Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Great Series

Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad, Book 1) Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've read several mediocre books lately, and that fact left me desirous to read something I already know is good. I love the Belgariad series and this book begins it. It is such a great story full of interesting characters: both noble yet fallible. While I read it this time I kept thinking that I must have my daughters read it.

This fantasy series contains most of the typical elements: an unlikely hero, a dangerous quest, sorcery or magic, an evil adversary, a magical object sought after by many, etc. But the story itself does not feel formulaic. Where the elements may be familiar, the details are original and interesting.

I'm excited to continue on with this series once again. Even now I find myself anxious to return to Garion and Belgarath and Polgara--even though I've walked this path with them twice before.

View all my reviews.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Haven Conversation

After picking Haven up from preschool today, we had a little chat about cities and states and countries. (Haven said that her country is Las Vegas.) After I had very kindly and patiently explained the concept of where she lives (and accurately, I might add), I had the following conversation with the little Havester:

Haven: Mom?

Jenn: Yes, Haven.

H: Dad is smarter than you.

J: Oh, really?

H: Yes.

J: Why is he smarter?

H: Dad knows everything.

J: Everything?

H: Yes. Everything.

J: And I don't?

H: No. You know a couple of things, but dad knows everything.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ivanhoe--A Classic?

Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics) Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ever since watching the BBC mini-series long ago, I have wanted to read Ivanhoe. This, despite my mediocre feelings towards another of Sir Walter Scott's novels, Waverly (I felt it necessary to downgrade my rating of three stars for Waverly to two based on my three star rating for Ivanhoe--which I liked better). I was slightly disappointed with the book. It ends up in that small and rarely used "movie was better than the book" category.

There are moments of pure delight in this book, especially when the clown Wamba is in the scene. He is probably my favorite character though there are more noble choices. Rebecca is a close second. I love that she remains true to herself despite facing death and degradation.

My main problem with the book is that I was often bored. I am not one who needs a constant supply of action, and I can handle a more than average amount of wordiness, but there were several times when I had to force myself to concentrate and wondered when the book would end.

I did appreciate that there were several incidents that rang true to me. Moments where a modern author would be tempted to draw the action out to an unbelievable point just to maximize a fight scene. That said, the jousting tournament did last nearly one third of the book.

Must I find a moral or gain something life-altering from a 544 page classic? Tolerance seems to be the painfully obvious choice if a moral is mandatory. Perhaps it is just a mostly good historical tale.

I have one question: was the church in the twelfth century nearly 100 percent corrupt? I have yet to read a novel that takes place in that time period that portrays it any other way--despite the odd righteous prior, priest or monk.

Overall I regrettably say that if you are interested in the story of Ivanhoe you should rent the 1997 mini-series. It is excellent and exciting where the book is mediocre and slightly mind-numbing. It is unfortunate that a book containing several amazing characters (from the honorable to the hilarious to the downright evil) should be--at times--nearly painful to wade through.

**This was an audio book. It was narrated adequately by Frederick Davidson. Adequately only because he sufficed, for the most part, but there were times when he bordered on the overly dramatic. In fact, there was a death scene that actually had me laughing. I found that a tad distracting. But I wouldn't rule him out for future audio books. As far as audio as a medium for this book, I think it was fine. It probably made it easier to make it through those boring parts where, with a book, I might have closed it and never picked it up again.**

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Clark Fun

We had a great time with the Clarks on Labor Day. We did a little hiking and four-wheeling and then went back to their house for swimming. That evening we took the whole gang to dinner and to see Big River at Tuacahn. It was an excellent show and I think we all had a fun time. We always have a blast with the Clarks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

And the Winner is....

Congratulations to my awesome sister-in-law Amy Easley at easleyenchanted.blogspot.com for winning my first giveaway. She said, "Pick me Pick me!!! :) We are after all kindred spirits both children of the '89 :) Do they have other stores? I've only heard of it here!" And in answer to her question, yes, the do have other stores but not many in the US. But they are online. Way to go Amy! Luckily for you I already know where you live! I'll get this out to you A.S.A.P. (Maybe you could let me win Word Twist every once in a while!)

Party Central

The consequence of having birthdays so close together is that we have non-stop partying.

Sage had a fun party with her friends. It was just a small get-together and they played games and ate. Savannah and Megan made the piano cake. Good times.

I guess we're going to milk the joint Haven/Ryder party as long as we can. Haven was very excited to have her party with Ryder's. Savannah was, once again, the cake maker. Haven loved opening all her presents and Ryder was more than satisfied with the first one he opened.

Now we get a little breather until Savannah's birthday.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Little Man Keeps Getting Bigger

Eight of the most difficult days in my life were waiting to find out when we could take Ryder home from the NICU. What a relief when we took him home healthy and happy.

Seriously. Why didn't I cut that kid's hair sooner? I was afraid of losing the curls, I think. Needless worrying.

What a sweetheart. He's got us all wrapped around his finger.

This kid LOVES being outside.

It's not hard to make him happy. Take him to the park or give him some food. Want the opposite reaction? Make him go inside or take away his food.

It's hard to believe how quickly he's grown up.

At age two Ryder likes: food; water (to drink or to play in); playing outdoors; Thomas the Train; anything anyone else has; to rub him mom's arm when he's tired; colors (he spends a lot of time naming colors of things); his sisters; his cousins; his grandparents; bananas; dipping graham crackers in milk; Word World; doing things himself; having his shoes on; when his daddy gets home; and playing with his toys.

At age two Ryder has a few minor problems: he hates to share; if you take a bite of his food or a sip of his drink--watch out--it's about to be thrown on the floor or across the room; he bites and pinches (mostly just Tanner and his mom--I think it's mostly done with love); he is extremely messy and doesn't care; and he throws his biggest fits when we are in public.

At age two Ryder is really good at: charming the pants off his sisters; getting whatever he wants; and giving kisses and hugs.

We love you Ryder! Happy 2nd birthday!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy Birthday You Big Four Year Old!

We never thought she'd get here....

And now she is a big four year old who loves her family, coloring, school, peanut butter sandwiches, reading books, going to the park, dancing, watching movies and "PPS" (PBS), playing with her cousins, 'Lil Pet Shop stuff, princesses, fairies, and going shopping with her mama.

She could probably do without tomatoes, getting her hair brushed, and any live animal bigger than a toaster ("I'm just not a loosed to big dogs").

When she grows up she wants to be a princess, a mommy, a fairy and a ballerina.

Her favorite color is pink. Her second favorite color is pink. She also sort of likes white but not yellow.

She can be quite the joker and is pretty good at keeping a straight face--for a minute.

She thinks she should be able to do everything her big sisters do.

Haven is a sweetheart who is always quick to give a hug and say, "I love you." Happy birthday Haven-bo-baven. We love you!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another Trip to the Springs Preserve

While Maren was visiting with us in July we tried to find at least a few fun things to do. We decided to head out to the Springs Preserve. It was largely a repeat of our first visit, but the kids still had a blast. And, once again, we took advantage of the incredibly yummy food at the Wolfgang Puck Cafe. Seriously--I think of that four cheese pizza and my mouth starts watering.

Last time we visited we didn't make it to the trails. So we were determined to make it there this time. But after all the fun and food we didn't have the energy to brave the heat on the trails. We will have to wait for it to cool down a bit before we go back. Thank goodness for those annual passes.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dance Recital May 2008--Still Catching Up

Sage and Haven did a fabulous job in their dance recital this year. It was Haven's first so it was very exciting. She did a great job. She did fall once during her first number, but she picked herself right back up. And Sage is still an excellent dancer. It is so fun to watch her. Savannah barely graced us with her presence that night! She doesn't enjoy the experience that much and wouldn't get near the stage for a million dollars. And thanks to their instructor Miss Lori who was amazing as usual. Every year I am bowled over by the amount of work that goes into these productions. We love you Miss Lori!

The Kennedy's are always so supportive of everything the girls do. Haven LOVED getting a bouquet of flowers. Sage and her good friend Taylor have been dancing together for years.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

4th of July Weekend Part 3

We had so much fun at the Murray's house doing fireworks with the Elison family. It was so great just to sit around and visit with everyone. Afterwards we went back to my mom's house to finish the firework fun there.

Where does Eric come up with all his fun ideas that often a trip to Home Depot, duct tape and may also include blowing something up? We can thank our physics teacher niece Nicole this time for putting this idea in his head. Eric spent a chunk of time building a rocket launcher with Jim as his accomplice. I have to admit we did get a lot of fun mileage out of it. He left that one in Utah and built a different version here at home. The kids always have a blast on grandma and grandpa's swings. We also celebrated MRK's birthday with some cheesecake. Yum! It was great to see Jim and Amy and their kids and Missy and her honey as well as Melanie, Michael and their boys. Another highlight of the trip was seeing our good friend Diane Davis Nelson and her good looking boys who were visiting from Ohio.

This now concludes the Elison 4th of July weekend 2008. Finally!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

4th of July Weekend Part 2

On the 3rd we got up early to see the hot air balloon launch. It was a lot of fun. Though there were not as many balloons as I remember in years past. Eric, of course, ran in the 10k on the 4th and met us on the parade route. The parade was typical, but we had a pretty good spot. Savannah and Sage, as you may notice, lost some steam towards the end.

We headed over to Grandma Kopp's for our annual 4th of July barbecue. We ate tons of food and the kids had a blast playing in the water. It is their new obsession to play in the water whenever we go there. It was a fun-filled day.