Monday, November 24, 2008

A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace A Separate Peace by John Knowles

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
It was interesting to read this book as an adult, having read it twice as a teenager. Savannah had to read it for her English class, so I decided to go along for the ride.

I was pleased to find that I still loved the book. There are moments in the book that have always and still are so vivid to me. I was also surprised that there are many crucial events that I didn't recollect at all.

This time around I was struck by Gene's self-discovery. I know that there is a lot more going on, but it was heartbreaking. Savannah disagrees with me. While she did like the book (giving it a 4/5), she did not like Gene at all. I guess I like Gene because I think we all have some "Gene" in us. Even if I imagine that I am more like Phineas in character--or would like to be--it is Gene that I mostly identify with. And not because I have ever done anything truly vindictive or malicious (or have I?), but because I have done things I'm not proud of for reasons that proved unfounded. I have pronounced judgment when I didn't have all the information.

I think that everyone should read this book at some point, even if it is only in preparation for the time when your children will most likely read it.

**This was an audio book. I thought that it was passable. Not great, though. There were a few voices that grated on my nerves every time that character spoke (Brinker). Overall, I will probably just read the actual book next time.**

View all my reviews.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Mom

It's a little late in the day, but I just have to publicly tell my mom, "Happy birthday!" My mom is the best mom in the world. She is also an amazing grandma (I hope I can be as great a grandma as she is--sometime in the very distant future). I'm so grateful for her and all that she does for me and everyone else. Her only flaw is that she doesn't give herself enough (or any, sometimes) credit for how wonderful and loving she is. I've never doubted her love for me and that has been a solid and constant part of my life. Happy birthday mom! Love you!

Monday, November 17, 2008

They Just Keep Growing

We had a family photo shoot this past weekend (thank you Brooke!). I'm posting just a few of our favorites.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to Erik!

Today we celebrated my brother Erik's 29th birthday. It's hard to celebrate without him here. We still miss him so much and think about him all the time. This is the second birthday since he passed away, and last year we began a tradition of doing something on his birthday that he liked to do. This year we went to Claim Jumper for lunch. It was fun and yummy. And between us all we ate enough for Erik too (and then some).

MRK was just getting over an illness and probably didn't feel the greatest. Bentley and Haven entertained themselves with lemons. And no, Savannah does not have glasses. She bought them at the party store today (don't ask).

Tanner and Ryder were zonked out most of the time we were there. They did both wake up and eat.

My mom wanted us to write messages on balloons and send them up to Erik. The kids were all really cute about it. They all wrote their own little messages. I'm not sure what Ryder and Tanner intended to say, but Haven drew a picture of her with her Uncle Erik.

Bentley, Savannah, Sage and Natalie displayed their messages.

MRK and Ryan chose just to send up plain balloons. Erik probably would have appreciated that! And then we were all ready to let go.

It was fun to watch, but it was over quickly. The wind was blowing and they were carried away (and into the sun). Ryder didn't quite catch the vision of what we were doing and lamented the loss of his balloon for quite a while!

Happy birthday Erik! We love you so much. Enjoy the balloons, the messages and all the hugs and kisses we send as well. XOXOXOXO

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Very Quick Trip to St. George (Another Episode of Catch-Up)

A couple of months ago we were happy to find that Eric's brother Kip and his family, as well as his mom and dad (and Diana's mom) would be spending the weekend at a condo in St. George. We had some plans in the early evening on Saturday that we couldn't break, but we decided to make the trip up there for lunch and swimming. I'm not sure why I didn't pull the camera out a little more. It ends up looking like we were at a diving expedition for Ryder. I'll try to fill in the blanks with narrative.

We were so excited to see everyone. They were in a huge condo in the Green Valley area. It was fun to sit around and chat as we worked on getting lunch ready. In true Ryder form, he did not want to leave my side. At first. I really need to remember that once he gets over his initial shyness, he is pretty adventurous. He finally ventured outside where Gracie and Haven were playing. There was a sliding glass door leading to a patio. Beyond the patio was a grassy courtyard of sorts leading to the pool and other areas of the complex. Just before we sat down to say a prayer before eating I checked on Ryder. He was sitting on one of the chairs on the patio and I was thinking that it might be a good spot for Mr. Messy to eat. Well, during the prayer I noticed Savannah trying to talk to me. And of course I gave her the evil-eye and shushed her. But she wouldn't shush. As soon as the prayer was over she said that she heard some people walking by asking if anyone was missing a little boy. I went sick inside. It only took seconds for us to verify that Ryder was missing. I sent Eric running after the people who were walking the complex making inquiries. When Eric returned he said that Ryder had been sitting calmly on a couch playing with his magna doodle. But he was very relieved and happy to see Eric. And he wouldn't let go of me once I snatched him from Eric. Where did they find him you ask? IN THE PARKING LOT!!! I still get queasy every time I think about it. Bad mommy!

That experience may account for the fact that most of my pictures that day were of Ryder. I don't think I took my eyes off him the rest of the day. We had a very yummy lunch (once I got my appetite back). We had picked up these really delicious pies from that gourmet pie shop in St. George that I can never remember the name of. Then the kids did a little swimming and, before we knew it, it was time to head back home for a birthday party and a big family hair cutting fest.

Gracie and Haven and their little stuffed animal display of which they insisted I take a picture.

The kids love to swim.

Ryder did not appreciate the life jacket experience. It came off quickly. Gracie was like a little fish.

Ryder wanted to jump to Eric over and over again.

Gracie in action.

Are you tired of seeing pictures of Ryder jumping into the water? Neither am I.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Haven Conversation - Part 2

I suppose carpooling the girls to their Monday lessons can now be known as, "time to abuse mom," by Haven. Today's little conversation:

(Ryder is making some sort of loud protest to we don't know what since not one of use is fluent in his language. Haven decides to interpret.)

Haven: Mom. Ryder is saying that he wants you to stop singing.

Mom: No he isn't!

Haven: Yes he is.

Mom: Ryder, do you want mommy to stop singing?

Ryder: Yes! (There is no mistaking his very enunciated "yes.")

Haven: Ha, ha! I told you! Ryder wants you to stop and so do I.

Why is everyone against me?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We AreTired, But We Just Can't Leave - Disneyland Day 3

On day 3 we awoke to rain. And not just a little rain. It was pouring down. After eating breakfast and packing the car, I checked out of Candy Cane Inn and also bought two umbrellas they had for sale at the front desk. Eric was pretty skeptical about how much fun we could have in a downpour, but I was determined to go for a little while. We headed for Disneyland first. After we'd been there for a little over an hour, the rain quit. The rest of the day was very nice. It was great to have Savannah with us (even if she was unused to going at the little people's pace). We basically started in Tomorrow Land and worked our way around the park going on those attractions we either hadn't been on yet, or wanted to ride again.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was one of Haven's favorites (go figure). So we rode that one again (this time both Eric and I noticed that the part where you drive through hell was considerably hotter--I wonder if it's because we were there on Sunday).

The Carousel--again.

Haven was beside herself with excitement about the Winnie the Pooh ride. I'm not sure why. Perhaps because she hadn't been on it before and was positive that any ride sponsored by Pooh would be fun. It turns out she did enjoy it.

We don't typically spend a lot of time waiting in line for pictures with characters, but the line was short for Pooh (Eyore and Tigger were there when we entered the line, but took off before we got there). We're not sure why Ryder kicked Winnie the Pooh. Maybe he was just trying to see if he was real. Or maybe he was just testing out his new shoes. Pooh didn't seem to mind too much.

Ryder was loving Winnie the Pooh. He ended up picking a stuffed Pooh bear as his little souvenir. He loves it. But come to think of it, he kicks and throws it around too.

Back at California Adventure we went on the Monsters Inc. ride and Haven did a little posing. We also--finally--went on Tower of Terror. That is definitely one of my favorites.

Our plan was to leave around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. We just couldn't drag ourselves away. By 6 or so we knew we just had to get out of there. I really wanted a family picture by this giant candy corn (now that we had Savannah with us), but everyone was too tired. So I snapped a picture of some other family.

On the way home Ryder (clutching Winnie the Pooh) and Savannah conked out immediately. Haven, still flying high from her Disneyland experience, cheerfully watched the Tinkerbell movie. Sage, I think, was a little less excited about the movie choice.

Other Tidbits:

- Ryder rode on the Matterhorn and loved it. (Haven rode it on our last trip and had no desire to see the abominable snowman again.)

- Haven wanted to go in several stores in the hopes that I would break down and buy her something else. I didn't.

- While we went on the Winnie the Pooh ride Savannah rode Splash Mountain as a single rider. She was with a group that had never ridden Splash Mountain before. When the picture snapped they were all screaming and Savannah was yawning in the very back seat. They bought the picture.

- On our way out of Disneyland we were just in time for the parade. I was really happy about that because we had missed it every other time and it was something Haven wanted badly to see.

We had such a fun time. It was great to spend time together as a family having fun. We are rarely this spontaneous when it comes to trips and I doubt that we will make a habit of it. But I don't at all regret the good times we had and agree with Haven that "Disneyland is (one of) the best places to be."