Saturday, May 18, 2013
Thursday, May 2, 2013
All I have to say is, thank goodness for audio books. Because it is easily 9pm at night before I sit down to do any school work, paperwork for the house(s), and ultimately personal reading.
I started work full-time this week, and a Monday-Friday 8-5 job is so beyond what I've ever had experience with prior. . . other than home daycare (which was really more 7-6) but that was in my own home. :) Anyway, just this week with the 8-5 and then next week starts three 12s/week. I look forward to hitting the floor for the first time. (the Post-Op/Ortho floor in the Med-Surg unit, that is, I have all intentions of avoiding the actual floor)
Here's what I read in April:
"The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater
Puck Connolly lost her parents to the giant mystical water horses years earlier, and is about to lose her home. She meets Sean Kendrick, the four-year winner of the Scorpio Races, in which these dangerous and deadly horses raced, some to the death. The mystery surrounding both Sean and the supernatural horses intrigues Puck, and she cannot stay away...from him, the races, or the idea of the victor's prize money.
I listened to this on Audio CD, and I kid you not, I found excuses to sit in my car and listen to the beautiful voices telling this story. The legends of these water horses is based on a fictional island of Thisby, somewhere near cliffs of Ireland? Scottland? Not sure. The readers are English, and perfect. But they portrayed the various characters and accents so well...it is very entertaining.
I really really enjoyed this story. I give it a solid 4.5 stars--saving my 5-star ratings for those books I would read over and over again--and recommend it strongly for anyone who enjoys a light fantastical story with elements of low and slow-boiling romance.
I just wanted to mention that my favorite line has to do with Puck and Sean first starting to fall for each other. (It's no surprise, right, that this is a girl-meets-boy story, so I can mention that they do become a couple?) Sean is giving pointers to Puck as far as racing and safety, and listening to the ocean and feeling the spirit of her horse beneath her. As they will be racing side-by-side for ultimately the same prize, she stops him.
"I say, 'I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.'
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, 'It's late for that, Puck."
Yeah, I swooned.(less)
"Sherlock Holmes #1 A Study in Scarlet" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I can't even give a synopsis of this book because it was so boring, I don't want to bore readers by recounting it. Because of the absolute success of present Sherlock-esque television shows and movies, I am blown away at how bad it really is. I was AMAZED at the lack of depth in this book. Hearing about Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle all my life, I really thought this would be better. It was not. It was flat. It was boring. There was no character development. If these were written today, I really doubt any publisher would even pick them up. I picked this up around January...I still haven't finished it.
Then of course at the half-way point (when I've ceased to care about Sherlock or Watson), the story shifts to Utah and a man that comes upon Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the Prophet Brigham Young. His portrayal of church members and their worship of the prophet and references to Joseph Smith were very off-putting. I don't know where Sir Doyle got his information, but I was disappointed at his lack of research into my people. He wrote them very cult-like and controlling, forcing one female character to become the 8th wife of someone against her will. I may never know how this tied into Sherlock Holmes in Britain, because I didn't even finish and likely won't pick up another. Bah.
"Afterwards" by Rosamund Lupton
I didn't love this one as much as Lupton's "Sister", but it was still very well written. Gracie and her daughter are the victims of a terrible school fire, and because of this are in coma-like states in the hospital. Their souls/spirits are outside their body, observing all around them. They follow their family in sadness, listen in on the police investigation, and try themselves to solve the mystery of who the arsonist was and why he would target an elementary school.
The concept was a good one--these characters obviously can't speak to the living or sway any one's opinions, and it is heartbreaking watching them wish they could interact with their loved ones, help dissolve feelings of guilt and sadness. The story keeps you guessing all along regarding "whodunnit", so it is exciting that way.
Another tear jerker, but a good one. I would continue to read books by this author. (caution, profanity)
"The Confession" by John Grisham
Dante Drum is about to be executed for a murder he didn't commit. Meanwhile, the true killer has confessed to a priest the whodunnits of the case. Though he's not sure he wants to come clean to the world, he doesn't want to send an innocent man to his death. What follows is example after example of what is wrong with our justice system today.
1) this was the first Grisham book I've read in years and It.Was.Fantastic.
2 )I listened to it on audio book and was amazed every time the reader changed his inflection for the different characters; made it very easy to follow along.
3) fascinating story and plot. The murderer is this foul repeat sex offender who has spent half his life in the prison system. He's sick. Literally, he has a brain tumor and is dying. But he is also literally and figuratively sick with a fetish for teenage girls. *shiver*
4) Very well laid-out with some surprises here and there. Very much enjoyed this one, although it was a bit dark and creepy at times.
5) Very strong characters in the murderer, the priest, the accused, the accused family, the victim's family, the judge, and most importantly, the lawyer. All very well-written.
I know Grisham books aren't for everyone. I've read just about every one and there are some definite winners and humdrums in there. This one joins the list of my Grisham faves.
"Persuasion" by Jane Austen
The more Austen I read, the less respect I have for her. I know, classics of the times, yadda yadda yadda, but honestly, is there any other plot other than Poor family, 3 daughters, father is in debt which inspires a change of dwelling, marry the daughters off, love interest is a Captain, damsel in distress is laid up and needs a long period of rehabilitation, a vicious overheard rumor is nearly the undoing of them all, yawwn.
Technically, this is about Anne who had an engagement with Captain Wentworth (and ensuing misunderstanding) eight years earlier. They are reuinted later, she still very enraptured by him, he seemingly disinterested. That's about all I got out of it while trying to pay attention.
Wondering if I read the same book as all my friends who gave this 5 stars. I strain to give it 1.5. I probably wouldn't have finished it except it was super short and I finished it in 2 days on audio CD.
"Mail Order Man (Ladies of Larkspur #1)" by Heather Gray
Sarah's town is infested with men and mail, answering an anonymous ad for a mail order husband. She runs the post office in town, and has a responsibility of parceling out and sorting the letters. In the meantime, she meets Samuel, who is in town for a different purpose. As the town is over run by mysterious shady men, he becomes a security figure and the object of Sarah's affections.
This was written by a personal friend of mine, my best friend throughout high school. This is her first book and very solidly written for a first-time author. (And can I add right now how proud I am of her!?). It was cute, light, sweet, with some great Christian messages. I have read some excerpts from other books that will follow in this series, and am excited to read more about the ladies in the town of Larkspur.
On a side note, I know both the author and the main characters have quite the obsession with coffee. I am not a coffee drinker, so that entire section wasn't as amusing to me as it might be to someone else. I did enjoy the little bit of mystery and excitement with the shoot out. The love story was very enjoyable as well. Great job, Heather!
Not too bad, eh? Some really good ones in the bunch. What are you reading?
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Every now and then I dump the pictures on my phone, or at least put them on my computer and save my favorites. Here is some randomness for you this morning.
I received this dollar bill in change somewhere. When I posted it on facebook, a friend showed me how there is an entire website set up about this guy--years ago I guess he did this, when he lived in an apartment and probably doesn't even live in the same place any more, so likely some stranger is receiving the fruits of his labors. I spent it. :)
Ethan's awards assembly. I think he got Honor Roll in this one, bottom row, right next to the teacher.
And Sean at his Awards assembly.
He was on the Principal's list again this quarter, so he got donuts with the Principal.
For National Diabetes Day, a friend encouraged us to do something such as pictured above and post it. I also painted my nails blue for the occasion as that's the color associated with Diabetes Awareness.
I volunteer just about every week in Ethan's class and last week they had AIMS testing. I made these posters to encourage the kiddos to do their best work. I think they came out kinda cute.
I guess they use this phrase all the time in class to pump themselves up.
General Conference = our Annual Junk Food Day. That's what's pictured behind the boys in this pic.
My brother blessed his brand new baby in April and on our way back we drove by the new Gilbert Temple being built. It looks gorgeous.
It was closed to visitors, although certain days and times of the week are open for closer pictures. This was the best we could do.
Ethan says he's being a librarian when they look over their glasses at students.
Three silly kids!
At a Relief Society activity last fall, I won the Service of homemade bread once a month for a year. My friend Michelle has been bringing us the tastiest treats since then and we are loving it! This month she brought us pineapple upside-down cake. I won the BEST service!
Cameron's been feeding Tallie at the patio table. He even makes her wait and helps her to bless her food first.
And here we are standing on our lot.Home-to-be!
Monday, April 22, 2013
For his day off school he of course chose a Grand Slam breakfast and a movie day watching The Croods. (Incidentally, Ethan's birthday is this week and this is really the only kid movie out right now, so I'm afraid we may have to go see it again!)
Cameron is very excited to now be in boy scouts and has already made significant headway on his first Merit Badge. This weekend he attended his first Boy Scout campout without Dad and he had a fantastic time. He said the best part was "staying up until midnight playing capture the flag."
He still loves Legos with a passion and uses them every day when he can. He is still very messy with them though, so we are trying to be consistent with having him clean up immediately when he leaves a room, or else playing with them on a blanket. He got the Lego Creationary game from his grandparents for his birthday and he loves it and plays it often with his friends.
He's very into wilderness survival right now. The only gift he asked from us for his birthday were those camouflage clothes and he wears them every chance he gets, including school. He even wore them on the campout. He loves Gary Paulsen survival books and is trying to write a survival story on his own.
He is completely determined to be an architect when he grows up and speaks of this often. He also occasionally mentions the army. Ack.
He tried french horn and percussion in band this year and sadly, didn't really mesh with either. Band probably isn't in his future, neither is singing as at this point, he's totally tone deaf. But he still sings loudly when he finds a song he likes. He still hates the sound of whistling, even though he finally learned how to whistle himself this year.
He officially does not believe in the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny (he was one of our Easter bunnies this year), but he still tentatively believes in Santa. In his heart, I think he knows the truth, he just doesn't want to admit it just yet, and that's ok.
He is very independent. When discussing his first campout with the Bishop, he'd asked if Cameron might have any homesickness issues and I had to laugh. Cameron, of all my kids, can totally entertain himself and occupy himself quite sufficiently. (Ironically, he's also my child who has the most friends and gets together with them several times a day and usually has a lateover a week) However, I know that if I dropped Cameron off in the desert with food and water, he'd be totally fine and content to either fend for himself or just sit and entertain himself until I came back. He is very much like Danny, rough, tough, they even have the same wild curly hair.
He has his definite moments of silliness, but he is growing up, bit by bit. He's just finishing up 5th grade and I think next year will be even better for him as he continues to mature. He was in the Gifted program this year and literally ACED some of his benchmarks. He was so proud of all his hard work on AIMS and how he 'proves' everything in every subject, not just in math. He's quite analytical and often has questions I simply can't answer.
I love him and his curly hair and freckles to pieces!! Happy Birthday Cameron, we hope you enjoyed your day off!
Saturday, April 20, 2013
It's been a fantastic week.
Thursday, we bought a house. It's bigger, better, in a nicer area, something we've wanted and needed for a while. We are thrilled and so excited. It is being built and we close in August...ick, moving in August, not my pref, but we'll manage. We will be changing schools, wards, and stakes actually, which in itself is scary, but again, we'll manage.
Friday, I got a job. Abrazo offered me a Med-Surg/Ortho RN position at a hospital here in town. I am super duper excited, nervous (because it is a night shift), but otherwise feeling very blessed and eager to get going. I start in a week.
Then, we signed official paperwork on selling this home. After 11 years of making memories here, it is time to close the chapter on this time in our lives. We made a decent amount of $ on the sale and will now rent the house back until we move into the other. It all worked out perfectly. I don't need to go spastic cleaning and keep things always-in-their-place-because-the-realtor-may-show-it-to-a-prospective-buyer! And we won't have to move twice (out of here into an apt, then into a home) which we had to do when we moved here. And we'll have cash in hand over the next few months to prepare for and fill the new house. Could things have worked out any more perfectly?
Feeling very blessed right now!
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Our Easter Bunny learned a couple of years ago that the hunt is a lot more exciting and challenging if eggs are hidden inside the house. We had a couple different bunnies this year, hiding for each other. It lasted close to an hour. (each kid is only able to claim eggs that have his initials on it) Good times!
I made this really yummy Easter Egg bark recipe I found on Pinterest.
(I doubled this and made two cookie sheets' worth):
- 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLɮ TOLL HOUSE� Premier White Morsels
- 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup WONKA� SweeTARTS� Jelly Beans, divided
LINE baking sheet with wax paper.
MICROWAVE morsels and vegetable shortening in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Stir in 1/4 cup SweeTarts Jelly Beans.
SPREAD mixture to 1/4-inch thickness on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cupSweeTarts Jelly Beans. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container at room temperature.