I can't wait until you can get up with Grayson again". To which I just laughed and corrected, "You mean you can't wait until he stops getting up in the night because you will always be his nighttime BFF. You do it so well." :)
Leah's growing up.

There I said it. I think I've been in denial since I still call her "Tweety Bird" all the time, but it's true. And she has started to notice things. Monday after art class she said a girl told her another girl's parents had broke up! She was appalled! I told her I already knew and she was quite shocked at that. I told her that there are probably more kids at school who's parents are broken up and it's called divorced.

She thought about this for a minute.

Then I told her that her parents would never break up and without missing a beat she said, "I know". I almost cried.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Saturday was a crazy day of shopping!

I start posts and then don't post them. I'm so lame.

How many stores can take a 2 year old shopping in before they drive you crazy: 1/2
How many stores can you take your other THREE children to: 8... and I'm still not crazy!

On Saturday Whitney, Davis, Leah and I went to Barnes & Noble, JoAnns, In-N-Out Burger, Target, Office Depot, Hancock Fabrics, Trader Joes and Whole Foods.
Ok, we didn't go into In-N-Out but there was some annoying teasing going on in the back with Davis saying In-N-Out Booger and Leah correcting him over... and over... and over!

I told Jeff the fact that I could actually be out this long is a testament to how good a baby Whitney is. She was in her car seat the ENTIRE time except the TWO times I fed her and the ONE time I changed her diaper.
I said she was a good baby I didn't say she wasn't neglected that day!
Jeff said that it's probably more of a testament to the fact that once you've taken Grayson to the store ANYTHING is easier.
That's probably a little true too :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This morning Grayson, Davis and I played our Dora ABC board game. Then I wanted Gray to sing the ABC's because even though he knows the letters (better than Davis even) I'm not sure if he really knows the alphabetical order. When I asked him to sing them he said, "I want a mirophone!" Um, a little too much High School Musical maybe!?
The song lyric titles have gotten out of hand. Sometimes I find myself coming up with them for OTHER PEOPLE'S blog posts! It's a sickness. And sometimes I won't post if I don't have a lyric for the title. Dumb. I like doing them but I've resolved to post with or without them. The end.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"A day in the life"

- The Beatles

Fancy Nancy birthday fun:
fancy tutu
made by me!
balloons
fancy bouquet of flowers
cupcake tower
after they were mostly eaten, haha
friends
this is some of them, I didn't get a picture of the whole group
fingernail painting
cute baby James
saucy toddlers and streamers
presents
Leah was so cute celebrating her birthday.
I don't like shopping and Leah usually quickly tires of it
but us shopping together for decorations was trouble, haha.
And then she went on her annual trip to the mall with Grandma Cindy and was gone for

3 hours!

Love her!
Have I mentioned that before!? ;)

Um, her party was a few days ago and some of the streamers are still up!
They're just so festive I kinda wanna keep them.
Jeff said their our own "color splash".
Haha, inside joke.

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Just me & you, so many things we've got to do"

-"Better Together" by Jack Johnson

Whitney was helping me decorate for Leah's party.
This girl is quick!
FYI if you set tulle next to her in her Bumbo she WILL grab it!
and play with it adorably.

Laughing and spitting has never been so cute:
video

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"That means a lot"

- The Beatles
Leah turned 7 on January 7th!
According to her aunt Kadee it's her golden birthday :)
Leah wanted to have a Fancy Nancy party so she handmade 12 fancy invitations for her friends!
Love her!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Don't panic"

- Coldplay
New Year's weekend was BUSY for us. We usually do nothing. Well, usually we're at home and I'm staying up for the new year while Jeff is snoozing in the bed :) But we actually went to a party this year! And our WHOLE family was up at midnight! It was fun :)
And then on New Year's day Keith and Janae had a family party at their house.
And then the day after New Year's we went rappelling with Jeff's cousin Josh and his family and friends.
So fun!
The kids went down tethered to their dad. Even Leah did it!
BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT!