Friday, August 29, 2008


August is always going to be a bit of a crazy month for us, and while it is fun to have so many events all packed together, it is always a bit of a relief to have it all wind down and be over with. August is host to a myraid of events for us, including, but not limited to, my birthday, Ross's birthday, Judy's birthday, Joe's Birthday, and the half birthdays of my sister Dana (on my birthday- we are half-birthday twinners), and both of our girls. It is also my favorite uncle's anniversary and my parent's anniversary. Oh yeah- and my new niece Abigail was born this month as well (in the shower at the hospital- good times!) Anyway, since this last week held Ross's birthday and our anniversary, I thought I would take some time to make a list of some of the things I love most about him.

1. He lets me complain to him about anything! Even him! It is nice to have a sounding board for things like that.
2. He doesn't judge me, which is also why he is pretty much the only person who I can really complain to.
3. I know this kind of goes along with the other two- but he is a really great listener. Ross is that rare kind of person who can listen to someone and actually hear what they are saying without thinking up something that outdoes what they are saying. There are so many people who see conversations as competitions, and feel the need to out-do, or one-up the situation. Ross is not like that, and it is very refreshing.
4. Ross is a great Daddy. Our girls love him so much, and he is so patient with them. Sometimes he is too patient and makes Mommy be the bad-cop. . .
5. Ross really cares about people. When things go wrong in other people's lives, he takes it to heart.
6. Ross respects his priesthood. We have had numerous discussions about the deterioration of the respect for priesthood callings and offices lately (post of ranting to come!) and it is nice that he feels the same way I do about the shaggy-haired, unkempt teachers passing the symbols od saving ordinances.
7. He loves me. We have had our differences, and we are still working through the fact that we show our love in different ways, but when it comes right down to it- I know that he loves me! I know that he would do anything he could to protect and care for me and the girls.
8. Even though he is totally tone-deaf and can't find a beat to save his life, he does try to sing and dance with me sometimes because he knows those are things that I pretty much gave up to be with him. I don't think he will ever master dancing in this life- but I love that he tries sometimes because I know how embarrassing it can be for him.
9. He hangs out with my friends. Ross was a little surprised to find that I was still in contact with high school friends when we got married. He has not kept in touch with anyone, so it means a lot to me that he is willing to go on double dates with my friends. I love that he encourages me to spend time with my friends, even if it means some awkward meetings on his end.
10. I love that he is so educated about business and insurance and other financial stuff. I feel like I have learned so much from him. If I had married someone just like me, then I would still be clueless about a lot of important things like mutual funds, and real estate and the stock market. I really enjoy learning from him.
11. He likes to learn from me too. I love that he will ask me to explain things about literature or music to him. He really helps me feel like it wasn't a total mistake to get a degree in reading (English Lit.). I enjoy feeling like I have something to teach him on occasion.
12. I love dsicussing hot-button issues with him. Most of the time we are on the same page, so we enjoy mocking the other/wrong side of the issue. Sometimes, however, we do not agree, and I get to polish up those latent debate team skills! We have had some really great banters, and we both get pretty heated about it.
13. I like that Ross knows when to stop fighting with me. He knows when I have passed the point of reason and am just looking for ways to hurt him. He can see when the passive aggressive side starts coming out. I love that he knows how to stop the discussion at that point. . . ;)
14. Ross has really been encouraging me in my writing lately, and that has meant a lot to me. I spent a long time telling people that I don't write- I just read the work of good writers. It has been really nice to hear his compliments on my work, and to have him push me forward to do something with it. I know I will never be great, but I do enjoy it. Writing is a relaxing and cathartic experience for me, and it is really one of the few times that I let myself really express what I am feeling and thinking. It is really wonderful to have his support in my literary endeavors.
15. I love that he speaks Spanish. It has come in very useful and times, and it is also quite sexy!
16. I love that we both have the same sense of humor. It is a relief to know that I am not being judged when I fall off the couch laughing every time someone walks into a pole. I also enjoy not being the only one with a. . . well. . . inappropriate sense of humor.
17. I like that he tries to provide me with things that he knows I would never get for myself. Most of the nice clothing and jewlery and perfumes that I have were from him. If it were up to me, my wardrobe would be full of DI clothing and I would be bathing and fragrancing myself with whatever I found at the $1 bin. I still love my sales and bargains, so we have come to a nice compromise consisting of coupon clipping and high-end store clearance racks.
18. I love that he gets excited whenever I get checks from the survey sites and free-lance writing that I do. It is silly, because I have yet to bring in more than $200 a month, but he really makes me feel like I am contributing, which means a lot to me.
19. I love that Ross is willing to swallow his pride, admit his mistakes, and ask for help when the occasion calls for it. He has sought help at times that I would not- and his humility has saved us at times when my pride would have sunk us!
20. Ross never comes home unhappy. He is always full of hugs and smiles when he comes in the door. All 3 of his girls are happy when Daddy comes home.
21. I love that he tries to surprise me. He is not very good at it because he is terrible at planning things- but I do appreciate that he tries. I am confident that someday he will do it well.
22. I love that he can see humor in anything. I love laughing with him about things that we should maybe be crying about. He has such a good outlook on life, and he takes all these twists and turns as challenges.
23. Ross is great at giving gifts. For our anniversary he got me a cotton candy machine and a sno-cone maker, and still stayed under budget. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows what kind of heaven I have been in with my daily dose of fresh cotton candy.
24. I love that Ross likes my family. It means a lot that he enjoys talking and chatting with my family almost as much as I do.
25. I love that he is good at getting excited about some of the silly things that excite me. I am one of the easiest people to amuse ever- so I like not being mocked when I want to show him that I can play Praise to the Man on the piano, or when I drag him out to the garden to see the new pumpkin, or the funny beattle that hisses, or the cool bubble on the pizza. I know that it has to be frustrating living with a girl who still enjoys reading Beverly Cleary novels, but he takes all my silly shenanigins in stride and is great at humoring me.
26. I love, and this may be silly, but I love that he has a hard time with blood and needles. He is always so tough and fearless, that it is nice to be able to comfort him about something he fears that doesn't bother me. Does that make any sense?
27. This last one will only make sense to those who are familiar with Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages. Ross and I are very different in our primary languages of love. I prefer words of affirmation to anything else. If you really want me to feel happy and loved, then say something nice about me. Ross, on the other hand, revels in gifts. He loves opening presents, and likes to show his feelings through presents. This has been a very real struggle in our marriage. I think the one thing that has helped us to pull through is that we share the same secondary love language- physical touch. When I get him a gift that was a dud, or when he just cannot find any words at all to express the love he feels, then we can both resort to a loving embrace. I don't care how annoying that man can be with his wet towels on the floor and his pillow stealing, it would hurt me deelply if I was never be able to be held by him again.

Happy 27th birthday Ross! Happy 4th Anniversary! I love you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Cute Girls

These are just some quick pictures I took on Sunday while we were waiting for my family to come out to our house to celebrate Dana's Half Birthday.

Emma has been learning to wink. She is getting pretty good! I told you- her two favorite things in life are magazines and Emma.

Our New Couch!

OK, I know what some of you are thinking after reading that post title! How can they afford a new big sectional couch right now? (Hi Grant!), So let me quickly set things straight. We can't, and we didn't! We got this beautiful piece of comfortable furniture for the bargain price of FREE.99!! It is a funny story actually. I got asked on Saturday to make dinner for a lady in the ward who just had a baby (and he is soo cute!). I really didn't want to because I wasn't feeling very good and didn't even want to make dinner for my family, let alone someone else's family that is twice the size of mine. I said yes though, because 'No' just doesn't seem to be in my vocabulary. We were walking around the corner to deliver it, and we noticed this big nice sectional couch out on someone's lawn and I told Ross that if they were selling it for $200 or less we should take it because we are planning to move all of our entertainment stuff down to our basement soon and we wanted some furniture down there. When we got up to the house, there was a big purple sign on it that said 'Free!' So we took it. They were just down the street from us so they helped us carry it piece by piece over to our house. It was pretty fantastic! I think I was being blessed for making that dinner when I was feeling so crummy.

As you can see, our basement is not at all finished, butit is nice and spacious and we hate wasting all of that square footage. We have some ideas for making it workable as an entertainment room until we can afford to finish it the right way. The room that has our TV right now is also the warmest room in the house for some reason, which makes it the least desireabe place to sit and relax. We are hoping to have everything shifted down to the basement in the next couple of months so that we can turn the current entertainment room into a guest bedroom. My parents have been kind enough to store my old full-size bed at their house, and we plan to take that back and have a nice pace for Ross's parents (or any other visitor- they are just the most likely to ever stay with us at this point) to stay when they are out here. After everything they have done for us, they deserve to sleep on something that is not inflatable. :)

The Wallace Family Reunion- 2008

On August 2nd, we all got together at Cascade Park for the annual Wallace Family Reunion. The biggest hit this year was Grandpa's old fashioned ice shaver. I want one. My sisters and I tried to be friendly and social for as long as we could, but after about an hour or so the visiting gave way to reading Breaking Dawn which had come out that day. It is a shame too because it turned out to be awful. After about 100 pages I was ready to put the trash aside and visit with my aunts and uncles and assorted cousins, but some of them had already left.

Here is Emma enjoying her GREEN slushie. No other color would do!
Ross was tired, and tried to be happy. I think he was pretty annoyed when I pulled out my book. I love you, Honey!

I like tis shirt on Heather. I want one!

Heather and Caulene were both pretty tired from waiting in line for books the night before. Lucky for me, somehow Caulene got written down for 2 books on her reservation, so she got one or me too.
Heather will stop at NOTHING to be the favorite aunt this time around!!


July 26th was the BYU-Idaho Alumni Day at Lagoon which meant we got to get in at a steeply discounted price, invite all of our family and friends, and they even provided a free lunch. My family came along and we worked out a pretty good deal where we split up into pairs and took hour long shifts of entertaining the kids. This meant that we always got a two hour break in between taking over the kids. Emma was so funny! She was really nervous about everything and would hunker down and hold on for dear life on almost everything, but when it was done she would want to do it all over again. She kept saying, "Scary! Fun! Scary! Again!" By the end of the day she knew her favorites, and requested to go on those over and over again- the dragon, the horsies, and the planes.

All-in-all it was a good day, and I am glad that we did it. We almost backed out a few times because we just weren't sure if we could justify spending the money, but in the end I think it was worth it. We even got some free BYU-Idaho hats and shirts and water bottles out of the deal. The shirts and hats still had the bookstore price tags on them, and we walked away with $75 worth of merchandise, which is more than we spent on the tickets! Actually, Jay and Lara won the shirts in the raffle at lunch, but they were nice and gave them to us! Thanks for making it a fun day, everyone! Sara was such a good girl and she didn't even get to ride anything.
The dragon.
The boat.
The horsies.

Happy Birthday Mom! Dana was so jealous that Mom got to spend her birthday at Lagoon. Since Dana's birthday is in February, she will never get to do that.
In the middle of the day Sara just started screaming. We thought she was teething, but it turned out that she just wanted to stretch her legs for a little bit. I set her down in the shade to check if she had a messy diaper to see if that was part of her problem, and the minute she hit the ground she rolled over, started scootin' away and giggled. We decided to stay in the shade and let her roam since Emma was sleeping at the time.

She also liked playing with that ice pack that was meant to keep her bottle and our water all cold.

After a final ride on the horsies with Mommy and Grandma, it was time to head home, and we were ALL ready for the day to be over.

Pioneer Day

I have been getting harrassed for my lack of pictures as of late, and since Blogger has decided to be a gentleman today (so far) we will see just how caught up I can get today.

These are some random and horrible shots of our Pioneer Day festivities. My battery was dying so this was all I got- depressing, I know! Pioneer Day is pretty much just a tamer version of Independance Day for us. We drove down to my mom's house where my dad cooked up some good steaks for dinner. When darkness fell, the neighbors all assembled andwe used upthe rest of our 4th of July fireworks. Here is Heather trying to prove that her camera is faster than mine.
I got all of those in the time it took her to figure out how to take one.

I thought this was a cute one of Heather, and I am mad that I chopped off her head in an effort to capture Sara's giant smile. Unfortunately she was too quick.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"I like you, you have the boldness of a much younger woman."

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Brittany. She is an amazing multi-talented woman with an impeccable taste in entertainment. She recommended 30 Rock to me a while ago, but I put off actually looking into it because one of the main characters is played by Alec Baldwin, and he is crazy. One night, when Ross and his snoring were keeping me awake I decided to watch an episode on since I had seen all of the Office episodes that they had on there. Well, I am now totally addicted. 30 Rock is seriously one of the funniest shows I have seen in a long time. It is fast and witty, and not at all predictable. The characters are hilarious, and I can laugh over one or two lines for days at a time. I have, for your reaing pleasure, listed some of my favorite quotes. Enjoy- or don't. Whatever!

Don Geiss: As my old man always said, “If you try, you win.” And he was a hell of a garbage man.

Liz: I’m going to go talk to some food about this.

Jenna: I’m so glad you asked! Kabbalah is a wonderful religion that mixes the fun part of Judaism with magic.

Liz: (referring to making out in public) It’s only inappropriate when it’s ugly people.

Tracy: What’s your religion, Liz Lemon?
Liz: I pretty much just do what Oprah tells me.

Kenneth: [to Tracy] Didn’t you tell me to live every week like it’s Shark Week? And that nothing’s impossible except dinosaurs?
Tracy: The manatee truly has become the mento.

Jenna: If the president is so serious about the war on terror, why doesn’t he hunt down and capture Barack Obama before he strikes again? America we need a change. That's why I'm voting for Osama in '08.

Liz Lemon: [speaking on the telephone] Hi, my name is Liz Lemon and I received flowers from your shop tonight, and I can’t tell who they’re from… No, no, I did read the card, but it’s not signed… No, I’m not with so many men that it’s impossible for me to guess… Well, that is just… Oh, well, you know what? I found the card, actually, and they’re from your mom, so tell your gay mom I said thanks!

Jack: Just to know she’s filled with bile over me warms my heart.

Dennis: Dear Liz Lemon: While other women have bigger boobs than you, no other woman has as big a heart. When I saw you getting ready to go out and get nailed by a bunch of guys last night, I knew for sure it was over between us, and for the first time since the ‘86 World Series, I cried… I cried like a big, dumb homo. And if it was up to me, we’d be together forever. But there’s a new thing called “women’s liberation”, which gives you women the right to choose and you have chosen to abort me, and that I must live with. So tonight, when you arrive home, I’ll be gone. I officially renounce my squatter’s rights.

Liz Lemon: Why are you wearing a tux?
Jack: It’s after 6! What am I, a farmer?

Jack: What is your contingency plan for a crap storm of this magnitude?

Jack: [To Liz] Don’t gloat, it makes you look mannish.

Tracy Jordan: Affirmative action was designed to keep women and minorities in competition with each other to distract us while white dudes inject AIDS into our chicken nuggets.

Tracy: I’m gonna make you a mixtape. You like Phil Collins?
Jack: I got two ears and a heart don’t I?

Liz: I will just leave you guys to it.
CC: By 'it' you mean business.
Liz: Yes, I call the movie "Risky Business" "Risky It" because It means business!

Liz: I'll move to Cleveland when you get that IKEA: NEVER!!

Greenzo: Can you fire the wind, Jack? Can you fire a hurricane?
Jack: We are developing the technology for that!

Jack: (to Don Geiss in a coma) Hillary Clinton is president sir! I just thought I would try to scare you on out of it.

Jack: I will be working for extreme weather preparedness and the war on the poor.
Liz: You mean the war on poverty?
Jack: Yeah, sure, let's go with that.

Tracy: There was so much left on my bucket list! So many kinds of buckets I wanted to own! Buckets!!

Kenneth: I don't drink coffee Griz. I don't drink hot drinks of any kind. That is the devil's temperature.

Kenneth: I don't vote Republican or Democratic. Choosing is a sin, so I always write in the Lord's name.
Jack: You are Republican then, we count those.

Jack: Lemon, women your age are most likely to get mauled at the zoo than get married.

Ciirie: I only date guys who drink snapple.

Kenneth: It turns out she is the wrong kind of crazy and now we have to get married.

Kenneth: And they all seemed to really hate my grandpa because they kept yelling, "Kill Whitey" and I was like, who do you think you are? Alcohol?

Kenneth: Mr. Jordan, I saw you steal my sink.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Would I rather be feared or loved? Um... Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.

When I asked Emma what movie she wanted to watch today she kept saying what sounded like 'Myko'. It took me about 20 minutes to realize she was really saying Michael. She wanted to watch the Office! I am posting this while I wait for it to load a couple of episodes on my Netflix Instant Queue.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

6 Month Birthdays

This month will mark the half birthdays for both of my beautiful girls. For some reason, I always feel a little bit guilty about doing posts for one of them without mentioning the other- so I thought I would wait until somewhere in the middle of the two and just do a big long cute post for the both of them. Are you ready for some mind blowing cuteness (sans pictures unfortunately- blogger hates me)? Here are 10 cute things about each of them.

Emma Rose
1. Emma learned the 'Clean Up' song from nursery and she LOVES it. She gets excited to help me clean anything up as long as we are singing that song. She will even create messes just so she can clean them up. She dumped out her big bag full of legos three times yesterday ony to turn around and clean them up while singing her new favorite song. Hopefully this love for cleaning will continue.

2. We were working out in the yard a couple of weeks ago and Ross was spreading some manure in some of the patches that we are trying to re-seed before the frost hits. Emma came running over to him and wanted him to pick her up but Ross told her that he couldn't because he had cow poopy on his hands. To this, a very indignant Emma replied, "Goss (gross) Daddy! Yucky- you do poo poo in da potty. Naughty, Daddy! Goss!"

3. On a related note to the last one, Emma is pretty much potty trained. I still put her in a diaper in the car (since we are 20 minutes away from the nearest public restroom) and for overnight, but she very rarely needs it. For the past 3 weeks we have only needed 3-4 diapers a week. She is still a little nervous about 'big potties' but she will use them if I am holding on to her and we sing some songs. This would be a little embarrassing for me if I wasn't so excited about her finally sitting on the big potties. She has been terrified of them for so long that I thought I wold have to take her little potty with us everywhere if I ever wanted her to not use diapers in public. I am thinking of investing in some cloth diapers for overnight. I would never consider them for the long haul because I have been in houses where people use them, and while they save money and are cute (seriously the new modern ones can be REALLY cute) there is a smell associatd with them, even if they do run a load of diapers every night. I think I could handle one every other day or so though.

4. Emma is a picky eater, but lucky for me, a lot of her favorite foods are quite healthy. She loves cornflakes and has asked for seerol (cereal) as her potty treat on a number of occasions. She also really likes lettuce, carrots, apples, grapes, and the most recent surprising addition are 'appo peppas' (bell peppers- they look like apples to her). Also, I can get her to at least try pretty much anything if I tell her it is chicken.

5. Emma and Sara have become really good friends. Emma loves to tickle her and make her laugh. She calls her Baby Sara Bear. Unfortunately, she has had a hard time sharing toys with her, now that Sara is on the move and shows interest in a lot more than just her binky. Emma can get kind of possessive about even the toys that she hasn't played with or thought about in months. She is pretty good about trying to replace whatever she is taking away with something else, and so far it has ben OK because Sara giggles and smiles any time Emma shows her any attention whatsoever. We are trying to make Emma understand that the toys are not just hers- which is hard because up until now they have been all hers. We also need her to understand that a crumpled up piece of paper is not a suitable or fair trade for a stuffed bunny, nor is a plastic spoon a good trade for a pile of colorful leggos.

6. We recently introduced Emma to Cinderella and she LOVES it, but her favorite part is the fairy godmother. She likes to get a whisk and run around the house singing her own version of Bippity-Boppity-Boo. "Boppyboo abbygooby bippyboppy puppykitty booboo mommydaddy dabbyboppy. . ." It is really cute.

7. Emma is shaping up to be quite the 'girly' girl. She likes to pretend she is putting on make up with me, and I usually let her have some 'lippy' (lipstick) if she is a good girl. She also likes getting her hair done now (which is nice because up until about a month ago it was like pulling teeth to get her to sit still for even two minutes while brushing her hair) and insists that eveyone in the house tell her how cute she is when I am done. "Am I pree (pretty) Mommy? I show Daddy! Daddy see me pree, so cue (cute). Emma so pree." She is also in the habit of borrowing mommy's shoes, and a lot of times I have had to have her find the ones I was looking for. So far she has had a pretty good memory about her weird little hiding places (the fridge, the dryer, her bath-tub, bookcase, her pillow-case. . .).

8. Emma has her mommy's curly hair- poor thing! Right now it is super cute because it is a very loose and sweet curl, but so was mine at her age. I am predicting that within a few years that curl will start to change and tighten up, and then she won't be too happy with me and my genes. Hopefully I can help her handle them better than my mom helped me. My mom has a very different/prettier curl in her hair than mine, so she was pretty much at a loss of how to help me control it. It was up to me to try all the different styles and products until I found something that worked- it took me until I was about 15 to finally have presentable hair on a regular basis. For now we are living it up by showcasing her adorble curls any chance we get.

9. Emma ends most of her prayers by saying, "Yay! AMEN!" While I know that she is most likely cheering because she can finally move around and make noise again, I still think it is very cute. She has also taken to saying her own random prayers. I have found her in her room a couple of times with her head bowed and arms folded just mumbling things I can't quite hear, and then she ends with her jubilant, "Yay! AMEN!"

10. Finally, Emma loves music. She loves to sing and dance, and refuses to go to bed without some goodnight songs with mommy (not daddy- she has stopped him in the middle of songs a couple of times to request that mommy come and finish out some songs) and refuses to get up for the day without some morning songs. Her favorite parts about the movies we let her watch are the songs, and she would rather dance to a CD than watch a movie in the first place. Her favorite is Enya. She is also a very good audience for my beginning piano skills. She likes to get a pillow and some stuffed animals all lined up behind me while I disgrace the hymns. Sometimes all the animals and herself all get blankets and they have pretend naptimes, and other times they are at a concert and she claps for me when I finish. Yesterday while I was upstairs folding clothes Emma came and took my hand and said, "Comeer (come here) Mommy!" and gave me the sweetest little smile that I couldn't help but follow her to see what she was up to. She led me downstairs to the piano, patted the chair, and said, "Piano Mommy, peese (please)."

Sara Belle
1. Sara is crawling, and she can be a quick little bugger when she wants to be! I guess it is still more of a scoot than a crawl because she doesn't hold her stomache up all the time, but she gets some good speed and distance in her little scoot/crawl hybrid.

2. She is very good at entertaining herself as long as there are toys or books to stimulate her. This can come in quite handy when I need to take a little nap, get something done around the house, or when Emma needs some one-on-one attention from me.

3. Sara has decided that sleeping through the night was boring, so now we have a routine of getting up together for a 4 am feeding, then she crawls around on our bedroom flour for about 15 minutes. I usually put some toys down for her to explore with while I catch a little bit of shut-eye. When she is done playing and starts fussing again, I rock her to sleep in my rocking chair and sing little songs, and then put her back in her crib until about 7:30. At that point she gets up for another feeding, and then she will play around on the floor again for almost an hour sometimes.

4. For some reason Sara loves to play with old magazines. Emma went through a phase like this too, and it was always kind of weird to me, but it kept her so entertained and quiet that I couldn't bring myself to put a stop to it. Sara likes to get into our stack of older Ensigns and Parenting Magazines. She will flip through the pages and rip them up and she giggles the whole time. I think it is a combination of the bright colors and the crinkly sounds that keep her so entranced. I worry about paper cuts though. . .

5. Sara has finally been introduced to the world of solid foods. She started on rice cereal last week and she seems petty happy about it. She is so funny about it though. She will NOT open her mouth for me. I have to pry her jaw open and slip the spoon in really fast before she clamps it shut again and turns her head- but once it is in there, she doesn't spit it out. She kind of mulls it around in her mouth before swallowing it. She must like it though, because if I wait too long between spoonfulls she starts fussing for more.

6. I have another Daddy's Girl on my hands. Sara can tune into Ross's voice like nothing else I have ever seen. When she hears him talking or laughing in the distance she will stare in his direction and either cry unil I start heading that direction or will wiggle until I put her down and then make a bee-line in his direction. At night, when I am nursng her on the couch while chatting with Ross, she will stop to smile and coo at him numerous times, and then go back to nursing at top speed so that she can sit on Daddy's lap again. Some day I hope to figure out what it is that he does to win such strong affection from such cute girls.

7. Sara loves Emma. She gets very excited whenever Emma even glances in her direction. Her loudest and deepest giggles have been brought on by Emma. She can't quite keep up with Emma yet, but she sure is trying! When Emma gets too fast, Sara will just follow her around with her eyes.

8. Sara has been teething for a long time now. She has two front-bottom teeth that are in, and then she has one on bottom and one on top that keep going back and forth. I really wish they would just come in and stay in. It is so not fair to make her suffer more than once for the same tooth.

9. Sara has pretty much been given up on binkies now. She still takes one when she gets really upset or when she is really hurting while teething, but she doesn't really like or need them anymore.

10. Sara, like Emma, really loves music. She likes to kick and crawl to fast tempos, and nothing puts her to sleep like a good lullaby or hymn. She LOVES when I pull out my flute. She will stare at me with the widest, bluest eyes I have ever seen the whole time. As stated earlier, she is good at playing by herself, but she will play by herslf the longest when I play some music in the play room when I leave her there. Her favorite seems to be piano music like Jon Schmidt or the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. Maybe someday I will be able to play something she will enjoy. . .

Friday, August 08, 2008

Voicing an Unpopular Opinion

WARNING- if you have not finished Breaking Dawn and are afraid of having the plot spoiled, then reading this post is a bad idea. Also- if it makes you uncomfortable to see the word sex more than twice in a paragraph, then this is not the post for you.

I keep getting asked about the details behind my dislike of Breaking Dawn, and have decided to go ahead and write my scathing review here. I have avoided dong this partly because I know I may offend some people who live and breathe for this last book, and partly because I didn't want my blogging idol to think that I was copying her. For the record- I am not! I have had this post in my head since about page 110 of the book.

I love books! I love reading. My wonderful mother was very good at recognizing my advanced aptitude for the written word, and she began exposing me to good literature from a very young age. When other frst graders were reading Hop on Pop and Go Dog Go, my mom was introducing me to Laura Ingalls Wilder and Roald Dahl. When my second grade class had moved on to Peter Rabbit and the Berenstein Bears, I was getting familiar with Anne Shirley and Emily of New Moon. When my third grade class had finally discovered- some of them at least, what I was reading in first grade, my mom brought home the Chronicles of Narnia from the library. In 8th grade, my Honors English teacher was a little disconcerted to hear that I had already read all the Shakespeare plays she had on the sylibus. In my Junior Year, my Honor's English teacher made me re-write an end of term paper because she was certain that I had plagierized my analysis of Anna Karenina from the internet somewhere. Suffice it to say, I know a little something about good literature.

Let me start out by saying that I do like this series. The story line is imaginative, and some of the characters are very appealing, and there are vampires (I really heart vampires!). The first three books were a good weekend read. However, I have been kind of put off by the low level of writing from the beginning. Meyer's diction is extremely limited, and her syntax does not vary nearly enough for how many characters play a part in the book. Her foreshadowing makes the twists and turns unbearably obvious, and her main character is a whiny and weak person who has no business putting her nose into the realm of supernatural mysteries.

I was fine with the low level of writing at the beginning because the story was enough to keep me interested for the short amount of time it took to read the books. It did, however, bother me that thelevel of writing seemed to get worse with every book. I compare this to J.K. Rowling. I was drawn ino the Harry Potter books for the imaginative story line, the same way I was drawn to Twilight, but Rowling's level of writing was fairly low. This was fine because it suited her target audience to a tee. It was fun for me to see how much Rowling improved with each book. I had a children's lit. teacher tell me that this was done on purpose by Rowling because she wanted the kids to move up to higher levels of reading little by little. I think that is dumb! The writing gets better because usually, when you write more than three full length novels, you become a better writer. By her seventh book, Rowling's plot had become just short of ingenius, and her writing style and the level of description far surpassed what was used in The Sorcerer's Stone. Meyer has done the opposite. Twilight was her best book. The rest all went down in levels of plot, suspense, and descriptions. J.K. Rowling was writing her legacy and trying to leave a mark on the page of literary history. She was using her full capacity to create something original. Meyer was rushing to get to the book debuts and cash her checks.

Probably her biggest mistake was writing the series in the first person perspective. I love the frst person perspective in other books because it allows you to see what is happening and how a character is feeling from a very personal standpoint. Unfortunately, Meyer ruined a lot of her suspense by having Bella write the book. You know from the beginning that she can't die- she wrote the book. I have heard the argument that she does change the perspective from Bella to Jacob in this last book half way through, so there is a chance that she still could have died. Let me remind you however, that if Bella had any time before her approaching death, she would not have spent it writing a detailed sketch of her honeymoon, rather she probably would have found some way to re-live the honeymoon relations again.

That brings me to my biggest complaint about Breaking Dawn. There was a lot of sex!! Normally this wouln't bother me all that much. Sexual scenes are a big part of some really great books, and some of the greatest story lines all center around it. Catch 22, 1984, Grapes of Wrath, Flowers For Algernon, The Scarlet Letter, Catcher in the Rye, The Crucibal, Anna Karenina, and a good handful of the Shakspeare play all utilize sex as an important part of their stories. What is the big deal with the naughtier parts of Breaking Dawn? Well, the Twilight series was not written for adults like all of those other books were. The obvious target audience for this caliber of book is 13-14 year old girls. There is no part of me that thinks it is ok to expose pre-adolescent youths to the idea that sex is a good thing, and is the key to a happy ending. I know what all you die-hard Meyer fans are going to say to this, mainly because people keep saying it to me- "I am an adult, and I like it! No one is making the teeniboppers read it! etc."

Twilight is a high-school drama. Who likes to read high-school dramas more than anything else? The girls who aren't in high school yet! The Twilight series is written at basically a 6th to 7th grade level. Who do you think that really appeals to? The Twilight series is offered in a number of the Scholastic book orders, and can be purchsed at the book fairs that come to ELEMENTARY schools. Do you really think that adults are the ones being introduced to these books from those methods? Stephanie Meyer may not have set out to be the role model of young women, but her story line and writing level place her right in the midst of the adoring herd of pre-pubescent girlhood.

Even if it wasn't her intention to have that kind of following, she knew who her fans were by the time she got to writing the fourth book. I think it was incredibly irresponsible of her to write such a sex-riddled novel that she knew would be in the hands of countless Jr. High students. I would have maybe even been OK with it if the honeymoon had been the only place where it came up. I mean, they were married (at 18) so at least she wasn't spreading the idea of pre-marital sex- but couldn't that have been the end of it? Instead we see that familiar theme pop up again and again. Edward wants to abort the demon baby and have Jacob knock up his wife with a little wolf baby. Yes, he is trying to save her life- but really? Do you want your little girls reading about 'stud services'? When Bella and Edward share their immortal fate, they have a number of nights FULL of intercourse because vampires don't have to catch their breath or rest or shower or goto the bathroom. Emmet jokes about the fact that he and Rosalie actually had crazy enough romps in the sack that they broke down a couple of their houses due to their enthusiasm. Edward talks about the fact that the only reason he plays the piano so well and knows so many languages and has read so many books is because he is the only vampire in the house who hasn't had a companion in the bedroom. Even the very last line in the book takes away from a beautiful gift tha Bella was trying to give Edward. Finally, after three books of mental silence on Bella's part, Edward finally had the chance to see into her thoughts- to have a first-hand glimpse of just how much he meant to her, and all he could do was jump her!

It was too much! I was blushing the entire time, not because it made me uncomfortable, but because I imagined my little sisters, and cousins, and all those little 10 year old girls waiting in line reading those parts. I could never, in good conscience, expose my little girls to that crap, and neither should you.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Family Pictures by Triana Ord

My friend Triana likes to pretend that I did her this big favor by letter her take some really great pictures for us. She is starting up her own photography business, and needed some shots to put in her portfolio. She asked some friends and family to do some shoots at a steeply discounted price. She did a wonderful job, and I highly reccommend her! She was fast and thorough. She took some great posed shots as well as some really great candid shots. She was very good with the girls, and was not afraid to direct us a little bit to get better shots. She was also very willing to hear what we were looking for, and gave some good advice to get us that. Check out her website for some other really cute pictures. Here are some of my favorites.