Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Holiday Wrap-Up

I am not sure why it has taken me so long to put this little post together. I think that because I have copies of pictures my mom took as well as my own pictures of the same time period, I somehow made it more complicated in my mind. For as long as it has taken, it ought to be a lot more exciting than it is. Exciting or not, this is how we wrapped up the holidays in Utah:

Opening gifts from grandma and grandpa Easley.

Random photos of family, kids and play-doh

As we rang in the New Year, Savannah and Sage attended a sleepover party with their cousins. We partied with mom, Jim, Amy and Jim and their kids and Melanie and Michael and their kids (Melanie and family left early on. Jim and Amy tried to leave but we wouldn't let them). It was a fun night. Haven and Ryder actually made it to midnight, although Haven refused to leave her grandma's comfy bed where she was watching a movie to celebrate with the rest of us. Addi and Megan did all the pot banging. Ryder had a good time clinking glasses and saying "cheers."

Included in the final collage: eating, sleeping, Ryder's best buddy Wall E, grandma Kopp with her birthday party pictures, a gigantic German pancake, grandma and grandpa Elison, and other random family shots.

We had an excellent and enjoyable holiday in Utah. It's always nice to get back home, but we sure love visiting our families.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In the Meantime...

Haven - Age 2

I'm trying to finish a post wrapping up our holidays and vacation in Utah. In the meantime, I bring you a tiny Haven conversation:

Haven: "Mom?"

Me: "Yes, Haven."

Haven: "Do you want to know something?"

Me: "Yes I do." (I'm always trying to add to the seven things I already know.)

Haven: "When I was two I thought I was the only person in the world."

Me: "Hmmm. That is interesting. What did you think everyone else was?"

Haven: "I thought everyone else in the world was animals."

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love this book. I've been meaning to read it for years, but just hadn't, for whatever reason. There are so many themes in this novel that I think it's practically impossible to grasp it all in one reading. The explorations into motherhood were especially interesting to me: the things that motivate a mother and how those things are perceived by their children. Respect (or lack of) for different cultures is also a prominent theme.

Many times I found myself marveling at the beautiful writing. The descriptions of people and places were so exact that I know I would recognize them.

Overall, it was heartbreaking. Heartbreaking in countless ways. Heartbreaking and profound. Heartbreaking and hilarious. Heartbreaking and hopeful.

**Audio book review: Wow. Narrated by Dean Robertson, she skillfully voiced each of the five narrators flawlessly. I could pick up after not listening for a few days and know immediately who was narrating. I especially enjoyed her depiction of Rachel (man oh man). It's nice not to be distracted by trying to read African names or French. And that Southern accent was built right in.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fun in the Utah Snow

Brace yourselves for dozens more pictures of Elisons in the snow. The kids couldn't help but take advantage of all that white stuff.

Savannah begins another snowman.

It may be cold but they are not coming inside.

Savannah gets "help" from Haven and Bentley.

The little people pelt the big girls with snowballs.

Attempts at snow angels.

Tanner has no desire to go outside as long as it entails him wearing a snow suit and snow boots. He has a good view from the window.

Savannah needs help from both Eric and MRK in order to hoist the snowman's middle. Sage collapses on the snowman's head.

Addi, Josh, Seda and Darcy have fun on the "hill" in grandma and grandpa's front yard.

Haven takes a turn and Seda goofs around on the tire swing.

Tasha, Josh and Bentley.

Getting ready for sledding, Tanner is forced into his snow gear. He ended up having a great time.

They all had so much fun sledding at Rock Canyon Park. Here we have Sage, Ryder, Maren, Savannah (sans coat!) and Kade.

Maren, Bentley, Savannah, MRK and Tanner.

MRK with Tanner and Eric with Ryder. I'm not sure what Ryder was upset about. Maren and Sage look like they are having a great time.

Haven, Savannah, Haven with Tanner and MRK.

Bentley with Ryder, Haven with Tanner, Maren with Sage and Kade.

Sage with Maren, Kade and Ryder.

Everyone had a great time and no one got hurt, thankfully. Eric also took advantage of snowy conditions and went skiing (shocker!). Sadly the snow wasn't that great for him. I'm sure he will make up for it at some other point this winter.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Christmas at Dad's House

By the time we get to Utah for the holidays we get to celebrate Christmas again and again and again. It's a lot of fun! My dad's house this year was no exception.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this yet, but the webcam on Sage's computer has been quite the source for entertainment. The kids spend hours in front of it creating bizarrely manipulated photos.

There is never enough time to spend with all the people we love. But when we do get to be with them, we completely enjoy each others company.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

On December 24th, my grandma celebrated her 80th birthday. Lucky for us, her party was on the 28th, after we arrived in Utah. It was such a nice party. And she deserves it! She was visited by good friends and all kinds of family. We ate a ton of food and just had a great time.

My grandma is the best. She is so thoughtful and kind and we love to be around her. It's great when she comes to visit us. She is a wonderful cook and housekeeper (she actually LOVES to clean--why didn't I get a bit of that gene?). There are so many ways that she is meaningful in my life. I am so grateful for her and hope that she knows how much she means to us and how much we love her. Happy birthday grandma!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

You Can't Judge a Book...

Your Heart Belongs to Me Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I saw this book out of the corner of my eye at Costco. My first thought was that Mary Higgins Clark has a new book out. And then I saw Dean Koontz's name at the top. I admit that I found the title and cover far from what I expect a Koontz book to look like, and that it intrigued me.

I began the book on December 29 and it only kept me awake through the first few chapters. I feared that it might be a Koontz dud. I picked it up again in the evening of December 30 and couldn't put it down. I read until 4:30 in the morning. It was very good and suspenseful in unimagined ways. More than just suspenseful, it gave me a non-stop anxious feeling. I genuinely could not see what was going to happen. And I believe that this is the second Koontz book that has made me cry.

Most books that I love contain character who are lovable. Or, if not lovable, then at least likable or identifiable. Ryan Perry is no exception.
I'm still a little at odds with the Mary Higgins Clark look and title, but I guess it's a perfect example of that well known cliche.

View all my reviews.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Well Done, Ian McEwan

Atonement: A Novel Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a beautifully written book! Even though there are harsh scenes and difficult subject matter, there are moments where I thought that what I had just read couldn't have possibly been written any better. It is the type of book where you can see the sorts of tragedies that lie ahead, but that doesn't matter because the writing is so marvelous. And you aren't meant, really, to be in suspense of certain events. Predictability does not diminish the story in the least.

**Audio book review: The narrator Jill Tanner is extremely talented. The subtleties in her voice are perfect. I may search out audio books read by her simply to hear her read them.

View all my reviews.

One Christmas Party and a Request

Upon arriving in Utah the Saturday following Christmas we were already late for our first gathering. We drove straight to Laser Assault in Provo where the Elison clan was meeting for a game of laser tag. Ryder, Haven and I dropped off the big people and headed to my mom's house to drop off our luggage. I guess I should mention the slight breakdown I had when I thought that Eric didn't pack our Christmas presents. I could only see the three largest packages in the back of the van and thought that he had left the bag full of presents for people at home. I admit that I sort of lost it. I think I had a literal panic attack. I was so upset. But I just couldn't imagine that Eric would have left them and started racking my brain about where they could be. It finally dawned on me (unfortunately after I was reduced to a blubbering mess). He put them in the stow-and-go. Whew! I was so relieved. I then gathered Haven and Ryder together (they were less than ready to get back in the car) and went to the grocery store to buy our measley contribution to the Elison family party dinner: pineapple and mandarin oranges for Hawaiian Haystacks. Yum!

When we got to Kip and Diana's house, Gracie and Lily had crazily styled their hair and were being funny. I told them I would have to take a picture of them and Lily said, "put us on your blog!" So, here you go girls!

More party goers.

I didn't take a whole lot of pictures. I think everyone is tired of me walking around with a camera all the time.

We had a really fun night. It's always great to see everyone. Add in great food and it's even better! We are so happy when the Elison family waits for us to get here before they have the party.