Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Goodies

The kids made their own spook alley. I can only show you the outside--the inside was much too scary.
Here are the kids getting ready for our ward's Trunk or Treat (or Trunker Treater--as Haven calls it). Savannah is a redneck, in case you can't tell. Sage is Alice in Wonderland, Haven is a mean witch (it's hard to tell with all the smiling) and Ryder was supposed to be a dog. I bought him a dog costume about 4 weeks ago in a size 2-3T. Eric tried to get him into that small thing, but to no avail. Thank goodness I already had that , "I Love My Mummy" t-shirt.

Bentley as Bumble Bee and Tanner as Yoda.

Align Center
And then we have everyone as Yoda. I'm not sure why this was so funny. But, as you can tell, Ryder thought it was hilarious--unless he was forced to wear it.


Then came the actual "trunk" part of the night. Ryder was amazed that he could take his bucket around and people would put candy in it.


Grandma and grandpa Easley and grandma Kopp were in town. They brought pumpkins. Yeah! The carving portion turned out okay. Savannah did pretty well portraying a cannibalistic pumpkin. Sage attempted to help Ryder. I think the efforts nearly ended there and we actually had one left uncarved.


And what is Halloween without a trip to the germ-infested Pumpkin Patch? I just had to shove my anxiety aside and let my kids ride and jump on the glorified carnival rides. I can't deny that they had a complete blast, though. We went with the Kennedy boys and the Lindquist boys. And gratefully I didn't have to buy any of the overprice gourds, thanks to grandma and grandpa Easley.


The swings were probably a highlight for my kids who were able to ride twice. Of course, Ryder liked the train as well. Good times.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Amelia

Crocodile on the Sandbank: An Amelia Peabody Mystery (Book 1) Crocodile on the Sandbank: An Amelia Peabody Mystery by Elizabeth Peters


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first read this in July 2001. I love this series! This is the first book. It was a delight to once again experience Amelia Peabody in her debut. To see her fall in love with Egypt, pyramids, tombs, and...umm...other things. I went the audio book route this time and it was very enjoyable. I was occasionally irritated with the voice used for Emerson (she made him sound a bit too old), but overall it was very well done.

Amelia may not be for everyone, but I just love her. I wish we could somehow be friends. I have a feeling she could identify anything wrong with my life and set me on the road to fixing it. I love her sense of humor and the way she looks at life. She is a strong and confident woman who is not afraid to blatantly ignore the conventions of the time or tweak them to serve her purposes. She is far from perfect, but is more critical of herself than anyone else (well, almost).

This particular book may have a few cliche-ish moments (oddly enough there are times when I'm reminded of old Scooby-Doo episodes), but it really is the characters that carry the story. I have a feeling that if I ever make it to Egypt I will spend half my time looking for Amelia and company.


View all my reviews.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Visitors!

In an effort to post something during the actual time frame in which it took place, I go back only two weeks ago to when my dad and Maren came for a visit. We had a really fun time. My dad hadn’t visited for quite a while, and we always love to see him and Maren. Now, the girls (girls = Savannah, Sage, and Maren) always make grandiose plans when Maren is in town, but this trip turned out to be the exception. Not that they didn’t want to do anything, but Maren had recently been ill and we kept things a little low-key (I was also not feeling great and discouraged anything too taxing).

Things we did do: went to the mall--of course; gave my dad his much desired taste of mediocrity at Sweet Tomatoes (once was enough for him but Haven keeps asking to go back to "that place where you don't have to order food because you can just go get whatever you want); went to our favorite shopping area--Town Square; ate some yummy food at California Pizza Kitchen; the big girls, Natalie, and MRK when to Monster Mayhem at Haunted Village; we had pizza and steak sandwiches at Sunset Pizzeria; Eric ditched us for most of the day on Saturday for a work enforced golf tournament (Eric is not a huge golf fan but had one of the best games of his life--people were asking for his advice and stuff!); and we probably ate a few more things.




Haven climbing the rock wall.


Ryder enjoying one of his favorite pastimes.


Maren


Grandpa with Ryder (he pretty much followed my dad around all weekend long)

I pretty much stunk in the picture taking department. Lame. I even took the camera almost everywhere we went but forgot to take it out. I could have taken pictures of the following: Natalie's nearly physical confrontation with an extremely rude waitress; the four little kids going completely wacko at the Town Square park (believe it or not, it was terribly stressful for three adults to keep track of four small children--but they had an amazing time); Sage refusing to enter the creepy clown portion of the Haunted Village; the misdirection we received trying to find the Haunted Village (this included several people--who did not speak English--holding signs with arrows pointing in what turned out to be a circle instead of the Haunted Village ("Yes. Creepy that way."); and much much more.

All in all a great weekend even though I don't have the pictures to prove it and several of us weren't feeling well. We can't wait until they come again!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

August Trip to Utah Part 2

Besides the play and our Lagoon outing, we had a good time just hanging out while we were in Utah.
They all love the tree in grandma and grandpa Easley's yard. And do you think we wore them out or what?


The kid's always love grandma Kopp's gigantic backyard!


My big girls love taking pictures of their grandmas' flowers. These beauties are grandma Kopp's.


My do the kids love playing in the little kiddie pool. Ryder was fearlessly jumping in the water. We were so excited to be joined by Joshua and Seda.


We took countless photos of the kids tossing water from a bucket. Why? I have no idea.


And what's grandma's house without ice cream?


We went out to dinner with my dad, Diona and Maren at a very yummy Italian restaurant. (They had gnocchi--what more do I need?) You would have thought that Haven, Ryder and Bentley hadn't eaten in days by the way they devoured their spaghetti.

We had a really fun but quick trip. It was good to see everyone and have one last little hurrah before school started.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Atlas Shrugged Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
Even after a sixth reading, Altas Shrugged remains one of my favorite books. I wanted to try the audio version this time. As far as that goes, I was not disappointed. (PLEASE do not listen to the abridged version. It pains me to think of what you would miss). Christopher Hurt is the narrator, and he was excellent. He differentiated between the major characters in a very subtle and effective way. I especially enjoyed his depiction of James Taggart as a whiny, self-important louse. And Francisco's voice was divinely perfect. I definitely recommend the audio version.

Ayn Rand uses this and others of her novels as a means to illustrate her personal beliefs and philosophies. While I don't agree with every aspect, there is doubtless much to gain through an understanding of it. This is a very lengthy book and it is impossible to briefly explain her philosophy. I can only say that when I read it I want to be a more responsible and productive person. I want to assure myself that I value others for their accomplishments and expect myself to never begrudge another for what they have rightfully earned. Of course it doesn't automatically follow that I do these things, but the desire is there!

Perhaps Rand's philosophy (known as Objectivism) is repetitive. We are in no doubt of her message by about half-way through the book. But the story itself is compelling. And while the heroes are all beautiful, god-like creatures, and the villains are typically fat, frumpy, and horrible, I still love Rand's depictions. Dagny Taggart, our main character, is fallible in all her perfection. I want her to grasp concepts as soon as her extreme intellect should, but doesn't. But these are the things that make her human. Dagny's story is amazing, mysterious, and very well-written. I have a feeling this won't be the final time I read it.

A word about charity: This novel may come off as anti-charity. Anti-brotherly love. Anti-Christian. And it may have been intended that way. But I perceive it a bit differently. I view it as a choice. I should be charitable--not because I am forced to or because I feel pressure to do so--but because I choose to.

An interesting side-note: I once bought a copy of Atlas Shrugged at a used book store. The owner of the store proceeded to tell me that it is one of his favorite books and that he requires all of his employees to read it.

A tid-bit about Ayn Rand: She did not believe in God. The reason? She could not believe in an entity to which she could not aspire. If she could not become a god herself, she refused to believe there was one at all. Interesting, yes?

This book is an investment. An investment of time and thought. But it is so worth it!

View all my reviews.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Good Times at Lagoon

Back in August we traveled to Utah to see my father-in-law's play. He directed a musical version of Pride and Prejudice that was amazing! Everyone was so talented and it was a blast to see so many of my nieces and nephews perform as well. They even had a CD of the performance for sale--which we bought. Great job Jerry!


While we were there, we decided to take the kids and my mom to Lagoon. We hadn't been there since Savannah was about two. It was a blast! They have really stepped it up a few notches since Collosuss was THE big ride. They have also expanded their kiddie rides. The little people had an absolute blast. The park was clean and admission was very reasonable. We can't wait to go back (especially Haven who STILL asks me almost every other day when we can go).



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Want my PBS


While I write these words, my four children are doing the following: Savannah - school; Sage - school; Haven - eating breakfast before getting ready for school; Ryder - outside in our garage in the car. Now, before you panic--it is a nice cool morning and he isn't locked inside or forgotten about or anything like that. He is busy with a tantrum that has now been going on for nearly 30 minutes. The tantrum is a direct result of Ryder's current obsession: Word World. If you are not familiar with the PBS show Word World, you should be. Ryder loves Word World. He wants to watch it all the time and his eyes light up its mention.

I typically reserve watching the dvd player in the car for those longer road trips, but today when I went out to drive Sage to school, she had already put in one of Ryder's Word World dvds. By the time we returned home, he wasn't ready for it to be over. The result was the aforementioned tantrum. He initially positioned himself at the door to the garage and proceeded to cry and bang his head against the door. He followed that up with opening the door to the garage and moving the tantrum to the inside of the car (Haven had left her door open earlier). He doesn't understand that we will be back in the car in a short fifteen minutes to take Haven to school and he can finish his show then.

But he's no dummy! Word World is a cool and creative show and I approve of it (even though--due to Ryder's obsession--I have its theme song running through my head on an almost continual basis).

Why Word World Rocks:

- each character/animal/object is made from the letters of the word they are (see above picture)

- they talk about letters and words in a fun way

- in every episode they "spell a word" or two or three

- there are fun songs that the kids love

- Ryder, who just turned two, can identify and say many letters (even in the non Word World world) including: B, C, D, E, F, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, W, and Y


So, while I could do without the tantrums, I am glad he enjoys a show that is educational.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Savannah!

It's amazing how 15 years just fly by...









And now, some Savannah trivia:

- She is very smart and HILARIOUS
- She is sort of klutzy (spills a lot of milk and sprains her ankles)
- Is obsessed with music and definitely has her own style
- Plays several musical instruments (piano, cello, guitar)
- She hates having her picture taken (I don't know where she gets this)
- She is extremely patient with the little people (maybe not so much when it comes to them messing up her room)
- Even though she doesn't show it often, she is very sensitive
- She is very compassionate
- Only gives half-hugs and half-kisses (unless it's her idea and then prepare to be body-slammed)
- Loves the outdoors
- She is very unique and true to herself
- She's a really good sister, daughter, cousin, niece, grand-daughter and friend

There are so many other things I could say about Savannah. She is a bright spot in our lives and we love her so much. Happy birthday Savannah!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What a Good Lookin' Family

Natalie has threatened to do this for me if I don't do it myself, so I'm making the choice that will be the least embarrassing--but still funny. If you are living under a rock and haven't discovered Yearbook Yourself, here is your introduction. There were so many hilarious options that I had a difficult time choosing only one for each of us. I was also hampered by the fact that all the pictures taken with my new camera are over 1 MB and therefore take forever to upload--or don't upload at all. So I had to sift through pictures taken before the Canon came along. I can't deny that I had a blast doing this.



Eric - 1954

Jenn - 1974

Savannah - 1960

Sage - 1994

Haven - 1984


Ryder - 1982

And since Natalie practically forced me to do this, how could I not include a picture of her? That is right, I had to. So here she is in all her 1990 glory:



Natalie - 1990

Now you do it too!