Monday, March 24, 2008

My Crazy Family

I love hanging out with my family. We are crazy! But we do have a lot of fun. Easter Sunday was no exception. I cooked up a crazy plan with The Easter Bunny (aka: The Countess) that my brother, LSOC, would be given the movie "Enchanted" in his Easter basket. AngelFish, LadyBug, Gorgeous and I had dragged him to see it in December (against very vocal protestations - he was pretty much guilted into it...) and was just as disgusted as he thought he would be. We of course all loved it and have teased him about it mercilessly ever since that it is his favorite movie. So, it's time to open Easter baskets and the Easter Bunny and I insist that we need to get the camera out first. That turns into a big problem. Tergaso has Mom's camera in Provo. She took it on her trip to Claremont last weekend and forgot to bring it back with her. (Apparently her own camera is broken. Keep in mind this is the second camera she's had from her mission - she broke the first one, too.) No problem, we'll use LSOC's camera. Except that Tergaso has his camera in Provo, too. She keeps forgetting to bring that back as well. Well, Tergaso has brought a former mission companion home with her for Easter and all the sudden she pipes up with, "I think you still have my camera, too!" Apparently Tergaso is a camera magnet! Of course, I can't talk much, because the next idea was to use my camera and Tergaso and I spent a good 10 minutes in my room looking for it and trying not to get lost in the bottomless pit that is my bedroom. So, our Easter pictures are from cell-phone cameras!

Anyway. Back to Easter baskets. LSOC opens his present first (youngest to oldest) and when he saw it was "Enchanted" he got extremely disgusted, burst out with "Are you serious?" and threw it at AngelFish. It was awesome. The only problem was that when AngelFish opened her present - it was also "Enchanted." It was finally my turn to open my present and that silly Easter Bunny gave me "I Am Legend" which AngelFish and I both refuse to watch. (LSOC will probably end up talking me into it - but I know there was no way I could stand to watch it in the theaters!) So LSOC and I switched. But his reaction was priceless.

After dinner we were sitting around talking and things got, well, crazy. I'm not exactly sure how things got started - I was snoozing on Mom's shoulder - of course, I'm not sure anyone else knew how things got started anyway. But they were listening to Russian disco/tech music. (I told you we are crazy.) I'm pretty sure the Russian disco/tech music got started sometime after they all took a walk around the block wearing crazy hats (they had to have their own "Easter Parade" complete with Easter Bonnets! I didn't go with - remember the whole snoozing on Mom's shoulder - but I wouldn't be surprised if they were belting "Easter Parade" as they went. Anyway, we were listening to Russian disco/tech music and Tergaso started dancing. First it was while she was sitting on the couch but then she stood up and pulled my Grandma, Gorgeous, up and they were dancing together. Gorgeous really got down and boogied! (Which she pronounces boo (as in, "Boo!" not "book") - gie) It was hilarious.

A little bit later, AngelFish had her feet propped up on Gorgeous's lap and Gorgeous decided to do "This Little Piggy." Well, Angelfish only has 4 toes on one foot. All the sudden, Gorgeous stops and says, "I can't wee-wee on this foot!" (She'd run out of toes...) We all almost wee-weed right there in the living room we were laughing so hard.

I love my family!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'm leaving on a JetBlue plane...

I think everything is now finalized for my trip to Rochester, NY to visit the Gardners. While the circumstances under which I'm going are not what I would have chosen, I have to admit that I am so excited to see them again.

The Gardners used to live in my neighborhood. We worked in the Primary together and became friends. When Tyler joined their family, I was immediately smitten. Tyler is the sweetest, most loving little boy in the world. I'm a snuggler by nature - I love hugs! - and Tyler completely agrees with my views on the subject. He would just curl up under my chin and snuggle down and we would just sit there loving each other.

A few months after Tyler joined the Gardner family, I started going to a singles ward. I didn't see them as often. I ended up going about three months without seeing Tyler before Emmalee joined their family. When I went over to visit, Tyler was sitting in his baby swing and when he heard my voice he just lifted up his arms for me to pick him up. He immediately snuggled right down in my arms and gave me the biggest, longest hug. It was amazing. He was not even 1 yet, but I know that he totally remembered me and was totally content to just cuddle for awhile. A few months later, Brent and Jodie moved to Arizona. I was heartbroken. Tyler had touched my life and my heart.

Since then, life has brought another move (to Rochester, NY) and another special baby to the Gardner Family. The weekend before New Years, they brought Nate home. The fall and Christmas months were crazy for the Gardners - Nate spent almost four months in the hospital because he was a preemie. I had offered to fly out to help for a bit, but things just didn't ever work out. They were able to settle into a good routine and life was going well. We talked about me maybe flying out during the summer for a visit, but nothing was decided.

And then everything changed. This family was hit with heartbreaking news. Tyler was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia. I can't even imagine what they has been through. I've been heartbroken - and I haven't seen Tyler for almost three years. But Jodie is an amazing woman. Her capacity for compassion and love is incredible. Her strength and perseverance is unlimited. And this family will be stronger through this trial.

And I have the privilege of visiting and offering what little help I can give. I leave the end of this month for almost two weeks. I get to meet Nate, play with Emmalee, renew my friendship with Jodie and Brent, and love Tyler. How lucky am I?

Monday, March 17, 2008


My awesome sister, Tergaso, was just accepted to Claremont University School of Religion for her master's program! And received a 30% tuition fellowship! I'm so happy for her! (And so glad that JetBlue exists!)

Various and Sundry - Reviews

I have been meaning to do a review post for quite awhile now and just haven't been able to spare a minute to post. My life is uber-crazy right now. But in a good way (if crazy can be good...) However, last night we watched a movie that I absolutely just loved!! So, I had to make time today to post about it.

You must watch "Dan in Real Life." It was awesome. I cried. (Of course, I cried through the last 1/2 hour of "Two Weeks Notice" while on a plane flying to Virginia. And that's not a sad movie! You have to understand that I am a very emotional person and it gets exponentially worse when I'm tired and/or stressed - both of which I was yesterday/still am. I also have to admit that I still cry every time I watch the end of "Meet the Parents". Yes, I'm aware I need serious help. Back to the movie in question, which is "Dan in Real Life", which is really, really good!) Who knew that Steve Carrell could act not just wig out? (Although I do have to clarify that I enjoy his wigging - I enjoy "The Office" and I'll be addressing another movie he's in in the next paragraph...) The movie has definite funny moments, but it's mostly just a real, honest look at the pain and heartache of losing someone you love and trying desperately to find love all while being the best person possible for you kids. (OK, looking at it that way, it's no wonder I cried - those are all subjects very close to my heart!) The bottom line: I loved this movie.

This is just going to be a Steve Carrell post, because the next movie I want to talk about is "Evan Almighty." I also really enjoyed this movie. It is very much more geared toward children - and my brother was totally weirded out by it. But I really enjoyed it. It's about Evan Baxter (a character introduced in "Bruce Almighty") who just ran for congress. He moves his family to the DC area where God (Morgan Freeman) appears to him and tells him to build an ark. I went into this movie wanting to like it because Lauren Graham is in it (Yeah! Gilmore Girls!!) but even without that positive bias, I would have still enjoyed it. I really liked the faith promoting message. Something like this could very easily become a cynical, sarcastic poke at religion and faith, but it didn't go there. While it may be hard to believe, I thought it was very respectful and encouraging of faith. I was also impressed, after watching the bonus features, with how green the movie was. Now, I have to clarify that I'm not buying into the whole "we've destroyed the planet and we're all going to burn up in five years" mentality. In fact, here (thanks to BFF for the link) is a great article about all of that. But I do believe that we have an obligation to take care of what God has blessed us with and use our resources wisely. I also believe that anything we can do to become less reliant on foreign oil, the better off we'll be. The directors of "Evan Almighty" seemed to have similar feelings. Besides buying bikes for everyone that worked on this movie, and planting trees, they donated everything they could salvage from the homes on the set and the ark (which was a full-size, huge ark) and donated it to Habitat for Humanity. Cool. The bottom line: as long as you know this is suspend reality kids fare, you'll enjoy this movie.

Now, to a movie I wasn't so impressed with: "Becoming Jane." I really wanted to like this movie. And I have to say that I really liked Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen - excellent choice. But I just couldn't like the movie. I couldn't even get through it a second time - it just wasn't that important. I didn't think that Jane falling for LeFroy was believable. I couldn't see any redeeming qualities in him for her to be attracted to. And I was put off by the covert sexual references. The Jane Austen I know is based on her books, and plot and tone of this movie was so incongruous to her books. It just wasn't believable. Which is sad, because I really did want to like it. And Anne Hathaway was great - even with the non-Jane material she was given to work with, I thought she made a great Jane Austen.

On the Jane Austen topic, I have two books I'd like to share as well. From a previous post, you may have guessed that I was reading "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen. It was fabulous. And I must say that Emma Thompson's movie version was surprising true to the book. There were only a couple of things that, for trimming the story to 2 hours sake, were not absolutely correct. Good stuff! Also, my mom gave me a book for Christmas called "The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen" by Syrie James. The author takes the voice of Jane Austen and write her memoirs about love lost. Compared to actual Jane Austen, this book was definite fluff. "Sense and Sensibility" is a full five course meal featuring all your favorite foods while "The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen" is cotton candy. But cotton candy is still delicious. I really enjoyed it and if you're looking for fluff, this is a good read. "The Lost Memoirs" is much truer to the Jane Austen we know from her books than the movie "Becoming Jane." I could believe "Lost"'s version of Jane. I couldn't believe "Becoming"'s version.

On a final note, I have to spend a little time talking about another of my absolute favorite authors: Robin McKinley. She specializes in juvenile fiction/fantasy. I just finished rereading "Spindle's End", a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty faerie tale. Such good stuff! Every couple of years, I have to reread all of her stuff. I've discovered, though, that I can't start her other books until I get through more of my to-do list. I just can't put her books down! I also just purchased her newest book "Dragonhaven" and I've had to literally hide it! Maybe after my trip to Rochester, NY (more about that in another post...) I can pull it out! Ah, something to look forward to...

Russian Joy, Part 3

Saturday, March 8, 2008

123 Book Tag

Lanna has blog tagged me for the 123 Book Tag. Here are the rules:
*Find the book closest to you with at least 123 pages.
*Turn to page 123.
*Find the fifth sentence.
*Post the next 3 sentences.
*Tag 5 people. (Don't have 5 people to tag - Sorry!)

"Lucy was naturally clever; her remarks were often just and amusing; and as a companion for half an hour Elinor frequently found her agreeable; but her powers had received no aid from education, she was ignorant and illiterate, and her deficiency of all mental improvement, her want of information in the most common particulars, could not be concealed from Miss Dashwood, in spite of her constant endeavour to appear to advantage. Elinor saw, and pitied her for the neglect of abilities which education might have rendered so respectable; but she saw, with less tenderness of feeling, the thorough want of delicacy, of rectitude, and integrity of mind, which her attentions, her assiduities, her flatteries at the Park betrayed; and she could have no lasting satisfaction in the company of a person who joined insincerity with ignorance, whose want of instruction prevented their meeting in conversation on terms of equality, and whose conduct towards others made every shew of attention and deference towards herself perfectly valueless.

"'You will think my question an odd one, I dare say,' said Lucy to her one day as they were walking together from the Park to the cottage-'but, pray, are you personally acquainted with your sister-in-law's mother, Mrs. Ferrars?'"

-Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen

I tag AngelFish and anyone else who wants to play!

Friday, March 7, 2008


This is my adorable little cousin, Jitterbug. I had the privilege of watching him last Friday night. He is the cutest little guy. He was so much fun to play with. He pretty much just laughed the whole night. He totally has LSOC wrapped around his little finger, too. They had so much fun playing together and then LSOC had to leave. Jitterbug was gone when he got home and he was so disappointed. I've heard many, many times since then that I need to babysit him again. I agree!

In the third picture, Jitterbug is holding a DVD called "Your Baby Can Read" and he absolutely loves it. It's a 20-minute DVD that writes several words on the screen and then someone says it and then they show a picture of the word. Jitterbug totally knows the word "clap." When that word came up on the screen - he'd start clapping! Before they said the word, before they showed kids clapping. Keep in mind he's only 9 or 10 months old! For every word, he'd look up at me expectantly, waiting for me to say the word and then he'd squeal in delight. It was awesome!.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Don't you love it when you're in predictive while texting someone and you intend to type Homeboy and it comes out as Homecow?

It's the little things that make life worth living.

*credit where credit is due: thanks, Tergaso, for not immediately correcting the mistake; and thanks, LSOC, for sharing the mistake with me and then reminding me of it this morning by signing your email "peace out, homecow." It's all about Family :o)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Buying Affection

There is a family in my neighborhood that I grew up with. The oldest daughter was just a year younger than me and we played together a lot. They are a great family. The daughter is now happily married with three adorable little girls. I am on pretty good terms with her oldest daughter-we are pals-and consequently, the younger ones are okay with me as well. This family also has a son who is now happily married and has an adorable little girl. They now live in the neighborhood, too. Their little girl hasn't been as sure of me as her cousins are. And if you know me, you'll know that I wasn't okay with that situation.

One day while I was shopping at Harmons, I saw a display with some My Little Pony fruit snacks on sale. And I formed an evil/genius plan: I would buy her affection with fruit snacks! Every time I saw her at Church, I told her I had a treat for her and gave her a fruit snack. The last couple of weeks, she has even given me a hug and a kiss in exchange for her treat.

Well, today I had my ultimate reward for my bribery. She was asleep in her mother's arms after church. She was just starting to wake up and her eyes opened and she saw me standing next to her mom. Her little eyes just lit up and she gave me a huge grin and sat up. I held out my arms to her and she willingly came to me. Of course, the first thing out her mouth was "treat?" but she was in my arms and happy. I gave her the treat and she gave me a kiss and a "thank you" and we had a nice conversation about her very colorful tights (way cute striped tights!) and which was her favorite color. It was awesome! My brother saw the exchange and couldn't get over how excited she was for the fruit snack. He also couldn't believe that I had purposefully set out to buy her affection and that it had actually worked.

Today I claim the title of Evil-Genius. Life is good.

Saturday, March 1, 2008