Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Mom Rocks!

Every year I think I will do some kind of tribute to her for Mother's Day, and every year I don't get around to it. Well, it may be belated, but here goes.

Eight reasons why my mom is cooler than your mom:

1. She is the most GENEROUS person I know. I remember one night talking to her about a family I knew who was going to have a difficult time providing a Christmas for their kids. My mom jumped up to get her checkbook before I could even finish the story. Not only does she have the family over every Sunday for dinner, but for two years she made double batches of homemade rolls so that I could add them to meals I had prepared for families in need. In her bedroom she has posted the scripture "be not weary in well-doing". Yup, that's her.

2. She's known for some pretty great sayings. Like when someone was reckless on the road she would shout "That's how angels are born!!!" Loudly. Out an open window. To my utter horror. Or, in a singsong voice, "Christmastime is secret time!" Or, "You're only fourteen! You may NOT go out with that boy!!!" Classic.

3. She has overcome a LOT. She grew up on the 'wrong side' of the tracks in a home that, to put it mildly was 'dysfunctional'. Yet, even at a young age she decided that she wanted more out of her life. Sometimes I wonder what I would be like if I had come from such a background. I can't imagine having the inner-strength and determination that pulled her out of that life.

4. She really knew how to rock the poncho and over sized sunglasses look in the 1970s.

5. She can do ANYTHING. She has made furniture, tiled floors, written computer programs, decorated elaborate wedding cakes, been a Relief Society President, graduated Magna Cum Laude with her bachelors degree after raising all four of us kids, gone zip-lining and tutored dyslexic children. If she sets her mind to it, watch out.

6. She's a great Nanna. Seriously? The kids all but worship her. She spoils them, loves them and works to make them successful. Sometimes my boys will complain about how mean I am. I will then tell them some story about how Nanna didn't have a pantry full of treats for me when I was a kid or how I had to clean my bathroom AND my parents bathroom every Saturday. They literally don't believe me. That just can't fathom that Nanna would be so tough. What.ever.

7. No one makes yummier cinnamon rolls. Mmmm.

8. As good and kind as she is, she is still totally feisty. She stands up for what she believes is right and refuses to let the stupid people take over. I often attribute my um, 'no-nonsense" attitude as something genetically inherited from her. (Yea, so go complain to her if you don't like it!)

So this year for Mother's Day I wanted to pamper HER. We spent an afternoon getting pedicures and going out to lunch. As wonderful as my mom is, it's no surprise that I just love spending time with her. After everything else, my mom is one of my greatest friends.

I love you mom!

Birthday Treat

Somewhere along the lines the boys got the idea that a basic cupcake was not nearly good enough for their school birthday treat. Big Boy #2 is bringing in his treat tomorrow and we made these:

Kinda cute huh? It's basically two vanilla wafers (the top one has sesame seeds) with a Grasshopper cookie, a blob of orange colored frosting and colored coconut.

See, I can be domestic. Sorta.

Monday, May 16, 2011


OK, so maybe I was JUST complaining about how busy I am, and then I go and post a blog about all the books I have read over the last couple months. I still maintain that I was busy. However, having books on my iPod has really made all that time waiting in the car much more productive. Plus? most nights I read with the boys (as in, we each read out own books, as part of homework/bedtime routine.) Anyway, here are the latest...

The White Queen was a fascinating book. The book peeks into the power-hungry British monarchy during the War of the Roses, as told from the perspective of the queen. The problem I have is that the main character really bugged me. I didn't like her - at all. Plus her husband was a jerk. I enjoyed the book, but I'm not quite sure how to like a book while hating the main character. These books are a series, so I might pick up the next one, The Red Queen.

Elephant Run is one of my favorites of this batch. It's an historical fiction that tells of a young British boy who leaves the German bombings in London for his father's Burmese elephant-run timber plantation. The plantation is soon taken over by the Japanese and Nick is left dealing with the complexities of war while immersed in a foreign world. It's youth fiction and so some of the awfulness of war (particularly the maliciousness of Japanese POW camps) is muted, but the flavor is there. I really liked it.

The Mennonite in the Little Black Dress is an autobiography of a woman who goes home to her Mennonite roots after a rough divorce. It made me laugh out loud and I really liked her. She was a bit crass, but I appreciated how she managed to both love her Mennonite background and distance herself from it. There was something about her story that I resonated with me, but I am still not totally sure what. Maybe it's the way I embrace my faith, but get irritated by Mormon culture? I don't know.

Wednesday Letters was a book club book. It was a sweet little story about an older couple that died and how their adult children discover a lifetime's worth of letters their dad wrote to their mom. It's fluff, but I'll all for fluff now and again.

It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but I had never read Pride and Prejudice before. After all the hype I was expecting to be disappointed. I was not. Although I did keep waiting for Mr. Darcy to go swimming in a pond (I guess that is a scene only in the movie version?) I found the book funny, charming, frustrating and interesting. No surprise, I would recommend it.

I have a hard time figuring out how to review The Girl Who Played with Fire. It's not a book I would ever feel comfortable recommending; it's too yucky. That said, it was also a really compelling, thinking, mystery kind of book. The first third was all foundation, and the second third was fine enough, but by the last third I couldn't put it down. The problem is that there is rape and violence and torture and all kinds of nastiness. That's why I could never fully endorse it. But it was so good that I was driven to read the second in the series.

Now this book I would NOT recommend. As much as Dragon Tattoo was yucky, at least the nastiness forwarded the plot. The Girl Who Played with Fire had all kinds of purposeless raunchiness. The author was Swedish, and his, um, liberal sensibilities were obvious. I did read the whole thing, however I blame that on my strange compulsion to finish books once I begin them. (How else can you explain reading all 945 pages of Lonesome Dove the summer of '89?) But really? Played with Fire wasn't worth it. Sorry.

Now, in contrast, I DIDN'T finish Three Cups of Tea. See, there is one caveat in my whole "have to read a book to completion" obsession: the library. If a book that I'm not enjoying has to be returned before I can finish it I won't check it out again. I have heard so many people rave about how fabulous Three Cups of Tea is, and I thought I would be a total fan; building a school to educate young girls in Pakistan? That has my name all over it! But I just couldn't get myself to really care. It was too slow, too wandering, too lame. I tried, I really did, but I simply didn't like it. And lately, there has been all kinds of controversy over exactly how legitimate his story even is.

Dear John was a book I picked for my trip to Florida. My standards for vacation reads are very different than regular reading. Dear John met my holiday standards: a fluffy, easy, light read. I don't know that I would read normally, but it was nice enough for my purposes.

Well, that's it for this batch. I'm trying to mix in more classics with my reading. Next? The Adventures of Sherlock's Holmes. So far so good. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


As you can tell from the lack of any recent posts, life has been beyond hectic lately. To be honest, it's really starting to bug me. Here's the rundown:

Dave: Between work, traveling for work and bishopric (meetings 2x a week, mutual every Tuesday, and various other commitments) it feels like he is rarely home. Here he is in Toronto at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Working hard or hardly working???

Me: While I have LOVED teaching this semester, I had somehow forgotten how much work it is to teach a new class. Although I've taught Sociology before, I have never done it in a 2x a week format, using PowerPoint, etc. Working, even though part-time, has taken a LOT.

Big Boy #1: Is likely the busiest of us all! He usually has 1 1/2 hours of homework every night, plus weekends.

Scouts has somehow ended up being 2-3 times a week, (regular weekly meetings, merit badge colleges, helping with an Eagle project, etc.) Here he is after receiving his First Class award:

Then, of course, sports (games and practices)

And finally guitar lessons and practice. He barely has any room for friends or relaxation. Things have become so crazy that we opted to take a bit of a break from guitar just to settle things down a smidge.

Big Boy #2: Managed to fit in both Math Olympiad and Battle of the Books. One highlight was when BB#2 managed to take second place in the Pine Wood Derby! (Thanks Grandpa Green for that one!)

The Caboose: Is the least busy of all of us. He has the time to just chill out and take an occassional nap.

For three years I kept thinking that life would slow down once I was no longer in Relief Society. Unfortunately, I have realized that was just wildly optimistic of me. I just don't know how to maintain this!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Dying Easter eggs with the neighbors:

The Sunday morning egg hunt:

The Caboose following the jelly bean trail with exactness!

A second egg hunt at Nanna & Grandpa's house:

Happy Easter all!