Monday, December 28, 2009

What's in a Name 3 Challenge

I was very excited to see that a new host stepped up to keep this challenge going! Annie did a great job creating and hosting this challenge for two years and I am looking forward to year 3! I am absolutely positive that I will change my book choices, but here is the first round of possibilities:

"Body of Water" category: River Secrets by Shannon Hale or The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

"Place Name" category: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker

"Plant" category: Twisted Tree by Kent Meyers

"Title" (Doctor, Mrs., president, etc.) category: His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik or Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus. I am thinking both of these titles are a bit of a stretch, so let me know if you have any other suggestions...

"Food" category: Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

And that just leaves the "music term" category...surely I can come up with one before next December!

Book Reviews

I need to finish up my reviews for Annie's challenge so here they are. It has been some time since I read some of these, but I will do my best to remember what happened!

For the "profession" category I read Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. "Princess" is a profession, right? This was one of my favorite reads of the year (although I must admit I had quite a few of those this year). The story begins in a small village and with a 14 year old girl, Miri, who is struggling to find her place in her world. When the prince announces he will choose a bride from the quarry town, the eligible girls are sent to "princess academy" to learn how to impress the prince and act like a princess. As the girls endure isolation and hardships, their true characters emerge and we find Miri to be a true leader. This is a sweet story that I think would be a particularly good read for any girl who has ever faced the hardships of being "different" and growing up - just about every female on the planet, I think!

For the "building" category I read "The Enchanted Castle" by Edith Nesbit, written in 1907. Another good book, although I must admit that parts of it seemed strange and a little creepy - the cardboard cut out people come-to-life, for example. Three children happen across an enchanted castle and a magic ring and have many adventures in the process of attempting to sort out the magic of the castle. I originally thought I would read this book with Bryn, but I think I will let it wait a few years - although very cleverly written, it was not one of those children's books I will revisit again and again.

The last book I read for this challenge was "Echo in the Bone" by Diana Gabaldon for the "body part" category. This is the 7th book (I think) in the Outlander series about a woman who time travels to 1700's Scotland. I have been waiting for this book to come out for years (literally) to see what would happen next to Claire and her family. The Outlander series is addictive and LONG. All of the books are somewhere in the 700-1000 page range and they take a while to read. And I have admittedly forgotten much of what I read in the other books, so there is quite a bit of research and rereading that has to go on to make sure I am keeping all of the characters and their complex stories and relationships straight in my mind! So when this one ended with so many stories and characters hanging, I just about wanted to hurl the bulk of the book through the window. I am trying not to think about the fact that it will likely be another 4 to 5 years before the next book comes out. I am really hoping it is the last as I am not sure I can handle any more unfinished business in the Fraser family!

Back Home

We had a fabulous Christmas in Boise. One of the highlights was definitely the turducken (pictures will come soon!). Bryn was thrilled to pieces with her Nintendo DS and Wii games (and other gifts, too, but those have been the tops for now), Grant looks pretty tough in his new Harley leather jacket and hat (and thought that Oliver's ride-on fire truck was pretty cool!), Aaron is excited about his Playstation 3 and I can't wait to learn the ins and outs of my new camera! Needless to say, we are quite spoiled! But the best part by far was hanging out with the family. We got to see Jeremiah and Mesha's new place, enjoy Christmas Eve service at Dad and Cheryl's church and watch the little kids play (um, fight)! We ate some fabulous meals, got too little sleep and got to watch pheasants from the kitchen window. We even made it home with only a slight glitch (missed connecting flight and had an extra 6 hours in the Denver airport). There was plenty of snow and some lonely cats waiting in Kansas for us. Now we get to enjoy a late Christmas celebration with Aaron's parents and brother, after which we will sit back and recover and revel in the fact that we are truly blessed!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hanging out with the siblings

We went out last night and left the kids home with Grandpa and Nana (although we were nice enough to leave two out of our sleeping already) and had a nice time drinking and chatting. We were minus one brother in law who was detained by weather, but we will get a chance to catch up in the next few days.

We have been busy...We went and had a burger yesterday at a biker bar and Grant discovered the joys of fry sauce and then Bryn and Grandpa and Nana went and saw A Christmas Carol. We are now heading to the grocery store to get more food and beer. This evening we are heading to the soup kitchen to serve a meal, hopefully going to check out Jeremiah and Mesha's new place and then work on mastering the fine nuances of cooking chicken fried steak for dinner. And maybe get some sleep before we all drop from exhaustion!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holly Jolly Christmas!

Aaron, the kids and I made it to Boise and we are having fun hanging out with the family. Grant has bitten one cousin on the head and pushed his other cousin down, so we are off to a fabulous start! Tonight is cookie baking night, tomorrow is parents's night out and we are going to go out to look at Christmas lights after church on Christmas Eve. Fun times!

Friday, December 18, 2009


So blogging is the last thing I should be doing considering I have plenty to do before we leave for Boise tomorrow, but I am obviously looking for any excuse to keep me from working right now!

Bryn's Christmas program was last night and after some arguments over her Christmas dress (Bryn: why is it gray? Shouldn't it be another color?...Me: If you don't like gray then you need to come shopping when I buy your clothes...Bryn: I don't like shopping. I will just tell you what color I want and YOU can go shopping) and her hair (it evidently makes her look "funny" when it is curled) we managed to get there and enjoy the show. Grant was very impressed with the portion that had a little slide show video to go with it and proceeded to say "boovie (movie), boovie, boovie" for the remainder of the program.

I am very excited about going to Boise tomorrow, not only to see everyone for the holidays, but also because I can just hang out and not do all of the crazy things that I have to do around the house when I am home. It will be fun to just relax and enjoy! Of course that may be easier said than done with 3 kids under 2 in the house!

So I guess since grades are done, receipts are entered into Quicken and I have blogged now I have to get down to business and get packing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All better now

I am feeling much less angry than I was earlier, so I guess the purge was good for my soul! And the lost Christmas box getting to Boise today didn't hurt my mood I can quit worrying about when and how to replace a bunch of Santa gifts - hooray!

Warning - I am really pissed off

I don't often get this mad and I certainly don't usually post about it on my blog. But this is my blog and I started it so I could express freely what I am thinking. I find that I don't do that for the most part because I don't want to upset anyone or be offensive, but today I don't care who I offend. This is going to be pure rant, so if you don't want to be involved in reading expletives and ire then I suggest you browse away right now. Here is my current Facebook status:

@#$!?#$% students. If you don't do the work, you are not going to do well in my class. Quit being irresponsible, entitled, crybaby whiners. Is that clear enough?

Why is it that people think they deserve to have things handed to them without working for them? When did everyone become so entitled? You want to pass a class when you don't bother to do the work required? You want the government to provide medical care for your sorry ass because you can't be bothered to go find a full time job that provides you with health benefits? You want to be saved from foreclosure on your house when you took out a mortgage that you couldn't afford in the first place? What sorry excuse for a human taught you that you deserve to be taken care of just because it is hard to take care of yourself and your family? Whoever it was should be strung up and pelted with rocks because they did you a massive disservice.

I am sure I should now write some nice words about how I do realize that there are people who really do need and deserve help and that I really do have a heart and care about humanity, but frankly I don't give a shit what I should write. If you are a lazy, whiny, sorry excuse for a human being that refuses to take responsibility for your own actions or circumstances regardless of how you came to be where you are then I am not sure I really much care what happens to you. Wallow in your misery and your pathetic circumstances and keep yourself far away from me and my family. I have no interest in helping you and I don't want you contaminating my personal space with your f-ing existence.

Aaaaaaaahhhhhh, I think I feel a little bit better!

Monday, December 14, 2009

End of an era

So that may be a bit dramatic, but it is the end of something. I never felt comfortable with the whole idea anyway, but that is just because I have a screw or two loose. At least that is what most people tell me when we talk about this.

What is "this"? The tooth fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and all of the other magical and mythical creatures that are just grown ups disguised as "magic". I think it all stems back to my childhood...

I remember being really pissed off when I found out that all of the magic present bringers were really just grown ups. Why? Because everyone had pulled one over on me. I mean, grown-ups aren't supposed to LIE...especially not to the kids they punish for lying!

So when Bryn was born, Aaron and I actually had discussions about whether or not we would have Santa at our house. I really am not a total Scrooge...I love the idea of a nice, jolly man who brightens up the lives of everyone at Christmas by bringing presents and has a whole herd of reindeer, so I decided in the end it would be kind of fun and surely my kid would figure it out pretty quickly and I wouldn't have to "lie" for long. I mean, I found out by the time I was 6 and certainly kids are more savvy these days, right? Well, I have been trying (subtly) to get Bryn to ask me about the reality of Santa for a couple of years, but she just wouldn't bite. It evidently took the tooth fairy not coming for 5 or 6 days this week (and, no, I did not forget on purpose!) to bring it all to a head. The conversation went something like this...

Me: So why do you think the tooth fairy might not have come?

Bryn: (Long pause) Maybe she was just really busy.

Me: Maybe. Do you think there might be any other reason?

Bryn: Do you?

Me: I don't know...tell me what you think.

Bryn: You tell me what you think.

Me: You tell me what YOU think.

Bryn: I am too embarrassed to say.

Me: Don't be embarrassed...I am your Mom and I won't think what you say is silly.

Bryn: (Long pause) Are you the tooth fairy, Mom?

Me: (Sigh of relief) Yes, I am. And guess who else I am?

Bryn: Santa?

Me: Yep!

Bryn: I had been thinking that since I was 6, but I was too embarrassed to say anything.

Me: Well, now that you know you get to do all the cool stuff like stay up late and put out presents for the little kids with Dad and I and the other grownups. And make sure not to tell anyone who doesn't know about Santa or the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny yet because you don't want to ruin the surprise.

Bryn: Woohoo! (I think this was because of the "stay up late" part...)

And there you have it. The end of my angst over Santa. And all the better that it happened now since I had to tell her that the post office may have lost her Santa gifts on the way to Boise and she might have a few fewer presents until we can hit the USPS up for the insurance money!

And don't remind me that I have to go through all of this again with kid number two...

What a weekend!

It was another crazy weekend! Although I think my perception of its craziness was tainted by the fact that I have a bad cols that seemed to make everything about 10 times harder than it really was. Fortunately, I seem to be on the mend - there is considerably less pain and snot today than there has been for the last few days. I do have comapny in my misery...poor little Grant has been battling it even longer than I have but he is far less whiny about it than I am!

Bryn and I went to Humane Society volunteer orientation on Thursday night so we are now ready to do our thing. It looks like we will be hanging out with the puppies and Kittens since Bryn is too young to work with any animals over 6 months old. We will play with them, walk, them, clip nails if we want to - basically whatever we feel like doing to make them a little happier and give them a better chance of getting adopted. The ycurrently have about 600 cats there and 300 dogs but not all of them are available for adoption so we have the option to work with about 1/4 of that amount. My main goal is to not come home with another pet...Aarin is in complete agreement with that objective!

Bryn and I and some friends went and saw the Kansas Nutcracker on Saturday night. It was lots of fun and helped get me geared up for seems I need all the help I can get this year to get into a festive mood! I am truly looking forward to heading to Boise to visit...I am excited to just hang out and not have any responsibilities to speak of - no school, no house to take care of, no running through my overscheduled life! Should be great!

It was a good day for church missions yesterday and therefore a rewarding day for me...the dinner fundraiser for Bridges of Hope for which we provide a once a month dinner for the disadvantaged) raised a little over $3000. We got all of the gifts (about 90 items!) we needed for our adopt-a-family, too, and those will be delivered bright and early this morning.

We have another busy week ahead but I hope to get lots of things crossed off of my to-do list in the process. Fortunately, I wouldn't have my life any other may be crazy busy, but it is fun!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day!

It is the first snow day of the year and I had hoped to have some nice pictures of the kids playing in the snow to insert here:

However, Grant screamed from the moment I put his boots on until we were back inside and I took them off. I am not sure whether he was objecting to the bulky coats and snow suit (if that is the case, he is definitely his mother's child) or if he was just being contrary (in which case I most certainly must blame that one his father's genes :)!), but either way, it was not the best set up for a photo shoot.

Now we are inside enjoying some hot chocolate and watching Sesame Street...that is my idea of a mighty fine snow day!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I have a long day in front of me and am less than thrilled to have been awoken at 5:30 this morning by Bryn and her little buddy who spent the night last night. Bryn has been kind of obsessed with waking up time in the morning and seems to think that she needs to be up by 6 am to watch TV. And last night she was up at 12:30 (after going to bed at 11:00) because she though it was 6 am (obviously some confusion with the big hand and little hand). Time to go with a digital clock in her room, I guess! I am headed over to the soup kitchen this morning and then we are having a Sunday School social at our house this evening. We'll see how this all goes on 4 hours of sleep...maybe days like this will cure me of my night owl tendencies!

Aaron and I took Bryn and a friend to see A Christmas Carol 3D last night. It was good, but surprisingly scary for a PG movie. I realize that the story itself is somewhat dark and scary, but it seemed a bit intense. But we all liked it anyway. Although I did NOT like ticket prices...almost $50 for 2 adults and 2 kids to go to a movie!?!? That is just crazy!

I had a nice night out with some friends on Friday and we got the rest of the Christmas decorations up yesterday. So as long as I survive today, it will have been a pretty nice weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


The days just fly by! Nothing exciting has been happening around here. It has been a relatively quiet few days. On Saturday, Aaron and I went to see "Blind Side" and then put the Christmas tree up. We spent all night taking the lights off of the pre-lit tree because so many strands of lights were burned out - not an activity I would recommend. I finally got new lights on but we haven't put ornaments on. Baby steps...

Bryn has a friend coming over for a playdate today and she has invited two friends to go to see Christmas Carol 3D and spend the night on Saturday. Besides that, just the normal day to day stuff around here!