Books: Second Quarter

This quarter was all about audiobooks- I listened to all of these except two (The Blue Castle and The Light Between Oceans.)  Packing/De-Cluttering/Organizing/Cleaning lends itself to lots of audiobooks, and ones I had read before were preferable because then it wasn't too tragic if I missed a part when I ran into the other room to find yet another roll of tape.   (First Quarter Books Here)

11. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - Perhaps my favorite book ever.  I loved listening to it this time and I can't wait for the movie this fall.

12. The Giver by Lois Lowry - Another re-read (but I listened this time.)  Excellent, powerful message- one I think everyone should read.

13. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins- Again, an audiobook I'd read before.  This was my first time re-reading and I appreciated the book much more this time already knowing the ending.  I was less upset and shocked so it was much more enjoyable.

14. The Light Between Oceans - by M.L. Stedman - This is the story of a man and his wife who operate a lighthouse on an island off the coast of Australia.  After unsuccessfully trying to have a baby they find an infant washed up on a boat and decide to keep it.  But later when they return to the island they realize their decision to keep the baby without alerting the authorities has terribly affected another woman.  This story was so sad but also tender and sweet.  I was captivated by the characters and so invested in their lives.  And I really loved the ending.

15. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery - I hadn't ever read any of her books except for the Anne series (which is one of my favorites.)  Not quite up to Anne standards, but similar and very enjoyable.

16. How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr - Seventeen-year-old Mandy is pregnant and looking for a better life for her baby (and herself.)  She meets Robin online and asks to move in with her for the duration of her pregnancy and let Robin adopt her baby.  Plan sounds great, but Jill, Robin's teenage daughter, is hesitant and suspicious of Mandy.  This is a really sweet, but not overly trite YA book.

17. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- I made it almost halfway, but I was not that into the story and it had too much profanity for me.  But it seems like everyone else loves her books so I guess I'm missing out?

18. The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel - I accidentally got the abridged version to listen to and I was really struggling to keep up with the story so I took it back and figured I'd read the full version sometime.  Then we got the movie and I fell asleep twice trying to get through it, so I'm not overly motivated to go out and get the book super quickly.

What have you been reading??  I'm clearly due for some good new reading material.


So long, farewell

I hate saying goodbye.  
I hate the finality of it, and I absolutely hate how weepy I get
I much prefer "See ya later" 
because, in some form or fashion, I know we'll see all our friends again

These past few days have been full of goodbyes.  
I've been keeping them very low-key because while Jilly knows we're moving to a new house,
I don't think she gets how terribly far away we'll be, and that we won't see our friends anymore.
Call me a baby, but I just can't handle her figuring that out and feeling sad right now 
(I'm sad enough for the both of us.)

Today was our last Sunday at church and afterwards I said goodbye to a few people,
but then I just had to get out the door.
I was too emotional and couldn't handle it anymore.
We've been so happy and so blessed here.

one last walk around the Sacramento Temple tonight


friday five: Mattie edition

1. A very sweet friend had a goodbye party for us this week.  Mattie thoroughly enjoyed cake at the party then enjoyed the leftovers even more when her dad gave her a spoonful of frosting.  


2. There was a cheerio on the floor and instead of picking it up Mattie leaned down to grab it with her mouth.  Naturally, I took a picture instead of stopping her from eating off the dirty floor.

3.  Jilly wanted to paint so of course Mattie did too.  I was pretty impressed and thrilled that this setup worked (Jilly with paint, Mattie with a bowl of water) then not surprised at all when it only lasted 90 seconds.  A for Effort.

4.  When Jilly was younger I half-heartedly taught her a few signs.  The only one she caught on to was more, which she thought meant please.  Not sure how that happened, but we went with it.  Recently I decided to teach Mattie to sign please and we kept with our history of incorrect signing.  After a few days of practicing Mattie's now a pro and signs "please" (more) all day long knowing she'll get exactly what she wants.

5.  Girlfriend is already into the accessory stage. Oh help me Rhonda.  

Happy Weekend!


the time I called 911

On Friday afternoon the girls and I returned home from some errands and I immediately noticed smoke pouring out of the window of the neighbor behind us.  I ran over and rang the doorbell and knocked but no one answered so I called Bryan, "There's smoke coming out of the neighbor's window, I call 911 right?"  Embarrassing that I called Bryan to verify, but this is not something that routinely happens in my everyday life.  He said yes so I quickly hung up and dialed 911.

It felt so crazy to be calling 911- not something I ever expected or hoped to do.  But within just a few minutes the first trucks arrived and we watched the firefighters get suited up and head in.  Eventually there were 7 trucks on our street, and they stayed for hours.

I didn't know the woman who lived there.  I hear from neighbors that she was elderly, hardly left her home, and had some very unhealthy habits.  After waiting for a while with no news, the fire chief finally came over and told us that she didn't make it.  We do know the neighbors on each side- both families have little kids Jilly's age.  Thankfully there was very minimal damage to both of those units.  It was a sad and scary day for our neighborhood.


friday five

(one)  One of the things I'll miss most about our house is our hydrangea bush.  When Kristen was here she fell in love with it also, and she took the kids out to take some pictures.  I love having a talented family.

(two) After our beach trip we got to spend a few days with Kristen, Kirra, and Knox.  The kids had a ball playing together, I forced Kristen to make me biscuits and gravy (my favorite breakfast and hers is the best), we shopped a bit, went swimming, and had a really fun day at the Oakland Zoo.  

(three) On Tuesday I had my last Relief Society Activity I was in charge of (!!!)  When I came home I was doing dishes and noticed there weren't many so I asked if they'd only had corn and watermelon for dinner  Bryan said, "No, we had cookies too."  Much, much better.  Also, in the morning when Mattie woke up I noticed that her diaper was on backwards.  Not sure how he managed that one, but I'm glad to know that I left my girls in good hands.

(four)  Mattie started giving kisses this week and of course it's the cutest thing ever.

(five)  Our girls went a few too many days without a bath this week.  When I finally got my act together and bathed the babes I made a huge deal about how clean and yummy smelling they were.  The next morning after Bryan got out of the shower Jilly was sure to gush over his cleanliness.  I think he was a bit weirded out.

Happy Weekend!!


Beach Vacation

Earlier this month we headed down south for a long weekend at Huntington Beach with Bryan's family.  The beach brings out the very best in us- girls are messy and happy, I am super relaxed, and Bryan turns into a kid again.  It was a wonderful, happy weekend.

We've been telling Jilly that we'll be moving to a new house so when we got to our (not the nicest) hotel she figured it was our new house. Umm, no. 

Uncles are so much fun-

I love how much these girls love each other - 

Annnnd, this is my 30 year old husband riding a blow-up whale in the ocean (he also surfed and rode a body board.)

Newport Beach Temple-

the cousin lineup- Jilly, Knox, Kirra, & Mattie

til next time...

(all pictures, except for the obvious iphone pictures, were taken by my fabulous sis-in-law Kristen; I am the lucky benificiary of her talents.)


five fact friday

one- Jilly had a rough week last week.  On Saturday she was sitting on the kitchen counter and fell off backwards.  She hit her head really hard and cried and cried and cried.  I laid her on her couch and kept asking her questions and she could always answer.  She also told me, "I fell just like Rapunzel's mean mom fell out of the tower" so I knew she was in pretty good shape.  She eventually fell asleep but when she woke up she threw up.  I was really worried so I called the pediatrician who said there was no need to worry unless she threw up again or seemed to not be herself. The rest of the day she was perfectly fine.  Then, on Monday we had friends over to go swimming and while we were eating dinner Jilly and her friend were playing by the pool.  I never ever ever should have let Jilly be that close to the water without her life jacket, but I did, and somehow she fell in the 5 ft deep water.  I ran over (we were only a few feet away) and was able to quickly grab her out of the water.  She was shaken up but fine (had no problem getting in the pool later) but it was scary scary scary.  So apart from feeling like the loserest mother there ever was, I've been ultra-vigilent lately- to the point of waking up in the night to check on my girls.  We're lucky everything turned out just fine.

two- Mattie is at that fun stage where she knows exactly what she wants to say but mamama and dadada just aren't cutting it.  Our days are filled with lots of whining and grunting as the poor girl tries to figure out how to communicate.

three- We have a place to live in Maryland!  We're renting a little townhome and it's been quite stressful to choose a place without actually seeing it, but we're excited and happy to know we have a new home.

four- Lisa and her crew came to visit one last time while we're residents of the same state.  We had such a fun day with these guys- the kids play so well together.  And thank goodness for texting and facetime that will make my separation from Lisa just barely bearable.

five- We spent last weekend at the beach with Bryan's family, then had Lisa visit, my sister-in-law and kids visit for a couple days (more on that later), then inspection and appraisal on our house.  Most of this week I've felt like I was hanging on for dear life as the days whizzed by.  One day things will slow down again, but probably not for a little while!


ten years

Ten years ago this week I graduated from high school.  Craaaaaaazy.  At my Senior Banquet for Choir we each wrote what we thought we'd be doing in ten years and they read it out loud.  I really wish I still had that paper, but I'm pretty sure it would be spot on.  Elementary Ed degree from BYU, married, taught for a few years, first house, two little girls.  The past ten years have been busy and great.


Good Morning Baltimore

Ch-Ch Changes are happening around here.  
We're moving.  Across the country.  To Baltimore.

Bryan was offered a job at NMP Consulting, 
and in just a few weeks we'll head out to our new Maryland home.
About half of our stuff (okay, maybe a quarter) is packed and our house is sold
(thankfully we got an offer after only 4 days because selling a home is a real treat.)

There are a million and one things we'll miss about Sacramento
Top on that list is being so close to Bryan's parents
And next is all of our dear friends.
And there are a million and one things to be excited about in Baltimore.
Fireflies, snow, trees, and- best of all- being close to my family
(Bryan says to cross out snow.)

I can't even begin to count the emotions I've felt in the past few weeks,
but most of all I've felt grateful.
Grateful for the four years we've had here,
and grateful for our exciting new adventure.


Books to read before you leave home

A couple weeks ago I was talking with some girls at church about the books we would encourage (force?) our kids to read before they left home for college.  I've been thinking about what books I'd put on my list ever since.  Disclaimer: this list is catered more toward girls since that's what I have the most experience with- being a girl myself and having two girls.  I suppose if I ever had a boy I'd have to rethink some of my choices.

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: Naturally a priority.  My family listens to the audiobooks in the car on long road trips and I hope this is a tradition we will continue.  Also, my friend said she won't let her kids watch the movies til they read the books and I plan on adopting this policy.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery:  I love this book so, so much; I just want my girls to give it a try.  I won't be heartbroken if they don't love it also (just like my mom forgave me for not loving Little House on the Prairie.)

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis:  The best of the best.

The Giver by Lois Lowry:  I just re-read this and I think it has such a powerful message.  If my kids want to read any other dystopian novels (maybe they'll be out of vogue by then... call me grandma) then they better expect to read this first.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: One of my very favorites.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: Just an amazing book.  I really want my kids to read it before leaving home because it gives such great perspective and I love the message of forgiveness.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Every girl must experience Mr. Darcy.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl: My favorite of his books; I remember reading this as a kid with my dad.

What books are on your list?!?