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Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Burgess Boys

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.
With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art. (from Amazon)

This is the basic review on Amazon and is similar to all of the other reviews posted by various sources.  Based on the reviews you would expect this to be a great book, right?  Wrong! My first mistake was in not realizing why the author seemed so familiar.  I finally realized that I had read Strout's last book, Olive Kitteridge when it first came out a few years ago based on positive reviews and the fact that it won the Pulitzer.  At that time I was seriously disappointed and not at all enamored by Strout's writing style.  I didn't purposely give her a second chance on this book, but now that I have, there won't be a third.  So what made it so bad?  Primarily, it was just boring.  The story jumped between characters and I think was trying to present some type of intense character study but for me it didn't work at all.  Basically, I just didn't care about anyone in the book or what happened to them.  There were moments of high emotion where I really should have been impacted, but it really didn't matter to me what happened to any of the characters.  That to me is the kiss of death in a book.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pioneer Day

For as long as I can remember, we have celebrated Pioneer Day in Spanish Fork.  We start by running the 10k and then stay to watch the parade.  Depending on the year, there have been different combinations of who has actually run but my mom has always been the head cheerleader - she saves us a spot for the parade while cheering and taking pictures.  This year was strange because nobody ran - well, I'm pretty sure they had the race with plenty of runners, but none of my family ran.  My dad has been hurt and barely running and Tim rarely wants to run unless it is to chase me.  I couldn't see any reason to pay money to have a clock tell me how slow I am -especially since I'm not supposed to push my heart rate.  So, we decided to settle for the parade.  Jarin and Jami dropped off a blanket last night then I went by early this morning and left another blanket and some chairs.  I went to the gym and worked out and then headed back to meet up with everyone.

For awhile, I was a little lonely...

Then the party arrived.

Jami brought donuts and
Luke was a definite fan.
Ok, we all were, but it's much cuter to watch Luke eat.

Luke eventually got bored of the parade,
Not surprisingly, my child would choose to read.

After the parade we headed up the canyon for a BBQ
The kids had a fabulous time playing in the stream,
Throwing rocks, getting dirty, 
While the adults sat around and chatted.
What better way to spend a day

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fifteen Months

I loved posting the monthly updates on Luke's growth and it has been nice to have those details recorded.  However, once he turned one, I decided that every few months would be enough.  Time continues to pass way too quickly and my boy is already 15 months.  He's developing such a personality.  He definitely knows what he wants and shakes his head emphatically when he he doesn't get it.  He has specific preferences with food, books, toys, and sometimes between mom and dad.  Good Night Moon is his favorite book and he often demands that I read it several times before going to bed.  His sense of humor gets more and more distinct.  People often comment on his giggle and how infectious it is, they are constantly entertained by the faces he pulls and the looks he gives.  I don't know how he learned it but Luke has started hiding in different parts of the house and thinks it is so funny when you come to find him.  The other day he caught me off guard in the bathroom and thought it was hysterical.
Since starting to crawl, he is super mobile and can get anywhere he wants.  The biggest problem (aside from getting into the toilets, the laundry, the dog food, etc) is that he is always dirty from the floor (so much for thinking I keep a clean house).  I've been anxious for him to start walking just to get him off the ground.  He's progressed a lot and is great at walking around the furniture and when he has someone's hand to hold.  About a week ago he started to stand by himself and has taken a few steps on his own.  Whenever he stands on his own he generally claps and looks around to make sure someone appreciates his accomplishments.  I keep expecting that any day now he will be completely independent and on his way running.
Luke can make several animal noises and has three main words, mama, dada and ball.  The fact that ball is one of his first words is not at all surprising because he is completely obsessed with any and all types of balls - tennis, basketball, baseballs, toys, etc.  Most nights he goes to bed with one in his hands and wakes up looking for another.
Currently Luke is getting several molars and has been a little cranky which is strange for him, and a little exhausting.  But all it takes are some sweet kisses and yells for "mama" and any rough spots are easily forgotten.  Here are some of the most recent pictures and a few other details.

Luke absolutely loves his brothers and sister.
He gets so excited when they arrive and
Every time they leave he wanders around the house yelling for them.

We went on our first "camping trip"
Ok, it was just day camping, but at least
The boy got some outdoor time.

He loves to play with his cousins,
Assuming he survives, they will toughen him up.

Luke absolutely loves music,
He especially loves playing the piano with both grandmas.

Yes, his hair is king of wild, and long
And I've turned into that mom who refuses to 
Cut her little boy's hair.

He had his first big fall.
Down six stairs to a tile landing.

It turns out Luke is a total water baby
He loves pools, fountains, the tub,
Anywhere he can splash.

This boy loves his daddy,
Any has become a little possessive
When anyone else wants to play.

Remember the long hair,
This is what happens when he hangs out with Jami.
Time for a hair cut?
Not yet!

I don't think it's normal for a baby, 
But he loves ice.
It might have something to do with the fact that
He always wants to share my ice.