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Thursday, February 27, 2014

February 2014

Just a recap of the happenings from February:

On Valentines I got to celebrate with my loves.
The four of us celebrated together
With dinner at The Pizza Factory 

The kids all helped Cory celebrate and
Blow out his birthday candle.
Luke cannot get enough of spending time
With his big brother Brycen.
Baby Juniper Rose Broadbent finally made her appearance.
We are all thrilled, especially Miss Ruby.
We're not sure how I got the white version
And Jami ended up with the brown baby.

Warm, spring like conditions for February
We took advantage by going for walks
And playing at the park.

Tim and Erika went to Mexico for a week
And suddenly our spring like conditions
Weren't quite so impressive

While Tim was gone, the kids were lucky to spend time
With both sets of grandparents.
Thanks grandmas and grandpas, they loved it.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Sociopath Next Door

A few months ago my friend Amy and I read an excerpt from a memoir written by a self described sociopath.  The article was fascinating and we couldn't wait for the full book to come out.  We were looking for that book and stumbled onto this one.  The Sociopath Next Door isn't a memoir, it is written by a psychologist and is much more clinical than conversational.  The Amazon review:

Who is the devil you know? Is it your lying, cheating ex-husband? Your sadistic high school gym teacher? Your boss who loves to humiliate people in meetings? The colleague who stole your idea and passed it off as her own? In the pages of The Sociopath Next Door, you will realize that your ex was not just misunderstood. He’s a sociopath. And your boss, teacher, and colleague? They may be sociopaths too.

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt. How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They’re more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others’ suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win. 

The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know—someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for—is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game. It is the ruthless versus the rest of us, and The Sociopath Next Door will show you how to recognize and defeat the devil you know.

The book was a little dry, written more like a text book but the material was fascinating.  The author's statistic of 4% of all people being a sociopath seemed a little high, but as she described individuals and situations, I could definitely see how they applied to people with whom I have associated.  She points out several times how hard it is for "normal" people to understand the idea of having no conscience.  This struck me because it is so foreign, she writes  "Most of us feel mildly guilty if we eat the last piece of cake, let along what we would feel if we intentionally set about to hurt another person.  Those who have no conscience at all are a group unto themselves, whether they be homicidal tyrants or merely ruthless social snipers."  She goes on to say that for the sociopath "controlling others - winning - is more compelling than anything or anyone else".

The condition of being a sociopath is described as having an emotional disability which makes sense in the context of the diagnosis.  While sociopaths would view being bound to a conscience as a negative, this  book clearly points out the opposite.  "One way or another, a life without conscience is a failed life.  those of us who love and have conscience are really very lucky, even as we go about our everyday lives of work, reflexive give and take, and ordinary pleasures."

It took me a little longer to get through this book than normal, there were no fluff parts to skim through, but I thought it was well worth the time spent on the read.  B+

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Me Before You

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . . Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

I finished listening to this book a few weeks ago and am still thinking about it.  If you plan to read the book and don't want to know the details, stop reading now.  The big issue of the book is the fact that Will plans to go to Switzerland where euthanasia is legal. He can't handle the physical and mental aspects of being a paraplegic and  is not willing to continue living.  Louisa has been hired to "babysit" him for the six months that he promised his mother he would wait before going through with his plan.  In theory, the idea of assisted suicide is really horrible to me and I have a hard time understanding how someone would make that decision.  However, I think that judgement is much easier to make while living a healthy life with lots of good years in the future.  As Will described his situation and his decision, it was clear that this wasn't just about missing the things he previously did, a lot of it was just the daily pain and discomfort with no hope of ever having relief.  I stand by my feeling that no matter the situation, that would never be a decision for me, however, I certainly have a lot more empathy for anyone who find them self in a dependant situation with no real hope for the future.  

I liked the fact that the book made me think, but I especially like the fact that it made me feel.  The story and relationship between Will and Lou was super sweet and I found myself really liking both of them.  It isn't always necessary but I generally prefer a book where the characters are somewhat endearing - almost everyone in this book is.  For the most part the book was fairly serious and dealt with a lot heavy issues.  But, there was plenty of comedic relief, and several parts literally had me laughing out loud.  When it ended I was a little sad to leave the characters behind.

The audio version was well read, this book would be equally good if you listened or read.  A-

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ruby Four Months

It seems so cliche, but really, every month seems to go ever quicker and I feel like my baby is growing up more quickly than I want her to.  One of the real transitions from new born is that she isn't sleeping quite as much.  She still sleeps great at night and takes several good naps, but she has a lot more time when she is awake and alert and watching everything that goes on in her little world.  We have continued to keep her world very small, we try not  to take her out much, but she has still struggled with a lot of colds, in fact she has one right now the poor sniffly sneezy girl.
As much as it makes me sad to have her grow up, I do love seeing her learn and develop.  She continues to smile a lot and has started giggling - especially when Tim swings and bounces her.  She has found her tongue and spends a lot of time sticking it out.  She doesn't suck her thumb, but has started sucking on her individual fingers and sometimes her entire hand.  It's super cute but often leads to a lot of drooling.  Our Ruby girl has started babbling and screeching - she definitely has something to say and wants to make sure she is heard.
Ruby has a doctor's appointment at the end of this week.  I will be interested to see her stats, but am sure she has gone up significantly in the growth percentages.  She has moved up to size 2 diapers and breezed through most of her 0-3 size clothes and is on to 3-6 month size.  It feels like in the last month has experienced a major growth spurt.

For a little girl who mostly hangs out at home, Ruby had two major events this month.  We had her blessing which was incredible, she is lucky to be loved and supported by so many people.  She also had her first plane ride and out of state trip.   Again, we had lots of family support and she traveled like an experienced world class traveler.

Ruby and Baby Sadie met and were immediate friends - it is so fun to have cousins two weeks apart.

I bought this play mat for Ruby for Christmas but just opened it a few weeks ago.  She is fascinated by the lights and sounds and is happy to spend a lot of time playing with the bee and other hanging toys. The trick is to keep Luke from loving her too much when he comes to play along side of her.

We found the Bumbo down stairs and I was shocked that she was able to sit in it and look so secure.  She seemed to like being upright and part of everything going on around her.

Luke absolutely adores her.  He shares his toys, rocks her carrier when she cries, tries to give her treats, and wanted to be a part of her official photo shoot.  I love that they will be such close friends.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January, 2014

Here are a few photos from January, events that didn't quite make the blog for their own entry.

Cory and I made it back to the mountain
We had a fabulous ski day.

Everyone spent a lot of time on Ruby's play mat
Luke loves when the cousins come to visit,
He and Calvin were so cute together.

We were so excited to see Roman and meet Sadie
The two girls were so cute,
They spent most of their time holding hands

The boys were instantly bonded over their love of balls
It was so fun to watch them play together.

Jami found this shot that we did years ago
While she was in college
It was too great not to include.

Friday night at the bowling alley
Luke was a little frustrated that he couldn't
Run around and throw the balls.
The rest of the kids had so much fun.