Friday, December 31, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird

I really couldn't let this day or year pass without noting that my most favorite book was published 50 years ago, 1960.
To Kill a Mockingbird
It was the only book written by Harper Lee.  She tried to write another novel, but ended up destroying the copy and giving up.  Critics have said that it was the best thing she did.  It allowed her one and only book to stand alone and not be compared to her other works.  After 41 weeks on the best seller list, it won the Pulitzer Prize.
Harper never married.  She still works part time in the law profession in Alabama.  Her given name is Nelle Harper Lee and likes to be addressed by her friends as "Nelle".  She keeps out of the spotlight and a few years ago responded to a request to give a speech by saying, "it's better to keep silent than to be thought a fool."  Good Advice.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." Atticus Finch to Scout, Chapter 3.

"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."  Attitus Finch to daughter Scout, Chapter 10.

"They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."  spoken by Atticus Finch, chapter 11.

"I think there's just one kind of folks.  Folks."   Scout, Chapter 23.

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."  Miss Maudie Atkinson to Scout, Chapter 10.

"Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad."  Scout, Chapter 31.

That last quote was the one that I used to name my blog.  I didn't think it out too heavily.  I just picked a book and looked up some quotes.
One time I was talking with some friends about blogging.  One of my neighbors said, "Oh, I know your blog, I looked at it once.  It's called 'the Neighborhood Boo'."  kind of.  not really.  the neighborhood boo is more of a Halloween thing.  But, I didn't want to confuse anyone, so I just let it go.
The first time I read this book I was 30 and pregnant with Sierra.  I almost named her Scout.  Sometimes I wish I had.  But her middle name is Jean and Scouts real name in the book is Jean Louise so I thought that was close enough.  
It's one of those books that makes you think of different things each time you read it.  I read it in a different light once I moved to Mississippi.  I think it is time to read it again.
And the movie is pretty darn good, too.  It came out in 1962.  I read a review once of the top 5 movies that are as good or better than the book and this was Numero Uno.  I agree.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let It Snow...

Rick was scheduled to get off work at 1 am this morning.

I woke at 2:30 am, and there was no sign of Rick.

I sent him a text asking if I should come get him.  Then I immediately regretted that because I figured that he would run off the road while trying to read my text.

At 3 am, I heard the garage door open, but no sound of a vehicle.  I thought maybe Rick had just walked home from work.  Then when I finally heard a vehicle I realized it was MY vehicle.  So, I went to the front door and this is what I saw...

This was how far Rick made it home last night.  He drove slowly and carefully, timing the lights such that he didn't ever have to stop (he knows how to do that in the early morning hours from lots of experience).  But he got stuck going around that last corner...

Well, Rick was trying to set up the Escalade to pull the Mini up the hill, but could not find a place to attach a tow rope that would not pull off the bumper.

So, he got back in the Mini and slid back down the hill.  I told him to just park on the Nackos front yard and deal with it the morning.  He made it right to the middle of the T intersection and then couldn't move.  With my big, strong muscles, I pushed him half way down the road to 1600 N.  He went around the block, again making sure to not stop until he had circled the block and he was parked safely in the garage. (imagine the movie The Italian Job)

I had run into the house to grab my phone and then I jumped in the Escalade and followed him around the block in case he got stuck again and I needed to rescue him.  But, it turned out that wasn't necessary.

I should have taken a picture of the front of the Mini in the garage.  The whole front end was packed with snow.  It was like the front of a snow plow.

We got to bed at about 3:45 which was good because the power went out at 3:48.

And it's still snowing at Noon.

Piano lessons cancelled.  Orthodontist postponed.  It's definitely a snow day.  I got the house cleaned.  Now I can start baking all of those holiday recipes that I printed up yesterday.  I hope I have all of the ingredients because I won't be going to the store today.

**Edit...Rick says there may be some exaggeration in this story, but there definitely is not.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas

The girls have been taking lessons with the most talented teacher for the last few months.
Jessica Knight had a recital for all of her students at the Red Barn in Mapleton (where we had family pictures taken for our Christmas card).   Rick has also been taking guitar lessons, but he wasn't able to perform because of work schedule.  bummer.  Here are a few of the pieces that they performed.  After that evening, I decided that maybe I want a guitar for Christmas (and 4 more hours in my day).  (thanks to Rick for figuring out how to get the video on here.  I would have done it, if I had had 4 more hours in my day.)
*the ones where they are each at the keyboard are the 2 songs that they wrote themselves.

Untitled Christmas Song #2

Good King Wenceslas

Untitled Christmas Song #1

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Friday, December 17, 2010

Aprons, aprons, aprons...

Sierra is modeling an apron for me.
This is the third one I've made this week.
I think this fabric is cute and if I have any fabric left over, I might make one for myself.
Because I need a few more aprons, ya know.

Preschool Performance

Cole's preschool went to a care center this morning to sing some Christmas carols.  It was fun.
Here they are at the cross walk, waiting for the green light.
 Singing some songs:

 After they sang, their teaching gave them each a paper chain that they had made earlier in the week.
They got to walk around and give them to the residents to use to count down the days until Christmas.
Cole was standing on the end, so he got a chain first.
I was nearly certain that he would be too stubborn to do anything besides stand there and pout.  
But, he walked right up to this little 80 lb. lady who had the cutest little facial expressions and gave her a paper chain.
 There was one extra chain so his teacher let Cole pass out a second chain.  
He went and found this lady who was watching from the hallway.
 Here they are after singing and walking back to school.  So much fun...

before & after

Summer got her braces off yesterday.
What a beautiful smile.  
She keeps licking her teeth.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We got this cute little cupcake cookbook a couple of years ago that had some really cute ideas for cupcakes.  We tried one idea for a birthday party and immediately hid the cookbook on the top shelf of the pantry.  In my pre-holiday mental haze, I found the cookbook and showed it to my friend, Sadie.  She convinced me that making 20 dozen cupcakes would be a piece of cake for our closest neighbors and friends.
Earlier in the summer (before I was in Young Women's), the YW had a fund raiser and made cupcakes.  Well, I think Sadie thought that I should be initiated into the ward cupcake club by making a million cupcakes.  So, a few weeks ago we spent 7 hours making cupcakes.  We froze them.  Then, last week (2 days after we returned from FL) we spent another 7 hours decorating cupcakes for our friends, neighbors, and anyone living within a 4 mile radius.  Good thing that the girls got bored after decorating about 5 cupcakes because we enlisted their help in delivering.  I just game them the keys to the car and let them go. OK, not really.  But, it would have been easier if I could have.
If you can't tell, they are supposed to be Christmas tree bulbs.  Unless you are a Bray and then they are kettlebells.  We wanted to personalize them.
In all that mess of sugar, frosting, M&M's and gumdrops...I only had 2 cupcakes.  Hurray for me.
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010


All of the characters that we saw were so adorable.  Mulan was so cute.  The girls stood on either side for the picture, then both just stepped away leaving Cole with Mulan.  She said, "Oh, let's get one with just the two of us."  I can't believe he agreed.  He stood there and she looked and Rick and counted to 3 with her fingers and when she got to three she turned and placed a big old kiss on his cheek.  He was so embarrassed.  His face was bright red.  He was reluctant to get any more individual pictures with the princesses.  He would put his hands in his pockets and leave them so that he didn't have to hold hands with any of the Princesses.

The girls were a little old to still be too interested in the princesses.  They were good sports and got pictures and autographs with all of the characters for Cole's sake.  It was sweet of them, but I think they were seriously hoping that if they did it, ALL of the princesses would kiss Cole.
We were bummed that we missed the characters from Cars and Handy Manny.  
Cole would have loved that!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cole's Disney Prayer

Look how tight he is holding my hand.  So funny.  We kinda messed him up when we took him on his very first Disney ride...Space Mountain.  Freaked him right out.
Then the next day the first ride was Tower of Terror.  Here is a snipet of his prayer that night...
Rick was helping Cole when Cole said, "Excuse me dad, I have something else I want to say.  Heavenly Father, please bless that I won't ever have to ride on the Tower of Terror ever again for the rest of my life because that was definitely NOT awesome."  I couldn't keep from laughing.  The bed was jiggling.
He was pretty whimpy for the rest of the week.

Disney World

More about the 1/2 marathon/marathon

you thought you were going to get a Disney World post, not yet.  It's coming.
But after walking around Orlando for a week looking at one fat person after another, I just can't help but say a few things.
So, here it is...I was on the treadmill this morning watching the Biggest Loser.  I was watching the one where the final 4 contestants run the marathon.  OK.  If you don't watch the show, here is the recap.  A whole bunch of obese people tryout for a show where they go to a ranch and workout for 8 hours a day while people cook and clean for them.  They compete for challenges and rewards and at the end of the week they weigh in.  the person who has lost the least amount of weight goes home.  At the end of 3 months 4 people are left.  One of them will win $250,000 next week for being the Biggest Loser.
Anyway, these people were OUT of SHAPE just a few months ago and all 4 of them completed a marathon.  They didn't think they could do it 3 months ago.  And I didn't think all of them would do it when I watched it this morning (Elizabeth).  But they did it.  Even Elizabeth.  So, if they can do what they did in 3 months and complete a marathon.  We can all do a half or at least a 5K, right?  6 months.  We can do it.
Here are some tips that I got from Tony Horton...

1.  Give up the alcohol.
2.  Give up the caffeine.
3.  Cut out the sugar.
4.  Cut out the gluten.
5.  If it has a face, don't eat it.

So, I was reading the fine print about what Tony had to say.  Here is what stood out in my mind.  Alcohol. Empty calories and it is full of calories.  And who wants to be an alcoholic?  Easy enough.
And Tony says that caffeine may give you a little "boost", it's not natural.  You will get a boost by exercising and eating right.  And caffeine is also addictive.
Tony suggests that the only sugar that you eat should come from foods naturally.  Like from fruits.  None of this nasty processed stuff.
He says that the origin of the word gluten is "glue".  Who wants glue in their system?
And last, if it has a face, don't eat it.  So, he's saying to cut out all meat because of all of the unnatural chemicals and hormones added to animals and their diets.  You can get plenty of good protein from other foods.
So, as part of my training I am going to suggest we all follow some of Tony's suggestions.  Pick one and do it or may pick a few and modify your eating just a bit.  I will start by cutting out all alcohol.  Hehe.  OK, and caffeine.
The sugar...seriously, it's Christmas.  What about all the goodies?  I am going to try to significantly reduce the sugar intake.  And eat more fruit for treats.
Tony suggests things to replace wheat.  I don't have dietary issues with wheat, but I like his other suggestions, too, such as quinoa, rice, amaranth, and oats.  I am in love with oats (more about that later.)
And I think it's funny that Rick talks to his chicken when he eats it for dinner because it used to have a face.  This is what I think about the meat thing.  Moderation.  You know, that whole Word of Wisdom meat sparingly.
So, pick something on the list and see if you can't eat a little better this holiday season.  It will help you feel better.
And, the weather forecast in Utah for the next 10 days is looking pretty good for an afternoon run or walk.  Bundle up and get out there while you can.  Seriously, if Elizabeth can run a marathon, we all can.