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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peaches and Herb and the Scriptures??

So, I've been on this marathon reading event with Dominique and Elle. We've been reading the Book of Mormon *most* days since Thanksgiving in an effort to finish it by the new year. We will fall short of our goal, but we'll finish it sometime in January. It is a monumental feat no matter how you look at it.

We're way past the 1/2 way mark and it's all done but the readin' for now.

Recently we read a long explanation in the BOM regarding death and resurrection. For those who are unaware, Latter Day Saint doctrine teaches that the spirit and body separate at death and that resurrection (a reuniting of spirit and body) is a gift that will be given to everyone at some future point in time (after Christ comes again....but then it gets a bit tricky because there are multiple resurrections, blah, blah, blah). ANYWAY!

When we finished reading that part in the scriptures, I asked Elle if she understood what was said, and she said, all I could think of were the lyrics, "Reunited...and it feels so good..."

I laughed and laughed and laughed. All day long, we would just start singing "Reunited...." and laugh some more.

Who knew that this chorus from Peaches and Herb:

(Chorus:)
Reunited, and it feels so good
Reunited, 'cause we understood
There's one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited
'Cause we're reunited
Hey, hey

had a secret, second meaning!!!!

I've loved this experience in reading with Dom and Elle. I don't know if they are getting anything out of it, but I sure am!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12 Days of Christmas

This year for Christmas, I wanted to achieve two things 1) keep it simple (and relatively inexpensive) and 2) make sure that the girls got something they really wanted. Last year was kind of a bust. Even though I try, I always kind of miss the mark with their clothes and shoes. Let's face it...I'm kind of an old lady, and while I think that I'm still hip enough to pick out cool teen clothes, I'm not. So....such that neither they nor I would be disappointed, I crafted a plan. We did a 12 Days of Christmas Christmas.

The girls on Christmas morning (before the present opening began).
The 12 days of Christmas went something like this.....all neat and packaged...and painstakingly adorned with the pictures of the 12 days of Christmas on every.single.package. I printed out pages with the "clues" to the gifts on them. Mariah read each one then they opened the presents.
This gift was a "pair" of earrings.
This one was a small box of turtles (candies) and a bag of Dove candies.
This was a $5.00 McDonald's gift card so they could get their favorite meal (chicken nuggets and french fries).


This was 4 free downloads for their cell phones. We don't let them download things, so they were kind of psyched about this one. They would have been more excited about free texting, but we don't let them do that either.
This was a $15.00 gift certificate to Claire's They love buying crap from Claire's. I did, too, when I was their age.
This one was kind of hokie. I got Easter eggs and filled them with various kinds of M&Ms. Unfortunately, I could only find 12 eggs...the ones Dean got for me last Easter and hid in my office...so I gave each of the kids 4 eggs. They LOVED the candy. In fact, the next day at church, Mariah pulled out her new make up bag from her purse and it was FILLED with M&Ms! I just laughed and laughed!
I ordered rubber duckies online (24 of them). I put 7 in a box and put a $25.00 Bath and Body Works gift card in with it. I was kind of proud of the rubber duckies idea. They all bought lip gloss from BBW.
We have a cleaning lady who comes once every other week. (We DO NOT call her a maid, though.) Earlier this year I instructed her not to clean the girls' bathroom any more because they need to learn how to keep it clean on their own. They were being 1st class slobs and would say things like, "The cleaning lady will clean it." Um......I don't think so! So, now we are on a rotation....Mariah, Elle then Dom clean it...and rotate every Saturday. This gift was $20.00 (or the approximate amount that it costs to have Karen clean their bathroom). They chose to spend the cash. No surprises there!
This was a $10.00 iTunes gift card.

The younger girls have been telling me for months that they want Vans (a brand of shoe). I have been telling them for months that they are not getting Vans from me. I got Dom and Elle $30.00 gift cards to the Vans store. Riah got $30.00 to Payless (she's not as big of a fan of Vans). This was a $100.00 gift card. It can be used at Gap, Banana Republic or Old Navy. This was the BIG surprise. They got iHomes (which are devices that you can plug your ipod into so you can hear it). The only one who has an ipod is Dominique. So, Mariah and Elle were like..."uh, thanks." Then I said to Dom, "Keep looking in the box." Hidden in the bottom were the new nano slide ipods. They were quite surprised. You can see Dom's mouth agape in this picture.


It was a very good Christmas. I was worried that the hokie gifts at the beginning were not going to be received well, but they loved their 12 Days of Christmas. They have told everyone about their presents, and Dominique told me, "It was the best Christmas ever." I'm so glad! I'm so, so glad!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Danley Family Christmas Tradition

I wrote this for my kid brother, Adam, and gave it to him on Christmas Eve. He's 14 years younger than me, and we didn't grow up together. Unfortunately, he also never experienced these family traditions (and other family-isms). It's so important that we write down these kinds of things! My kids are ALWAYS asking us to tell stories about them when they were little. They love hearing the stories (and I'm amazed that they don't remember!)

This story refers to my paternal grandparents who are Eugene Howard Danley and Mildred Smith Danley. They died in 1981 and 1987, respectively.

Enjoy this glimpse into my past....

**
I never knew my grandparents to have much money. That was because they didn’t. My earliest memories are of visiting my Grandma and Grandpa Danley in public housing on the South Side of Peoria. I was too young to know that it was public housing. It didn’t matter to me. It was Grandma and Grandpa Danley.

In the summertime, Grandpa never wore clothes. It sounds a bit ridiculous today, but he was often found sitting at the kitchen table in his underwear. It wasn’t gross or perverted. It was, quite simply, cooler that way. To the best of my recollection, there was no “central air” in the projects, and I don’t even think that they had an air conditioner. If I had to guess, they probably had those old school box fans to cool the place down. Hence, Grandpa in his underwear.

I’d always go and give Grandpa a kiss, and he was ALWAYS happy to see his grandkids.

ALWAYS.

If he knew I was coming, he would shave (because I hated his mid-day stubble).

I digress. This is a story about a very important Danley Family Tradition.

Because there was not a lot of money and because there were a lot of grandkids, Grandma and Grandpa had to be judicious in their gift giving. Every grandchild received a two-dollar bill every single year. It was in a money holder (the kind with the circle cut out so you could see the mug of Thomas Jefferson). This was the only Christmas gift I ever received from Grandma and Grandpa Danley. I looked forward to it every year. It meant a lot to me. I loved getting that two dollar bill. I wish I could tell you that I saved them all, but I didn’t. I spent every single one of them.

I was 17 the year grandma died, and although I don’t remember it, I’m confident that I received my last two dollar bill from her during my 16th Christmas.

Because funds were low, Grandma always made fudge for the families. Every family got one Christmas tin of “Grandma’s Fudge.” This was a treat even more anticipated than the two dollar bills. I looked forward to that fudge every single year. Each piece of fudge was cut into a bite sized piece and wrapped in tin foil. The pieces were then placed in the tins, and the tins were given to the families. I don’t know if it was because Grandma made the fudge or what, but that fudge was delicious to me. For years after Grandma died, other family members tried to carry on the tradition of the fudge, but it was never quite the same.
The fudge was made with “marshmallow fluff.” Yes, it is a real product. It comes in a jar, and it’s essentially whipped marshmallows. This is the recipe. This is the new, updated version of the same recipe from the http://www.marshmellowfluff.com/ website. The differences in the recipes are probably accounted for in the size of the jar of fluff (if I had to guess). The ingredients are the same, the quantities are just different.

Never-Fail-Fudge

2 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 stick butter or margarine
15 oz. can evaporated milk (2/3 c.)
1 Jar (7 1/2oz) Marshmallow Fluff
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 12-oz. package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 /2 c. chopped walnuts

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside. In large saucepan combine the first 5 ingredients. Stir over low heat until blended. Increase heat to Medium and bring to a full-rolling boil being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles for boiling. Boil slowly, stirring constantly for 5 minutes (use Soft-Ball test). Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted. Add nuts. Turn into greased pan and cool. Makes 2 1/2 pounds.
**
At this point in time, I gave my brother a 2 dollar bill, and I promised to make the fudge next year so that we could re-establish this tradition.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A few Christmas Eve images....

We had a small family gathering on Christmas Eve. It was all of us plus Elise and Garrett and my brother Adam (who was not yet here when week took these pictures).
Our Tree
Me and Dean

Mariah and Garrett
Bradley and Elise
We read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2) and sang a few Christmas carols...Opened a few gifts....
And just hung out....
It was a very good night.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Answer the question, please...

My fourth (and mercifully, last) teenager is upon me. I keep hoping, "This one will be different." This one won't mouth off...won't sneak around, won't discover boys...in short, I was hoping that this one wouldn't be plagued with the other teenage realities that we experienced with the previous three (let me say that for Bradley, he discovered girls, not boys). I have, however, been disappointed. This last one is just like the others. Notably, she has learned to never answer a direct question I ask.

My conversations with the kids go something like this.

Me: What are you doing?
Kid: I *just* got here.
Me: I didn't ask the time frame of your arrival. I asked what you are doing.

See what I mean?

Me: Who ate the tortillas? (a serious crime in our house...usually because I got tortillas as an ingredient for something else).
Kid: So-and so opened them.
Me: I didn't ask who opened them, I asked who ate them.
Kid: You let me eat them last time.
Me: So, who at the tortillas?

And that is how it goes.

Me: Did you clean your room?
Kid: I put my clothes away.
Me: Yes, but did you clean your room.
Kid: [Slight pause] Uh-huh.
Me: Is it "Wendy Clean?"
Kid: Slinks upstairs to clean said room.

I swear....I could ask something like this.

Me: Where is your coat?
Kid: I have gloves and a hat on.
Me: Where is your coat?
Kid: I am wearing warm socks.
Me: WHERE IS THE DAMN COAT?

At this point in time I usually found that the coat is 1) "Lost," 2) in the possession of a friend (mortal sin at our house), 3) in a locker and of course it is the weekend or school break.

How ever did they learn this evasive tactic?

I think they have always used it. I just think that I used to fall for it. It was a "distract with a diversionary tactic" ploy that I used to buy hook, line and sinker. Bradley was much better at the diversions than the younger ones. I'm getting older and smarter, and the last kid will suffer because of it. I'm constantly telling her, "I've had three other teenagers; I know how this game ends." She has to sigh and come up with new tactics. I don't have gray hair yet, but check back in 5 more years.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Best Christmas Pageant Ever

We have a tradition at our house. I can't remember exactly how it began, but that's not really important. Each year we read this book:Each year, we get just a bit of resistance, but not too much. This year Dom said, "Why do we have to read this book every year?" We said, "Because it's what we do; it's our tradition."

If you haven't read the book, you should. It's narrated by an elementary school girl and chronicles her interactions with an unruly gaggle of neighbor kids called "The Herdmans." Due to an unfortunate turn of events, the narrator's mother has been put in charge of the annual church Christmas pageant. I don't care who you are, this story is funny. We laugh and laugh every single year.

This year, it is only Dean, me, Dom and Elle reading the book. Bradley practically lives at his girlfriend's house and only shows up to sleep and eat some stuff once a day. Mariah is always busy with work when we want to read, so it's just the four of us this year. It's no less meaningful.


I hope you have meaningful traditions with your family. I fully anticipate that, one day, I will be reading this book to grandchildren.

And as Gladys Herdman would say, "Hey, Unto you a child is born!" Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A word about the new family picture....

Now that the Christmas cards are all sent (all but 15 of them...which I have in my bag and intend to do tonight), I felt like we could change the family picture on the blog. You will notice that Bradley is noticeably absent from the picture (and the Christmas card). This was not intentional.

We actually tried to take family pictures with him in early October, but he was late by a few hours because of a previous commitment. Those pictures were kind of cruddy anyway. Then the opportunity came up for a photo shoot in later October...on a day that you would never have imagined would have been good for taking photos. We ran with it. Unfortunately, Bradley was out of town on that day.

We are *hoping* that before he goes we can get one more family picture with him in it. I just didn't want anyone to think that we intentionally left him out. We didn't. We still love him....most of the time ;-)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Benihana Birthdays

Over the weekend, my cousin, Kevin came to visit. It was a quick visit, but it was very nice. That night, we all went to Benihana for some great food. Here is a pic of Kevin, Dom and Elle waiting for our table to open.


Dom and Elle mesmerized by the preparation of the fried rice. Carrie, Dominique and Elle

Clearly, one of the best parts of the night is watching the meal preparation and all of the yummy food!

It all began when Elle wanted the seafood combo..then Dom followed suit. I normally would not spring for that expensive of a plate of food for the kids, but since we were (in part) celebrating Elle's birthday, I let them splurge.

We were also celebrating Carrie's birthday (which was a week ago).

They do birthdays up right at Benihana...."Happy Birthday to you...cha, cha, cha..." You get how it goes! We had a really fun night at one of our favorite places. In case you were wondering, Dean is out of town. Adam was there (just out of camera range), and Kevin was beside me. Fun times had by all...until we went down to coat check, and someone had stolen Carrie's coat. (Boo!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Slippery Winter Weather Memory

It's snowed a lot here in the past 8 days or so. I'd say we have accumulated about 18 inches. Yesterday it snowed for a better part of the day, and when we awoke this morning (after shoveling no less than 3 times yesterday), it was time to shovel again. I wandered out at noon time to run a few errands, and I found it to be a bit slick on the streets in our neighborhood as they had not yet been plowed.

I slid (just a bit) as I left the driveway, and for whatever reason, that simple slide reminded me of an incident that happened about 16 years ago when I lived in Peoria.

My friend, Cindy, was living with me for a few months right in the middle of the winter. I was housesitting for some friends who were out of the country on a mission. The house was on the west bluff in Peoria in an old neighborhood that still has cobblestone streets (which must have been a novelty at one point in time but are really now just kind of a pain).

It had ICED in Peoria (which is a curse far worse than snow). A neighbor had come to warn me about just how terrible the streets were. She recommended that if I absolutely had to go out that I get on a main road. She specifically warned me that the cobblestone streets were terribly slick. Does anyone think that this story ends well??

My ride? It was a Mecury Grand Marquis, circa 1987. This thing was a beast. I snagged this picture of the Internet, but it looked just like this. This bad boy guzzled gas and oil, but had a relatively smooth ride. I backed into a car once with it, and I barely even felt it; there was $5000.00 damage to the other lady's car (who didn't yield BTW...when she saw me and I didn't see her!)

My friend, Nathan, called it the "SS Wendy." It was a tank.
So, Cindy and I get in the car to go somewhere inconsequential, and I take a turn onto one of the side streets (which I'd been admonished NOT to do). The tank started sliding, and there was no stopping it. I pop the car in neutral, turn into the curve, pump the breaks and said, "Oh, Sh*%, Oh, Sh*%, Oh, Sh*%, Oh, Sh*%" about 50 times. We were careening right for...wait for it...a yellow VW bug.
I got the car "almost" stopped when we kind of "nudged" it in the bumper. We looked. There was no damage. How ever was I going to back the car off of the bug? Solution? It was so icy that we literally pushed the tank off of the car, spun the car enough to get it pointed in the right direction and drove promptly home.
We still talk about that story to this day. It is amazing that I didn't smash the crap out of that tiny car with the Mercury! Slip, slide and away! I miss the "SS Wendy." It didn't make it out to Utah with me in 1995. It had some unidentifiable electrical problem that caused it to just randomly stop running whilst I was driving down the street.
Be safe out there! If your neighbor warns to you, perhaps you should heed the warning! Peace out!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

When to persist and when to throw in the towel....

I am not a quitter. I typically finish what I begin, and I typically don't begin something unless I intend on finishing. I am a firm believer that the minute you give yourself an "out" that you will probably take it. This applies to all areas of my life.

Some of the biggest battles we've had with our kids revolves around trying to teach them that you make a commitment and stick to it....no matter what it is...from the seemingly small promises to be somewhere at a certain time to the bigger commitments that involve others (like a team sport commitment). Can I tell you that we have had knock down, screaming matches over these kinds of issues?

It usually goes something like this.....

Random Davis Kid (RDK)...."But I don't want to do it anymore"
Wendy: But you committed.
RDK: But I don't like it.
Wendy: Life is hard. Sometimes we have to do things that we don't like because we said we would.
RDK: But you can't "make me."

(This one always is tricky...it is a true statement that I cannot "make" a child do anything. I can, however, make life uncomfortable....)

Wendy: That is true, but if you don't do X, you don't get Y.
RDK...typically motivated by whatever the Y is will begin a negotiation with me.

The things they begin and want to quit are big things....band, a sports team, a type of lesson that we pay for. Lately, I've had several fits with Elle who "doesn't want to do band anymore." This child is SUPER talented on her horn. She plays clarinet, and she's recently (within the last 6 months) picked up the Saxophone. She's diligent, talented and quite good. Stupid teenage distractions get in the way. She wants to drop band to take....wait for it....Teen Living....this class which is essentially a home-ec class all trumped up and modernized. She wants to take it because "all of her friends are taking it."

Yes, you've guessed it, I am guilty of using the cliche about the bridge, jumping off of it...and what all of your other friends may/may not be doing.

This is not the first time that she has wanted to quit band. There are always tears...and always a few months later a shameless declaration from her saying something like, "I love band." Me, trying to withhold any smug look provides reassuring words of pride in her accomplishment. This time, she's been more creative than normal. She's started to figure me out. That's a dangerous position for me to be in.

Tonight she said, "I know you will probably say, 'No,' but will you just listen."
Me: Waiting
Elle: So, you know how I want to drop band. What if I drop band and take Speech and Debate.
Me: I didn't fall for it.

I told her that she could take Speech and Debate next year as a sophomore but that she couldn't drop band.

Anyone else struggle with this? I want her to do what she wants to do, but I want her to finish out a commitment. I also worry that if they "quit" certain things that they will forever regret it. It's a tricky business this parenting game. A few of my kids have already quit activities, and I know that they will regret it someday. *Sigh* To quote and RDK, I can't "make" them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Day

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! The food was yummy, the family was all there, the table was beautiful....it was really, really nice. Here are some shots from our day.

Below: Elle beside her beautifully set table.
One of our three beautiful flower arrangements by the world's best florist, Karlie!
Elle used some little (fake) apples with stickers to create place setting "cards."
Just can't get enough pics of beautiful flowers!
Another angle of the table....
I was mostly behind the camera...but in the one pic of me, I'm fondling the milk?
Adam carving the turkey....and can I tell you that the turkey was scrum-diddley-umptious!
The whole gang: Dean, Carrie, Adam, Elle, Elise, Bradley, Mariah, Dominique and Garrett
Ring around the center island...which was laden with the eats...
Elise and Bradley
Garrett and Mariah...just so you know...he is seriously one of the nicest kids...but he doesn't like to smile in pictures! I'll get him next time!
Carrie and Adam...Carrie made her grandma's sweet potatoes and can I say...MEGA YUM!
What a great day! We're so blessed. We ate until we were seriously stuffed. The kids played Wii and watched movies and had a great time. Dean and I went to take a nap, and I paid Elle $20 to clean the kitchen. She's my go-to girl, and she can clean it SPOTLESS. It was a very good day!

I'm so proud of Elle!

For as long as I can remember, Elle has been our "go to" person in the kitchen. She loves to learn. She loves to help. And she follows directions to a "T." She also takes great satisfaction in a job well done.

One of the things that she has learned to do over the years is set a beautiful table. Sometimes she'll surprise me on a Sunday evening and set "her table" with pretty dishes, napkins and candles. As part of her Young Women's goals, she did a special project this Thanksgiving. This is what it says in the Young Women's personal progress manual: "Develop a skill you could use in your future home, such as cooking, sewing, making repairs, organizing, or designing. Teach that skill to someone, and explain how establishing a house of order (see D&C 109:8) is one of your divine roles."

I thought, "She's developed homemaking skills, now we just need to "teach that skill to someone." So, I got the idea to do mini-video segments of her planning to decorate the table and executing on the plan.

Here is our video journal. (Sometimes she is difficult to understand...I could get her to slow down OR enunciate...not both at the same time, but for the most part, I think she is understandable).


video

video

It is difficult to understand this video. She says, "I have a blank slate" (referencing the table). She says that her first tip is to not take a table from the church unless you have permission from the Bishop (which we did). That's why there was the close up of the "Property of" on the table."

video

video

video

video

video

video

Wasn't that fun!?! I'm so proud of her for all of her hard work and her willingness to do this project. It is not easy for anyone to demo in front of the camera as she did (trust me, I know! I'm a professional presenter!) I'm also proud of how much she learns about things around the house. All of the kids "know" how to clean, for example. (Not that they do it, but they do know how.) They know how to do their laundry. They know how to paint a room. They know how to fix small household appliances.

It sounds so cliche, but "they grow up so fast!" I worry that I haven't taught them enough! Moments like this make me proud that they do "know" how to do things...even if they don't act like it all the time.

Stay tuned for a video blog from Dominique. We taught her how to paint her room this summer....and let's just say that it took more gallons of BRIGHT YELLOW paint than anyone could have ever imagined! She is not nearly as thrilled to do video blogs, but she'll warm up to it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I am thankful for....

This was stream of consciousness. I know that I have left many people and things out. Thankfully, I have tomorrow to make right it right! I have so many people, circumstances and things to be thankful for! I am so blessed!

My faith in God
My belief in Christ
My US citizenship
My family
My husband (yes, I know he is family, but he is special family, so I single him out)
(Now that I got the whole God, country, family thing out of the way, I can be more shallow.)
My job
My intellect
My ability to reason
The fact that I can read
Warm blankets and my own bed
HDTV
The Internet
Technology that allows me to work from home
Technology that allows me to stay connected to my kids, friends and family
Three bathrooms in one house
Our home
Our neighbors (at least most of them)
Our vehicles that are running well and are almost paid off
Enough food to eat
Enough food to share with those who don't have quite as much
A beautiful view of the mountains from my master bedroom
Pretty plates that we use only at Thanksgiving
Fresh flower arrangements
Online shopping
McDonald's (yes, I AM thankful for McDonald's...I've been there more than any other single restaurant in my whole life)
Pictures of our family, friends and the most important parts of our life
Pedicures and Massages
My DVR
Dominique's sense of humor
Elle's annoying laugh (because it means she's happy)
Mariah's stubbornness....because it means she's standing her ground for what she believes/thinks
Dean's ability to forgive others, especially me
Bradley's faith (that is most of the time buried deep in him)
The sound of great music
The blessings of the spirit
That I'm unconditionally loved by many
That I know this earthly life is only temporal and that there is a much greater plan for me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

BOM Challenge

Today Elle, Dominique and I began reading the Book of Mormon from page 1. As part of their Young Women's goals, they need to read it in its entirety. It's a daunting task. I've read it no less than 7 times from cover to cover. On two occasions, I read it in 7 days. It was about a 3 hour a day commitment, but it was such a sense of accomplishment.

I don't know if you've ever tried to sit down and read the scriptures (any scriptures) from cover to cover, but it's not easy. In the course of my life time, I've read the Old and New Testament in their entirety, but only once have I read the NT from cover to cover.

We were challenged in Stake Conference so just READ the Book of Mormon...not necessarily finish it by February (when we have our next conference). So, since I have three solid weeks of vacation between now and the end of the year (as do the girls), I asked them if they would be up to the challenge. They were a bit hesitant at first, but I threw in a new snuggie for each of us and the promise of hot chocolate during marathon reading sessions. They agreed.

Today we read for TWO and a HALF HOURS....in two separate reading sessions. Do you know how hard that is for a 14 and a 12 year old? We read out loud and take turns. We hit our goal of 40 pages. I'm so proud of them. It won't be easy, but it will be a good goal to work on. I've organized it so that we don't read EVERY day during our vacation. I've broken it into 13 days. Only 12 more to go.

I'm confident that we can meet this goal, and I know that they'll be SO PROUD of themselves when they've done it.

What will you challenge yourself to do? Is there a project that you've been wanting to do? Got a book in you that you've been meaning to write? I'm a big believer that time-sensitive goals are great motivators! Please share if you have any ideas for your next "big thing."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Top 10 Books....

that I've read in the last few years that have left an impression on me.

I realize that reading preferences are very personal, and what resonates with me will not necessarily resonate with you. So, I don't consider these recommendations necessarily....just books that I really enjoyed. They are in no particular order.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson (Fiction)
Under the Dome by Stephen King (Sci-Fi)
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (Historical Fiction)
World without End by Ken Follett (Historical Fiction)
The Other Boelyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory (Historical Fiction)
Empire of Liberty by Gordon Wood (History, Non-fiction)
Hunger Games (the entire series)by Suzanne Collins (Teen Sci-Fi)
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (Historical Fiction)
Crisis of the House Divided by Harry Jaffa (History/Political Science, non-fiction)
She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes by Mary Kay Shanley (Children's book)

Remember "Reading is FUNdamental" ;o)

Please share a favorite title if you think I might enjoy; I'm always looking for my next great read!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The best part of a photo shoot....

I asked my friend, Daisy, if I could use these pictures from our photo shoot. With her permission, I wanted to share a few of them with you!

We took our pictures on a rainy Saturday, and we just happened to find the two hours of the day when the rain had dissipated. The leaves at the location were simply gorgeous! They were gently falling off of the trees, and honestly, it was just idyllic. I had the brainiac idea that if we could get a picture with the leaves falling in the background that it would look really cool....so Dean indulged the request, and Daisy took a bunch of pictures.

For this first attempt, he wadded up some leaves and kind of threw them at us. This is how those pictures turned out...
Clearly Elle and I are amused. Having wet leaves thrown at us was not really the effect I was going for. Here's another one where we are still laughing about it...The look on Mariah's face is classic. Next, Dean got the idea to get in the tree and "shake the leaves on us" to create the effect that I was looking for. Here is a picture of Dean in the tree.
Remember....it had been raining...so as soon as he started shaking the tree, it was really obvious that this was a bad idea. Leaves fell...and so did the left over raindrops.
This is me telling everyone to power through it and smile for the camera. Elle with closed eyes was not helpful...Riah doesn't want to get wet, and Dom just thinks it's all funny.
This is a close as we got to a picture with falling leaves. Major fail for a picture taking moment...and it definitely looked like we were trying too hard. Oh well! It was probably the most fun we had on the shoot, and it is definitely the part we will remember.