Sunday, May 27, 2012

16 More, 56 To Go.. Plus an Extra

It's been quite the adventure reading all these books. I don't think I've ever read so many new books in such a short time in my entire life.

Multiple trips too and from the Provo and Orem libraries have made it so I've lost count. I suppose losing count of how often you go to the library isn't a bad thing at all!

In between some trips, I visited with one of my sisters who offered to give me a selection of her picture books as all of her children are pretty much too old for them, now. SCORE!! I have yet to unload the books from the bags they are in because I have no room in my bookshelves for them. You have to love books to understand how awesome it is to have more books than room. ;) A few of the books I got from her are on the list of 100 books. I'll have to fish them out when I get to those.

5. The Best Pet of All by David Larochelle - (★) A little boy wants a puppy and he asks his mother for one. She has many excuses to not get one. He finally bargains with her that if he can find a dragon, she will let him keep it. I'm sure she thought she was very clever, but soon found out otherwise! The kids were appropriately shocked by the dragon's behavior and were very interested in how it would turn out. There is a slight undertone of outsmarting one's parents, but they aren't old enough to catch that yet. I suppose this book will be stricken off the list when they get to that age! ;)

17. Corduroy by Don Freeman - (
) What a sweet story about a teddy bear who just wants to go home with a little child. His adventure in the store after closing time is cute and brought out touching concern on the part of my children. They really cared about this little bear!

20. Duck on a Bike by David Shannon - (
) When duck decides to ride a bike, nearly all the other barnyard animals scoff. But what happens when there are suddenly enough bikes for all? The kids laughed and giggled all the way through this book. Even Dad chuckled at a few bits.

23. The End by David LaRochelle - (★3/4) Audrey almost got the concept of this book. The whole story runs backward, starting with "And they lived happily ever after." Then it starts to explain why they lived happily ever after and so on. When you get to the end of the book, it goes, "Once upon a time..." It was cute and Audrey loved the pictures. She struggled a bit with why the story was running backward. I think she has difficulty with books that don't follow the "rules" of story-telling. When she gets older, I'll make sure to tell her that once she understands the rules, it's much easier to bend and play around with them. ;)

24. Epossumondas by Coleen Salley - (
) This story reminded me of the style of old folk tales. Epossumondas' mother gives her furry son careful instructions on how to carry the gifts from his Auntie home. His careful obedience leads to trouble every time. Audrey was old enough to know that he was doing things all wrong. Especially when it came to getting the puppy home!

25. Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor - (★) I know I'm fudging this a bit by putting in six stars... but Audrey LOVED this book. As soon as we were done reading it, she asked if we could please, please, please, keep it. I told her that because it is the Library's book, we have to return it, but if I find it in a store, I will buy it for her. Fancy Nancy is fancy and she likes to do and say everything in fancy ways. Her family is not fancy at all and she sets out to teach them how. An adorable book!

26. Fire Truck by Peter Sís - (
) Henry loved this book for obvious reasons. Fire Trucks!! He and his sister even took it in stride when the little boy TURNED INTO a Fire Truck. Simple, cute book.

27. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow - (★) Both of the kids really liked this one a lot. As luck turned out, the library had holds on this book for weeks. I ran into it during our last trip to DI. When I got home, I found that the package I bought at DI had three copies of this book in it! So, I kept one and donated the other two to the library since they don't seem to have enough. ;) Audrey immediately wanted the book in the room and she's been reading it to herself the last few days. It follows the old finger-play nursery rhyme pretty much perfectly, but there is a cute little side not at the end. Fun!

28. Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London - (
★) Daddy read this book to the kids and I could tell he had a really good time with the sound effects. The kids were fascinated with Froggy's attempts to get ready to go outside. It reminded me of the dressing adventures in my own little family.

29. George and Martha by James Marshall - (
) I thought this book would turn out to be dull, just based on the cover. I guess I should have thought twice. There were five mini-stories contained in this book about two good friends who are hippos. The kids thought they were funny and cute. Did the message of good friendship and honesty sink in? I hope so! :)

30. Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley - (★) Audrey liked this book fairly well, but it was Henry who was completely taken with it! After I finished reading it, he ignored the other stories that night and looked at this book over and over again. The pages slowly reveal the big, green monster and then the narrator orders the monster away bit by bit. Taking control of the existence of a monster was a relief to me. Not only could the kids feel like they could make the monster appear, but disappear at will. Smart, clever story!

33. The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson - (
1/2) While I thought the story was funny and cute, my kids needed a little explanation. Especially Henry. The Gruffalo's Child (a little hairy monster) goes out at night to find the Big Bad Mouse! Why a monster should be afraid of a mouse, I'm sure I don't know!

34. Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard - (
) Reading this story couldn't have come at a better time. Both of my kids were cranky and grumpy that night. As it turns out, so was Grumpy Bird. As Grumpy Bird stomped around, being grouchy, his little animal friends join him on his walk. By the time Grumpy Bird started cheering up, so were my children!

35. Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen - (
1/2) Guji Guji is a crocodile who was hatched by a duck. He loves his duck family, but what happens when some other crocodiles show up to tell him how he is really supposed to behave? What a cute story! The kids loved it and the pictures were great!

37. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion  - (1/2) Harry does not like taking baths, so he buries the scrub brush and runs away. He goes and plays in some very dirty places and, after he decides that he misses home, ends up being a black dog with white spots instead of a white dog with black spots. When he goes home, his family does not recognize him... but will this turn of events make him reconsider taking a bath? This was a cute story and Audrey was engaged, but she wasn't especially taken with it. Kind of a shrug of the shoulders response.

50. Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes - () We got this book out of order because Audrey was begging and begging me to find her a cat book while we were at the library. The sweet librarian overheard her and brought me this book. I would have taken it no matter what, but I was especially pleased when I realized it was on my list! Kitten is convinced that the full moon is a dish of milk just waiting for her up in the sky. She tries and she tries with amusing and heart-breaking results to reach that dish of milk! Audrey frowned and worried and awww!-ed all through the story. 
It turns out that this is one of the books my sister gave us, too! BONUS! We get to read it as often as we want now!

Not on the list - Doing the Garden by Sarah Garland (Because no one has Eddie's Garden: And how to make things Grow. Though, I did request the purchase of this book) - (★) Doing the Garden was a fun, simple story about a family going to the gardening store and getting seeds, plants, and even a tree. Audrey was completely amused by the dog's antics in the yard. We really enjoyed this one and hope that Eddie's Garden is just as fun... if we ever find it!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

23 of 30: 5 Hobbies

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, click here.

List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.

I'll list these in no particular order, because I don't feel like being organized today... plus, it'll add a little mystery as to which one is my real favorite! ;) Please note: I don't include writing in my list of hobbies because it's not a hobby for me. It's a driving force inside me that will, hopefully, one day make me a living.

1. Playing video games. I love simulation and adventure games. I have been playing The Sims (and just about any other game from that developer) for many, many years. I love building the houses and creating the perfect characters. I send them to work and make them happy. This makes me happy! 
I loved playing Warcraft, but have yet to try World of Warcraft. I haven't been playing Diablo nearly as long, but I anxiously anticipated the release of the third installment. I've been playing it for almost two weeks. I've only tried out two different classes, but overall, I'd say it has been well worth the wait and cost. I love the story and "clearing" areas. I don't leave any stone un-turned or any nasty creature un-slaughtered. (As a side note, Ben bought it for me for Mother's Day and actually stood in line with all the gamer geeks. He randomly texted me the funny comments they would make about playing. Stuff like, "rushing", "farming", "runs", "And then this guy just goes all cyborg on me!", "bots", "Are you guys gonna start out on the hardcore levels? I'm gonna farm on the infernal levels." These are things that most people would either not understand, or think were stupid... They wouldn't be far from the truth.)

2. I love crafting. I'm still dabbling as far as crafters go. I haven't made 90% of my possessions.. not even 10%.  But, I do love making useful things. I also enjoy re-purposing. Making something into something else rather than throwing it away makes me feel about 50 IQ points smarter.

3. I used to enjoy scrapbooking. I now love making photo books! It's about five hundred times faster and comes out looking a million times more professional than anything I ever made in a scrapbook. I'm not dissing scrapbooking. I just don't have the patience for it anymore. (Plus, they take up enormous amounts of room compared to photo books!) One of these days, I plan on going through my scrapbooks and convert them all into photo books.

4. I love throwing parties. There is something so satisfying about having so many different people at your house and helping them all have a good time. I haven't been able to do this as often as I would like with the constraints of time and living in someone else's house. I like planning ahead for these parties and figuring out each and every tiny little detail. So far, I've really only thrown medium-sized parties (8 - 15 couples), but one day I will tackle the much trickier small and large-scale parties.

5. I love reading. I've been reading since before I knew how to read.. ;) I love immersing myself in a world and coming out on the other side breathless and fulfilled. It's because of reading that I love to write so much!

Most of my hobbies seem to deal with creating something... hm, I don't think that is a coincidence.

Next Time: Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

22 of 30: 5, 10, 15 years

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, click here.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?

5 Years: In five years, Ben will be almost 40! (Yikes) I will be almost 39, Audrey will be 10 and Henry will be 8. All our school loans will be paid off and we will most likely be looking at buying a house. My kids will definitely need to be in separate rooms by then. I hope to be published by then.

10 Years: We'll stop counting the adult birthdays by this time. Audrey will be 15 and probably wanting to learn how to drive. All the boys will either be scared of her or completely smitten. Henry will be headed into teenager-hood, his voice cracking. He'll have every merit badge he can get by that age! ;)
I will have finished at least the second book of my trilogy and anticipating the publication of the first.
Ben will either be a big-dog at work, or happily keeping house for me while I make the big bucks writing. :-D

15 Years: Crikey! I don't even want to think about how old I'll be. Audrey will be 20 and Henry will be 18. Both of my kids will have graduated High School. We'll be lovingly and gently pressuring them to prepare to go on missions. They would go through the temple the same day! How cute is that! Either that, or we will be seriously examining whatever boy thinks he might want to marry her. Ben will buy a shotgun for this very purpose. Ben and I will be happily anticipating empty-nesting and traveling together. (Not that we won't have traveled before this, but it certainly makes a difference when it's just the two of us.)

Do I expect that this will happen as planned? Don't be silly! This is the conservative outlook. My pie-in-the-sky outlook is outrageous. I expect reality to be somewhere in the middle of it all. And, of course, I'll be a fabulous hostess, president of the PTA and volunteer at the local food bank. People will say, "How does she do it?" I will say, "Oh, hahah! Didn't you know my superpower is infinite energy?"

Until next time, happy blogging!

Next Time: List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

21 of 30: One Superpower

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, click here.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?

Perhaps you, my dear readers, will find this completely boring, but if I had a superpower.... I'd have to say that an endless supply of energy would be awesome. I'd never have to sleep. Any mom I know would have to agree.

Who cares if the sun goes down? Who cares if it's 3:38 in the morning? By golly, I'm doing my laundry when no one else is going to pester me. Think of all that time wasted on something as ridiculous as a regenerative state of unconsciousness. On average, I sleep about 8 to 9 hours a night. No, it's not always uninterrupted, I DO have young children.

And with that endless supply of energy, the first thing I would do is spend my time (however long it took) to get my house completely cleaned and organized. I'd do that at night and be the perfect, most amazing, mom during the day.

Now, why did I ignore the more common and spectacular powers? Let's see....

Flying - Pshaw! What a silly superpower. Can you do anything really useful with it. How many damsels in distress are really going to be falling to their deaths in your neighborhood? I thought so.

X-Ray Vision - Honestly, this one is just creepy. 'Nuf Said.

Super Strength - While I'm not knocking the potential of this one, most people gifted with this ability would just use it to show off. Don't lie to me, now. You know it's true.

Aqua-breathing - Again, useful in dire circumstances. However, on a mundane day, what would you use that for? I suppose it would be nice to completely submerge in a bath tub... but think of what the suds would do to your respiratory system.

Teleportation - This would be handy and a total time-saver. I'm all for that. However, other than teleporting your dirty dishes to the top of Mount Pinatubo and tossing them in the lava, I really don't see a practical use for that skill. Never mind that you'll have to get a day job to pay for all those destroyed dishes.

Telekinesis - This one would be cool too. Why stand up to do your housework? You could do the cleaning with your mind! Kids misbehaving? Just levitate them up to the ceiling and keep them there until they calm down. I can see this power becoming one of complete laziness, though. The super hero with telekinesis is one doomed to couch-potatodom.

Super Healing - Other than a morbid fascination with regrowing fingers, this is another one that doesn't seem to help much in modern, mundane living. At least you wouldn't have to worry about paper-cuts anymore.

Invisibility - The novelty of this one would wear off for me quickly. How many practical jokes can you really play, with complete confidence that you won't get caught, before you get bored?

Telepathy - I think this one would get boring or depressing after a while. A lot of people have rather inane thoughts. Then there are those that don't seem to be capable of thinking anything nice. It would, however, be fun to use that ability to call people out for lying to me.

I know that list hardly begins to explore all the different superpowers there are. However, I think it's safe to say that my chosen super power is exactly what would fit the bill for me! ;)

My dear hubs also says that if I had an endless supply of energy, I wouldn't have to eat either. Size 6, here I come!!

Next Time: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 Years?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

16 Down, 72 To Go, PLUS Miss A's Take

We have fearlessly barreled straight into our 100 book list. Recall, if you will, that we automatically checked 12 books off the list by virtue of ownership.
Since I posted the list last Saturday, we have been to the Orem library three times and the Provo library twice. I really underestimated my kids' appetite for books.
We went back on Friday to drop off everything we've read, pick up a few books I put on Hold and pick up more books.
The books we read up until Friday's trip:

1. Abuela by Arthur Dorros - (★★★★) Audrey and Henry really liked this one. The pictures were colorful, the story fanciful. A few Spanish phrases were included throughout, which Audrey really likes to listen to.

2. Actual Size by Steve Jenkins - (★★★★★) We all liked this book. As the title may suggest to you (it didn't immediately to me), this book shows pictures of animals, or significant parts of them, in actual size. The biggest reaction was when we unfolded the page with the crocodile jaws. The kids were amazed.

3. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer - (★★★★) A mother dog tries to get her puppy to bark. A variety of other animal noises come out of this sweet pooch and the best part is his mother's reactions to it all. The silliness was not lost on my kids!

4. Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson - (★★★★) Bear hosts a party in cave, while he's asleep. Now that's talent! The pictures were engaging and the narration was fun. As the words got bigger, my voice got bigger. Honestly, Henry got a little worried near the end! ;)

7. Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells - (★★★1/2) Both of my kids love Max and Ruby. Audrey because she used to watch it and Henry because Audrey does. Audrey wrinkled her nose and "yiiichhh-ed" Max's cake. She was completely engaged. I give it a 3 1/2 star rating only because I had to explain quite a few things to the kids or they wouldn't have understood what was going on.

8. Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina - (★★★★) I remember this book from when I was a kid. I loved it, so I was fulfilled when it turned out my kids enjoyed it as well. The accidental cleverness of the Peddler may have been lost on my kids, but the naughtiness of the monkeys certainly wasn't. Cute!

9. Caramba by Marie-Louise Gay - (★★★3/4) Audrey struggled with this one just a little because the premise requires the child to accept that all cats can fly. It wasn't until the book showed pictures of cats flying that she started to get into the story. In the end, Caramba's desire to fit in was replaced with the satisfaction of finally discovering his true talent.

10. The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss - (★★★3/4) As simple as this story was, my husband reports that the kids were not especially entertained with it. A little boy plants a seed and, despite what everyone tells him, continues to care for it until he grows a beautiful carrot. Perhaps the message of patience and determination did sink in somewhere in my kids' heads but, like the book, is only starting out as a little seed.

11. Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book by Julia Donaldson - (★★★) I really enjoyed the cleverness of this book. It starts out with a little boy reading his favorite book about a pirate who reads a book about someone else who reads a book about someone else who reads a book about someone else, and on and on. The rhythmic rhyming was fun to read and the pictures were cute and engaging. In the end, the book reading returns to the little boy reading his favorite book. I think that, while Audrey was interested, she seemed to be confused by the titular character being read about by a character in his own book. The concept of infinity seemed to be a bit beyond her and meant for a child a little older.

12. Chester by Mélanie Watt - (★★★) This book is about the author trying to write a story about a mouse while her strong-willed cat, Chester, insists that the story be about him. He uses a big red marker to change her story into what he wants. They end up in a battle of wits trying to control the story. In the end, the author out-smarts her cat... or does she? This was another one that I found clever, fresh and funny. When I got to the end and looked at Audrey, she had a confused little frown on her face. When I asked her if she thought the book was funny and cute, she shook her head. Like the previous book, I think she would enjoy this book if she were a little older.

14. Chicken Little by Ed Emberley - (★★★★1/2) The classic story with a slight spin, it's really the pictures that make it stand out. Bold, slightly manic colors explode from the page as the ridiculous, petrified poultry race around trying to escape the perceived end of the world. The ending is a little more friendly to the sensitive feelings of young children, i.e. the birds don't get eaten. However, as the birds march into the fox's mouth, my children were both fully aware of the danger and appropriately concerned. Overall, a great read.

15. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin - (★★★) The title says almost all there is to say about this book. The cows are typing because they are asking for the farmer to do something nice for them; and, in turn, the farmer doesn't want to give them what they want. The issue quickly escalates out of the control of the farmer who eventually gives in. Perhaps it was my tone while reading it, but my kids were not engaged in this story at all. They understood that it was silly for the cows to type, but they didn't seem to comprehend why it was happening at all. Perhaps my tone was off because I couldn't help but think of Animal Farm by George Orwell. I think I find demanding, intelligent barnyard animals to be creepy.

16. The Complete Adventures of the Mole Sisters by Roslyn Schwartz - (★★1/2) My kids really seemed to like this book of 10 short stories. The pictures were cute and the Mole Sisters were sweet. I found the books to be overly simplified as far as word usage goes. There were phrases that the Mole Sisters used regularly that didn't describe what was going on at all. Maybe these adventures were happening just for the sake of adventuring, but there really didn't seem to be any point to them other than a "because we can" sort of attitude. In my opinion, there should be some sort of point to it all. Honestly, the biggest reaction from my kids was their exclamations of concern that there was a spider in the Mole Sisters' house.

18. Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French - (★★★★) I thought the diary-style story telling from the perspective of the Wombat was adorable. "I woke up, I slept, I woke up, I ate dinner - grass, I slept, I woke up," The wombat pesters a family that moves into a house nearby, cutely harassing them into giving him food. I think the humor of it was lost on my kids, however. The pictures were beautiful and engaging, the story gentle and the kids enjoyed that. If nothing else, my kids were able to learn from the book what a wombat is.

19. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems - (★★★★★) Audrey immediately understood the absurdity of a pigeon driving a bus, but she quickly fell victim to the pigeon's cajoling ways.She knew she should say no, but hesitated when he seemed mad at her. She was completely immersed in the book and frequently looked to me for help when she couldn't figure out what to do about that pesky bird. We liked this book so much, that we went ahead and read the other two Pigeon books I picked up from the library. We read The Pigeon Wants a Puppy and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog. The drawings were fun, the pigeon's expressions wildly varied. I have half a mind to buy the whole series of Pigeon books!

22. Elmer by David McKee - (★★★★★) Elmer is an elephant who isn't elephant-colored but has many colors all over his body like patchwork. He wants to be like the other elephants, so he goes out to find a way to change how he looks. When he comes back, no one recognizes him. This story was fun, colorful and entertaining. The kids really enjoyed it and I think, on a certain level, understood the point of the book. Everyone loved Elmer as he was and he finally realized that in the end.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

20 of 30: 3 Significant Memories

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, click here.

Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.

1. As I have blogged before, one of the first memories that I can clearly recall is of a tree. The crabapple tree in the yard of my first childhood home was my first great mountain to conquer. When I finally did surmount that obstacle, it became the place where my imagination grew and bloomed. Playing games and feeling invincible were part of being up in the highest reaches of that tree.

2. I remember the day my mother approached my sister and me about homeschooling. It was about half-way through fifth grade and she asked the two of us if we would like to be homeschooled. She didn't TELL us what we were going to do, but ASKED us if we would like to. I remember that I nearly screamed, "YES!"
I loved homeschooling. I loved the individual attention and the freedom of going on field trips whenever we wanted to. It was a great experience for me and I know I learned a lot more than I would have in a traditional school setting.

3. I remember telling stories. I don't remember when I started doing this. It was just part of who I was. I think it was in Fourth Grade that I was voted best story teller. I find it funny, now, that I never wanted to be a writer when I grew up. It was always something else: Veterinarian, Movie Star, Singer, Dancer, Zoo Keeper, etc.
Funny how things just line up and present themselves. I had a "duh" moment in my early twenties.
Now, if I can just finish a writing project... ;)

Next Time: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

19 of 30: Live Anywhere

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, click here.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

I have so many places that I dream of living, but when I envision my home, it is always in the country. By that, I don't mean anything having to do with country music, cowboy boots or rodeos. I do not, however, rule out barns, animals or expansive vegetable gardens.

I envision a place where the neighbors are not visible. Where peace and quiet and room to roam are the reality. Where mornings are warm and afternoons are punctuated by a light, cooling rain just at the hottest part of the day. Reality often does not fit the bill, but the romantic in me believes I can find what I want in the English  Countryside or somewhere in the Kentucky Bluegrass region. Oh, and there are never mosquitos in these dreams.

Until my visions become a reality, however, home is always with my family.

Monday, May 14, 2012

18 of 30: Difficult to Forgive

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, click here.

What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

I cannot be too specific with the details of this. I believe that if you have forgiven someone, even yourself, of something, the gory details and specifics should be left alone.

Several years ago, someone betrayed my trust. Everything that they had told me or done for me instantly became a lie. What made it worse was that they didn't even come out and tell me, themselves. I found out about it myself and then had to find a way to confront them about it. I was angry and hurt. More than anything I was completely crushed.

I started to wonder what I had done that would make them hurt me like that. I must admit that I allowed a few seconds to blame myself before I realized that nothing I could have done would have driven them to hurt me. What they did was their own choice.

The next few months were a haze of depression and anxiety. My emotions were tender and I felt that anyone who looked at me would know that there was something wrong. It didn't take much to make me cry. I often wondered if my relationship with that person was over. This terrified me. I choose carefully who I am close enough with to love. I don't make friends easily and each loss is like experiencing a death.

I did start to heal, even if it was slowly. My healing process was hindered, however, by what felt like a domino effect of painful revelations or experiences in the lives of many people who were close to me. I felt that every aspect of my life was falling apart and there was nothing left to hold on to.

Now, years later, I am still healing. I forgave this person relatively quickly, but I could not forget. I don't use my memories against them, but I am always worried that it could happen again, or something even worse. My guard is still up and I don't know when I will be able to let it down.

My relationship with this person is nowhere near perfect, but it is stronger. I know it could only get stronger by going through something so difficult. I also know that it would not have gotten better if both of us hadn't wanted to make it so.

I can only attribute how far I've come in this process to my Heavenly Father. He has helped me to heal and rise above the depression and fear. Prayer is incredible in its healing and calming abilities.
I could not have come through this without faith or my family.

Next: If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Message

My sweet little family made me a beautiful little message for Mother's Day.

Transcribed for those of you hard of hearing or who just can't understand my kids. ;)

Ben: Audrey, what makes Mom happy?
Audrey: Being kind.
Ben: Henry, what makes Mom sad?
Henry: Uh, not giving her stuff.
Ben: Henry, how old is Mama?
Henry: Thirty-three.
Ben: Audrey, how tall is Mom?
Audrey: Thirty-three.
Ben: What's Mom's favorite thing to do?
Audrey: Uh, go out to eat.
Ben: What does Mom do when you guys aren't around?
Audrey: She finds us.
Ben: Henry, what does Mom do that makes you laugh?
Henry: Tickles me. *Giggles*
Ben: What's something that Mom always says?
Audrey: Be good.
Henry: Be good.
Ben: What is Mom good at?
Audrey: Umm, writing stuff.
Ben: What is Mom not so good at?
Audrey: Uhh, playing golf balls.
Ben: If Mom was a cartoon character, who would she be?
Audrey: Our Mom.
Ben: But if she was a cartoon character, who would she be? What kind of cartoon would she be?
Audrey: Spongebob Squarepants!
Ben: She would be Spongebob Squarepants?
Audrey: Mmhmm!
Ben: Henry, why do you love Mom?
Henry: Because I want her.
Ben: Because you want her?
Audrey: *Giggles* Nooo.
Henry: I want her.
Ben: Audrey, why do you love Mom?
Audrey: Because tomorrow is Mother's Day.
Ben: And that's why you love her?
Audrey: Mmhmm
Henry: He has sharp teeth.
Ben: Can you say Happy Mother's Day to Mom?
Audrey: Yes
Henry: Yes
Ben: So, say Happy Mother's Day to Mom.
Audrey: Happy Mother's Day!
Ben: Can you say Happy Mother's Day, Henry?
Henry: Happy Mother's Day!
Ben: We love you, Mom.
Henry: Love you, Mom.
Audrey: Love you, Mom.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

100 Books before Kindergarten

This summer, in anticipation of Audrey going to kindergarten in the fall, we are taking a 100 picture book challenge:

"Experts say that children need to hear at least 1,000 stories before they begin to learn to read.
GVPL’s Children and Family Literacy Librarians have selected a list of 100 exceptional picture books
which will entertain, educate and inspire young children again and again. Make time to snuggle up
and share these books with the children in your life."

We already own, and have read multiple times, several of the books listed. Just to make my summer more manageable, I will be checking those off automatically and will move on with the books we have not read.

UPDATE 7/19/2012: I put in links to the reviews I wrote on the books we read this summer. I'll add more as we finish the list! Just click on the number next to the book and it will take you to the appropriate blog! See, I'm so clever. ;)

1. Abuela by Arthur Dorros
2. Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
3. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
4. Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
5. The Best Pet of All by David Larochelle
6. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  by Bill Martin Jr.
7. Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells
8. Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina
9. Caramba by Marie-Louise Gay
10. The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
11. Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book by Julia Donaldson
12. Chester by Mélanie Watt
13. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
14. Chicken Little by Ed Emberley
15. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
16. The Complete Adventures of the Mole Sisters by Roslyn Schwartz
17. Corduroy by Don Freeman
18. Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French
19. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
20. Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
21. Eddie’s Garden: And How to Make Things Grow by Sarah Garland
22. Elmer by David McKee
23. The End by David LaRochelle
24. Epossumondas by Coleen Salley
25. Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
26. Fire Truck by Peter Sís
27. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
28. Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London
29. George and Martha by James Marshall
30. Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley
31. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
32. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
33. The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson
34. Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
35. Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen
36. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
37. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
38. The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
39. The Hoppameleon by Paul Geraghty
40. How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
41. I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
42. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
43. If You’re Hoppy by April Pulley Sayre
44. I’m Not Cute! by Jonathan Allen
45. The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen
46. In My Backyard by Margriet Ruurs
47. It’s a Secret! by John Burningham
48. The King’s Taster by Kenneth Oppel
49. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
50. Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
51. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
52. Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis; David Soman
53. Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
54. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
55. Llama, Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
56. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
57. Madlenka by Peter Sís
58. The Mightiest by Keiko Kasza
59. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
60. Moose Tracks! by Karma Wilson
61. Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham
62. Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming
63. My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann
64. My Garden by Kevin Henkes
65. No Sleep for the Sheep! by Karen Beaumont
66. No, David! by David Shannon
67. Olivia by Ian Falconer
68. One Some Many by Marthe Jocelyn
69. Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
70. Pancakes for Supper! by Anne Isaacs
71. Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
72. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
73. The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend
74. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
75. Princess Pigsty by Cornelia Funke
76. Rain by Manya Stojic
77. Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins
78. Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt
79. Silly Suzy Goose by Petr Horácek
80. Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
81. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
82. Some Dogs Do by Jez Alborough
83. Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey
84. Stella, Star of the Sea by Marie-Louise Gay
85. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
86. Strega Nona: Her Story by Tomie dePaola
87. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
88. Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
89. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
90. The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
91. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
92. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Pam Adams
93. Tuesday by David Wiesner
94. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
95. A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker
96. Wheels on the Bus: A Book with Parts That Move by Paul O. Zelinsky
97. Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
98. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
99. Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
100. Yoko by Rosemary Wells

We only own 12 of these books, which I found slightly disappointing. We DO own other books not on this list that are by some of these same authors. I figure it probably counts toward the 100, but we will stick to the list anyway. The real trick will be whether or not our local library has all these books. We have about 14 weeks until school starts in the fall, which comes out to 6 or 7 books a week. We anticipate a move sometime in the next month or so, which may put us a little behind. Imagine accidentally packing up library books! What a frightening prospect!

Who would like to take this challenge with me? I think it will be a blast! ;)

Friday, May 11, 2012

17 of 30: Wish I was Great At

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, click here.

What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

I've been steadfastly ignoring this next posting in the 30 Things series, thus proving what I shall write next.

I wish I was great at (heck, I wish I was even slightly better at) finishing projects. If I could stack all my projects in a pile, it would avalanche over the top of me and bury me alive. Of course, such an attempt on my part would be ill-advised and quite impossible as many of my projects don't have a physical manifestation (yet).

At the time of this posting, I have no less than five novels waiting to be finished and, quite literally, dozens of other writing projects waiting in the wings.

I have dozens of craft projects in various stages of completion. My Pinterest account has dozens more. It seems that the moment I finish one craft, the ideas, supplies and angst of six more invade my home and stare at me belligerently until I do something about them. Unfortunately, what I usually do is tuck everything away until that spot is threatening to explode.

I have a filing box that is overflowing with records, receipts, important documents and save-worthy art projects from my children.

When I talk about craft projects, I don't include my sewing projects. Those fall into a category all their own. From jeans that need patching to tiny doll outfits that have lost buttons, they are all in the periphery of my vision, taunting me with their unfinished-ness.

I could even extend my lack of finishing abilities to games. As an example, I have three Nintendo games that have been left by the wayside because it became too difficult or scary to go on. You can't tell me that the redeads and eyeball monsters in Zelda are NOT scary.

And, of course, my problems in this area do not exclude my attempts to lose weight. How many times have I restarted my exercise regime? How many days do I wake up to my alarm just to turn it off and go back to sleep? I tell myself, I'll start again next week. But do I? Maybe next week.

I often question why this is a problem for me. I love finishing projects. I love how great it feels to complete something. Why do I delay it?
I think it comes down to whether or not I HAVE to do something. I think I still childishly enjoy the option to choose whether or not I do something. If I have a deadline which I have no control over, I never have trouble finishing something. Self-imposed deadlines are another thing altogether; I can always change my own mind.

So, now that I have examined my own psyche and determined where my problem lies, can I combat it and do better?

Let's just see if I can finish the 30 Things...

Next: What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Birthday Catch Up

The last couple of weeks have been a little stressful for me... "What?!" you say? "You? Stressed out? The Super Mom?" Tee hee, I say! You are too kind for words!

Okay, I'm done now.

Looking at my blog postings, it seems I fell off the face of the planet right after Miss A's birthday. In a way, I suppose I have. I got caught up in a roaring whirlwind of birthdays, bikes, party planning, Diablo III ordering, visiting family, a  factory tour, decadent gourmet cookies, a graduation ceremony followed by a graduation party and a surprise visit that had been planned since January.

I will get to most of those later.

Today, I will finish what I started and share the birthday fun.
I posted last time before we had taken pictures of the birthday girl blowing out her candles.

She always feels shy when she's sung to.

She blew out her candles on a small cake, but...

It was the Cupcake in a Cone that really did it for her. She had been concerned earlier when she caught a peek of them. She thought they were really ice cream and that they would melt.

Little brother!

Frosting on the nose! What a happy girl!

She got a bike for her birthday, and we will post on that soon.

Now, on to Henry's birthday!

Just as I did on Audrey's birthday, I asked Henry 20 questions on his birthday.

Henry's 2012 Birthday Questionaire

1. What is your favorite color?  Orange
2. What is your favorite toy?  Ball-Popper
3. What is your favorite fruit?  Banan-ies
4. What is your favorite TV show?  Spongebob Squarepants (I think he has watched it only once or twice.)
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Sandwiches
6. What is your favorite outfit?  My bike  (I guess we'll have to work on his vocabulary so that he will understand what an outfit is by his next birthday. ;D )
7. What is your favorite game?  Bingo  (I didn't quite understand this answer at the time, but I now remember that we played Bingo on St. Patrick's Day. What a memory!)
8. What is your favorite snack?  Fruit Snacks
9. What is your favorite animal?  Duck
10. What is your favorite song?  Barbie Song (Aqua - Barbie Girl)
11. What is your favorite book? Cookie  (Cookie's Week - A story about a cat that gets into a lot of trouble)
12. Who is your best friend?  Audrey
13. What is your favorite cereal?  Honey Nut Cheerios
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Play with bubbles
15. What is your favorite drink?  Milk
16. What is your favorite holiday?  Halloween
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Squacky and MingMing (His two stuffed ducks)
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Honey Nut Cheerios again
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Spaghetti
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?  A grown-up

Henry had a great birthday. Nanny and Grandfather came into town and spent the day with us. We drove up to the Sweet's Candy Company factory in Salt Lake and took a tour of the place. It was a lot of fun, though Audrey was disappointed that she couldn't go into any of the really interesting rooms where the mixing and cooking were going on. Everyone liked the candy samples we got along the way, however. I'd share pictures but we weren't allowed to take a camera in; not even our phones if they had cameras.

After the factory, Nanny and Grandfather directed us to a little cookie shop they had discovered the day before. Rubysnap is a wonderful gourmet cookie shop in downtown Salt Lake. The cookies all have women's names. I had Judy. The moment I finished it, I wanted another. I've been fantasizing about this cookie shop ever since.

Henry also got a bike for his birthday. He has yet to work out how to pedal and steer at the same time, but he'll get there.

Instead of birthday cake, we had waffle bowl sundaes. YUM!

Just in case you were going to call Shenanigans, we didn't do the candle-blowing ceremonies for our children on the same day. Henry just likes that shirt.

As for the rest of the craziness of the past couple of weeks, I'll get to that... tomorrow... maybe.


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