Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh darn... she's awake!!"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yup, Another Video

Aly's first choir concert of this school year. She is in the front row, third from the end on the left.



I recorded two of her songs and if you're interested you can see the second one here.

(Sorry the quality isn't great. I used my digital point and shoot camera to record this because I've been having problems with my digital video camera. This is the best I could get.)

A Moment to Reflect

I found this on Annie's blog. I don't know how many of my readers check out her blog (although I know a few do), so I thought I'd post it here. I think the message is important and it is powerful. We have less than a week left until Nov. 4. I'm not telling you who to vote for and I'm not saying who I'm voting for. That's personal. What's important is that I/you/we vote our conscience.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Witchie Poo

Calvin and I don't have a "song" like most couples. We have a "movie." (That's a long story that I won't delve into tonight.) Our movie is Princess Bride and we've seen it so many times that we can quote a lot of it. One of my favorite-est lines in the movie (and any other movie) is when the
witch, Valerie, is chasing Miracle Max around their cabin AND yelling at him.

In many conversations with Calvin, I have said this to him (always jokingly of course):

"Hey Calvin! I'm not a witch!! I'M YOUR WIFE!!"

(To hear Valerie say it click here and fast forward to 3:09 on the clock. You'll love it!)

In the spirit of Calvin (Miracle Max) feeling better and to celebrate witches and Halloween I give you these funnies:




Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Random Pictures

This is my "I'm-riding-for-14-hours-straight-in-a-car-and-I-need-something-to-do" project.

A grandma of a girl that is in Adam's dance class taught me this pattern and I did almost the whole blanket on the drive to and from California this month. I had intended to make it into a lap-size blanket for Aly for Christmas, but I ran out of the pink and couldn't buy any more, so I finished off the edges and sent it (today) to an orphanage in Ecuador. I'm hoping a sweet little baby will enjoy the softness and warmth and will gain some comfort from it.

Last week Adam and I thought we'd make some Carmel Apples. He thought it would be fun to help make the carmel. I let him stir until the mixture came to boiling temperatures and then I took over (for obvious reasons.) Pay no attention to the mess in the laundry room. (Thorkgal, can you see your witches hat back there? Hint hint!!)

This is how the apples looked. We rolled them in mini M-n-M's and chopped up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Wow! They look tasy, don't they?
Nope! They were hard as rocks, probably harder. I think my candy thermometer was a little off. I've never had carmel turn out like that before. We had to throw the whole batch away. I'm trying to find time to make more... (But I still haven't made Halloween sugar cookies and we still haven't bought pumpkins, let alone carved them!! AUGH!! Can someone throw two extra days into this week?)
video
This weekend I had some help cutting Calvin's hair. Thank heavens Calvin has a hair-do that's hard to mess up.
********************************

UPDATE: Calvin is feeling slightly better today. No barfing, so Adam's signs must have worked. We can't get into the Ear Nose Throat doctor until Monday, so we went to an internal medicine doctor. He's a great guy, we love him, but he wasn't much help. He said Calvin doesn't have an inner ear infection. He gave Calvin some print-outs of exercises to do that should help bring his equalibrium back into wack. So far there hasn't been any big "WOW" moment that says he's getting better. It will have to come in small steps I think. However, taking massive amounts of time off when you're self-employed isn't easy. It's driving him crazy that he can't sit up and work for longer than 5 or 10 minutes at a time.

4:4:4

I found this meme on April's blog and thought I'd play along.


The rules are:


1. Go to your pictures.
2. Upload 4th picture from 4th folder.
3. Post.
4. Tag 4 friends.


For me (and probably most of you as well) this folder is quite old. I got my first digital camera for Christmas 2004, which is about the time this picture was taken. (Jan 1, 2005) Adam was two years old.



I can tag four of my friends, but I'd rather just say,

TAG, YOU'RE IT!!
(If you've read it, you're tagged!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Greetings

Hi Devani!!
Thanks for coming and leaving me a comment. I LOVE THAT!!!

It was fun getting reaquainted with you the other night. You should come join our combined choir and we can see each other every week!! (Or are you already in choir? There are a ton of people there and I don't know most that are in your ward.)

Let me know when you start your own blog.

Mish Mash & Hodge Podge

So lots of little things happening right now. There's really nothing that can be its own blog posting, but there are enough smaller things that if compiled together can make one random messy post.

Probably the most important in our life today is the fact that Calvin is having some serious, and I mean SERIOUS inner ear issues (say that 5 times fast...)
inner ear issues
inner ear issues
inner ear issues
(heck! try typing it 5 times fast...)

He woke me up early this morning (5:45) vomiting. That, in and of itself is amazing. We've been married for pert near 21 years and I think that he has only vomited maybe 3 times out of sickness that entire time. He emptied his stomach every 15 minutes until about 7:30. It turns out that, for him, the room was spinning. He was motion sick and nauseous from that. Yes, it sounds like vertigo, doesn't it?

Vertigo Overview
Vertigo is the feeling that you or your environment is moving when no movement occurs. Imprecisely called dizziness, the term vertigo is the specific term used to describe an illusion of movement. Unlike nonspecific lightheadedness or dizziness, vertigo has relatively few causes.

Poor Calvin, can't move without throwing up. Seriously. Something as simple as rolling over makes him nauseous and he throws up. Our neighbor suffered with this same condition a couple months ago,(and continues to get episodes) so we called to get advice. He offered to come over and show us the funky treatment that cured him. It was a real chore to get Calvin downstairs from our bedroom to the living room. He was completely off balance by the time he got to the bottom of the stairs and I had to grab him and keep him from falling over. By the time he sat down on the couch, I had to have a bag ready because he had gotten so sick from the movement that he began vomiting again.

Ron was very helpful and it was nice for Calvin to have someone that has suffered in the same way to talk to. I have sympathy for him, but Ron understands how terrible this condition is. It was also very nice that Ron's son is a fairly new elder and together they gave Calvin a healing blessing.

We got Calvin upstairs, Ron brought over some anti-nausea and motion sickness medicine and I think Calvin is ready for the night. Tomorrow we'll take him to the Ear, Nose, Throat doc and get the official diagnosis.

Pray for him, will ya?

Funny thing: Adam is tired of the vomit drama. I always shoo Adam away when Calvin begins to throw up and I think Adam is beginning to feel disgruntled about it. He made a sign while Ron & Jill were over and it made us all laugh. (I took a picture of it, but you can't read it.) It says,
"Stop Borrfeeng."
(He's 6. He spell phonetically.)
The sign is hanging up in our bedroom.

****************************************

Life hasn't been all dry heaves and belching. Saturday was WONDERFUL!!! Calvin and I left the children at home and we drove 30 minutes to the shopping mecca of our area and started Christmas shopping! Yippee!! I am so thrilled to have a large chunk of Christmas bought, paid for and, yes, I will admit it...

WRAPPED!!!

But the best part was that it was just the two of us. My love language is "Quality Time" and Calvin knows this. He's always so good to put aside the papers he's grading (he's a faculty member at University of Phoenix online) and spend time with me. We had a blast.

***********************************

I got to teach the Young Women lesson on Sunday. We're on lesson #40 which is titled, "Loving Ourselves and Others." I was excited to make a handout with this poem on it:

You
Today you are you, that is truer than true.
There is one one alive that is youer than you.
Shout aloud,
I am what I am!
Thank goodness I am not a clam or a ham
Or a dusty ole' jar of gooseberry jam.
I am what I am,
What a great thing to be.
If I say so myself,
Happy everyday to me.
--Dr. Seuss

Don't you think everyone should have this poem memorized?

******************************

A funny/embarrassing thing happened to me Friday night. It was the Halloween Carnival at Adam's school. I signed up to sell the tickets for the activities. While I was sitting there, a guy walked up to me and started talking to me like I knew him.

I didn't.

I mentioned that fact, "Dude, I don't know you!"

And he said, "Oh yes you do. We are intimately acquainted.... "

(a slight pause as I looked at him, my face red, my eyes wide....)

"Well, you're intimately acquainted with my teeth anyway," he continued.

I just laughed then. He thought I was the hygienist that worked in his dentist's office. He laughed too when I told him that he had me confused with someone else.

I was glad Calvin wasn't there, though. That could have been awkward.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Aly and PTC

I was just writing a lengthy email to Thorny Tree Lady (I can't link you to her blog anymore because she went private!) and in that email I was telling her about Aly. It made me realize that I need to tell Aly how proud I am of her on how hard she has been working in school.

But first a little background: When Aly was in 6th grade she was diagnosed with Non-Verbal Learning Disability. (Click on the link and read the home page. You'll understand almost exactly what her early childhood was like...) We got her into speech therapy immediately and also got her a 504 Plan at the school. (Idaho doesn't recognize NLD as a real learning disability, so she didn't qualify for an IEP. A 504 Plan just gives her certain allowances for her classes like extra time on tests, the opportunity to redo failed home work, etc.) We also pulled her out of public school for her 7th grade year and did an online home school in an effort to bring her up to grade level. She started 8th grade back in public school and on par with the other 8th graders. It was a great move for her!

She did okay in Jr. High but when High School started, she really took off. Of course, she had the extra incentive of a cell phone to motivate her... if she doesn't maintain a 3.0 GPA, she loses the phone. She has worked very hard and has kept her GPA above a 3.3.

Here's my "Happy Mommy Moment:" Today was Parent Teacher Conference. We went to her math teacher and told her who we were (yes, Calvin is one of the rare dads that likes to go to PTC!! Cool, eh?) When we said we were Aly's parents, the teacher got so excited and said, "OH!! I LOVE HAVING ALY IN MY CLASS!! SHE IS SO MUCH FUN AND SUCH A GREAT KID!!" (We have always thought that, but it's kind of nice having someone outside of the home reaffirm that.)

The teacher started to rant and rave about Aly and what great work she does in class. I had to look at the class schedule I had in my hand. I thought surely we weren't talking to the math teacher. Math (and art) have always, I mean always been Aly's worst subject. But we really were talking to her math teacher. It made me wonder if we were talking about the same Aly.... we were!!

I cleared my throat and said to the teacher, "Do you understand what this means to me? Aly doesn't do math. She struggles and has to exert a huge amount of effort to understand the concepts." The teacher truly looked surprised. She was unaware of the 504 (LONG story... I'll just say the school administration messed up) and didn't know about the learning disability. She went on to elaborate that Aly is unafraid to speak up in class and to do work on the board in front of the class and that she ALWAYS GETS THE ANSWERS RIGHT. That brought me to tears. We always knew that Aly was smart enough to do it, but it just came differently to her.

And now look at her shine!! The fact that she is willing to do the work in front of her peers is simply amazing to me.

I felt stupid for crying in front of the math teacher. But, if I had the opportunity to spend more time with her, I'm sure it wouldn't be the last time I cried in front of her. Cuz I just cry... all the time. (No, I'm no depressed!)

Anyway.... I just want to tell Aly that I'm very proud of you, Sweetie. You have risen above a trial that Heavenly Father gave you and you didn't let it drag you down. Your hard work and dedication has inspired me. You are a wonderful example to your brother. And this proves what we have told you all along -- YOU CAN DO ANYTHING IF YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO IT!!

(Now turn off my blog and start reading a book.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obviously, as you can see by the next three posts, that Adam and I have a little too much time on our hands. We'll be back to serious posts again soon!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Monday, October 20, 2008

My 100th Post!!!

Wow!! Today I've reached a milestone....
*
*
*
*
100 POSTS

Woot!!
A lot of people make their 100th post a big celebration. I'm drawing a blank. I can't think of anything particularly fun or special to do. So I decided that I would "Yearbook Myself." I've seen it on a gazillion blogs and I've wanted to do it, but haven't. Then my great sis, Wees, sent me the link in an email and I decided I'd "git 'er dun."

So, Happy 100 Posts to me and enjoy looking at me through the years (and a different gender):
1954

1966
1978

Of course I had to see how macho a boy I would have been...
(not very)
1956 Boy

Accountability

Waaay back -- seven months ago -- when I had a different blog I wrote about how I had joined Curves. I announced my membership publicly so that I could be held accountable for my workouts and the progress or lack of progress I was making.

But then I chickened out. (on the public part)

I hate scales and measuring tapes and body fat measurers (I don't own any of them). I think they should be outlawed and anyone found in possession of them should be sent to Siberia or some other obscure place. Once a month I would get a gentle reminder that it is "Measuring Day" from the computer when I checked in. Once a month I would look furtively at the workers to make sure they didn't see the reminder and I would jump on the machines pretending that the room with the scales didn't exist.

You can hide, but eventually someone finds you.

In my case my conscience found me. I got the reminder again last Friday and that little nagging voice in the back of my head said, "You know, Michelle, what's the point of coming, sweating and working horrendous callouses into your hands if you don't know what's happening with your body?" (That's a long sentence to say to myself, but I think I needed a stern talking to.)

I got up this morning with a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I almost didn't go. (I have changed my workout schedule from afternoons to mornings.) But I knew I had to. Thankfully, when I got there, only one person was there and she was finishing up her workout. (I hate being weighed and measured when there's a slight possibility that someone could walk by. It's never happened, but you never know when it could!) I swallowed my fear and said to the worker/owner (really fast), "Ineedtoweighandmeasure."

A blank look was returned.

(Talking to myself again: "Michelle, GET OVER IT!!!) Big breath, "Good morning Nancy, I need to weigh and measure today."

A very chipper Nancy: "WELL COME ON BACK!!"

And, I DID IT!! The news is good. Since May (the last time I had a measuring tape near me) I have lost a total of 10 3/4 inches. Since March I have lost a total of 9.5 pounds.

I am now back to the weight/size I was when I first moved back to Idaho 10 years ago. (All these long winters have been hard.)

I know I still have a long way to go. It would be nice to lose 30 or 40 more pounds and several more inches, but I'll take it in small steps. I still love going to Curves and don't regret giving up my gym membership. I started their Curves Smart program and that has been WONDERFUL!! I have my own personal trainer that I can swear at and it doesn't care!!!

I just thought I should let you know. Accountability is a good thing.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Old Friends Who Are Not Old

I have served in the Young Women organization for approximately forever. I have worked under 5 or 6 presidents in various capacities: I have been 1st & 2nd counselor; Beehive advisor and "music specialist."

I was first called into YW when I lived on the Oregon Coast. My very good friend Laura B was the president, "Ole Crazy" was my advisor and Jackie was the Mia Maid advisor in that presidency. (We had more fun than should be allowed for a church calling.) I can't tell you who was in the Beehive class when I was put in, but I can tell you just about everyone else who came in during my tenure.

My very first Beehive was Kristi.... sweet little Kristi who couldn't burp if her life depended on it. (She can now!) Kristi who was innocent and kind without an evil bone in her body. A little more than a year later, Laura's daughter Kirsten came in. Kirsten who is independent, and crazy and fun and kind. We had so much fun!!

This weekend we had a small reunion. Kristi who is an old married lady of 25 (yes, a quarter of a century.... 1/2 way to 50) came to visit from Southern Utah. Fortunately for me, Kirsten lives here, (kind of) attending school and working. A dinner party at my house was arranged with Jackie and her family, Kristi, Kirsten and the local cutie Jake T. coming as well. (We didn't have the usual "Newport Dinner" this time.) After Jake and Dave left and Calvin went to sleep (8 pm) we Newport YW alumni sat around yakking, laughing, and playing Mad Gab. I grabbed my point and shoot Kodak camera (cuz I still haven't gotten a new lense for my Nikon) and started taking silly photos.

You'll love these!!
(I wasn't sure if I should take out Kirsten's "red eye" and decided it has a much better effect so I left it in!!)



This is my silly photo. The one and only. Jackie
Kristi a.k.a. Penelope

I was once their leader and now I feel fortunate to have them as friends. (I might get a bit sappy here) It's gratifying that I still have connections with them and get to see who they have become. They are both wonderful women that I admire and love.

I didn't take any photos of Jake T (he was hanging with the guys) so I lifted this off his Facebook page. I hope he doesn't mind!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fave & Not-So-Fave

In a comment on this blog Uncle Karl asked:

"Okay now that you are back home, tell us what you and the kids liked best at Disneyland and Sea World. What were your favorites?

Uncle K2"
I can answer this fairly quickly and easily.

Without a doubt (and I think I can speak for 3/4 of my family) "Soaring Over California" in California Adventures Park was far and above the best ride there. We only did it twice: once was early in the morning and we only had to wait about 10 minutes to get on and once we had a FastPass to get on. The first time we were on the second tier of seats and it was AMAZING!! The music, the scenery, the pine scent and the orange blossom scent.... it actually brought tears to my eyes. The second time we were in the top tier and I have to admit my fear of heights did bother me a little bit. But I gripped the seat handles and trusted my seat belt and enjoyed it almost as much as the first time. If I didn't have to fight the lines, I would have gone back and back and back.... well, you get the picture.

My personal second favorite ride was Splash Mountain. There's a story behind us riding this ride: Eight years ago when we took Aly to Disney World in Florida we had every intention of riding Splash Mountain. Aly was 8 years old and totally into her "Princess Phase" (okay, we are only just leaving that phase...) She got a bunch of new clothes for that trip and DID NOT want to get them wet. Every time we'd approach the ride, she would start crying and being stubborn and absolutely refused to ride. Each time we'd be just as stubborn and we'd get her (reluctantly) in line. And, believe it or not, each time we'd get close to the ride it would get closed, either due to mechanical problems or electric storms (there was a lot of lightning on our trip!) This happened at least three times. The fates didn't want Aly to ride and didn't want her to get wet.

Flash forward: Aly was finally excited to ride Splash Mtn. We got in line and started getting nervous. Just how wet would we get? With butterflies fluttering in our tummies, we got through the line and were just about ready to be put in the que to get on the ride. And.... yup! You guessed it!! There were mechanical difficulties and THE RIDE WAS CLOSED!!! We just laughed and blamed the fates again.

Finally, on the last day we were there, we got our FastPass and got back in line. We actually got to be seated in the log and looked at the ride operator. All of a sudden everything stopped and she was on the phone... it didn't look good!! Could we actually be denied the ride a 5th time?

Soon, the operator was smiling and we slowly began to move forward. We were going!! We shouted out a thank you to her as we rode by.

It was a blast. We were smart/lucky and rode in the back of the log and didn't get too wet. Just enough to cool us off but not enough to ruin our hair. We were actually able to do the ride twice that day. The fates liked us again.

too bad you can't see Adam in this picture! He's just right behind Calvin.


Of course we liked the rides like Peter Pan, Mr. Toad and Snow White. There is nothing to make one scared or motion sick in those rides. They're just a fun flashback to childhood.

For fun and a slight competitive moment, we really enjoy the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. It's fun zooming through and shooting all the Zurgs. We also loved the Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Carribean.

I know you didn't ask, Uncle Karl, but I'm going to tell you the two rides I cannot go on... ever again:

Star Wars: Star Tours was sickening. Even after taking Dramamine and closing my eyes during the entire ride I walked off completely motion sick. I remember that happening at Disney World too and I kicked myself for getting back on the ride. Like it would be different in California? NOT!! Don't even say "Star Wars" to me right now and I still get a bit dizzy. It was horrid.

I also can't ride Space Mountain again, for the same reasons. If I take Dramamine I can usually ride Roller Coasters, but with this one, it's almost totally in the dark. I can't see where we are going and that's a problem. I got off this ride quite nauseated (and apparently someone else was too because we had to step over vomit on the way out.... ick!)

However, there are plenty of other rides to go on and plenty of other things to see and do. I'm serious when I say I want to go back next year. (And I will get my picture taken with Mary Poppins!)

Unfortunately It's a Small World was closed... maybe it's a good thing so we didn't walk around singing the song incessantly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Big Read

I got this off my sister's friend's blog (now she knows I read it!) Like NY Ang and my sister, I love to read. I loved this list because there are times I sit around thinking about what book I should read next. This will be a big help to me...

The Big Read
"The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed."1) Look at the list and bold those you have read--I bolded and changed the font color so you could actually see what I've read. 2) Italicize those you intend to read. 3) Underline the books you love. 4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated. 5) Reprint this list in your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Our local library signed up to participate in the Big Read this year. Last year was My Antonia and this year is A Farewell to Arms. I'm glad to have this great list to choose from!!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Here are some pictures of our trip to Disneyland. Click on the collage for a larger view, or you can see a lot more here.
We had such a great time!! We were sad to come home, especially since we left 97* weather and came hom to 38* and snow, yes SNOW!!! Obviously we are freezing!
We made the trip home in one day... a very long 15+ hour day. It wasn't fun, but we found we can do it and it was okay. Some things we learned on our way home...
* watch out for construction in Vegas. It's crazy!
* there weren't many Idaho drivers on the road, but they bugged me. (So did Utah drivers, but that's nothing new.)
* DON'T EAT AT THE FAZOLLI'S IN PROVO!!! It was disgusting!!
* Stop and get out every 4 hours or so, even to just go potty or walk around the car. Your legs and back and bum will thank you.
* Take your neighbor in the car with you. It makes us all be nicer to each other and keeps Calvin from stinking the car up.
We had so much fun we decided we'd like to save our money to go back next year.
WE CAN'T WAIT!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Free Purse!

Click here to enter to win a free handbag. I checked it out and it seems genuine. Just enter your name and email address. No strings attached. Give it a go!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wednesday Is A Special Day...

... it's the day we use to rest.

We were so exhausted and sore from our previous days in the Parks that we changed our schedule. Originally, we were going to spend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the Parks and Thursday would be spent at points beyond, seeing different parts of So. Cal. Unfortunately, there was no way we could put in another HUGE day sprinting from Indiana Jones to Space Mtn., to Haunted Mansion, so we opted for a calmer more relaxing day.

We drove to San Diego and spent a calm, relaxing (mostly) afternoon in Sea World. The atmosphere there was completely different from Disney -- in a lot of ways. Firstly, their employees haven't had the "happiness training" Disney employees have to have. Most of them were very grumpy and didn't even greet us.

Oh well. We survived because the other difference was pure bliss: The crowds were minimal. We didn't have to fight for any openings in windows to see the Beluga Whales or Polar Bears. We were able to get great seats for the Dolphin show and Shamu's Show (we got drenched by the dolphins. I'm talking ring-us-out we're sloshing in our shoes wet!! It was great!!)

There were memory making highlights of the day and one horrible low point of the day. I'll tell about the horrible moment first:

We were walking in to see the Manatee and there was a woman and her family by the entrance. The woman was big and mean and MAD!!! Her little boy had done something that put her over the top. As we walked by, she was screaming and she pushed him toward a bench and told him he needed to go sit down. We were shocked, but unsure if we needed to step in because he went to the bench by himself and she stayed behind.... or so we thought.

As we were walking into the attraction, Calvin heard her yell, "Assume the position!!" He stopped dead in his tracks, turned around and walked back out the door to see what was going to happen. I knew the woman was large and she scared me. I tried to pull him back. Thankfully, my husband is a better person than me and he's not afraid of doing what's right. Also, he could see what I couldn't....

The woman had come back to her son carrying a large belt. (Yes, all this happened in a public area!!!) When she yelled, "assume the position" it was because she was going to beat him. Calvin walked up to her and told her not to do it. She became even more angry and started screaming at my husband.

I was very scared.

Calvin, is a very calm person and he wouldn't back down. Even though she was yelling at him to leave her alone and that she could whip her own boy if she wanted, he kept talking, telling her not to do it. He even said these words to her, "You're better than this."

This woman got one whack at the boy before she felt compelled to leave. Calvin's presence had created more of a scene than she wanted, so she packed up and left. We tried to find security to see if someone could help that poor child more, but, the laid back atmosphere of the park meant there was none that we could find. We had an employee call and gave them a description, but we know nothing was done about it.

I just hope that poor child remembers that there was a man (a very good man) that stepped in on his behalf. I hope that woman remembers Calvin's words that she's better than that. I hope that I remember that doing the right thing isn't always easy, but it can save a child.

Okay, so I wanted the bad stuff done first so I can end this post (#92... I'm approaching the 100 mark!!) on a happy note:

Today I conquered a HUGE fear and pet a (drum roll please.......) STINGRAY!!! I was terrified -- scared out of my mind to touch a slimy thing in the water. But I knew that I would regret it if I didn't so I sucked up every ounce of courage I could find and stuck my hand in the water.

The first touch was (and I won't lie) DISGUSTING!! Totally and utterly slimy, squishy and horrendous. I squealed and pulled my hand out, but wanted to try it again. I was a little more brave the second time and I found out that it wasn't as slimy and squishy as I originally thought it was. No, it actually felt more like I thought it would feel. Pretty soon, you couldn't keep my hand out of the water!! One cool moment that happened was when I found an especially friendly stingray that swam right up to me and pressed against the retaining wall and poked his surprisingly cute face out of the water and looked at me. He hung out with me for what seemed like a long time before he took off. I wanted to take him home with me.

It was simply AWESOME!!!

On the way back to Anaheim, we stopped for a few minutes at the San Diego Temple and walked the grounds. I took a few pictures (with my point and shoot), talked to a patron and headed back. Calvin was pretty tired on the drive back, so I took the wheel for the first time since entering California (another proud moment. I've been pretty scared to drive here because the traffic is a lot heavier than the streets I drive).

So that's where we're at. Tomorrow is Day 3 (final day) in Disneyland. We'll head home soon.

P.S. I'm using my point and shoot camera because (and I'm soo mad!!!) the lense on my good Nikon got broken yesterday. I'm not sure how or where. It stayed in its case all day (except when in use) but it must have gotten crushed in a ride somewhere. I am so thankful that I brought both cameras along! The point and shoot isn't fabulous, but it's quite adequate and will still record the memories.

P.S.S. I almost ruined my point and shoot today. I thought I had it put somewhere safe for the Dolphin Show, but it got drenched too. The salt water made it nearly impossible to move the dial to turn the camera on and off. I worked it hard though and think I broke through the salt seal that was created.

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I'd like to give a shout out my friend, Sarah M who's new to blogging! Welcome aboard!! I can't wait to see you and the boys in a couple weeks!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Vacation Thoughts

I couldn't post yesterday. I tried, but I couldn't connect to the internet and Calvin was too asleep to help me. Oh well. This is what I was going to say:

"Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked."

You remember that Primary song, don't you?

I thought of that all day as we walked miles through California Adventure and Disneyland.

I'm pretty sure if I was a pioneer, they would have shot me and left me on the prairie.

Bloody stumps and all.

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(That's all I'm saying about that.)

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We're having a blast. It's hot and I mean HOT!! The weather guy said it was one degree short of the record high. It was 97 degrees yesterday. We came here in October for two reasons: the weather would be cooler and smaller crowds. Both reasons have been shot to heck. The heat has been horrendous!! Thank heavens for backpacks and water bottles so we could stay hydrated.
And.... the crowds have been huge as well. We're not the only school district that is having a vacation. The Arizona schools are on break right now and the crowds are summer-like. We could have come in July and had the same experience. Oh well. Thank heavens for RideMax and FastPass. The only lines we've had to wait a long time in were the rides that didn't have FastPass (and when we ditched our RideMax schedule.)

The kids are having fun anyway and haven't complained at all. The miles we've walked has to be astounding and they keep going and going. Energizer Bunny going. I'm proud of them.

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I just checked weather.com and we'll be going home to 39 degree weather with a chance of snow. There may be a slight chance we won't be going home.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'm....

too....
tired.....
to.....
blog......
Maybe tomorrow.......
(No, Devyn, we didn't lose Adam! He was a good boy and stayed right by our side all day!!!)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Alive!!

Greetings from the Happiest Place on Earth!!

It's been a couple long days and more than one wrong turn, but we've made it to Anaheim and our hotel. It was an adventure getting here:

The first day of driving was the long day. We drove from our home to Mesquite, Nevada (which is longer than 4 hours). The hard part about that was the rain. It rained the entire day!!! It was irritating, annoying and down right obnoxious. I was driving when we went through Salt Lake and it was so hard to see the road in front and behind us. Add to that the large amounts of traffic (much larger amounts than what I'm used to driving in) and I was "white knuckle driving." Add to that the fact that we put Mr. Jabber-box in the far back seat of the Tahoe and I couldn't hear a word he was trying to say to me because of the amount of water hitting the top of the car and running beneath the car. Aly wanted music on, and Adam wanted to talk and I couldn't hear a darn thing. That made my knuckles a bit more white and I'm sure I gained more than a few more white hairs on my head

*Note to self: Call hair dresser when we get back for a touch-up of my highlights.

The highlight of the day was being able to talk to my friend, Kristi, for about 20 minutes as we were driving through Arm-Pit, Utah (which is about an hour north of St. George). I was amazed that we had coverage the entire time and we had a nice conversation. I'm looking forward to her visit in two weeks.

It was also nice bringing our next-door neighbor and friend, Maddie along on the trip. Her sister, lives 20 minutes from Disneyland and we decided it would be fun to bring Maddie along as a surprise. Maddie is naturally cheerful and happy and things were quite positive while she was in the car.... it's hard to fight when she's around.

(The surprise was perfect!! A. had no idea that Maddie was coming! A's hubby, B, was so good at keeping her in the dark. He had A. cook us dinner (which was delicious) but told her she was cooking for some of their friends. Unfortunately, those friends "cancelled" and they couldn't find someone else to come eat the copious amounts of food she had prepared. When we knocked on the door (with Maddie staying behind to come in a couple minutes after us), she was so excited because she had the right amount of food to feed us. She was so gracious because after greeting us, she said, "Have you had dinner? Do you want to eat with us?" The surprise was made even better when Maddie knocked on the door and came in. I will treasure the memories of that for a LONG time!)

We gave Maddie her first experience at a casino. I didn't fully realize that the hotel I booked in Mesquite was a full-on casino (it said resort, and that made me think of swimming pools and spas. I never dreamed that the resort was a casino. Oh well.) It was quite disgusting. My non-smoking room was -- of course -- full of stinky walls, bedding and ashtrays. Of course, there was no where we could be moved to! "It's Expedia's fault!" was the line Calvin got when he called to complain.

Traffic between Vegas and LA was intense. I've heard that it gets worse later on Sunday and that boggles my mind. Calvin handled it perfectly, though. I'm grateful that he is so cool under vehicular pressure. (I probably would have had a vehicular aneurysm.)

The two times we got lost was coming into Anaheim. We made our map with Google and they weren't as thorough as we expected them to be. Thankfully, there was a very nice lady in a gas station in Ontario (two things: yes, Calvin stopped and asked for directions and who knew there was an Ontario California?)
The second time we got lost was after leaving A & B's apartment. We thought we'd go on an adventure and try to find the Newport Beach Temple (I didn't know there was one!). We didn't find it, but missed our turn coming back. We ended too far east than where we were supposed to be, but thanks to a beautiful map Calvin bought at the first gas station, we figured it out.

We've seen a lot more of Southern California than we ever thought we would. It's great!! And now we're looking forward to our first day in Disneyland tomorrow.

Our goals:
to not lose Adam
to have fun
to keep Adam with us
experience as much as Disneyland as possible
whatever we do, try not to lose Adam

Friday, October 3, 2008

This is it!

I really don't have time, but I'm gonna write anyway. I still have plenty to do to get ready for our trip, but I feel good in that I have a lot done.

Yesterday was high stress day. It was one of those where you wake up too early with your mind racing, going over lists, trying to organize the day. I stumbled out of bed, bleary eyed because I am not a morning person and don't like getting up. I fell into a chair at the kitchen table, a pen in hand, a piece of paper in front of me on the table. I drew an utter and complete blank. Remember all those lists that woke me up? Well, they faded to the sleepy abyss that is my brain. After a NutraGrain Bar and a glass of milk, my poor brain was able to start chugging up enough memory to create a small list of the tasks I needed to accomplish. (As the day went on, the list got longer, not shorter!)

I realized, half way through the day, that I was operating in the same high stress I did at Girl's Camp. (I cried every day while I was there, over silly things people said to me: "Adam is going to kindergarten this year?" BAWL !! "Aly is graduating in two years?" BAWL!! "Your husband almost cut his finger off!" BAWL!! It went on like that all week!) Yesterday I was on the verge of tears all day... anything set me off!! For instance, as I was folding laundry, I watched an episode of The Bonny Hunt Show which I DVR'ed earlier this week(I just love her!) Yup, I bawled over a silly segment. I bawled while watching the Today Show. I bawled over the commercial that offered free scooters for the movement impaired (can you believe these poor people that have trouble walking can get them for free?)

I re-evaluated my list and realized that I didn't have to do everything. I saved the dirty dishes for Aly. I let Calvin put his own laundry away. I had one of Adam's friends come over so I didn't have to entertain him. Those little things helped tremendously.

Today I'm going to finish it all: scoop the cat box, finish ironing so I can finish packing, vacuum, mop, make some more goodies to eat in the car, among other things.

The best part of the day will be going to watch Adam's best friend and my best friend's daughter get baptized!! We are so excited for Devyn!! I think it will be a great day for her. It's a great way to end this day and the best way to begin our vacation.