2009 Reading, part II

Another six months has come and gone, and here are the (30) books I've read.  I'm not sure what happened after August, but my reading went way down.  I think part of it has to do with the fact that Louie no longer sleeps all the time, and gets around and into everything.  I had a lot more reading time when she was stationary, not to mention always eating or sleeping.

Quick review on the scoring system: The first number is my totally subjective preference rating, the higher, the better (out of 5). Next is the cleanliness rating, including language, violence, sensuality, etc. 0=squeaky clean, 5=PG13. The last number is recommended age level in my opinion: 2=elementary 3=Jr. High, 4=High school, 5=adult.

See the first half of the year here.

Once again, feel free to ask for a more detailed review or explanation of rating.

Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George: 5.0.3
I love Jessica Day George.
The Actor and the Housewife, by Shannon Hale: 5.1.5
Alternately laughing out loud and bawling my eyes out. So good.
The Little Lady Agency and the Prince, by Hester Browne: 5.3.4
Perfect ending to a great series.
Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen: 5.3.4
One of my favorite Sarah Dessens. And I loved many of them.
My Fair Godmother, by Janette Rallison: 5.0.3
We already know how I love Janette Rallison.
The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan: 5.1.3
Another great ending to another phenomenal series.
If I Stay, by Gayle Forman: 4.5.4
More language than I like, but so powerful and thought provoking.
Mira, Mirror, by Mette Ivie Harrison: 3.0.3
Meh. It was good.
The Monster in Me, by Mette Ivie Harrison: 3.1.3
Abrupt ending, but decent.
Dragon Slippers, by Jessica Day George: 5.0.3
Dragon Flight, by Jessica Day George: 5.0.3
And wonderful.
Dragon Spear, by Jessica Day George: 5.0.3
And did I mention that I love Jessica Day George?


The Princess and the Bear, by Mette Ivie Harrison: 3.0.3
I really want to love Mette Ivie Harrison, but I'm not quite able to get past like.
City of Ashes, by Cassandra Clare: 5.3.4
Love, worship, etc. Can't wait for the third.
A Year Down Yonder, by Richard Peck: 4.2.3
Great historical fiction. Quite humorous!
The Luxe, by Anna Godbersen: 5.3.4
A side of American history I've never seen before, but loved! And I want the dress on the cover.
The Language of Bees, by Laurie R. King: 5.3.4
I love this series, but the last three words of the book are "To Be Continued..." and it was just published-gah!
The Summoning, by Kelley Armstrong: 4.3.4
I seem to be reading a lot of books of this genre: the modern fantasy with an emphasis on the "dark" side... and for good reason, I quite enjoy them.
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, by Sophie Kinsella: 4.5.5
Hilarious. Though I must admit I find myself cringing at Becky's logic...
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, by Beth Fantaskey: 5.4.4
More modern fantasy. Lame title; good book.
Shopaholic Ties the Knot, by Sophie Kinsella: 4.5.5
More laughing out loud.
City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare: 5.4.4
I'm pretty sure we know how I feel about this one. Lovelovelove! Great ending to the trilogy. Please go check out City of Bones right now if you have not already read these books.
Rumors, by Anna Godbersen: 4.5.4
Envy, by Anna Godbersen: 4.5.4
By halfway through this book I was ready for the "happily ever after" already, but there is still one more book!

Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull: 4.2.3
This book took me for.e.ver to read. I don't know if it was me or the book.

Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke: 4.3.3
It must have been me, because this one did too, even with Catching Fire sitting on my shelf.
Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins: 5.4.4
Love, love and also LOVE Suzanne Collins.  The ending killed me, because I have to wait for the next one...

Forest Born, by Shannon Hale: 5.2.3
Shannon Hale is great.  This is not my favorite of her books, I would be hard pressed to pick one, but it was a solid story with strong characters and a thought-provoking plot.  
Fire, by Kristin Cashore: 4.4.4
A little more focus on physical relationships than I appreciate, but it was done tastefully, and was overall a great book. 

The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown: 4.4.4
Interesting and intriuging, but quite a bit of crazy talk presented very logically, not to mention some disturbing violence, but you know that if you've read Dan Brown before.  The end was a little slow, since the action climaxed early.


Love might be blind,

But that doesn't make blind dates a good thing. 


It was winter of my freshman year at BYU, I don't remember exactly when.  I was hanging out in my apartment Friday night, since none of the boys were smart enough to ask me out.  The phone rang, and I picked it up, hoping for the best. 

It was Fabio, a guy from my ward.  I knew who he was (his name was Fabio, of course I knew who he was!) and he quickly outlined his dilemma: Several guys from his mission were in town and they wanted to do a group date (ice skating and dinner!), but one guy wasn't going to come because he had just gotten home and didn't know a soul; was there someone in our apartment who could help him out? 

I (stupidly) agreed to go.  I love ice skating, and who doesn't love free Italian food?

So I quickly dressed and met the group in front of my building. 

My date was a decent looking guy, not anything to write home about.  He seemed nice enough, but I realized that when Fabio said he had just gotten home, he meant he had JUST gotten home from his mission, like that week, and was still a little socially awkward.

The car ride was fairly silent, seeing as it was just the two of us.  We got to the rink and I laced up my skates.  The great thing about ice skating is that not much conversation is necessary.  And you don't have to spend every minute with your date. 

Or so I thought.

It turns out that my date couldn't skate.

He spent the entire hour and a half clinging to me: holding my hand, clutching my arm, all of the above.

Holding hands while skating is one thing, but he was holding on for dear life. 


Dinner wasn't much better in the awkwardness department, but at least my body was my own. 

All the guys were with their girlfriends (or at least friends of the girl variety) and of course all the guys knew each other, so I was by far the odd one out.  Add to that the facts that 1. my date (and all the guys, really) kept reverting to Italian (they had served in Italy) and mission stories, and 2. my date was not talkative anyway, and I was feeling all sorts of included.

I've never been more grateful for a date to be over.

And I've never been on a blind date since.



My cute brother JON!  

Jon returned home last Friday from  the DC area, where he has been serving as a missionary for the last two years.  
 With my cute mom at the airport.

You can tell I was slightly excited to see him.  
Yes, the big hair is from jumping, not from hairspray.

Lou wasn't quite sure what to think.

Even though he'll be leaving for BYU soon, we are so happy to have him home!


I'm glad you found me!

Sorry for the inconvenience of switching URLs, but thanks for stopping by!  I promise I won't do this again anytime soon!


I love Christmas music and this song and video are so touching!  Enjoy!


A Scout is...

{and always hungry}

I'd like to congratulate my Uncle Eric on earning his Eagle Scout Award!  Here's to a job well done!

{And yes, he's 18.}

{And yes, I said UNCLE.} 


This might make me a bad mom,

But everyday I put Baby-Lou down for a nap in the bathroom.

Rico takes a nap in his and Ella's room, Ella has "rest time" and "quiet play time" in Louie's room, and Louie gets the shaft and has to sleep in the bathroom.

But it meets all the requirements: dark, quiet, and big enough for the port-a-crib.

And I get a little peace and quiet.  Hooray!


Ummm, let's pretend this is a post.

So it's Late Night Thursday again, and I sat down to write a blog post.

I was finally going to get to the three questions that resulted from my bloggiversary post.  (Why did spellcheck not underline that word?  I just made it up.  Or stole it from someone else.  I don't know which.)

But thanks to Janssen and her sharing, I spent most of my time reading Kayla's blog instead of writing.

Well that, and wishing I had a sewing machine so I could be cool like Kayla and make adorable coats.

But since Tom's still not home, and I successfully wiped down all the counters in the kitchen, I'll answer the questions anyway.

Question Numero Uno:
From Stephanie
If you were a superhero, what would your superhero name be? And what would your superpower be? And what color would your outfit be? And would you wear a cape?(Basically I would like a bio on you as a superhero cause I'm sure that you already are one. I just want to know which one you REALLY are.)
Oh dear.  Me as a superhero.  Ummmm.  I'll come back to that.  In another post.

And 2
From Lisa
I want to know what a typical day/week in the life of Janelle is like. Your routine etc. We've only gotten glimpses of your Friday/Monday routine :)
Well, I'm pretty much a hermit.  Sad, but true.  And I don't even sit around and watch TV all day, because I don't (ahem) watch TV.  At all.  Which is not about superiority or anything.  Good for you if you do, but I never have, and quite frankly we couldn't afford anything special anyway, so there you have it.

In my ideal world I get up early MWF and go running.  Recently, not so much.  A) my partner is sick (dang her!) 2) it's sooooo early and D) umm, if you live here, you'll know it's been C O L D here recently.  And I don't mean cold.  I mean freeze-your-ears-and-fingers-off-if-you-happen-to-step-outside-cold.  But ideally I do.  And ideally the kids are still in bed when I get home so I can shower, read my scriptures, peruse Reader, and lolly-gag about for an hour and a half until they get up.  Recently, not so much.  Since the time change Rico has been getting up at 6:00 +/- half an hour.  Not cool.

After that, Monday is shopping day.  We typically hit Fred Meyer and Costco around 10ish because that's when Costco opens, and also when Fred Meyer's playland opens. (How I love playland! What?! you'll watch two of my three children for me while I peacefully meander about the store? Score!)  Then we come home for lunch, naps and afternoon crazies while I attempt to make soup (and frequently some variety of bread) before Tom gets home.

Tuesday is laundry day.  I do between three and seven loads (okay, the seven bit only happened once).  They rarely get folded before dinner, but sometimes I'm amazing.   (So most of the towels are still sitting in the dryer and it's now Thursday...what?!?)

Wednesday... um, we play.  And I do stuff.  And then it's magically dinner time, and I run off to Young Women's while Tom puts the kids to bed.  Oh, and then I take out the garbage.

Thursday, playgroup! (Most of the time.  Except today when we had cousins over to play who are in town from Tennessee.) And Tom is gone FOR.E.VER.  He gets home around 10.  And hopes he still has children.  So far, so good.

Friday is movie day.  The kids only get to watch one movie a week (poor deprived children) and Friday morning is it.  Then once again, it's lunch, naps, dinner prep (pizza!), etc.  And in the evenings Tom and I usually chill and watch a movie and eat popcorn and all kinds of healthy things.  Or not healthy, as the case usually is.

And Saturday is pretty unpredicatable.  Lately Tom's been doing homework all day.  And I try to get the house really and certifiably clean (read: scrub toilets, vacuum, etc.).

Sunday is busy.  Tom's got early meetings, then I get up and get the kids ready for church (by 9! Are you kidding?  We barely make it to playgroup at 11!).  Then he gets them home and to bed while I do choir practice and/or YW meetings.  Once I'm home, we attempt to take a minute to coordinate our schedules for the upcoming week, but then it's dinner, scriptures and bed again, and before I know it we're back at the beginning.

And Question # 3
From Pauline (who moved/is moving and I'm terribly sad.  I could write an entire post about how great she is.  And I just might.)
What is your favorite childhood memory and how would you describe that using food?
 I'll be totally honest, I'm not quite sure what to do with this one.  I think I'll interpret it as "What is your favorite childhood memory related to food?" because that's a little easier to get my head around.

The first thing that pops into my head is the barbecues/neighborhood parties we used to have in our backyard.  This was back in the days before digital, um, anything except clocks, and we thought that what I'm about to describe was the. coolest. thing. ever.  We had a second story deck from which my parents would hang a white sheet and then we would use a rented (borrowed?  from the library?  Help me out here, Mom) film strip projector to watch old movies.  {Yes, I just said film strip projector.  You probably don't know what that is.  Google it.  They were invented shortly after dinosaurs.  And I think they're also extinct.  Much like dinosaurs.}

What does this have to do with food?  Oh, right.  Also on these evenings of childhood bliss, we would have watermelon eating contests.  Or at least we did once.  And I've never seen a skinnier boy eat more watermelon than Dallas.  I'm pretty sure he was storing it in his hollow leg.  Or his pocket.  {No, I would have noticed that.}

Hey, look!  It turned into a real post after all!

{I totally should have milked that question thing and turned this into multiple posts.}

{Oh well. Too late now.}



In 8th grade, I was in Mrs. Methot's 9th grade math class.  In this class, we were responsible for keeping track of our grades.  We had a chart to fill out where we would enter the scores from our homework and tests and Problem of the Week (I had a love/hate relationship with those).  The problem with this method was that toward the end of the term, I started calculating what my grade would be if I chose not to do certain assignments. 

And provided I would still get an A, I would skip the homework.

This, unfortunately, was the beginning of my downfall. 

Soon, a B was good enough.  And by my junior year, I wasn't even turning in enough math homework to get a passing grade.  In our school, one had to have at least 60% of homework turned in to pass math.  Even though with my test scores I would have had at least a C, I didn't have enough homework turned in by midterm to pass.  As failing was not an option, I would have to work my back end off doing homework for the second (and fourth) quarter to bring my homework score up above 60% by the end of the semester.  Those two semesters of precalc were the only Cs on my transcript, but at least they weren't Fs. 

My friend Mindy had (a much better grade and) pity on me, and would help motivate me to do my homework.  After determining that I worked better with positive reinforcement than negative, she made me a star chart, and provided stickers and would randomly bring rewards when I was doing well.  Without her, I may not have passed. 

But that is not the point of this post.

The point is, that internal motivation is not the easiest thing for me.  I do much better at accomplishing things that I know I am outwardly accountable for, especially when I have motivation such as point systems or star charts, and let's be honest, rewards never hurt. 

I know that things like homework and exercise have intrinsic value, and that alone should be enough to motivate me, but let's face it, I'm not that mature (yet?). 

So, exercise.  Eating well.  Not bingeing on sugar.  These things are really not that hard to do, but for me are hard to motivate myself to do. 

Which is why this health competition was so good for me.  It gave me the motivation to do the things I want to be doing anyway.  I hoped that after the 10 weeks were over that I would have created habits that I could continue, but that's easier said than done. {For the record, I came in second, losing 3 points when I went to California for my Grandma's funeral, and four more the last week, since I knew I wasn't going to win.}  Since it ended, I have slid back to my previous habits, despite feeling so much better when I exercise regularly etc.  So I'll be doing it again.  Starting Sunday, January 3rd, I will again be living by these rules.

Why so far out, you ask? 

First, because what is Christmas without dessert? and second, to inspire all of you to join me!  This is the perfect way to start off the new year, and I can hope once again that these habits will stick.  I will be sending out an email in the next week or so to recruit.  If you want to be included, either comment on this post or email me.  And I might just email you anyway. 



I mentioned a while back that I had lost some weight, and got a couple of requests for a before/after shot.  Well, if you take that last picture I posted as the after, here is the before:

{And that's a month before my due date!}

Okay, but really, here's the year before:

{This is a chain that I made for my mom two Christmases ago as a countdown for Jon's mission.  He's coming home it two weeks. (!!!)  It's much shorter now.}


I can't stop!

You know how I mentioned that addictive personality?

Um, yeah...

While, yes, I made the clip I'm wearing, I also made the necklace...

I think I need some intervention.

I'm thinking of adding some beads or something in the middle of the flowers.  Opinions?

And no, Grant, I don't expect you to like it.


I'm thankyou for

On the days leading up to Thanksgiving we talked several times with the kids about all the things that we have to be grateful for.  They came up with lots of cute ideas, including "my toys," "my family," and my personal favorite: "another baby brother, if we had one, I would be thankyou for" {not an announcment}. 

Yesterday (or maybe the day before) Ella decided to draw a gratitude list.  I thought I'd share.
First, we have her eating ice cream. "See how I'm opening my mouth really big?  I'm thankful for ice cream." Then Tom and  I to the left.  Down below we have her bed, and next to that, a plate of peas, because "I'm thankful for food."

Following the theme of people, she decided to draw our whole family.  Clockwise from the top is me, with Baby-Lou underneath, Tom, Ella (with flowers above her--not part of her hair), and Rico.  In the middle, Ella is thankful for movies, as you can see from the lovely rendition of Cinderella and her carriage. {Yes, Cinderella is a floating head, like the rest of us.  I feel good about it.} Also included on this page is a plate of pizza (below Rico-boy), her sandals at the bottom, a jump rope ("if I had one") and a book on the left.

On this page, Ella was thankful for the park (see the slide and swings?), hamburgers (top center), hot dogs (top right),  flowers, her cup (big purple thing) and her dresses.

Next she started to draw Grandma and Grandpa (he's the one with the red shoes), but then we got distracted, and pretty soon it was time for dinner.

Her sweet innocence gives me such a great reminder of all the many, many, MANY things to be thankful for!