Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Review, I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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This book was excellent. I read it for our Relief Society book club. It isn't a book I think I would have picked up normally since I hadn't heard of the author (she wrote 101 Dalmatians, didn't even know it was a book) and hadn't really heard of the book, either.

I went to Borders to look at it since the library copies were all checked out. I opened it up to the first page and read the very first line. Then I bought it. I couldn't help myself; the first line grabbed me and I wanted more. It is rare that I pick up a book that grabs me with the very first line. Usually it is somewhere in the first paragraph, page, or at the end of the first chapter.

The format of the book, though it isn't obvious, is journal entries by a young woman, Cassandra, about 16 or 17 years old. I don't think she ever stated directly how old she is. Her father is a writer, but has been unable to write anything since his first big success and now she, her father, brother, sister, step-mother, and family friend are living in an old dilapidated castle, waiting and wishing for life to happen and save them (preferably in the form of her father writing again or a convenient and rich marriage). When life does come at them, Cassandra records it as honestly and openly as a person can in their own journal.

The story is funny, interesting, and kept me captivated. As a narrator, Cassandra is perhaps one of the best and most reliable.

If I could, I would rate it 4.5.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank You

Thanksgiving this year was a lot better than last year. For those of you who don't want to click on the link to last year's Thanksgiving post, we are grateful that this year, no one was in the hospital during the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

My parents flew out here again and this time were able to stay with us in our house! Usually when they visit they have to stay in a hotel because we haven't really had a lot of room, being in apartments. But this year we had a room all prepared for them and an extra bathroom. I don't know if I can express how grateful I am that they actually stayed with us, in our house, the entire time. It made the visit so much more wonderful for me, and I hope it did for them, too.

Here are a couple pictures from their visit.

We went to Kirtland because neither of my parents have ever been there before. They were getting ready for their Nativity display and even though it hadn't opened yet, they let us have a sneak peek. Then we took the tour and got to visit with a sister missionary that used to serve in our ward.

We also went to the house from the movie A Christmas Story, but their website was off and they weren't open after all. Still, my dad got a picture of us outside the house.

We also celebrated Megan's birthday since it's next week.

Then the next day we celebrated Christmas:)

It was great having my parents here. I miss them so much and it's really hard not living anywhere near them. I really want my kids to know them better and spend more time with them, so I'm grateful for the time we had this week.

I loved going out with them to see New Moon (my mom's a fan, my dad deals with it, Nathan doesn't want to have to watch the movies--it worked out great). Also, they watched the kids while Nathan and I went to our parent-teacher conferences for the kids and later bowling (and that story, or both, really deserve their own posts, so I won't go into those here).

Mom and Dad, I love you. Thank you for coming. Thank you for Thanksgiving. Thank you for Christmas. And thank you for staying with us. That really meant the most to me.

The Road to Dessert . . . .

Thanksgiving Day Conversation Between Jeremy and Myself

Jeremy: What's that?
Me: [trying not to laugh] Green Bean Casserole
Jeremy: Green beans?
Me: [still trying not to laugh] Yep. Green beans.
Jeremy: What's that white stuff?
Me: [barely containing it] Cream of Mushroom Soup.
Jeremy: Mushroom soup?
Me: [laughing] Yep.
Jeremy: What's that black stuff?
Me: [still laughing] Pepper.

To find out why this is so funny. Go here. I read it not a full ten seconds before Jeremy started asking those questions.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sick Kids, No Naps, Not Fair

About a month ago all three of my kids had some nasty colds. This week my oldest kids have bacterial conjunctivitis (a bacterial version of pink eye instead of the nastier viral version) and double ear infections.

When they were sick a month ago, they were still bouncing off the walls and playing just as hard as usual. It was like pulling teeth to get them to lay down for naps, and in the end I only ever got Megan to take one and Jeremy to lay down for half an hour. Emma took her normal naps, no extras.

Now they are sick again and still have normal energy functioning! What is wrong here? Why is it that my kids don't feel tired when they are sick? I remember going to bed and staying in bed, or sleeping on the couch when I was sick. I don't remember wanting to run around my parents' house like a maniac or go outside to play.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile #14-20

14) I've got a story or two in here. It'll be for sale in your local LDS bookstore (or online for those of us outside the Utah/Idaho world) on December 9th.
Makes a great Christmas present:) --->Mormon Mishaps and Mischief

15) Nathan surprised me by saying yes to buying tickets off of Craigslist for WICKED!!!!!
I'm so excited! (As if you couldn't tell by the 6 ! I just used. I have been checking almost everyday for cheap tickets.)

16) Surprising Megan with a day out,
just her and me and having it be a Fancy Nancy party at Borders.
She decorated her own tiara, got butterfly hairpins,
a set of Fancy Nancy binoculars,
Fancy Nancy stickers, cookies, a Fancy Nancy coloring page,
and got to hear quite a few Fancy Nancy stories read to her.

Megan and I needed some time together, just us.
I hope to use this as retaliation when she's mad at me and says I don't let her do anyt
hing and am mean.

17) I love it when I find Nathan playing with the kids like this.
There are actually few things that make me smile bigger or more than when Nathan gets on the floor with the kids and makes them laugh.

18. Getting real mail in the mailbox. (Thanks Amber O.!)

19. Getting out of nursery duty two Sundays in a row :)

20. Getting to sit with a friend in Relief Society during Church.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile #13-18

14. Emma finally saying, "I love you."

15. Jeremy giving me a high five after reading a word all on his own.

16. My parents will be here in 12 days.
17. Abuelita Hot Chocolate
18. Watching Emma give kisses to Nathan.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Things that Make Me Smile #7-12

7. Books. All kinds of books. Kid books, adult books, YA books.
Mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, biographies, non-fiction, fiction. It's all good.

8. Sweets. Mostly chocolate, but just about anything sweet is wonderful.

9. When a sewing project begins to take shape.

10. Warm, sunny days.


12. My kids actually eating their dinner and not complaining.
(Don't have a picture of this since it happens so rarely, but still, it does happen.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile #1-6

1. Hugs from Jeremy (seriously, the kid gives the best hugs ever).

2. Megan coming up to me every day and saying,
"Mom, I have something to do to you!" and then giving me a kiss.

3. Emma laughing with her mouth open really wide.

4. Nathan doing the dishes.

5. Finding really weird things--like the Beer Can House in Houston.

(this picture is really, really old)

6. Having a day where I don't feel like the world's worst mom, but like I did ok.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm Laughing on the Inside. Maybe.

I'm trying to laugh about this.

Really, I am. But it just isn't coming today.

Normally Emma eats just fine on her own, but not lately. I was busy with Megan and Jeremy, double checking that their new winter gear fits perfectly.

When her food and bowl became her shirt and hat.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Book Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first heard of this book about three years ago. This was way before it had been published and still had a lot of editing needed. I met James and he told me a little of the idea behind the book (a little less than what's on the back of the book) and I was intrigued. The last time I saw him he told me it was being published and would come out Fall of 2009. I didn't think I could wait and wanted to ask for an advanced reader copy.

I bought it almost as soon as it came out, but had to wait to read it because I was reading a book for book club and wanted to give my full attention to my friend's book. As soon as I was finished with the book club book I started on Maze Runner.

I think James did a great job. The idea behind the book, which is the first in a trilogy, is interesting, the way he developed is amazing. The characters remind me of characters in The Outsiders, a group of teenage boys who have their own language, slang. The boys have created a lot of their own slang that gets used frequently. Having their own words seems to help bring them solidarity.

The story itself is terrifying and the ending, of course, left me wanting more. It is, after all, the first in a trilogy. I found myself ignoring my kids all day and almost fed my family hot dogs without the buns because I had such a hard time putting the book down. In the end I had to stay up until almost 1AM finishing it.

My only complaints would be 1) the characters do sound very similar to one another. Occasionally I couldn't tell who was speaking because their language was so similar. The main character stuck out from the others, but among the rest of the boys I did have a hard time. However, I understood that all the boys were in exactly the same situation, with exactly the same background, not remembering anything before showing up in the maze and some of them being there for over two years, and so they would sound very similar because of that.
2) I have to wait for the next book!

All in all I really loved this book. It was scary, emotional, and fun. Great job, Dashner!

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