Sunday, January 31, 2010

Our incredible (well, sort of) January

A few things about our January:

Everyone in our family is healthy right now! (Knock on wood.) I don't mind the cold weather so much, but I really hate all the sickness that floats around in the winter months. We feel like we've had our fair share this winter. On to happier and more incredible things:

My husband is a superhero and snapped his toothbrush in half while brushing his teeth. You have to be careful with that superhuman strength, you know? You forget how powerful you are and pretty soon toothbrushes are crumbling in your hands.
(This moment was not recreated- actual photo immediately following the incident)

Cassie loves (loves!) having friends over to play. We've had a lot of playdates in the last few weeks- I think everyone is getting antsy stuck all alone in their own homes. I hear more squealing and giggling in an hour of playing with friends than a week of being with mom and dad. Not only that, but I get a lot more done around the house when she has friends over. That's right, I like babysitting other people's children and would like it if you sent your kids to my place. Just give me a call first, okay?

We went to the BYU-Utah basketball game last night (Gooooooooo Cougars! We won.) with two of Trevor's brothers and their families. Here's the gang ready to go.
Aunt Maggie keeping the kiddos happy
Celebrating Rialey's birthday in style
And that's about it for January.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Catch up

Oh, boy. It's been too long since I posted any news on this blog, and now it's a huge, intimidating project. You remember how it felt when you put off that end-of-semester research paper, and the closer the deadline came, the less you wanted to write it because you knew it would be a ton of work, but the longer you waited the more work it would be? Yeah, it's time for me to bite the bullet and catch up. Prepare yourself for the condensed version of the last three months.

October: Cassie had fun playing in the fall leaves, dressed up as a fairy princess/butterfly for Halloween (just like every other 2-5 year old girl out there), and went trick-or-treating for the first time.
November: Cassie made cheesy faces for the camera and I forgot to take the camera to Oakley for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, Trev's mom took plenty of pictures and will make us a CD (or already has? better look)

December: Christmas! Cassie loved all the Christmas decorations and got excited every time she saw Santa. We put up our first Christmas tree! It felt so Christmas-y leaving on only the white lights on the tree and drinking hot chocolate at night. Cassie loved looking at her reflection in the shiny ornaments, and was pretty good about leaving them on the tree.
Trevor's brother Rialey got married! It was a great day, and so fun to be with the whole family. Cassie loved playing with her cousins and dancing with with Kim's (Rialey's wife) niece.

Trevor and our niece Eliza fell asleep cuddling on the couch. Cute!

We celebrated an early Christmas with Trev's family and Christmas day with mine. Lots of fun for everyone.

We visited with a few friends while they were in town- the Robinsons and the Crocketts. Cassie has very cute potential future boyfriends. :)

We hosted my brother Robert a few times while he finished up business before leaving for an internship in Lima, Peru. Cassie loved playing with uncle "ahpaht."

January: Cassie loves watching videos of Elmo online and was pretty thrilled about her new hat and mittens.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Books 2009

When I went on a TV fast in June of last year, I started reading more. I read a lot of good books from June to December, and most of what I read came from recommendations from friends' blogs, so I thought I would pass on my own recommendations. I didn't hate any of the books I read, so I included them all here with some short reviews. Please excuse any crazy formatting- sometimes I just can't get Blogger to work with me. Happy reading!

Joel Ben Izzy, The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness: Biography, lots of fun stories, but not super memorable.

Hester Brown, The Little Lady Agency: I know a lot of people love these books, but I wasn't crazy about it. I just didn't identify with the main character.

Kristin Cashore, Graceling: I really liked this one. Medieval fantasy-type book. Compelling and creative, and likeable/admirable characters.

Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games; Catching Fire: This series is awesome. Amazing plot, hard to put down. A little violent, but not hard to read- might be hard to watch if it was a movie.

Paulo Cohelo, The Alchemist: Interesting parable, lots of symbolism. Lots to think about, one I will re-read.

Sarah Dessen, Keeping the Moon; Dreamland; Lock and Key; The Truth About Forever; That Summer; Just Listen; Along for the Ride; Someone Like You: I really like Sarah Dessen's writing because the main character always learns something about herself and/or grows in some way, and she always involves family and not just friends, like most YA novelists. Not entirely clean- all of her books have a little language, and Just Listen and Dreamland deal with some rough issues, but they all have good morals. My favorites were The Truth About Forever and Lock and Key.

Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters; North and South: Great Jane Austen/Bronte Sisters-style writer. Be warned: she died while writing Wives and Daughters so it is unfinished. I liked North and South best, but maybe it's because I was mad about the lack of ending to Wives and Daughters (it would have been nice to know ahead of time). Hefty books, a little long, but great stories.

Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: Non-fiction, lots of interesting statistics about successful people.

Anna Godbersen, The Luxe; Envy; Rumors; Splendor: These four make up a series. Hard to put down, but actually rather depressing sometimes. None of the characters are very good, so harder to sympathize with, but very compelling story. Technically the books are clean since the author never describes in detail when the characters do something unsavory (which is rather often).

Shannon Hale, Austenland; Book of a Thousand Days: I love Shannon Hale. These are two of my favorites.

Eva Ibbotson, A Countess Below Stairs; A Company of Swans; A Song for Summer: Great writing. I truly love her style: in addition to creative plots, the way she writes is so tangible and witty. I especially loved A Countess Below Stairs.

Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon: A classic. Very thought-provoking. For mature readers- some adult moments.

Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic: Cute story, frustrating main character. Not totally clean.

Gail Carson Levine, Fairest: Very creative take on Snow White.

Stephenie Meyer, The Host: Way better than Twilight. Better writing, I think, and super-interesting plot.

Janette Rallison, All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School; Revenge of the Cheerleaders; My Fair Godmother; Dakota’s Revenge; Fame, Glory, and Other Things on my To-Do List; How to Take the Ex out of Ex-boyfriend; It’s a Mall World After All: Cute and totally clean YA novels. Not thought-provoking, but fun reads. My Fair Godmother was my favorite: Rallison takes a break from teen high-school drama and mixes in some fairy-tales.

Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Great historical fiction, well written, one of my favorite books overall.

Sherri L. Smith, Lucy the Giant; Sparrow: Pretty good coming-of-age novels. Lucy the Giant had a much more interesting plot.

Sherwood Smith, Crown Duel/Court Duel: These are published separately and together. So good. The first book is more action-packed and the second has more intrigue and social tension. I loved the story.

Cynthia Voigt, Izzy, Willy Nilly: Interesting to think about although not an attention-grabber.

Sara Zarr, Sweethearts; Story of a Girl: Pretty good YA novels that go deeper than silly romances. Both books deal with some rough material.