Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quotables, take 2

Savanna has taken to using big-ish words lately, mostly when she's angry. It is VERY hard to keep a straight face when she states emphatically, "Mom, it's the intentioner." It's even harder not to laugh when the big word makes a little sense, like today, when I said, "Savvy, you need to be nice," and her yelled response was: "Quit REMINDING me!"

Jaxon, today:
"Mom! I made an A-B-A pattern with the couch pillows!" (Indeed he had. Solid pillow, patterned pillow, solid pillow.)

"Mom, today our teacher did something really weird."
"Yeah. There was a kid stuck up at the top of some of the playground equipment, and--"
"Did she climb to get him?!"
"YES! It was SO WEIRD!"
"Well....actually Jax, that's kind of cool, since he needed help getting down."
"Yeah, but it looked like she was a grown-up playing on the equipment."

Friday, November 18, 2011

“She’s got a whole shoebox of ‘em….dangly ones.”

(Name that movie! It’s even a holiday one, probably my favorite Christmas movie. )
So I made my necklace hanger a couple years ago, and at the time, I enjoyed it. I noticed lots of faults with it, but didn’t really mind.
But recently I got a wild hair up my butt (pardon the expression, but I do love it) and decided I was tired of it. (The necklace hanger….not the wild hair up my…well, you get the idea.)
It was such an easy fix that I really didn’t see much need to document it; all I did was buy a placemat, which I cut into two pieces (one for the whole background, and one for the strip up top). No sewing involved, just used the already-finished-edge for the edge of the strip at the top. I used duct tape on the back of the picture glass to secure the placemat. (Who cares if I used duct tape on this pretty little thing? You can’t see it…) And then the rings are just clip-rings. I don’t know what else to call them; I found them at Target.
As for the earring-holder, I just cut/taped a placemat (plastic) and some ribbon to suit my tastes. Seriously. That’s all. Just right onto the picture glass.
Ready for photos?
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Savvy, when I told her to come inside because it was dark out, kept putting her hands out, palms-up and saying emphatically, shaking her head, "You can't DO this to me, Mom! You can't!" When I burst out laughing (couldn't help it), she let a smile sneak onto her face, and said, "You can't catch me!" and then darted away. I shrugged and began to walk to the door....she followed me in.

Jaxon, when I asked him what two songs he wanted to hear before bed: "Well, Mom, [pause, smacks lips] I would like to sing you something I learned in school today." Then he begins to sing, "One, one, one, you're so much fun, fun, fun. Two, two, two, I sure like you...." By the time he got to "Seven, seven, seven, simply heaven, heaven, heaven," I was done for. Totally crying.

Reed, during a discussion we were having about choices and the religion you choose, at one point swooned and fell back on his covers, saying dreamily, "I love being a Mormon!" Earlier in this conversation, he said fiercely with clenched fists, "I will never give up being Mormon!" This conversation, too, had me in happy tears by the end.

Savvy: "So, Mom...." She brushes the hair out of her eyes and purses her lips together. "I'm crushing on Surf and Cody. Who are you crushing on?"
            "Um....Daddy. Always Daddy. Because...."
 Savvy: "Because he's your husband! Right?"
Savvy: "And you only crush on Daddy, right? Because you go on dates?"
            "Right. And he's my husband."

Jaxon: Mom, I saw Reed at school today. It almost made me cry because I missed him after I saw him.

Reed: Mom, I wish Jax was in my class.

Monday, November 14, 2011

In which I wax fanatical on the topic of BOOKS....

My earliest "book memory" is of a time when I was 4 or 5, I believe, and cuddled next to my mom on her bed, sharing an open book. I remember distinctly the moment it clicked in my brain that if you put "c", "a", and "t" together, it spells something. I remember reading, "cat", and then looking at my mom with huge eyes (hers were wet) as I realized that I had READ.

When I was 8 or 9, I would sit down at the table with a big bowl of chocolate ice cream and an installment of Nancy Drew. Suspense + chocolate = A very happy little girl. 

When I was 17 years old, I had plenty of leisure time between seminary and (on my part, very lazy) homeschooling to read. On average, I would read 5-12 books a month, depending on the size and content of each book. Some I would toss after the first three sentences. Others I would devour in a few hours, then walk around aimlessly, pretending to be doing my math work. ( mother was a great teacher, and I was a horrible student. It is not yet my gift in life to be self-disciplined; I've had to work at it and still have to.)

Through these last ten married and childbearing years, my reading has been slower, more deliberate, and sometimes nonexistent for weeks at at time. So many times it was just far more appealing to sleep than to read. But my life has un-busied itself in many ways with the boys in school and Savvy out of toddlerhood. While my baby hunger hasn't quite left, I do understand that I ought to take full advantage of this time that isn't spent diaper-changing, breastfeeding, or sleeping. At this time in my life, I do have more time to read, and I have definitely been making use of that time. I thought I'd share some of my old fail-proof favorites, as well as some recent wonders I've been recommended.  (How's THAT for a protracted introduction?!)

1. If I have to pick a favorite book, it would be The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver). I'm fairly certain I've written about this before, or at least mentioned it. I read it in 2002, and I loved so many things about it. Four daughters--similar enough to my family of five girls and two boys. A preacher father--my dad was a chaplain! Living in Africa and trying to adjust during crazy political upheaval--well, the craziest upheaval we could claim would be Just Cause, but we certainly moved around and tried to adjust. Not only are there those wonderful parallels I identified with, but the writing! Oh my lands. The writing. So beautiful. Poetic. Delectable. Heart-rending. Fascinating.

2. This might tie with number 1 for a favorite. Okay, yes. It does. My sister Liz recommended it to me in August, and from the first paragraph, I was hooked. Hey--Anna? Camilla? You loved Jane Eyre? You will EAT THIS ONE UP. Modern Gothic romance. The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield) is not only beautifully written (exquisitely written), but the story....oh, the STORY! (I'm shout-typing.) Vida Winter's writes tons of novels in her lifetime, all of them fictitious and incredible. Journalists always ask her about her background, about whether the details in the stories are autobiographical. She always spins a new story in response, never allowing them to know her true personal story, until she's dying and invites a biographer to hear her life story. The book is her life story,'s incredible.

3. Maybe I can't have ONE favorite book, because, well, this ties for third place, too. Can't help it. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte). I read it when I was 14 and swooned all the way through, crying and clutching the book to my chest. Pretty sure I shouted a few times, too. I love Jane. I love her. She is so good, so pure, so honest, so loving, so brave, so intelligent, so forgiving. I'm a sucker for a good book heroine, and she set the bar pretty high.

4. The Fledgling (Jane Langton). I believe I read it when I was 12. I'd read it again, and not just because I love children's lit. The Fledgling is one beautiful glorification of nature and childhood, peppered with Thoreau and gorgeous descriptions of his pet spot, Walden Pond. It's about a girl who is taught to fly by geese, for Pete's sake! How can this not be a beautiful read? I just remember that it made a lasting impression on me. (Plus, the illustration of her house looks like a dollhouse.)

5. A Room Made of Windows (Eleanor Cameron). Every now and then, I would find random '70s era books in the library. Sometimes they were really weird and included allusions to or plots around things I didn't really grasp, but this one didn't do that. The illustrations (few) are really beautiful and had my imagination going. And the fact that the girl loves to write was a huge plus, too. I think I read it when I was 11.

6. I love books by John Bellairs. (Examples: The House with a Clock in Its Walls & The Letter, The Witch, and The Ring) I believe they were written in the '70s; I read them from age 14-17 and enjoyed the incredible suspense of each one.

7. The Help (Kathryn Stockett). I used to resist jumping on the book-bandwagon and reading books I'd heard everyone talk about. Until Harry Potter--and then I realized right around the time that everyone was diving into the fourth book that I had been stupidly missing out. So now I usually make it a point to at least try the books that everyone's shouting about, if I'm interested. This one lives up to the hype. I was ugly-crying and hitting things, drawing curious and concerned looks from Phill. I talked about it for a good week after finishing. I read sections aloud to Phill whether he wanted me to or not. It's such a beautiful piece of literature.

8. Peace Like A River (Leif Enger). I actually bought this book over a year ago, intending to read it, but letting it wait at the bottom of a long list. I read it in September, finally! It's the story of a boy who has asthma, a literary-gifted sister, a wayward brother, and a dad who works miracles. The writing conveys such compassion, and I was further moved when I read that the author's own son has asthma. The way Leif writes about the son's asthma shows that he clearly has deep understanding and sympathy for what his real-life son must go through. A really uplifting book.

9. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak). I can't talk about this book enough. I left tear-stains all over the library copy. I cried the ugly-cry, sitting on the couch, trying to explain to Savvy what I was feeling. I sat quietly after I finished, trying to process it all. I talked to a friend on the phone after she had read it, fielding her questions/laments like a therapist, rejoicing with her over all the high notes. The incredibly beautiful descriptive writing stays with me, as do the characters....I miss the characters. I met them, I knew them.

10. These Is My Words (Nancy E. Turner). I read this in September. This historical fiction novel is written in the form of journal entries, something that used to bug me--but in this book, it doesn't at all. Sarah settles in Arizona Territory and experiences all that comes with it--Indians, rattlesnakes, floods, fires, soldiers, love, death, childbirth, etc. It also follows her literary progress--her learning to read and write, progress that is beautifully paralleled by her emotional progress. You'll miss her when you're done.

11. The Cry and the Covenant (Morton Thompson). Reading this right now. My dad recommended this to me in the midst of a conversation we had wherein I was enthusiastically detailing all the things that I love about birth, while talking to him about another book. It's about the first OB/GYN who suggested that maybe washing hands is a good idea. (Crazy. I know.) This was back in the day when it was a mark of prestige to have a dirty (read: vitreous matter) lab-coat. Sick, huh? Not for the weak-stomached, but OH, this book is incredible. Note: It was hard for me to find a cheap copy of it; it was written in 1949.

12. The Birth House (Ami McKay). I read this in July. Even if you're not birth-babies-labor-obsessed, this is a great novel. Takes place in Nova Scotia during WWI. It's about a girl who finds her calling as a midwife and is beginning her career at the time of Twilight Sleep and doctors' emergence into the birthing world as prominent figures, along with their belief that birth was a medical emergency and something best left in the hands of the doctor. (Even over the discretion of the mother.) I yelled a lot through this book. But I loved it, too!

And now, because it is late and my eyes are burning, I'm going to just add on a short list, without descriptions, of some others that I've loved:

The Overlander series (Suzanne Collins, YA fiction)
The Chronicles of Narnia 
The Mysterious Benedict Society series (three in the series so far; Trenton Lee Stewart)
Dragonwyck (another Gothic; Anya Seton)
Wuthering Heights (oh, those Bronte sisters....this one's by Emily)
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility (I like S&S better than P&P, and I hated Emma enough that I couldn't finish the book)
Northanger Abbey (Also by Jane Austen)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friend Series: Anna Pectol

I knew Anna only a little in our ward in Cedar City, but she has become a wonderful friend through the great connecting powers of the internet. :)

How do you know Rae?
 I know Rae several distant ways- we were introduced when we lived in the same neighborhood and in the same ward, but mostly I am a fan of Rae's blog.

What do you do for a living?   I try to be a homemaker.  HA!  I'm really not very good at it, but my living right now is taking care of my family- being here for my kids and keeping the house clean and homey.  That's the HA! part, I've never been a good housekeeper.

What do you want to be when you grow up? (Translation: What is your dream?)  My grandmother or, at least, just like her.  She has an immense amount of love she shares with all she knows, and her greatest love is the Gospel.   I was quite determined to name my baby girl after her, so she carries Phyllis as her middle name.  I want to be a missionary with my husband, visit my grandchildren, be available to help my kids, and maybe figure out gardening and genealogy.

Tell us about your family/the people you love.  Ah, I could go on all day but I'll start with the immediate for now.  I have a good husband, Jeff and four wonderful children.  Abby is almost 8, and challenges me every day to be a better person.  Harvey is 5 1/2 and a delightfully imaginative boy.  Willard just turned 3, he's my mellow child.  Sarah is the baby (for now at least), she loves to give loves to all of us.   They fill my heart with joy just thinking of them.  I'm the product of a very large family- 20 ish Aunts and Uncles and 50+ cousins- on each side. I absolutely love that part of my life.  My grandparents are my heroes.  I'm also blessed with good in-laws and am grateful for their friendship every day.

What interests you?  So many things!   A lot of them are mother related-  natural birth,  teaching my children, cooking (I love to cook!).  Beauty.    Yoga and pilates, running- whatever makes my body feel strong and healthy.  Reading has always been my passion, but I don't have much time for it lately.    People, I love learning about cultures, history, where people come from.

What five things make life sweet for you? What really makes you happy?   (See the above answer about my husband and kids)  That's five, but let's call it 1, just so I can list others.  2-Service.  In high school I discovered the joy of serving others, it's impossible to wallow in self-pity while serving others!    3-The Gospel/ Studying the scriptures.   Maybe it sounds cliche but it really does make me happy to know such good news and to be able to study it on my own.  4-Nature.  I'm so glad I live in Southern UT, being out in the beautiful outdoors seems to expand my whole heart to include it's beauty too.  5-  Being physically fit-  I love to  hike and play with my kids, and I dream of doing the St George Marathon someday.  But I have a goofy back  and right now tight muscles are causing a lot of pain.   I miss being fit and strong and am working on returning to the point where I felt physically well.

Do you have a phobia? Falling and suffocation.  I don't mind heights if I can't fall from them- give me a rail or an airplane and I love it.  Cliff edges are another story- it makes my love of hiking kind of interesting sometimes.  I also can NOT stand to have something tight around my throat or covering my face, it causes a sense of panic that I'm suffocating, even if I'm not.  Even as a very little girl, hair in my face gave me nightmares at night, and I can't wear turtlenecks unless it's really really freezing- they're torture.

Do you have a favorite book? Jane Eyre.  Her sense of integrity is incredible, and she is so strong and forgiving- a lot of good qualities I like.  I also <3 Anner of Green Gables and the Narnia books.  They have all inspired me to try and be a better person.  Maybe that's the other reason I've grown to love the scriptures as an adult too.

What is one technological advance you wish hadn't taken place?   That's a hard one, most advances are basically good,  but if I had to  pick--  Cell phones.  I know they are great for emergencies, and I like knowing that my family can reach me at any time they need to.  But I think the attitude that we should be able to reach anyone at any time, anywhere they may be has kind of contribute to a lack of manners in our general attitudes.   But then again, thank goodness I can reach you anytime, because it's hard enough for me to remember to make the first call!

Hypothetical question: You've been imprisoned in a 10x10 cement cell, a political prison for dissenters of the dystopian, futuristic culture where this hypothetical situation takes place. You are allowed exactly three things. What three things have you chosen to bring with you? Feel free to elaborate, or to just leave your answers as-is.   My scriptures.  I'm assuming there will be a source of light for me to read them by.  Family Picture.  One of the blankets my grandmother made so I'd have something soft to lay on, and the smell of home with me too.

If you ever imagine a utopian society, what is that society like? What kind of government (if any)? What sorts of houses, countries, etc?   When I imagined my perfect world as a child, my family all lived in the same neighborhood.  ALL of them.   Aunts, Uncles, cousins.  We all built houses on my Grandfather's farm.   Want someone to play with?  Pretty much guaranteed a load of buddies.  Need to learn a new skill?  One of them knows, we'll go sit down in their kitchen/living room/ garage and figure it out.  Not feeling well?  No worries, so and so is here, all is taken care of.  Of course playing outside is always safe, because your family loves and watches over you.  My mind never went past my little commune of family, lol.  But if the world were like that- what could go wrong?

What do you think is the most important thing a human being can contribute to this life?  Love.  Is that a cop-out answer?  There are many ways to contribute love, but if we haven't done so- what was the point of living??

What is your favorite memory with Rae?   A pilates class she substituted.  Not only was she a great teacher- she said I was a great student!!  Being relatively new at pilates, I didn't feel I was doing all that great, but I had been giving it my best effort and was grateful to know I had developed well!

What is your weirdest memory with Rae? Weirdest is hard, as we've never really hung out together.  I'm trying to think if I've ever had a bizarre dream that you popped into.  That happens sometimes. But... nope, you're of the hook for this, lol.

Why did you agree to do this interview?  Curiosity mostly.  I was curious as to what you'd be asking about.  I like a lot of the subjects you've shown an interest in (birth, homeschooling, marathon training, motherhood).  And I like your blog.  So I thought I'd take a chance to contribute and see what you'd ask ME.  Even though you don't know me well since I'm a blog SLACKER.  Kind of silly I guess, but oh well.
Anna is not a slacker, is a wonderful mother, friend, and Pilates student, and blogs HERE.

(P.S.-Anna, I read a wonderful book recently, These Is My Words, that is in the form of journal entries of a Western settler woman. As she has more kids, the journal entries get further and further apart, a little note of reality that I particularly appreciated. So no apologies for far-spaced blog posts. Nothing but love for you from this corner.)