Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School

Last week the kids went back to school. I wasn't necessarily doing back flips, more cartwheels or somersaults. That is to say: I like my kids, they are pretty fun to have around so I wasn't pushing them out the door. But school offers them so much more than being home with me and I would be lying if I said I didn't relish alone time. I am about 5 times more productive when they are at school.

First out the door MY HIGH SCHOOLER. The reason these pictures are blurry is because they were taken at an insanely early hour as she left for early morning seminary.

(Yes. I still have my Fourth of July decor up. I've been sick and had a house full of children all summer, don't judge.)

Next on the docket is my handsome 8th Grader:

This was taken in a mad rush. His alarm didn't go off (translation: he didn't set it correctly) and he had T-Minus 15 minutes to get ready. He decided to squeeze in a shower hence the wet hair.

I took a few pictures of him when he got home, just for good measure:

I love how this picture shows his dimple.

Next up the Elementary School Crew.

Here they are on Meet the Teacher Night:

First day of school:
You can tell by the amount of pictures we obviously had a little more time on our hands with the younger crowd.

Getting on the bus: I didn't cry this year. It felt like all was as it should be so there was no reason for tears. Plus, if there is one thing I've learned over the years: They always come back home after the school day is done.

Show of Interest

Slowly, over the years, I've become less and less of a tv watcher. I blame it on the dvr. (It's become so convenient to not watch tv!) That and the utter lack of worthwhile shows. I haven't turned on the tv in a long time. I'd say about 4 months.

I am, however, excited about a show this fall, Person of Interest.

Let me give you a couple of names involved:
J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias, Mission Impossible 3, Super 8) I think you know how I feel about this man. He's a magician.
Jonathon Nolan (Dark Knight).
Michael Emerson (you know him as creepy Ben Linus from Lost).
And one of my favorite actors ever, Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ - I never saw it but still a credit is a credit, Count of Monte Cristo, Frequency).

Still not sold? You may want to watch this:

September 22. 9/8 central. CBS. You're Welcome.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Adventures in Running

Today, I took a run. Five miles to be exact. It's my first run past 3 miles in a few weeks.

I have been sick for about the last month. Don't even get me started. I'm like an old woman these days, launching into long narratives about my various maladies, ailments, and possible diagnoses. I've seen my doctor a couple times and - thanks to throat glands swollen up like golf balls - ended up with a z-pac last week. I'm feeling better-ish.

I am anxious to get training for my upcoming half marathon in October. October is not so far away friends and I have got to get moving. So I woke up this morning (and after a raging storm last night) the air was not I'm-Going-To-Die-Hot and a bit less humid than normal. I set off on my run. Slowly. One of my biggest complaints with being sick (I will only tell you one, I promise) has been fatigue. I knew my energy level was low. I took an easy slow pace.

The sun came out from behind the clouds, the humidity rose, and I was starting to lag. I did something I RARELY do. I walked. Not just once but twice! I never walk when running. EVER. First of all, I am one of those rare creatures that really does love running. I'm not fast, but I'd rather run than walk any given day of the week. Second, my running path is well traveled by everyone I know. I see no less than 2-3 people I know every time I run. So my second reason for never walking? Vanity.

But today my love of running and vanity was tossed by the wayside. I was sweating. I was exhausted. I didn't care. I walked. At 3 miles, I was not quite walking, more trotting slowly and contemplated my situation.

Drastic times called for drastic measures. I was going to have to pull out the big guns. I think you know what I mean.

As embarrassing as it is to admit publicly, I LOVE to run to this song. (You can watch it, I previewed it. Surprisingly clean.) As I hit the last and most monstrous hill on my way home, I scrolled to Flo Rida and pushed play. Three listens later, I was home.

(Side note: my 14 year old just said, "Why are you posting sweaty pictures of yourself on your blog for every one to see?" You may be wondering the same thing. Keeping it real, my friends. I just admitted to liking a Flo Rida song. This is a real as it gets.)

Because I am feeling generous and lovely, I am also posting a parody of the Flo Rida song by Divine Comedy, BYU's comedy troupe. I give you: "Class Can't Handle Me."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some Books I've Read Lately

Summer CrossingSummer Crossing by Truman Capote

My rating:
2 of 5 stars

This is technically Truman Capote's first novel. Thought lost for many years, it wasn't published until 2005, several years after his death. Maybe for a good reason? As I read about Grady McNeil, the heroine of Summer's Crossing (and I use the term heroine loosely), I kept thinking of Holden Caulfield, the hero of Catcher in the Rye. Two main characters both teenagers, both set in the same time period (late 1940's). I came to one conclusion: Holden would definitely think Grady was a phony. I didn't really finish. I just sort of skimmed and then skipped to the (really lame) ending. Don't worry Mr. Capote, I won't judge you on the basis of this one novel you never intended to publish.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

My rating:
5 of 5 stars

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Truly one of the most incredible stories I have ever read. Hillenbrand is an incredible writer. Zamperini is inspiration from beginning to end. I read this in less than 24 hours.

NurtureShock: New Thinking About ChildrenNurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a GREAT read. SO interesting. Two journalists compile studies/research on new insights into parenting. Best part about this book was that each chapter stood on it's own. (It wasn't like a Malcolm Gladwell book where on theme is discussed throughout the entire book. I love Gladwell but sometimes it gets a bit tedious.) My favorite chapters: praise, sleep, science of teenage rebellion, and teaching children self control. REALLY insightful, made me re-think some of my parenting. Warning: you'll probably want to talk about this book with everyone you come in contact with.

East of EdenEast of Eden by John Steinbeck

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Dear Mr. Steinbeck,

Honestly, I've tried. And I'm just not a fan. You should know first of all that you write beautifully. It's your subjects I don't like. Specifically in this case, sociopaths. I'm really not interested in reading a book about sociopaths, first Charles and then Cathy. I have no frame of reference for these characters. I can't relate to them at all. They creep me out.

I know, I know, it's an allegory. It's referenced from the Bible. It just doesn't interest me.

And here is a free tip: when you have a story that is good vs. evil the reader should like the character that is "good." I didn't like Adam. I didn't relate to him either. I can't relate to anyone in this book.

One last thing, and I hope I can describe this correctly. I don't like the immediate finality with which you describe your characters. For example Samuel is the friendly, happy guy who is a genius but will never be able make a living. You know this from the very beginning. You leave nothing for the reader to guess, wonder, or watch unfold. Every character was trapped by themselves, unable to change.

I short, I think we have a completely different philosophies on life and human nature, which is probably why I didn't really like this book.

(Disclosure: I didn't finish it. Maybe it got better after the first 200 pages? I didn't care to find out.)

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mini German Pancakes

Occasionally, I have my moments of brilliance. Sadly, my moments of brilliance often come about because of moments of stupidity, which causes me to come up with a last minute solution to my problem which is usually brilliant.

Case in point: one fine morning last week, I offered to make breakfast for my children and asked what delicious concoction they would like me to create. The answer was (and usually is) German Pancakes! I went to work following this recipe:

5 T. Butter

6 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 t. salt
1 T. sugar

Mix all ingredients except butter in a blender. Melt Butter in a 9 X13 pan in 425 oven (3-5 mins.). Add batter to hot pan. Return to oven and bake for 25 Minutes.

I mixed the batter and reached for my 9 X 13 and then discovered, after a good ten minutes of searching: I have no 9 X 13 pans in the house. (This being the earlier referred to moment of stupidity.) I broke one of 2 pans a few weeks ago and remembered too late my last remaining pan was left at a friend's house. What to do?

How about using cupcake pans? (Said moment of brilliance.) I buttered each tin and divided the batter between all 24 and reduced the cooking time.

My kids loved having their own individual sized puffed pancakes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


(this is one of my favorite pictures)

I want to sincerely thank everyone for all your kind and honest comments about my blog. So nice to hear from all of you. How lovely you all are.

So, I guess I'll keep doing this blog thing, even if it is a bit sub-par at times.

Onward, ever onward my friends.

Best, C

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Some Books I've Read Lately

The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2)The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Someone recently pointed out that I have entirely too many 3 star reads. What can I say? I read a lot of mediocre books.

This was the never-intended-to-be written sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes (not to be confused with 13 Reasons Why. Whats up with 13 in YA titles?) I enjoyed this sequel much more than I thought I would, which is not saying much because I had fairly low expectations. On the top of my list of things I liked was Keith's downgrade from boyfriend to friend in this book. I personally never had much use for the Keith character in the first book. As for negatives, I thought the 20 page last letter was a stretch especially for free spirit Aunt Meg. Overall, it was just okay.

All Other NightsAll Other Nights by Dara Horn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Keeping in mind my recent liberally use of 3 stars, I decided to give this book 4 stars for originality of plot: Jewish spy in the Civil War. It definitely gave an interesting perspective, quite varied from any other book I've read on the Civil War. (disclosure: I haven't read many books on the Civil War.) The writing was good. The plot was all over the place, but kind of in a good way. Lots of action over the course of the novel. My biggest complaint was I felt like the author was at times a bit heavy handed and manipulative (for example slave auction.) I liked the spunky Jeannie and the inclusion of real life Judah Benjamin.

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2)Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I understand some have been disappointed with this sequel but I really liked it. I liked the reuniting of Kat's Henley gang. I like that they are kids and don't act like adults. I liked the message of the book (and Maggie acting as a foil as Kat has to decide her personal philosophy.) I liked the twists and turns of the heists. And the humor. But most of all, I love Hale and Marcus.

But could we PLEASE have some thing a bit more from Hale and Kat in the third? That would be great. The whole are-they-aren't-they is getting OLD. Bring on book three!

The Levee: A Novel of Baton RougeThe Levee: A Novel of Baton Rouge by Malcolm Shuman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was crass and full of language (the narrator was a 16 year old boy. No offense to 16 year old boys.) It was short, so I waded through to get to the hyped resolution of the mystery at the end. Not worth it, for my tastes.

(You know it's bad when I was embarrassed that the person sitting next to me on the plane would read over my shoulder and think "What kind of garbage is she reading?")

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