Monday, April 28, 2008

Bella at Midnight

This book was total fluff, but an enjoyable treat--much like cotton candy-- no meat but just dissolves into nothing leaving a sweet taste in your mouth. Basically a good read for when your brain is feeling bleh.


Plot: "Raised by peasants, Bella discovers that she is actually the daughter of a knight and finds herself caught up in a terrible plot that will change her life and the kingdom forever."


One website (the one I stole the picture from) recommended this book for grades 6-8. I would definitely agree this book is appropriate for younger readers but not bad for older ones looking for light brain candy.

oh my, how fast they grow

I got some pictures from the Strongs when we were in Utah that I didn't have copies of (ones taken on their camera). This is one that stood out to me of Elijah. It was taken at Rosie's wedding in August of 2006 (the year of the weddings). Elijah has sure changed since then. He was cute as cute then and still cuter now. They just grow up so fast and I don't really notice it until I look back at the pictures and see how much has really changed. (sigh)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Some Potty Training Success

Josh has been promising to take Elijah to the store to get a sucker if he would go poops in the potty. The other night Elijah was determined to wear underwear to bed. Shortly after we put him down he popped out and said he needed to go potty. After about 15 mins there was a shout of surprise and SUCCESS! The next morning Josh took Elijah to the store before he went to work and Elijah walked in the door with this HUGE sucker and an even bigger smile.

That first night wasn't very good as far as keeping his pants dry but the last two nights he has kept them dry. There is a gleam of hope! Yay!



Saturday, April 26, 2008

Garage Sales

I got to go garage sale-ing (I guess that's not a word but I'm at a loss of a better way to call it) this morning. I woke up to a sunny pretty day but by the time I got out the wind was picking up. We called it quits when it started snowing on us. Talk about ridiculous! Tons of stuff for the taking and it is snowing and our hands are freezing. It's even the end of April! Goodness!


Anyway, I was able to find somethings to take home with me.


I found a darling FisherPrice Little People Christmas train, complete with Santa, Mrs. Claus, an elf and reindeer. It even plays music.



I also got a children's book treasury and some red down pillows. The pillows need a little bit of help. I'm going to see if I can mend and clean up the covers, if not I will just use the forms and make my own covers. I also found another booster seat for when Sam decides he's done with the feeding chair.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bleh

I'm grummpy, I'm hormonal, I'm emotional, I'm snappy and impatient, I'm tired and I'm crampy.

I miss my mother.

I'm missing Christina like CRAZY.

I've OD-ed on chocolate

It's been a bleh day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Undertaking: Life Studies from a Dismal Trade

We did this for book group among my friends this month (I actually read the book and made it to the meeting). I had seen some of a PBS special about this man and was intrigued to hear that there was a book. Though the two weren't directly related-the special was not from the book-it proved to be an interesting read.
The author, Thomas Lynch, is a mortitian and a poet. This book is a series of essays that express his unique outlook on life due to his occupation of buring the dead. In truth the main focus of the book is on LIFE. When you are dead-you don't care, it is for those still living that death and burial have significance.
I will warn that the writing is frank, at times crude and morbid. There is some swearing and there are some disturbing details surounding death. But overall, really it is what it is. The book is interesting and eye opening. Lynch makes connections to death and life that I had never thought of (simple example: houses used to be where you were born and where you died and were laid out in the parlor. These services have now moved outside of the home. Hence the name "funeral parlors.") Lynch also explores why people feel and act the way they do about the dead. He is very insightful and very good with words.
I would recomend this book but with a cautionary note that this is not a book for every reader.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

Wow, I'm not sure where to begin. What an eye-opening read.

This book is the story of "one man's mission to promote peace... one school at a time" amid the war torn and impoverished areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Greg Mortenson opens the book as an adventurous mountaineer who failed to summit K2 in Pakistan's northern mountain range. He leaves the mountain defeated but with a new determination-- to build a school for a rural village which has never had a school before. But that is only the beginning.

Eventually Mortenson starts a non-profit organization, Central Asia Institute, through which he works to build dozens of schools for impoverished children in Pakistan and eventually Afghanistan. This book details his challenges and determination to bring education to children, especially girls, and other humanitarian projects. In doing so he is fighting the stream of terrorism that is running rampant in the area and into the world. He argues that it is ignorance and lack of alternatives that drive the youth of these areas to extremist ideals and that by providing unbiased education you can cultivate peace. Mortenson especially focuses on girls because it is they who stay and build a foundation of education within their own communities.

I am overwhelmed by the scope of his projects and the determination he had with such little resources. He is one man who is working to change the world and succeeding one child at a time. What an example to follow.

I would strongly recommend this book!

If you are interested in buying this book (through Amazon.com), do so through a link on their web page www.threecupsoftea.com and 7% of the proceeds go to benefit the Central Asia Institute.

Dilated Vision

I wish I had some cool analogy or play on words to pull from my title, but it is what it is.

Yesterday I went to the eye doctor because I was seeing floaters in my left eye. They preceded to give me three different drops that dilated my eyes more than I think they have ever been before (I am very nearsighted and going to the eye doctor has been a regular occurrence in my life). They dilated my eyes so much I couldn't read! It was the most unnerving thing. And because they had used such strong drops, my eyes were going to be dilated for many hours. I was very grateful that I took an afternoon appointment, and that I picked up Josh from work to take the kids and drive us home. Needless to say I went to bed very early, doing anything with my eyes dilated like that was impossible.

Well, the good thing is that there is nothing seriously wrong with my eye. It is a common thing that happens to people (though more common the older you get) and is something I get to live with. The floaters are caused when the solid jell part of the eye starts to liquefy in small patches. If there is a particle in the part that liquefies then you see a floater. If you want a more technical/detail description the Mayo Clinic has some good info.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sprouting Seeds

Something else that was pushed back by our extended trip to Utah was the starting of our seeds for our "garden".

On Monday for FHE we went and picked out seeds and then planted them is a seed starter thing. Apparently we didn't mess things up because the seeds are already sprouting up (especially the cucumbers). We also planted chives, basil, zucchini, yellow squash, and hot peppers.

The plan is to transfer the seedlings into our "self-contained garden" boxes that Josh was kind enough to build for me off of a copycat pattern I found online. The big draw for me to the "self-contained" boxes were that there is a water reservoir in the bottom that you just have to keep filled, you don't water the plants directly (which I think is part of the problem with by black thumb--either over or under watering). I'll post pictures once we get them transferred. If you want more information on the boxes you can go here. A brochure from the boxes that are sold commercially is here.

Anyway, we haven't had much luck keeping plants alive and I'm hoping this will work for me. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hurahh!

I have reached 1000 visiters!

Thanks to all those who read this and give me motivation to write more!

The Great Divorce

I read this one before our trip to Utah last month and realized that I hadn't commented on it yet. My ward did this for its book group (again, one that I missed because of our extended trip) and I really wish I could have been there for the discussion.
I greatly enjoy C.S. Lewis. I find him to be very insightful when it comes to religion and life. I always read his books pencil in hand because he always says something that stands out to me and deserves some underlining.
The Great Divorce is a fantasy look at Heaven and Hell. A quote from the preface says "If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell." This book exemplifies types of Hell that could prevent us from accepting (or moreover being accepted into) Heaven.
He first gives you a look at Hell where it is a run down, never-ending town always at dusk, overall a dismal place. You then board a bus that takes you up and out on an excursion to Heaven. The book if from the perspective of one passenger as he experiences Heaven being fresh from Hell and as he watches his fellow passengers and their struggle with how they find Heaven. There is much to be learned by the struggles of the passengers and why they have no desire to stay in Heaven and leave Hell behind them.
After reading this book it makes reflect on myself and what little pieces of "Hell" I might be hanging on to. This book was a quick read (especially for a C.S. Lewis book based on religion) and well worth the reading.

To Draw Closer to God

I read this book not nessesarily by recomendation from my dad, but more by example. I know it is one that he likes to read from often, and that intrigued me. I was not disappointed.

This is one of those books that makes you want to be better. And not only do you want to be better, but Elder(now President) Eyring gives you how you can be better and promises that will come from action. If you were to look at my copy of this book you would immediatly notice that it is underlined in many many places. President Eyring bears such strong testimony and teaches with the spirit that you can feel it as you read. The book helps teach you how to apply the scriptures in your daily life and in doing so "draw closer to God."

I would strongly recommend this book. I plan on reading and pondering the chapters again and applying the teachings even more in my life. There is so much that this book has to give.



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Random Thoughts at Home

My train of thought last night while I was putting clean sheets on my bed ended up far from the task I was doing. It started: if I worked at a hotel I would have a very efficient way of making this bed. I would know which corner would be the best to put the fitted sheet on first and would know which should follow. I would have mastered the ability to billow a sheet in the air and let it fall flat on the bed instead of just ending up bunched in a pile again and again. I would have done it so many times that I would be able to get lost in the rhythm of the task. But then I thought, I have a college education and should be able to do things that require more mental thought and training than just making beds all day. I could be searching archives for hard to find ancestors, building large pedigrees, and spending hours looking at old handwriting waiting for the name I'm looking for to jump off the page. I could be bringing people of the past to life by pulling them out of the records they left behind, building eternal families.


But in reality I am doing neither, I am not loosing myself in the rhythm of manual labor and I am not lost in some library searching for long lost and long dead individuals. I am a stay at home mom and that is a job all of its own.

(**these rambles are mostly about the homemaking part of being a stay at home mom. Do not mistake this to mean that I do not love that I am able to stay home with my boys. I believe it is the best place that any mother could be and the most important job is raising my kids. BUT...)

Everyday there are menial tasks that have to be done: making beds, doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, wiping noses, laundry, cooking, changing diapers etc. I am not doing the same thing all day and that is a blessing but maybe (just maybe) a curse. I haven't been able to get lost in the rhythm of these tasks, become an efficient machine. They are things that I do because they have to get done (and usually I put them off until the HAVE to be done), not because I feel that I am able to do a good job at them. They do not challenge my mind. Some days my brain just feels like jello up there, not being used for anything so not much use for anything (blogging has proved a good outlet for me). There is so much uninteresting stuff I have to remember (ie. the best price for cereal and milk, how long the leftovers have been sitting in the fridge, when was the last time Elijah used the potty, where did I leave this or that, where did Josh put this, etc.) There isn't much room left to pondering anything, let alone anything profound or creative.

Anyway, this thought process made me think of the author of the blog Meck Mom. She is just one example, a mother like I am. She runs a house and does many of the same things that every other stay at home mom does BUT she is different than I am. She has used her talents and creativity to come up with solutions to help make her tasks more efficient. I admire her for it and I hope to emulate it.

So, last night it started simply by making my bed before I went and messed it up again by sleeping in it and I ended up determined to figure out a way to use my creativity (or at least copy someone elses ingenious) and make my home life more functional, efficient, and organized. I have things I need to do that aren't terribly exciting but that doesn't mean that they can't challenge my mind or creativity. Somehow I feel this will be a long process, even lifelong. I guess truly it isn't just the doing but the mentality behind it.

oh my, that was a long ramble (one that wasn't written in one sitting, to be sure). For those of you who find yourself running a home, what do you do to challenge yourself amid the hoe hum of daily tasks? Do you have any brilliant ideas you have come up with?

Pudding on the Rice

When we were in Provo, my mom made sure to take us to a little place called Pudding on the Rice. It is a food place (I'm not sure I would call it a restaurant, what else can you call it?) that serves only rice pudding. But this is not your average grandmother's rice pudding, this is pudding on the rice.

When you first walk in the design of the place takes your breath away. It is very modern, like it was pulled out of the future modern, we're talking tables hanging from the ceiling. Their case is just full of different flavors of cold rice pudding: chocolate, peanut butter, coconut, lemon, pistachio, raspberry... and many more. But that is not what they are called; they all have fancy names (I wish I could remember them and their link on their website isn't working) and you can even get toppings on top. I went in not thinking myself to be a rice pudding fan (Josh on the other hand grew up with his grandma making it), that I would just taste Josh's and I came out surprised and satisfied. This place is hip and unlike any other "food place" out there. If you ever find yourself in Provo, make sure to make a stop and try the out of this world cool pudding.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bound on Earth

My friend has been raving about this book and we did it for our book group last month (which I missed amid all our travels and sickness) so I picked up this book when I was in Utah and read it quickly. Apparently more quickly than I should have because I didn't quite catch the hype.

I did enjoy the book. Angela Hallstrom is a very descriptive writer and I enjoyed her use of words to create images and characters, but the format of the book felt very disconnected to me. Each chapter is a glimpse at the Palmer family at one point in time (the book covers decades). The chapters are often from the perspective of different members of the family and the chapters are not directly connected to each other. You do come to care for the characters in the book. They feel real, with real strengths and real weaknesses. Indeed I think the main focus of the book is that these people are real, they live in our world, and they are struggling for their family, something most of us can relate to.
***Read the comment by Laura, she says it so much better than I do.

Red light Green light

My family has created a take off of the game red light green light which includes pillows. The rules are simple, you have to balance a pillow on your head (they use couch throw pillows) and then play like normal trying to get to the person who is saying "red light and green light" with a pillow on their head. If your pillow falls off you have to start over and if the person who is it looses their pillow the closest person to them is now it. It is quite a hilarius game to watch. Often there are people balancing funny or even knocking someones pillow off. It makes for good silly fun for the whole family.

Roughing it with the boys



Kendall Sue wasn't sure what to think of being included in a rough housing bit with Josh and the boys. She was just wide eyed with wonder. Oh the difference between girls and boys.

Book of a Thousand Days

I have enjoyed all of Shannon Hale's books and this one is one of her best. It is a quick, light read but I enjoyed it greatly. It is written in journal format (hence the title) and is the story of a lady's maid, Dashti, who swears to serve her lady even though it means being locked up in a tower for seven years. Dahsti is a strong female character who is resourseful and loyal. It is completely through her efforts that she and her lady survive and ultimatly the entire realm.

Sam's ready to go

video

We were in Utah long enough, and said good-bye often enough, that Sammy really got the hang of getting ready and going places. He was always ready to go, anytime-anywhere. The video is me catching Sam taking matters into his own hands. He pulled Grammie's shirt out of the laundry room and grabbed Bekah's backpack and determined that he was ready to go bye-bye.

Monday, April 14, 2008

bucket load of books

I came home from Utah with a bunch of new books to read. Some of them I bought (DI is a great place for old church books) and others my mother passed on to me as must reads. Here is a list of all I lugged home and thus are added to my list of books to read.

From DI and Deseret Book (LDS nonfiction):
To Draw Closer to God by Henry B. Eyring (reading this one right now, enjoying it greatly)
Covenant Hearts by Bruce C. Hafen
Discourses of Brigham Young compiled by Widtsoe
Conference Classics by Thomas S. Monson
Raising up a Family to the Lord by Gene R. Cook
Teach Ye Diligently by Boyd K. Packer
Stand Ye in Holy Places by Harold B. Lee
Salvation in Christ, Comparative Christian Views edited by Roger R Keller and Robert L Millet
Unto the Least of These by Jack R. Christianson

Other books I bought:
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom

Books my mother let me borrow:
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale (also currently reading this one)
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Girl in Blue by Ann Rinaldi
Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Analogy of the Cookie

Today Josh and I got to sit together in church for the first time in the last month! We have either been out of town in separate places or have had sick kids and haven't been able to go together. Granted the kids were with us too (which makes for a busy sacrament meeting) but it was nice to be back in the family going to church together groove again. I've missed it.

Someone in church today gave an analogy about a cookie as part of their talk on the blessings of prophets. She had us, and all the kids, imagine our most favorite cookie, be it an oreo, or chocolate chip cookie, or grandma's sugar cookies, and then imagine that we were allowed to take only one little bite of that great big imaginary cookie. Would you feel satisfied with just one little bite? Of course not! I probably wouldn't even be satisfied with just one cookie let alone just one little bite! She then likened this to other churches who have good, true teachings of Christ, that are sweet to the taste, but many times are not satisfying and leave you with questions wanting answers. This is in contrast to the restored gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS/Mormons) which gives you the opprotunity to eat the entire cookie, to have the answers to satisfy your questions and desires. We have a latterday prophet and modern day revelation that guides the church today. We know what we need to do in order to be happy in this life and gain happiness eternally in the next. For this I am very grateful!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Strong Grandbabies

Since we extended our trip (a third time) we were finally able to get some cute pictures of all the Strong grandbabies together. I must say it is a group of pretty cute kids.

Kendell, Elijah, Owen, and Sammy

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Garage Sale-ing Tips: Buyer

Tipnut has posted tips for buying at garage sales...the whole game plan. I'm getting geared up for the season! Chris, Rosalie, and I hit a consignment sale today to help feed the urge.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Growing a Donation

I have decided to continue to grow out my hair and then chop it this summer and donate it. I've always heard about organizations that take the donated hair and make wigs for those who are in need because of cancer or other illnesses. I've never really had the guts to go really short with my hair (something I felt would be required in order to donate enough hair for their requirements). I did a little research recently though and found out that the minimum requirements aren't as stringent as I thought they were.

There are two organizations that I have found:


These organizations are different in their length requirements and in their focus for recipients.

Beautiful lengths requires a minimum of 8 inches and the wigs are made for women suffering from hair loss due to cancer. More information on their requirements and suggestions can be found here.

Locks of Love requires a minimum of 10 inches (preferably 12") and the wigs are made for children suffering from various illnesses that cause hair loss. More information on their requirements and suggestions can be found here.

So far, I am not committed to one or the other. Honestly, I think it will come down to how long my hair is by this summer. I am excited for the opprotunity to share my hair (something which I am proud of) and also a good excuss to get up the guts and try a shorter hair cut. Who knows, maybe I will really like short hair! I'll be sure to post before and after pictures.

Anyone else interested in joining the band wagon? I'm trying to convince my sister and I think I've got Christina on board too. Let me know if you decide to too!

yay!!! (and not so yay)


Last night we got to go to my sister's university band concert at BYU. I guess technically they boys weren't allowed to go in, but they were kind enough to lift the band on children as long as they were quiet.

The boys did really well and were getting into the music, especially Sammy. He was dancing and reading the program. Then when the song ended, and the conductor is still at attention, and everything is silent... Sammy let out a big "Yay!" and enthusiastically started clapping his hands. I was totally caught off guard by his outburst, but man was it cute! Later we asked my sister if she had heard him and indeed she had all the way on stage (even the conductor noticed and laughed). So here's for cute little boys that don't hold back when they are moved by good music.



The concert was really enjoyable. Josh and I haven't been able to go to one in awhile. I love seeing music performed live. I not only love hearing the powerful sounds but seeing the expressions of the musicians and their movements in sync with each other. I also love watching the conductor (I miss being under the command of a conductor) and how he can pull the music out of the musicians with his precise little movements.

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Unfortunatly we are still in Utah. We got delayed by weather, diahrea, and now weather again. I haven't often come across 100% precipitation, but today it's all over the board, especially in Vail, with below freezing temperatures. We decided with a baby with diahrea and a sore sore bum, and bad weather conditions with our little prism, it wasn't the best idea to travel today. The sad thing is tomorrow isn't looking much better. It is not often that I say this, but I am ready to just get back to Colorado and back to our normal lives.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cute boys



These pictures were taken on the front porch of my in-laws while we were saying goodbye to Josh's brother Dallin who will be leaving on his mission to Roseville, California next month and we will not be seeing him again for another two years (Sam with be Elijah's age, CRAZY). we will miss Dallin terribly! He is such a goofy, fun guy that always makes me laugh. He will make an amazing missionary!


Can I say I have the cutest boys! they make me so happy!


Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Invention of Hugo Cabret


While here in Utah, I picked up a book that my mother-in-law had lying around called The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. This 2008 Caldecott Medal winning book is rather unique in its format. A description from it's website says:

"This 526-page book is told in both words and pictures. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is not exactly a novel, and it’s not quite a picture book, and it’s not really a graphic novel, or a flip book, or a movie, but a combination of all these things. Each picture (there are nearly three hundred pages of pictures!) takes up an entire double page spread, and the story moves forward because you turn the pages to see the next moment unfold in front of you."

I rather enjoyed the format. It makes for a very quick and interesting read. The story is about a boy who works with clocks and resorts to becoming a theif to build a mechanical man with a mysterious past. The book also delves a little bit into early French film history. The pictures don't supplement the written word but replace it when they are used. Truly utilizing the thought that "a picture is worth a thousand words." I would recommend this book mostly because of the interesting writing format though I did enjoy reading it (in the couple hours it took for me to do so).

general conference

General conference, especially in the spring, is my favorite time of year. I love being able to hear the words of the prophets and general authorities. I always leave with a greater desire to be better. Being in Utah we have the great blessing of being able to watch in the comfort of our own homes (a great blessing when you have small children).

Yesterday we had the opprotunity to sustain our new prophet, Thomas S. Monson, in solemen assembly. It was moving to watch all of the different groups of people stand and sustain our leaders. As I watched President Monson, I could imagine what this ment to see all the people sustain him. It was a powerful moment to raise my own hand to the square. I am so grateful that we have a living prophet on the earth today that guides the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that if I follow his teachings I will be doing what the Lord has commanded. I'm grateful for conference which gives me the opprotunity to hear the words of the prophets and learn how I can be better.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

spring flowers

there may still be inches of snow on the ground at grammies house, but there are spring flowers blooming inside.

Elijah has been painting up a storm and painted this beautiful picture of flowers that grammie and I are fighting over. alas, i think i'm going to loose so I was sure to snap some pictures.

Trip extended...

We are all finally beginning to feel better (no more throwing up in the middle of the night) and we decided to extend our trip through Monday. Instead of coming out in May to see Dallin off on his mission we thought we would stay and go with him when he goes through the temple. Overall it means we get to spend more time with family and less time driving! what a deal!

Tuesday my mother worked it so we could go on a fieldtrip with the girls to a farm in Springville. Elijah and Sam were very excited to see the animals. We ended up spending most of our time hanging around them and ditching our tour group.





Yesterday Josh and I got away and got to go to the Museum of Art at BYU and see the Minerva Tiechert exhibit. It was really nice to get away just the two of us and to be on BYU campus together was a walk down memory lane. I really enjoyed the exhibit. My favorite pictures were the First Vision and Jesus teaching Mary and Martha. I had never seen the Mary and Martha one before. I would love to get my hands on a print. Afterwards we explored some of the other art they have on display including the Carl Block Jesus at the Pool of Bathesda. That painting is so impressive and moving. There was also a painting of three bows representing the water, spirit, and blood mentioned in Moses 6:59-60. It was neat to have a visual to go with that scripture.





After grabbing a bite to eat at the museum cafe (very yummy, I would recommend the curry chicken salad and their wild rice soup-- mmm) we went to the Bean Life Science Museum and met Grammie and Papa with the boys and Rachel. Elijah was SO into the animals and acutally was relieved that they weren't alive. Sam would go up to the animals and growl at them. I'm going to have to figure out if CU has a similar museum and take the boys to it. They seemed to eat it up!

Of course we couldn't end the BYU day without a trim to the creamery for their yummy icecream. Elijah ate an entire cone (minus the cone) of raspberry sherbet and Sam was nibbling at all of ours. We were surprised when we walked to the creamery from the museum that DT is gone! All of it.. there was only one skeleton of a building left and a bunch of rubble. Wow! That is where Josh lived his freshman year and it is gone! it was a bit of a shock! I was feeling a little old and out of place on campus. Life has gone on while we have been gone and things are continuing to change... it's just a little weird.