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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Book Review, 2016

This year it feels like I have read and listened to a lot of mediocre books - something to pass the time but missing some literary magic.  However, there were a few that completely captured my mind and heart and reminded me why it is that I love to read.  Without question, my favorite books of the year were Britt Marie Was Here and The Nightingale.  The books are polar opposites in content and emotion, but they were both the type that made me sad to finish the story.  This year I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes, or a few of my thoughts on the books.


*Secrets of a Charmed Life A-
"People have to tell their stories or they suffocate."
"Safe is not the same as happy, trust me on this."
*The Lake House B+
"She had found there were very few genuinely dull people; the trick was to ask them the right questions."
"A person never forgets the landscape of their childhood/"
The Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend B
This book had so much potential and a few really great moments, I just wanted a little more from it.
"There was something sad about the town, as if the generations of problems and disappointments had rubbed off onto its brick and roads"
Pretty Baby A-
"Mamma used to say, we don't have much, but at least we have each other - and then one day, we didn't even have that much"
"I know how betrayal and disillusionment feel, when someone who could give you the world refuses even a tiny piece of it."
Band of Sisters B-
"You've made a god of your fear and jealousy, Sister. For what is a god but what we go to again and again."
Sycamore Road B
“When you have no future, you live in the past.”
The Taliban Shuffle B
In theory, her story was fascinating, but the book needed a really good editor to make it more readable.
“I was also trying not to date in Kabul, as Afghanistan resembled Alaska if you were a woman—the odds were good but the goods were odd.” 
“I had seen more death—the tsunami, two different earthquakes. But I could somehow understand natural disasters. This was a human disaster, and I couldn’t make sense of the hate.” 
The Girl in the Spider Web C+
I really liked the first three books in this series and worried that since this wasn't written by the original author, it wouldn't be as good.  Unfortunately, I had very little interest in even finishing the book.
“Ha, no, that it’s always the wrong people who have the guilty conscience. Those who are really responsible for suffering in the world couldn’t care less. It’s the ones fighting for good who are consumed by remorse.” 
Take Me With You A-
"All I know is, it's what makes  You know how when you're working or going to school, and you just keep repeating the same days?  And then you notice the days are going y really fast...and they're starting to look alike.  And then you start to feel like that can't be it.  This can't be a whole life, there has to be more.  That is what climbing is to me.  Its the more.  The thing that makes me feel like life is enough.  What makes your life feel like enough"
Trail of Broken Tears B
“a mother cannot give birth to a child and not lose a piece of herself. The child takes a part of the parent with them, holding it as their own. Whether it be their heart or soul, they are now connected for always.” 
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper B+
“By sorting out her wardrobe it felt as if he was saying goodbye to her all over again. He was clearing her out of his life."
“All his thoughts were running riot, like rowdy children, and he wanted them to stop and leave him alone."
A Memory of Violets B+
“sometimes it is better to look at the shadows rather than be dazzled by the sun."


My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry A-
It took me a bit to get into the story, and to keep track of all of the details, but once I did, I really liked it.
"Don't fight with monsters for you could become one"
"Death's greatest power is not that it can make people die, but that it can make people want to stop living"  "Because not all monsters were monsters in the beginning.  Some are monsters born of sorrow."
The Last Anniversary B
"If her back had ever hurt like this when she was twenty she would have been hysterical, demanding painkillers and cups of tea in bed, but she has found that nobody is especially surprised to hear you’re in pain when you’re in your eighties. You might find it astonishing, but nobody else does.” 
“A marriage is hard work and sometimes it’s a bit of a bore. It’s like housework. It’s never finished. You’ve just got to grit your teeth and keep working away at it, day after day.” 
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto A-
This is a book that definitely should be listened to, the performance completely made the story.
“All humans are musical. Why else would the Lord give you a beating heart?” 
“As life goes on, you will join other bands, some through friendship, some through romance, some through neighborhoods, school, an army. Maybe you will all dress the same, or laugh at your own private vocabulary. Maybe you will flop on couches backstage, or share a boardroom table, or crowd around a galley inside a ship. But in each band you join, you will play a distinct part, and it will affect you as much as you affect it.” 
Forgiven A-
I have actually meant to write an entire post about this book - the story of a mother whose son shot 10 Amish girls, five of whom died.  In an effort to try to understand him and find peace, she develops a relationship with many of the Amish who were directly affected.  It was heartbreaking and beautiful and really made me think about my willingness to let go of the hurts I have experienced.  
The Short Drop B+
“In the immortal words of Duke Vaughn, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, take a big bite and chew slow.” 
Britt Marie Was Here A
"Britt Marie's common sense had obviously locked itself in a closed"
"When she doesn't know what to do with herself she deals with it in her usual way, she cleans"
The Nightingale A 
“I am a mother and mothers don’t have the luxury of falling apart in front of their children, even when they are afraid, even when their children are adults.” 
"If you spend your entire life trying to cheat death, there is no time left over to embrace life"
The Good Goodbye B
The book alternates which character is telling the story so that made it a little more interesting to listen to.  However, one of the main characters didn't have a voice and I think hearing her perspective would have made the book much more interesting. 
As You Wish B
I still love the moving The Princess Bride, but unless you are a superfan,and entire book of reminiscing about the making of the book was a little too much.
Circling the Sun A-
“Flying demanded more courage and faith than I actually possessed, and it wanted my best, my whole self. I would have to work very hard to be any good at it at all, and be more than a little mad to be great, to give my life over to it. But that's just what I meant to do.” 
“Sometimes when you're hurting, it helps to throw yourself at something that will take your weight.” 
The Good Girl B+
"What did you want?” she asks. What I wanted was a dad. Someone to take care of my mother and me, so I didn’t have to do it myself. But what I tell her is Atari.” 
I Am Malala B
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” 
“The Taliban could take our pens and books, but they couldn’t stop our minds from thinking.” 
The Traitor's Story B+
“When had doing the right thing stopped being the automatic option and become something that had to be worked at instead?” 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night

Christmas morning arrived and surprisingly, we awoke to a White Christmas.  It was completely unexpected since it was raining when we went to bed, but I loved the winter white and how festive everything suddenly looked and felt.  I actually woke quite early before everyone else so I spent a lot of time just quietly watching the snow fall.

After wondering if anyone was ever going to wake up, Luke finally came creeping out at about 8:15. He was so excited to go to the living room to make sure Santa had visited our house.  After showing him the gifts and the presents, I couldn't turn him down when he asked if he could open his stocking while we waited for everyone else to wake.  He loved each little item that filled the sock.  His wonder and excitement at the morning was exactly what I hoped that it would be and made me anxious for everyone else to come join the celebration.  

We finally went and woke Tim and Luke excitedly told him that Santa had left presents and he better come quickly. We then went and woke Ruby, she took a few minutes to stretch and then immediately was ready to get up and go.  Taylor and Brycen were both good sports and got up as soon as Tim told them that the babies were awake and waiting.  We didn't have a lot of time, so we let everyone go through their stockings and open two presents before pressing pause on the presents and eating breakfast.  We had our traditional breakfast casseroles - egg and hashbrowns, and cream cheese french toast.  Erika had texted me earlier in the week and asked for the recipes saying that she wanted to continue the tradition in Seattle.  We were all sad that she wasn't with us this year, but it was nice to think that we were all having the same meal for breakfast on Christmas morning.  

Because Christmas fell on a Sunday, we had the opportunity to go to Sacrament meeting on Christmas morning.  Admittedly I wasn't thrilled to change out of my pajamas, but once we got to the church, it was so peaceful and lovely that I was especially grateful to get there.  Our ward combined with a Spanish speaking ward, so parts of the program were in English, parts in Spanish along with a lot of back and forth between the two languages.  I loved it.  During the hymns, everyone sang in whatever language they knew and instead of sounding disjointed, it actually sounded beautiful.  The meeting had a few short talks, but was mostly music and we left feeling uplifted and reminded of the reason for the season.  

After returning home we all got into comfortable clothes and went back to opening presents.  The little ones were especially excited about all of the toys they received and were only disappointed that the couldn't stop to open and enjoy each present immediately.  

Tim completely spoiled me with the most thoughtful gift.  In November while in Salt Lake I saw these pearls at JCrew and loved them so much that I took a picture just to show Tim what they looked like.  I was shocked that he had used the picture to track down the pearls.  The necklace is beautiful, but mostly the gift just made me feel so loved and cherished by my husband.  

Yes, he got the Chewbacca mask, and
It Is Amazing!

We finished opening our gifts and then, after a brief time to relax and play with new toys, we headed to Santaquin to enjoy time and dinner with my family.  My poor mom was so sick but between her and my dad, they still had a fantastic dinner for us.  The kids had a great time running wild while the adults teased and laughed.  At the end of the night we all went down to the church for a mini concert.  Ada and my mom had prepared a piano/organ duet for church and didn't get to perform because everyone was snowed in for church. We were not the original audience that had been planned, but I loved listening to them play.  After they finished, Brycen also agreed to play a piece for us - I am always amazed at what he can do without any written music.  Finishing the night with music was a perfect ending to a great Christmas.

Somehow she ended up cuddling Juniper's new dolly

Ballerina book

Love these girls

They were pretty excited about their present
Luau in Hawaii on New Years Eve

I'm not sure what the conversation was
But it must have been a good one

Perfect photobomb by Chewbacca 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Countdown to Christmas

This last week before Christmas has been so busy and fun.  I feel like we have done a good job all month of enjoying the season, but there were a few last traditions to be shared before the magical day arrived.

We have traditionally had the Broadbent/Hancock party on the Sunday before Christmas and this year we hosted at our house.  We have definitely grown in size over the years but since my dad only has one sister, we are still relatively small in numbers for an extended family gathering.  It was fun to have everyone over, and especially to watch the kids - they start the night off trying to reestablish that they know each other and after spending so much time playing, end the night as great friends.  I always enjoy a chance to spend time with cousins that I don't see very often.
This year my mom and dad told a memory of Christmas when they were young.  Uncle told of an experience seeing Santa and Aunt Leonda brought bubble lights and talked about her grandma's tree that was always sparkling with bubble lights.  My mom told a story of when she and Marlene were young, they snuck and unwrapped the presents their grandma has sent from Texas and then re-wrapped so that her parents wouldn't know. She said that Christmas morning was such a letdown that they vowed never to do that again.  My dad told a really touching story about a gift his mother gave him when he was young.  All of his friends were getting pellet guns for Christmas and he desperately wanted one as well.  His father had died and his mother did not have a lot of money.  She was able to find him a used gun and he know that was still probably quite a sacrifice.  As he told the story he explained how disappointed he was initially and how much he regrets his reaction and that he wasn't more grateful to his mom.  Despite being second hand, it was a great gun and he used it for many years.  He really developed an appreciation for what a generous gift he had been given.

One of my favorite Christmas memories from when we were growing up was doing a pinata with these same cousins.  My Grandpa and Grandma Childs spent the winters in Yuma Arizona and would send us a pinata from Mexico.  I have fond memories of being on my Grandma Horrocks' carport breaking open the pinata with cousins.  For the last few times that we have hosted the party, I have brought the pinata tradition or not, the kids love it.  Nearly all of the younger kids in the family are boys, and this year it got a little intense - I'm not sure my garage is going to be big enough to host this activity much longer.  We may have all feared for our safety a few times, but I loved hearing the laughter and cheers and watching how animated all of the kids were.  When the pinata finally fell it was mass chaos, but I think that all of the kids ended up with a treat bag and left the party happy.

We finally made it to the Riverwoods for dinner, lights, and of course, Santa - our favorite.  Usually we go with Cory and Calvin but they were busy this year so was just Tim and I and the babies.  We had to wait a little longer than usual which gave Luke time to admire all of the lights, and Ruby plenty of chances to run away.  Despite a little naughtiness it was a fantastic evening with my loves.

The big moment was as magical as we had hoped.
Luke asked for a Chewbacca mask and Ruby, a dolly 

Tim's parents came down on Friday to celebrate with us and the kids.  Thanks to Costco (it ended up being a busier day than planned), we had a wonderful dinner and even better dessert courtesy of Grandma Whitesides and her famous hot fudge.  The little ones loved showing off all of the Christmas cheer in our house, and I think the big boys just liked visiting with Grandpa and Grandma. Of course, they brought gifts which had been greatly anticipated.  Luke adores his remote control Dart Vader car and the rest of us are getting used to the sound effects.  Ruby adores her umbrella and has since taken it with her every time we have left the house. 

Our Christmas Eve festivities started out with a movie - Sing.  Ruby of course loved it because one of the main characters was a pig.  I think the rest of us all loved the laughter and relaxation.  

The kids have been so patient with us and the gingerbread houses this year.  We purchased the kits at the beginning of the month and they have been asking since then when we could build the houses. Earlier this week Tim and I helped construct the houses, but wanted to wait to let the icing dry before decorating.  We weren't able to finish until Christmas Eve but it ended up being perfect because Taylor and Brycen were here to join the fun.  The babies were thrilled to have their big brothers there to help decorate and the end results were pretty spectacular.

Christmas Eve dinner continued the tradition of "steak and shrimp".  Tim and I talked about doing the dinner at home this year, but in the end, my vote for the Outback won.  It is so enjoyable for me to go eat, have conversation, and celebrate without worrying about the shopping, cooking or clean up.  This year my parents and Cory and Rhonda joined us to complete our large family table.  I loved it.  When we finished, Tim and I and the kids drove out to Utah Lake and went for a walk in the rain to look at Christmas lights.  Walking along with my family in the peaceful night seemed like a perfect Christmas Eve.

And of course, Christmas Eve pajamas
The cutest Santa's helpers I have ever seen

He calls this his Santa ninja

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!