Thursday, September 11, 2014

10 Books That Stayed With Me

My Sis-in-law Sara tagged me for this on facebook, but I'm writing it here so I can look back on it in 10 years and see what else makes the list. So, in no particular order.

1) A Wrinkle In Time

I read it once as a kid and it was just a lovely story. Then I reread it as a teen and had my mind blown.

2) The Giver

I read it in high school and loved it. It gained even more power when my teacher followed it with

3) Man's Search For Meaning by Victor Frankle

"He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." A psychologist analyzes his experience in concentration camps. It stays with you.

4) How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

It's not a book I've never even reread and just found out they made it into a movie a few years ago. Yet it's tone has stuck around in my head even when I can't tell you the character names. It's sort of raw and haunting and it just lingers.

5) Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman

YA fiction written from the perspective of a kid with cerebral palsy. It's influenced all my interactions with severely disabled people ever since.

6) I Thought It Was Just Me by Brene Brown

Powerful social research presented in a highly engaging way. And concrete examples on what to say when you don't know what to say. Like how to veer a gossiping situation away from gossip without drawing a giant target on your back. Or how to deal with attention hounds in an empathetic way. It's seriously a game changer without being a self-help book.

7) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The first piece of literature I read without it being part of a curriculum.  Give it time to draw you in, especially if you aren't used to little character vignettes instead of a linear plot. It's a book you have to talk about with someone after you finish it.

8) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I blame this book for my kdrama obsession. I like having the same plot served up in different ways with a Korean twist.

9) Crown Duel

My favorite YA fantasy book. It's best when you are 13 or 14, but I still reach for it when I need a good fluffy book.

10) Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace

Am I allowed to say something has stayed with me when it really hasn't been that long since I read it? It has one of the most interesting perspectives on how we view eating animals and a portion on abortion that I want to xerox and have everyone read.  The longest and most hilarious usage guide review has an amusing overuse of footnotes.

So tell me readers, what books have stuck with you over the years?

Thursday, September 4, 2014


The beloved princess umbrella from Spain finally met its demise after much abuse from various toddlers. Since its last moments were assisted by a cousin, said cousin bought J a replacement even though it was unnecessary. J loves it and has been using it as a makeshift lean-to.

Then she realized it matched her dance outfit and pearls. I was wishing for a perfect white backdrop.

Ever the egalitarian, she insisted her friend Taylor have an umbrella to play with as well.

Please note my pants-less son with one shoe on in the background. Keeping it classy.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Piano Duet

This little girl loved the piano then

 and has now learned to love the duet

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Yes, making anything turn into a hat has always made him laugh. Now he has discovered when HE turns things into a hat, it is also funny.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sleeping Baby

M is taking pleasure in reminding me how difficult one-year-olds can be. He is a whirlwind of chaos. And his lack of words is creating a little communication problem. He generally refuses to do the baby sign language signs that help assist this transition. They were so helpful with J, and M knows them, he just doesn't see the point in the charade when I know what he wants, and he knows I know, so can he just get his darn milk! He prefers to shriek like a howler monkey. Unless I'm repeating my grocery list in the car to myself while buckling him. Then he will smile and sign milk because he recognized the word when I said it. And he likes to reach for things and either swat them violently if it isn't what he wants, or grab them if he does want it. It is impossible to know what kind of reach it is until you have milk or food splattered on your shirt and the wall.

Apparently I chose poorly. And do so often. 

But he is still so incredibly sweet. He loves to play and be tickled and has a laugh that just makes me think of bubbles escaping his little heart. He likes to throw things and his first non-named word was "catch" as he lobbed a ball towards his dad. He also enjoys throwing heavier things, like flashlights. At his sister. 

We are lucky we still have sweet moment like this one.  It makes me forgive the perpetually mess he leaves in his wake and the damage he has done to my ear drums. This is my favorite M. With his soft blonde hair, being still, cuddled with his favorite red blanket. These are my Kairos moments.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dantzel and Brian got hitched!

Somehow I lost June. Not quite sure how it happened because I have physical evidence it did indeed exist. This wedding was one of the adventures.

Brian was John's college roommate and has been a great friend for along time. He's shown up on the blog often, like rock climbing here and every Balloon Fiesta and Albuquerque adventure. Dantzel was my college roommate and we stayed with her during our DC trip and another time here.

And 8 years later in the coolest turn of events ever, they decided to marry each other! I know, right?! I'm going to pretend I had something to do with the matchmaking even though I didn't really.

And to make it even better, my in-laws watched the kids, John's brother (who also roomed with Brian in college) and his wife Piper (who is probably one of the top 20 people I'd have on my team to survive the Apocolypse, for her company and not just her extensive knowledge of knots) road tripped with us. And Lil' Sis rode with us as well so it was essentially the best group ever. Please say the last phrase with a teenage girl lilt.

Brian is not one for pictures and did an admirable job suffering through.

Brian is an adventurous soul and has owned excessively large military trucks. This is his current one, next to his other large truck for scale, that they drove home in. Despite eschewing facebook, I'm sure he ended up all over the internet. Who could resist snapping a shot of the Just Married sign during a red light?

Meanwhile, our crew enjoyed ourselves. And if you know us, that means we enjoyed eating. Lots and lots of eating. And taking pictures with statues because that's what we do.

Everything in New Mexico has green chiles in it. Everything. Even the gyros at the Mediterranean place.

The eggs benedict were on green chile biscuits and had a jalepeno glaze.

Overall it was a fantastic trip with excellent company to celebrate two wonderful people. We wish them the best!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


When J started spontaneous doing leg lifts, using the couch as a bar, I asked what she was doing. She replied, "My ballet exercises," in very matter-of-fact tone. It continued at random times throughout the month so I figured Angelina Ballerina must have had a greater impact than I realized.  I looked up a little ballet class through the city parks and rec and figured a class once a week for a month would be something she'd love. It goes against my principles to pay for classes for a 3 year old, but it was cheap and there should be perks to being the oldest.

Well she loved it. LOVED it. And not just for the costumes. Normally the moms have to wait in the hall and peek through the window in the door, but the last class we actually sat in back and watched. Apparently she wasn't just making sounds as she pranced down our halls. Her 3 year old pronunciation of Chasse stumped me, but was accurate.

 I was beyond impressed with her teacher. She managed to teach some basic ballet principles to 12 three year olds. She managed them artfully. She had J's heart on day 1 because Miss Stacy wore a sparkly Rainbow Dash shirt. And she gave out dumdums at the end of every class.

Since J liked it so much, we did a second session and were happy find find our friend Taylor signed up too.

Here is a video from the first session if you want to hear her joyfully exclaim, "This is so fun!"

(I spent a half hour trying to embed the video and I admit defeat)

I'm a little nervous she is going to love dance and I'm going to have to fork out hundreds on dance costumes and shoes. After finishing up last year's photobook, I found pictures of when we went to see the Nutcracker and realized I might be partially to blame for the ballet interest. I suppose I'll start budgeting for the tulle now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

First Day of Preschool

Then she wanted to take a picture of me on the first day of preschool. Here are the results:

The instagram shoe shot

The avant guard cropped head photo


This is a little better. Forehead-free is the going to be the next trend in wedding photos.

She picked out her outfit at the store and was so excited to go to her "preschool house." The highlight was snack time. And I may have looked at the clock at 11:30am and realized belated I was supposed to pick her up. There were two kids still waiting so I didn't feel that bad :)


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