Thursday, November 5, 2015

Places I've Been And Need To Go


 
I was pretty excited to fill out this map of the United States and see how many states I've been to, most of them with our family.
 
I'd sure love to be able to fill in Alaska (cruise!) and Hawaii!
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Random Thoughts

Most of my kids are more fluent in movie quotes and song lyrics than in actual speaking. And I think it's pretty great - especially the song lyrics. Because that's my kind of language. Movie quotes, not so much. Unless the movies are from the 80's. I watched a lot of those. But you know what stinks about movies from the 80's? I remember them a lot differently than they really are. Like, when I find one and get really excited to watch it with my kids and then there is more swearing in the first 5 minutes than I remember being in the entire movie, so we have to turn it off. And then the kids say, "But I thought you said you loved that movie?" And I respond, "I was a different person in high school than I am now." Only, to tell the truth, I think there are a lot of things about me that are the same.

I still have curly hair. And it's been long enough now since I've been pregnant that my hair is becoming itself again. It's slowly graying too, but my hair is a huge part of my identity and I love it. I know that sounds kind of... I don't know. Vain? I don't mean to be vain. I just love the curly hair God gave me. I know a lot of people who have naturally curly hair who take the time to straighten it all the time. I do that every once in a while. And then my kids tell me I look weird so I wash it and POOF! I'm back to being me.

One of these years I'm going to dye my hair a subtle red and dress like Miss Frizzle. Not for Halloween. Just because. Maybe for like a month. I'm going to work on my sewing skills by crafting dresses that represent the solar system and weather patterns and nocturnal animals and ant colonies and volcanoes and such. And when people ask if I'm supposed to be Miss Frizzle I'll just look at them like, huh? I can not wait.

Have you ever eaten a persimmon? Oh my goodness. I had never even heard of them until a couple of weeks ago when Elle and I went to visit some friends and the husband was eating one. He told me he got them at a local store, so the next time I was there I bought some. They look like a tomato but they are not a tomato. They are mildly sweet and just delicious. They are my new favorite food right now. Persimmons. Who knew??

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Echo and Stars


I am excited to be a part of a partnership between our local library and my kids' elementary school library as a Book Ambassador. This just means that once a month I get to choose a book from a selection provided by the public library, read it, and then come back to the school to share my thoughts on the book with a few classes. 

Last month I chose Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. I loved it so much. So. Much.

If you have a passion for music and a love for history being weaved into stories and a fascination with the way words can be used to pierce the soul, you will love it too. It tells the tale of a harmonica that travels over years and continents to touch and inspire the lives and intertwine the stories of three musically talented children. The book touches on the struggles of life in Nazi Germany, the loneliness of the Great Depression and the difficulties faced by a migrant farm-working family who become caretakers for the home of a family sent to a Japanese internment camp. It was like a combination of August Rush and The Book Thief, with a little bit of Newsies thrown in.
 
The only thing that bothered me was the tidy conclusion to each person's individual story. There were points when the reader is left hanging as to what might have happened and at the end it was kind of like the author thought the book was too long and didn't want to elaborate on where the stories were going so they all had miraculously happy endings. I also kind of felt like the fairy tale that starts and ends the story was kind of cute but not necessary. However, I will say that I thought the way the three stories intertwine at the end was heartwarming and beautiful.

I also recently acquired The Fault In Our Stars while visiting a local Little Free Library. I just finished it yesterday.
 
 
I have heard nothing but great reviews of this book so I was excited to dig in. And yes, it was beautifully written in parts. In fact, I have fallen in love with the following passage (along with a few others):
 
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” 
 
Every book-lover can relate, right?
 
There were a few other moments in the book where I felt as if the author was peeking into my brain and putting my thoughts into words. I loved those parts. The love story between Hazel and Augustus was very sweet and perfect by most people's standards. However, I really didn't love this book. There was way too much swearing and the whole love story was kind of Twilight-esque to me. I'm sorry if you loved this book and you hate my review. But that's how I felt about it. It's also the kind of story that builds up a young woman's hope that a guy like Augustus exists and will say all the perfect words and do all the perfect things and have all the perfect feelings. I'm not a fan of those kind of stories.  
 
So, how about you? What books have you read lately that you love?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pictures With My People

I have thought long and hard about what I would want if I could have any gift available. (It came up as a question at some point a long time ago and I haven't stopped considering it.) I have finally figured it out, and I'm feeling confident about this answer. I would like a large collection of photos of me with my friends and family. And what I mean by this is that I would like to have someone follow me around and take pictures of me with each of the people that I love.  Not just pictures of them. I want to be in the pictures with them. I love taking pictures but I'm so often behind the camera. I want to be in front of it, along with the people who have been a part of my life's story.

Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of telling others that they love them. Some say that "love" is overused and overstated. I've gotten to the point where I disagree. Love is the key to everything. And when I say that I want pictures with the people that I love I don't just mean my immediate family. I don't just mean my neighborhood family. I mean ALL of the people that I LOVE in my life. And that probably includes you, if you're reading this. Because I bet I love you, even if you don't know it.

I need to start carrying my camera with me everywhere I go so I can get started with this plan. I would guess it has been at least 5 years that the idea has been swirling around in my brain and the more I think about it, the more I love it.

I would love to make it a point to travel around, just to get these pictures, which I know would be such a treasured gift. And then I have thought about starting a blog that is just for posting these pictures and writing about why I love each person, what I respect and admire in them. I think I would call it "Pictures With My People". But that's not set in stone yet.

To complete the vision of what I want to accomplish here I would have to travel all over my state. I'd start in my own city then travel everywhere from Cedar City and Vernal to Layton and Blanding and then some. I would need to travel all over the United States. I would need at least a month in California, a trip to Montana and Boston and Texas and Nevada and Iowa and New Mexico and beyond. I would need to get a passport so I could get to Italy to meet Stephanie and Canada to meet Jerri and Shanghai to meet Heather, all of whom I have never met in person but feel connected to.

The enormity of this plan is what has stopped me from making it happen. But the more I think about it, the more passionate I feel about it. So maybe, little by little, I can make this happen.

Somehow, writing this all out, it feels so much more real. And bit by bit, so much more possible.

So if I run into you somewhere and I happen to have my camera with me and ask for a picture together, please just smile and say yes. And know that my asking means that you are loved. And that you will be helping me make a dream come true.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Being Thankful

So, it's already November 1st. And I really, really wanted to write every day this month for NaBloWriMo. (Is that even in November?) And also to take time to think about what I'm thankful for and how blessed I am. Without getting into too much detail, I had a less-than-stellar day this morning and I kind of just wanted to come home from church and feel sorry for myself. I was going to lock myself in my room and read for a while but decided I should first throw the clothes in the dryer since they've been sitting in the washer since yesterday.

I do not know how to describe the feeling of opening the washer to find that every item of clothing is covered in some unknown substance, then realizing that the unknown substance is the insides of a bedtime diaper that someone must have accidentally thrown into the laundry basket. I just closed the washer and walked away. I. Just. Can't.

I decided to make a list of all the good things in my life. OK, 10 things. That is do-able. I need to get out of this slump.

1. Despite the swollen diaper mush all over my latest load of clothes, I do have a washing machine. And it works great.

2. I have a dryer, too.

3. Everyone in my family is healthy right now.

4. I have a stove and oven that allow me to cook food inside my house.

5. I have water that almost magically comes to the sinks and showers and spigots all around my house. We can use as much of it as we need.

6. The weather has stayed warm enough for us to still be eating garden fresh tomatoes every day.

7. We have a family pet that requires no maintenance. His name is Bob. I am hoping that Bob will tide the kids over for EVER and we will never need to get an actual animal that requires care.
(Meet Bob.)


8. I have a refrigerator to keep my food cold.

9. I know how to sew. I can make some pretty cool things with my sewing machine, like the costumes I whipped up for the kids this year. I can also fix things that need mending.

10. I have two functional hands, which can remove the disgusting load of laundry from my washer and into a laundry basket. I have two functional legs, which can carry the basket full of clothes outside. I have two functional arms, which can shake the swollen diaper pellets off of the disgusting clothes. And then, when I need to wash the clothes again, I can go back to number 1.

I'm off to work on Number Ten.

UPDATE: I didn't go work on Number Ten. Instead I ate a bunch of chocolate from my kids' Halloween stashes. Then tonight, as we were all getting together for prayers, Elle brought a laundry basket full of clean clothes into my room. "Are those the clothes that were in the washer?" I asked, worried. Yes, She had read my post and shook all the grossness off of the clothes for me. Then vacuumed and cleaned out the washer. Tonight, I have a favorite child.

11. My kids are awesome.