A Love Story

As much as I hate to admit it sometimes, I am a stereotypical girly-girl. I like reading chick-lit and watching rom-coms.  I put on makeup and do my hair just to make myself fell good. I get excited about new shoes. I paint my toenails. I will never, ever complain about getting flowers. I loooooove chocolate more than anything in the world. I love Mr. Darcy almost as much as I love chocolate.

This weekend I watched movies about two of the greatest, most well-known love stories. First, on Saturday, I watched the Baz Lurhman (MTV) version of Romeo + Juliet. Last night, I watched a Lost in Austen, a Pride and Prejudice movie with a twist. Aiden asked me today why I likeromance movies (he said “romance movies” with a slight sneer. I guess that’s appropriate coming from an 8 year old who still tends to think girls have cooties or something). I told him that I actually only like romance comedies, but in my head I was thinking, “Because deep down inside I’m just a mushy romantic!” I don’t think he’ll understand for quite some time.

Now, I have seen Romeo + Juliet before. It came out when I was a freshman in college. I still had a crush on Leonardo diCaprio (left over from watching him on “Growing Pains), and everyone at the time was telling me I looked just like Juliet. Claire Danes was pretty cute, so I took it as a compliment. I have seen several versions of Romeo and Juliet in both film and on stage. I have read lots of books that take the same theme of the star-crossed lovers. I have seen West Side Story too many times to count. I have read Romeo and Juliet several times, too. That does not make me an R&J expert, but it certainly gives me an unshakable opinion.

I hate Romeo and Juliet. I mean, I really, really hate Romeo and Juliet. It’s just ridiculous and depressing. I mean, we start off with a whiny Romeo who is soooo in love with Rosalind and he can’t shut up about her, until he sees Juliet at the party he crashed. Suddenly, Rosalind never existed and he is completely in love with this other 13 year old girl. That’s right. THIRTEEN. Even in Shakespeare’s day that was considered young, thank you very much. So the two teenagers are “in love” and secretly marry. Meanwhile, their friends and relatives (many of whom -*cough*Mercutio*cough – I love as characters) are fighting and killing each other off. Romeo is banished for being an idiot and killing Juliet’s cousin. Her family is devastated by this death, yet they decide to marry Juliet off  to Most Eligible Bachelor, Paris, right away. So she fakes her death. Romeo doesn’t get the memo, goes to her tomb, talks for probably 20 minutes, then commits suicide. Juliet wakes up from her fake death, sees a dead Romeo, and commits suicide. I always thought if Romeo talked for 2 more minutes (which wouldn’t have been a stretch by then), she would have just woken up and everything would end up fine. But know. He dies. She wakes up. She dies. Gag.

There are many things about the MTV version that I hate (so many things are just stinkin’ weird. And really? Drug use?? Could have done without that. ), but there are a few things that I actually love. As I may have mentioned, I love Mercutio. He is just a wonderful character. (I heard that Shakespeare had to kill him off because he was too strong of a character and was taking over, but the play was supposed to be all about Romeo and Juliet. Not Mercutio. I don’t know if any of that is true. I had a roommate tell me a professor speculated about it in her Shakespeare class. I like the theory, anyway.) I love how both Mercutio and Benvolio were portrayed in this version. Just strong, eclectic, complex characters. Not just Romeo’s buddies.

The main thing I love about this “new” version is the final death scene. In all previous versions I’ve seen, I hate how long and drawn out the scene is. I hate how straight-forward it is, too. Very dull. In the Baz Luhrmann version, Romeo is talking away, but is so overcome with grief that he doesn’t notice Juliet start to come out of her coma. It’s so slight… a finger twitch here, a flutter of the eyelashes there… but he is still going on and on and on about Juliet and death and… I don’t know. I tune him out now. Anyway, Juliet opens her eyes and sees her Romeo, smiles, then reaches up to caress his face. He drinks the poison just as she is reaching for him. And then there is this look. He sees that she is alive, and this look of complete horror quickly passes through his eyes and he realizes what he has done. And then Romeo dies. Juliet is confused, of course, and then comes the grief. It is the most heart-wrenching scene. It was done so absolutely perfect.

I still hate Romeo and Juliet. But I can forgive it for this one scene. Thank you, Baz Luhrmann.

Now, the other movie I saw is based off a romantic couple that I absolutely adore. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Yes, there is quite a bit of ridiculousness going on in Pride and Prejudice, but I love the wit of Jane Austen and the spunk of her characters. And yes, I love Mr. Darcy. I love Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Someone needs to just buy me that version of P&P already. The wait on Netflix is too long.

Elizabeth Bennett can hold her own. That girl is strong and witty… I just love her and want to be her. Sure, she wants to get married, but she isn’t defined by it. She isn’t silly like her younger sisters, and she isn’t so complacent that she gets walked all over, like her older sister. Love her as much as I do, I just don’t admire Jane as much as Lizzy. Jane is a sweet girl, a pretty face, and all around kind… but she doesn’t have the depth that Elizabeth does. My opinion, of course.

The movie I watched yesterday is a cute, British flick called Lost in Austen. Amanda Price is a modern girl who isn’t really in love with her boyfriend and who just wants to read her favorite book, Pride and Prejudice. And who can blame her? It really is a lovely book. Amanda knows the world of Pride and Prejudice more than her own, I think. She has read the book so many times and seen the movie almost as many times. She dreams of gentlemen and ladies with kind manners and genteel wit. One night, she finds Elizabeth Bennett in her bathroom. That’s right, Elizabeth Bennett from her favorite novel. Lizzy has discovered some kind of portal between her father’s house and Amanda’s bathroom. Next thing she knows, Amanda is living as a guest in the Bennett’s home as a “friend of Lizzy’s” and Elizabeth Bennett is living in modern times, at Amanda’s house. We don’t actually see any of our favorite heroine. This story is about Amanda Price, not Lizzy Bennett.

Poor Amanda. She is transported to the “beginning” of the story, and before she knows it, everyone is doing everything wrong! Bingley falls for her rather than Jane! She just got that all straightened out, when Jane marries Mr. Collins. Mr. Bingley becomes depressed and drinks too much. Mr. Darcy is, of course, his usual stoic, prideful self. He drives Amanda nuts with his attitudes. When Wickham shows up, Amanda spends so much time trying to get Lydia to stay away from him that Lydia runs off with Mr. Bingley instead! Amanda discovers that Wickham isn’t quite the rogue that Jane Austen made him out to be, and is actually quite helpful towards Amanda. Georgeanna Darcy has her own secret about her’s and Wickham’s previous relationship. And Caroline Bingley, while still a reprehensible human being, also carries a secret that Amanda muses Jane Austen couldn’t possibly have imagined. In the midst of the story getting completely messed up (no matter how hard Amanda tries to get it “right”), Amanda and Mr. Darcy fall in love.

If you are a fan of the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of Pride and Prejudice, there is one scene in Lost in Austen you will love. I literally laughed out loud. Ches looked at me funny (he wasn’t watching it with me). I really liked the movie. And now I really want to watch P&P again. The Colin Firth one, of course. (Seriously, someone needs to just buy me the DVD already!! Could you guys let Ches know that it would be a perfect 13th anniversary gift. Our anniversary is coming up in just a few weeks… you don’t have much time!)

When you think of the greatest romantic couples in history or literature or whatever, Romeo and Juliet and Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett are two of the couples that often top the list. I guess this was my weekend of romance. I’ll take Darcy and Elizabeth over R&J any day. It just makes me happy. But when I need a good cry? I’ll watch that final death scene. I’m weird like that.

Shameless Promotion: Christmas Cards!

You know what one of my absolute favorite things about the holiday season is? Christmas cards!! I love getting cards anytime, but there is something special about Christmas cards. Shutterfly is doing a great promotion for bloggers right now, and I decided to participate. So here is my shameless Shutterfly promotion so I can get 50 free cards.

I don’t care what kind of card I receive, personally. I love to get the cheap drugstore cards, the carefully picked stationary store cards, fun photo cards, or beautiful handmade cards. You see, it doesn’t matter what card I receive because they all send me the same message: Someone was thinking about me and my family and they care about us. I enjoy seeing the pictures of my friends and their kids and pets and seeing how everyone has changed over the year. And yes, I absolutely adore the “brag” letters that come in cards!

[Ummm… We don’t need to go into how I have failed to send out cards the last couple of years. It will be late this year, but I’m sending out cards for sure!!]

I am loving the variety of cards that Shutterfly has. They have a large variety of stationary photo cards and holiday cards (also with your photos, of course) to choose from.  I am loving this one with the “retro” plaid. Anything with plaid is good. 🙂 I also really like this photo card because it gives you plenty of space for photos and still has a spot for a personal message. That’s good for someone like me who has procrastinated and doesn’t have time to write out a full letter.

Now, don’t tell my mom because I may just have to get this for her for Christmas, but Shutterfly does more than just cards. They have all these cool calendars! My mom loves to send out cards and gifts for people’s birthdays or anniversaries, but has a hard time remembering when everything is. I don’t blame her. I don’t remember, either. So I want to make her a wall calendar and of course she can see pictures of her grandchildren. Perfect gift for Grandma. The desk calendar is a perfect gift for Ches because he can see his happy, loving children every day at work. So, don’t tell Ches about this post, either. It’s a surprise. 🙂

And now… I’m off to design my card. Look for it (probably after Christmas. Maybe I’ll send out New Year’s cards. Or Valentine’s Day. Yup, I can for sure get those out!!)

Julie and Julia

Ches and I love to watch movies, whether it’s a rental or in the theatre. Always have. Most of our dates before we were married involved going to see a movie. Heck, most of our dates since we’ve been married involves going to see a movie (the remainder of our “dates” would be going to rehearsal and not sitting near each other for a few hours…). I’m pretty open to what movies I see, however, like most girls, I seem to really enjoy the “chick flick”. Ches rarely wants to see what I want to see. When he’s in charge of bringing home movies for rental night at home, he’ll often bring home something involving destruction. It’s about war or a world disaster (earthquakes, volcanos, and astroids, oh my!) or an alien invasion… Not that I mind. I tend to like them, too (2012 was saved by the fact that is starred John Cusak. I’m not kidding.). What was I saying? Oh, it was my turn to pick. And I couldn’t find anything in THREE Redbox kiosks that Ches would be even remotely interested in, so I chose Julie and Julia. It’s one I’ve been wanting to see because 1) I heard it was great and B) I just love Amy Adams and think she’s adorable.

If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know the premise of the movie, I’ll tell you what it’s about. No, it’s too long. I’ll try to sum up. The movie is based in part on the book “My Life in France”, which is Julia Child’s memoirs, and on a blog by Julie Powell in which she spent one year cooking all 500-something recipes of Julia Child’s cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. There you go.

Something is probably wrong with me because unlike the rest of the universe, I don’t think Meryl Streep is the most amazing actress ever. I don’t worship everything she does. Do I think she’s a bad actress? Absolutely not. I think she is great. I just don’t go out of my way to watch Meryl Streep. Something about her actually bugs me a little. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t know why. So while I love Amy Adams (did I mention I think she’s adorable? Because she is!), I wasn’t that excited about Meryl Streep. Hmmm, maybe it’s just all the hype. I hate people and things being built up and built up because they can never bee as good as they are made out to be. Ches wasn’t excited about the movie because it looked too girly or something. I’m not sure. So I turned it on while he sat with his laptop and got school work done.

Ches actually liked the movie. I think it was the cooking (don’t forget, Ches loves to cook. He’s quite good at it, when he has time). And the story was actually quite lovely, so while I don’t know that he will admit it, I think he was taken in by the whole story. I liked the movie a lot, too. And I found that I liked the parts with Meryl Streep better than the parts with Amy Adams. Interesting.

I found Julia Child to be such an intriguing character! I want to read her memoirs now and learn more about her. I would also love to have a copy of her cookbook and see what I can do. Some of the stuff looks so hard (and I’m not talking about boning a duck), but it also looks SO YUMMY. I love food. I want to eat that yummy, yummy stuff. And oh my goodness, if Julia Child can make that stuff in her tiny Parisian kitchen (you should see the size of that oven!! It looked like the size of a large Easy Bake Oven. I’m not kidding.) and Julie Powell could make stuff in her tiny Queens apartment kitchen, I can make that stuff in my tiny suburban kitchen (which, as small as it is, is probably twice the size of that one in Queens. Maybe 1.5 times the size. Whatever.) Julia Child just seems so pleasant and wonderful. Julie Powell… well, while her part of the story was interesting, I didn’t really connect with her or like her that much. She seemed a little too whiny and “woah is me”. I get that she was at a point in her life where she felt empty and depressed and needed something new. Really, I do get that. And I liked that this project really opened her up and “saved” her. But it didn’t make me like her any more. I wonder if I can find her blog and read it. Maybe I’ll like her then. I don’t know.

Watching this movie made me want to cook. A lot. And it made me want to blog. I mean, I do blog, but I don’t blog like I used to. It’s funny because there is a point in the movie where Julie gets in a fight with her husband over the blog. He accuses her of becoming narcissistic because of the blog. She has to be the center of the world, and it’s all coming crashing down on her when it doesn’t all go according to how she thinks it should. She has meltdown after meltdown, all in the name of this project she had for the blog.

I started to think about my blog. Wow. I’m pretty narcissistic, too. I mean, what made me think that other people would be interested in my thoughts? I didn’t start this blog as a way to keep my far away family members and friends caught up with my life and my children. I started this blog because I wanted to write and to have people read what I say and comment. I wanted to make a difference in the world. I wanted to be famous. Or infamous. Or something. I wanted to put my thoughts and ideas out there and I wanted to be loved for it!!

Well, I’m not famous. I’m not infamous. I’m still… something. I don’t write like I used to, but I still put myself out there. I pour out my thoughts for you, hoping that what I say is worthwhile (I know it’s not always… I’m choosing to ignore that fact for the moment) and makes people think. But Julie and Julia has inspired me a bit. I’m going to keep writing. I’ll never be famous. Or infamous. I’ll always be something… Me!! Thanks for reading, guys.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, go watch Julie and Julia. And get ready to crave some beef bourguignon. I’ve never had it, but I want it. And I want to make it. Like NOW. (I think I’m asking for “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” for my birthday this year.)

The Story of My Feelings

the story of my feelings Last year, as I was teaching toddlers and preschoolers, I came across this wonderful book by Laurie Berkner. (Laurie Berkner is a great children’s singer. She is often featured on “Jack’s Big Music Show” on Noggin, a Nickelodeon station for the preschool set. She does mostly original songs and kids just go nuts for her, as I saw in the preschool last year. Check out The Laurie Berkner Band if you are looking for something fun for a gift for a toddler) Normally I don’t like books with CD accompaniment, but this one is just great. The illustrations are beautiful, but even more beautiful is the song. It’s just a guitar accompaniment with Laurie Berkner on vocals and some simple harmonies. The lyrics are as follows:


This is the story of when I cry.
When I’m feeling sad, that’s when I cry
And it makes me feel better.
It makes me feel better.
You know it makes me feel even better when I cry.

This is the story of when I laugh.
When I’m feeling happy, that’s when I laugh
And it makes me feel better.
It make me feel better.
You know it makes me feel even better when I laugh.

This is the story of when I yell.
When I’m feeling angry, that’s when I yell
And it makes me feel better.
It makes me feel better.
You know it makes me feel even better when I yell.

This is the story of when I sigh.
When I’m feeling peaceful, that’s when I sigh
And it makes me feel better.
It makes me feel better.
You know it makes me even feel better when I sigh.

And when I cry.
And when I yell.
And when I laugh
You know it makes me feel better.

I love this book and this song. I called it my Magic Book at school because no matter how hyped up the kids were in class, as soon as the guitar starts playing each and every kid would settle down and look at the pictures and sing along to the song. I highly recommend this book and CD for all toddlers and preschoolers. I was listening to the song on my iPod today and I teared up a little because it’s just so beautiful.

I think too often we only want our kids to be happy children. We know they aren’t, and we know they cry and yell, but we tell them to stop. We do everything we can to make them stop. I am sure guilty of it. I hate it when my kids just cry and cry. Drives me bananas! However, don’t I often just feel better after a good cry? Sometimes I’m just sad and I need to cry. Sometimes I’m angry and I just need to yell, and then I feel better. If it’s that simple as an adult, why not with kids? I find myself telling my children “It’s okay to be mad right now, but don’t yell!” I am trying to change it to “It’s okay to be mad right now, but don’t yell at me. Go somewhere and just yell for a minute, and when you’re calm we’ll talk.” Kids need to express their emotions just as much as we do. As much as we all love the sound of a happy, laughing child, that’s just not going to happen all the time.

My favorite part of the song is the end. “When I’m feeling peaceful, that’s when I sigh.” We’re working on the peaceful feelings around here. The no TV, no fighting, no chaos feelings. I love it when we are all just sitting around, playing together or reading or whatever. And then I feel peaceful and I hope my kids do, too. And then I sigh because it makes me feel better.

**special note: I was not paid in any way for a review of this book and CD. No one asked me to review it. I just like it and wanted to share.**

Twilight Movie and Music

No Spoilers! Read at will!! 🙂

Last Thursday at 11:15, p.m., I stood outside a Harkins Theatre in Chandler and waited for my friend Kelly. I was attending my first midnight showing of a movie. I was going to see Twilight. I was excited! Kelly brought me the t-shirt she had finished for me (her printer is better than mine, so she printed out the iron-ons and got the shirt ready for me to wear). It was a maroon shirt, and on the front said “Edward prefers brunettes” and a really cool looking “Team Edward” on the back. I got several compliments on my shirt. 🙂

I wasn’t a crazed enough fan to come sit at the theatre at 2 in the afternoon, and Kelly was out doing karaoke with some friends before she came to the movie, so we ended up in the second row of the theatre. We were both in a good mood and didn’t let it bother us. A theatre worker came in at one point to make some sort of announcement then, almost as an after-thought, stated, “Oh, and the new Harry Potter trailer is on some of these prints, but we don’t know which theatres. It may just be this one!” And with a wicked grin, he left. I then spent the next several minutes waving my hands at the screen as if I was performing some sort of charm and chanted, “Harry Potter! Harry Potter! Harry Potter!”

The lights went down, the previews were starting, and some people cheered. Someone yelled “Chill out!” and Kelly and I laughed at the idea that we had been trasnsported back to the early 90’s. Apparantly my chanting/charm worked, because we did get to see the new Harry Potter trailer. It was awesome by the way. I can not wait for July. And yes, I’m still bitter that they pushed the release date back so far. I could have waited a few more weeks for Twilight. I’m more obsessed with Harry than with Edward (although I’m more in love with Edward! heh).

I liked the movie. Yes, it was different from the book, but what movie based on a book isn’t different? Most of the changes weren’t bad (although I liked the character of Angela as she is in the books, and Jessica seems way more mean-spirited in the movie), and while things don’t always match up to the pictures in my head (while that is impossible, that sure would be cool!), I liked the casting and the scenery. Gorgeous. On both accounts.

The guys in this movie just take your breath away. It’s serious eye candy, ladies. Like I told my friend Katie (who is “Team Jacob” because she’s likes a bad boy. But Katie, seriously, how much more bad boy can you get than a frickin’ vampire??? Maybe that’s just the Buffy fan in me coming out), when you go to this movie, you need to bring a fan. And I like Rob Pattinson as Edward. I liked him as Cedric. No, he didn’t match the character in my head either time, but I think he’s great anyway.

I enjoyed the movie, and I stayed awake through it (hey, it had been a long day! And I have a friend from church that went to the midnight showing and she did fall asleep for a good chunk of it, she said). So yeah, I recommend it. I do want to see it again, mainly because I’d like to see the entire screen without having to bounce my eyes from one end to another to get everything in. I still love some other things more than Twilight, but I’m becoming more and more of an obsessed fan. It’s kind of funny.

Kelly bought the soundtrack online and burned me a copy. She also bought our movie tickets online, so she got a bonus track of Bella’s Lullaby Remix, so she put that on my CD, too. The soundtrack has the bands Muse, Paramore, Linkin Park, Collective Soul, MuteMath, Blue Foundation, The Black Ghosts, Perry Farrell, and even Rob Pattinson himself has a song on there (hmmmm… cute and a musician! I like him even more!!).

I. Love. This CD.

My friends, I have not listened to anything else since I got this CD. I won’t even let my kids listen to Ghostbusters or Thriller (their favorite songs du jour) when they ask, answering with, “Mommy needs to listen to Twilight!!” I’m completely taken in by the first few tracks especially, but I love it all. Every song chosen feels as if it was a song chosen specifically for me and my taste in music. I am recommending to strangers in the store to buy the soundtrack! I don’t do that!! This music just consumes me and fuels my new obsession. I can’t wait to get in my van and listen to it some more (I need to upload it to my computer and Ipod still). I re-read Twilight today with the soudtrack going in the back of my mind. WOW. I’m about to go back to Stephenie Meyer’s site to re-read Midnight Sun.

So yeah, go see the movie (if you haven’t already), but I really, really recommend buying the soundtrack. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get in Edward’s head with the help of Muse and Paramore.

My Boy Jack

(Note:  This post contains spoilers)

Last night I watched “My Boy Jack” on PBS.  It is a movie about Rudyard Kipling and his son, Jack, during World War I.  David Haig played Kipling, Daniel Radcliff played Jack, and Kim Cattrell played Carrie Kipling, Rudyard’s American wife.  I admit that I only wanted to watch this because of Daniel Radcliff.  I wanted to see him as someone other than Harry Potter.  I wanted to see if he could do it.  I believe he succeeded quite well.

Jack and Harry are not at all the same type of character, so there was actual acting involved here.  If anything, Jack is more like Daniel Radcliff, what with the desire to prove himself as more than what other’s see him as.  In Jack’s case, it is to be his own man, not just “Rudyard Kipling’s son”, and in Daniel’s case it’s to be more than just Harry Potter and be considered a serious actor in his profession.

The story is a beautiful piece of work as it shows quite well the Kipling family at a time period and part of the world that was expected to act a certain way.  It is at the beginning of the war, and Jack, who is just 17, wants to join the navy.  However, he is very nearsighted and cannot see without his glasses.  He is rejected by the navy.  Jack then goes to the army, where is he also rejected… twice.  His father uses his own influence to get Jack in, and off he goes.  Jack becomes an officer and helps prepare his platoon to go to France to fight the Germans.

(Aside:  My favorite line from the movie is when Jack first meets his platoon.  He asks each of the men why they are in the army.  He then says, “You all volunteered to be here.  I want you to remember that in a week when you want to shoot my head off.”  I think Ches needs to use that in marching band!  heh.)

Jack and his platoon indeed to go to France and stay in the trenches, getting ready to do their part.  The day after he turns 18, Jack led his platoon into battle.  His family received a telegram informing them that Jack is missing and presumed injured.  Because he was missing, that gave the Kipling family enough hope to search for Jack.  They spent a year and a half interviewing people and going through records and pictures before they finally found a member of Jack’s platoon who could tell what happened.  Ultimately, Jack was 18 and 1 day old when he was killed in a war.

The emotional toll this takes on the family is almost overwhelming.  Jack’s parents and sister are each consumed with grief, and must heal.  I’m sure it took a long time, and while you can never fully get over the death of a loved one, it seems each member of the family found peace.  The end of the movie has Rudyard visiting his friend, the King, who has just lost his own son to illness.  Rudyard then quotes his own poem, which I found so beautiful.

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”

Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind—
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide
!

I enjoyed the film, and I think you will too.  If you get a chance to watch it, to it.  Just be warned… I think you’ll cry.  I certainly did.

Random Friday

Ches had his holiday concert last night.  Each group (jazz band, symphonic band, wind ensemble, and string orchestra) did an excellent job.  There were some problems in the jazz band, but overall it went well.  They played some fun stuff, and you could tell they were having a good time (especially with the “choreography” the trumpets put in for “Selections from Chicago“).

When the Wind Ensemble started with their very first note, I kind of gasped.  They.  Were.  Awesome.  Almost every part of every piece was played flawlessly.  Those kids are great musicians.  They weren’t just playing notes on a page, they were playing music.  Ches said the Wind Ensemble really put him in a good mood.  Yay!

The orchestra and wind ensemble combined for a final piece, which was, of course, Sleigh Ride.  It was a different version than Ches has ever conducted before (mainly because he’s only ever conducted bands with it in the past), but it was excellent.  It had such a nice, full sound.  The kids enjoyed playing together, and Ches wants them to do more pieces together in the future.  I’m really rooting for Pirates of the Carribean (it is the coolest piece!!), but Ches doesn’t really want to do it.  I don’t know why.

*****

Hey, remember when everybody had Indiglo watches?  They were the big thing about 10-15 years ago.  Does anyone get Indiglo anymore?  I remember the commercial of all the people at the rock concert that, instead of lighting and waving cigarette lighters, turned on their Indiglo watches.  It was pretty cool.  Anyway… for some reason last night I was just thinking about these watches. 

*****

Dallin is a monster.  He spilled water on our computer keyboard, so now the 8, 7 (on they keypad part), and DELETE keys don’t work.  A few days later, Dallin was messing around with the computer and slammed the mouse down one too many times or something, because now it doesn’t work.  It’s one of those nice laser ones.  So I pulled out our old one (the kind with the rolling ball in it), and I have to say that I miss my laser mouse.  This ball one just doesn’t work as well.  It gets stuck often (and there is NO dust in there.  I checked) and makes things more difficult.  Especially when I’m trying to do a puzzle in my Puzzlebee application of Facebook.  So if anyone is wondering why my times are all so slow… blame the mouse.  Seriously.

*****

Remember last year at our ward talent show that Aiden’s talent was to “jump up really, really high”?  Well, all year he’s been talking about how he’s going to improve his talent.  This year Aiden’s talent was to “jump, clap, and turn around… all at the same time”.  And that is what he did.  He bounced in a circle while clapping his hands.  Then he covered his ears at the thunderous applause.  The audience called for an encore, and he willingly obliged.  What a kid.

*****

When I was younger, I always knew how long I had until my birthday.  Within two or three months, I could tell you exactly how many days.  And in those last few weeks, I could tell you down to the hour, and possibly the minute (I don’t quite remember).  I was always so excited for my birthday.

I guess I’m a grown up now that I’m 30.  Or closer to being a grown up.  I know my birthday is coming up, but I have to think and look at a calender and think some more to know exactly when my birthday is.  It’s just not that big of a deal anymore.  Like there’s anything special about turning 31, anyway.

*****

I was really missing my grandmother the other night.  I don’t know why, exactly.  I just started thinking about her and wishing I could have her here for Christmas this year and so my boys could get to know her.  Grandma was such a wonderful woman.  I miss her a lot.  I always miss her.  I just had that horrible ache in my heart the other night.

*****

Good news:  We will have visitors for Christmas!!  Aunt Marisa and Peter want to get away, so they are coming here.  Yay!  I know they will still be mourning and it will be hard this Christmas without Maci (their beloved dog who passed away just last Saturday), but I think they will really enjoy watching my monsters– uh, my sons– opening gifts and such.  Christmas with little kids is just so fun.  After Aiden comes home from school today we are gonig to start making cookies.  I’m planning on making lots of yummy treats for us all to get fat from.  I have to fix my wood Santa, and I’ll finish getting all my decorations up.  I’m going to have a festive Christmas, even if we won’t have much under the tree!!

*****

One more week until school is out for Christmas break.  Hoo-ray!!

*****

I am currently reading Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff.  It’s a fun book about a woman, Claire, who is a “Keeper”, which is a member of the select group whih keeps the universe in one piece.  Claire has a cat, Austin, who speaks.  Claire has been Summoned to a B&B and found herself running the B&B as she tries to close a hole to Hell in the basement.  It’s not a hard read, but it’s not dumbed down for anyone, either.  I’m about halfway through and I’m really enjoying it so far.  It’d be a good one for those of you who’d like something to read over the holiday that isn’t too heavy but still gets you involved in the story.

*****

I heard a “new” band on the radio last night.  The station was playing all ska and punk, and this band is called Foxboro Hot Tubs.  Apparantly they are Green Day in disguise or something.  Of course, Green Day hasn’t said anything and/or is denying everything.  The DJ last night said that about 99% of the world is convinced it’s Green Day.  The coolest thing about the Hot Tubs?  You can download ALL of their music for free on their website!!  I’m so there.  We all know I love Green Day, and this song I heard last night was freakin’ awesome.  Here’s an article about the whole Hot Tubs/ Green Day thing.

I Am An Expert, So Listen To Me

I’ve become fond of a lot of new things lately, and of course I have wanted to share my new interests with you guys.  I just haven’t had a ton of time to sit down and write a post about everything.  I just got Parker down for a nap and Dallin is busy watching “Cars” (yes, I use the TV as a babysitter.  Ya gotta problem with dat????), so I’m just going to tell you everything now, in one big post.  And we all know how I think I am always right, so you have to listen to me.  So there.

While at Disneyland, Ches and I got one of the Star Wars pictures done at Star Tours.  It’s taken me forever, but I finally have it so you can all see it.  It think it’s just plain awesome.  I love showing it off. 🙂
Padme and Annakin
Let’s all pretend that is actually my body, okay?

*****

My sister, Erica, met some musician guy on the “T” one day.  She sent me a link to his MySpace page so I could listen to the music and give her an opinion.  All she could tell me was it was some kind of jazz, she thinks.  Well, I checked it out.  And so should you!!  This guy’s name is Thomson Kneeland and he is an acoustic bassist.  His music is heavily influenced by jazz, but he has a wonderful juxtoposition of jazz and world music with some 20th century thrown in there.  It’s different, but it’s SO good.  I absolutely fell in love.  My favorite piece has to be “Moja Tesknota”.  It just rips my heart out.  It speaks to me.  So go here and see what you think.

*****

When my sister, Lura, was visiting in August or something we decided to rent a few movies to watch.  We actually ran out of time for “Miss Potter”, so I’ll have to try that one again, but we did get to watch “The Holiday“.  It has Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black in it.  Lura and I loved this movie.  We could only describe it as “delightful” or “lovely”.  Yes, it’s very predictable and very cheesey, but I thought it all worked really well.  I’m not normally a Cameron Diaz fan, but I think she worked well in this one.  Kate Winslet is one of the greatest actresses out there and is so beautiful with her “real” looks and body type, so I always enjoy watching her.  Anyway, I don’t care what so many critics have said.  I loved it and I could watch it again and again.

*****

I have had enough.  I am sick and tired of people asking me when the baby is due.  I’M NOT PREGNANT!!  I hate all this fat and the large (very large) number on my scale.  I’m on medication for my thyroid now, so it’s working normally and the doctor said I should find it a lot easier to lose weight.  So here’s my plan.  On the advice of family members who have done the diet and lost a lot of weight and kept it off, I am starting the South Beach Diet.  The first two weeks look like they are the hardest, so I’m kind of easing myself into it right now.  I’m taking two weeks to get into it, then I’ll do the actual first two weeks.  It’s just really hard for me to suddenly not eat ANY fruits or breads or pastas…  After the first two weeks I will be slowly introducing the “not allowed” foods back into my system.  On top of the diet, I am walking everyday.  Either to take Aiden to school or to bring him home.  Well, on the days that I babysit I drive partway there because right now it’s just too hard for all 5 kids to walk that distance.  I’d really like to walk Aiden to and from school, and maybe that is something to work towards.  So… we’ll see how it works!!!  I want to be Skinny Sariah again.  It may never happen, but being Fat Sariah is killing me.

*****

I am totally loving Facebook.  I started it out just to see what the big deal was, but now I am totally addicted to it.  Mostly because of Scrabbulous.  I also have Tetris on there (which I am a master at!) and I love seeing all the cool stuff that people come up with.  Yes, it is a time suck.  I just keep it open all day and whenever I get a moment I will stop in and check on my Scrabbulous games or perhaps I’ll carve a pumpkin (I did a really cute one this morning with a tie and a nametag for my brother who is leaving in December on his mission to Philidelphia) or I’ll work on the TV Show Quiz a bit.  I’m trying to get Ches to open a Facebook account, but he says he doesn’t have time for that right now.  Plbbbbbt.  If any of you are on Facebook and are not in my friends list, let me know and let’s be friends!  If you don’t have a Facebook account, go ahead and get one and let’s be friends!  Come to the dark side!!

*****

My new favorite TV show is Ace of Cakes.  It’s on the Food Network.  The show is all about extreme cake guy Duff Goldman and his shop in Baltimore.  Of course it’s not all about Duff.  He has tons of his friends who work for him… none of which are trained in cake decorating or whatever.  They are artists or architects… things like that.  But the cakes are SO cool!!  One of my dreams is to go to Baltimore and drop into Charm City Cakes and get a cake done by these guys.  Duff always says at the beginning of the show they they “make it bigger, make it badder, make it awesome.”  (Side note, for some reason I always expect him to say “awesomer”, even though that isn’t a word.  I’m such a dork, huh?)  Anyway, it’s always fun to see what crazy things they can make.  When I was making Aiden’s birthday cake I said to Ches, “You know, if you ever decide that being a band teacher just isn’t the thing for you, let’s open up a cake shop.  Because it’s not a bakery we don’t have to work at 4 in the morning.  We can have the hours WE want.  And it’d be SO fun, huh?”  His response??  A chuckle, followed by, “You’ve been watching too much Ace of Cakes.”  Oh well.  I still think it’d be a good idea.

 *****

My kids are so precious!  I have to share my new favorite picture of them, even if you have already seen it on Flickr.  I didn’t pose them like this.  They really and truely were like this, so I ran to get the camera.  Aiden is reading to his little brothers before bed, and Dallin and Parker are just eating up every word.
Reading Time

Gimme Some Skin!

I'm soooooo cool
Look at how cool my iPod is. I mean, it is just awesome, isn’t it? Since I’ve been carrying my iPod everywhere lately, and since my children love to play with it and get their grubby little hands all over it, I’ve been contemplating getting a case or skin of some sort. But I wasn’t too fond with what I saw. Until Tuesday. We were in the mall and passed by a kiosk covered in skins for iPods. I immediately saw a Canadian flag and contemplated how cool that would be. I looked at all the designs (and I saw several that I thought would be perfect for each of you!), and let the salesman give his pitch.

What’s cool is that it’s like a sticker that goes on the front and one on the back (oh, and one for the front button, too). It peels off easily, can be saved for future use easily, and cleans easily (just a little glass cleaner!). And it has a lifetime waranty. Yay! For $15, I was sold. Oh, yeah. And not everyone has one, so now I don’t have to use a Sharpie to write my name on my iPod. 🙂 It’s called Gizmobies. I know I sound like a commercial, but I am easily excited by new things.Go see what else they have. I couldn’t decide between the hearts, Canadian flag (although our anniversary is coming up, and Ches found it pretty cool and has his own iPod…), the Union Jack, or blue camo.

Love Story

I have been put in charge of the Book Club for our group at church.  To get things started this month (and just to make things easy for the first month), we are all picking out a love story to read (since it’s February, and that has Valentine’s Day and all).  It can be any love story you want.  Well, I’d like to make a list of options to give the women who may have a hard time choosing or knowing what to read.  What would you suggest?  Of course, I use the term “love story” kind of loosly.  I’m not talking strict “romance novels” here.  Just a good book with a love story in it.  I’ll start my list here, and you guys comment and add to the list.  Eventually (like later today or sometime tomorrow) I’m going to make a seperate page for Books (like Julia has, but different. Heh).  Okay, here’s my Love Story Suggestion List:

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
  2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  5. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  6. The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
  7. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
  8. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  9. Charly by Jack Weyland
  10. One in Thine Hand by Gerald N. Lund