Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Edition: You Know You Have a Little Boy When... get him a cute Nativity set to play with...

...and he fills it with bugs.

I guess they have the right to see Baby Jesus too.

And with that joyful and uplifting image to leave you with, I sincerely wish you the happiest of holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Review: Santa Cruise

Santa Cruise: A Holiday Mystery at Sea Santa Cruise: A Holiday Mystery at Sea by Mary Higgins Clark

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I thought this would be a fun, light read for Christmas, but I couldn't get into it. I didn't get past Chapter 3; I stopped reading when a "bad guy" named "Bull's-Eye" was introduced. What is this, third grade? I think I'm outgrowing these books. I'm finding them to be formulaic, predictable, and boring. I still like Mary Higgins Clark but I think her books are better when she writes on her own.

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Snow and Ballet in Boston

Last year, all I wanted for Christmas was to go to Boston Ballet's wonderful world-famous production of The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House. I hadn't seen it in over ten years and I really wanted to go again. Well, thanks to my obliging husband, I got to spend a snowy, magical weekend with him in the city so that we could go to the ballet. I never got around to posting anything about it, and now that it's almost exactly one year time like the present!

We had to beat out a big Nor'easter to get to Boston before it hit. We made it! It was so cool to be there during a snowstorm. The city kind of shut down for the evening, so restaurants and shops were much less crowded than usual and there weren't many cars on the streets. It was the most quiet and peaceful that I've ever seen Boston.

We were in the city from Friday to Saturday. We went to the ballet on Friday night. It was at the Boston Opera House, which is very beautiful and majestic inside. We sat in the first row, so we got to see the dancers up close, and the orchestra pit was directly below us, so the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky drifted right up. It was cultural heaven!

On Saturday morning, it was still snowing. So we went "walkin' in a winter wonderland," city-style!

One of the things I love about Boston is that it combines the old with the new so well. Everything blends together rather seamlessly, making history a physical part of the present. We took a walk through Boston Common, which dates back to before the American Revolution. Now it's surrounded by high-rises!

A lot of history happened on the Common: among many other things, the British set up camp there after the Boston Tea Party, George Washington met there with his victorious troops in 1776, and Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke there in the 1960s. It's neat to be in places where such significant things happened. I think elements of past events still linger in historic places.

The gold-domed State House can be seen across the Common through the trees. It was once my dream to work there. I guess it still kind of is. Maybe someday!

I thought this old building was so cool-looking and authentic, built in 1868. Right in the background is a skyscraper. History + modernity = one cool city!

It was a great Christmas present--a fantastic ballet and a snowstorm in one of my favorite cities.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Book Review (of a cool book about witches!)

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book; I think the author did a wonderful job with it. It brought the Salem witch trials to life in great historical detail, and the approach was an effective one--interweaving between the 1600s and the present-day, with the main character being the descendant of an accused "witch." This is the first book about the witch trials I've read that presents the very interesting possibility that witchcraft actually was being practiced at the time. I've always wondered about that and the book brings that possibility to life (with the added bonus that the author did a lot of research to back up this theory, as she explains in her postscript. The author is also descended from two of the accused witches). A few parts of the storyline are a little hokey, but overall it was a very good read that combined history, mystery, magic, science, and religion together very well.

View all my reviews >>

P.S. This is a new thing I'm trying out here on my blog--adding some of my book reviews that I write up on GoodReads. I love books and reading and this is a fun and easy way to include that here on the blog.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meeting Uncle Ben

During Thanksgiving weekend, we went up to Massachusetts to see my family. Sam, who was nine weeks old, met my brother, his Uncle Ben, for the first time. I ended up getting a perfect sequence of pictures to illustrate how this meeting went:

So far, so good...

Uh oh...
This may be my most favorite trio of pictures ever. Ha ha!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Close Encounters of the Merry Kind

Last year, at the age of three, John would have nothing to do with Santa. When we took him to see him, he got upset and tried to hide under a nearby row of chairs. This year, I am happy to say, was much different. I guess the age of four brings with it growing maturity and understanding about such important matters!

On Saturday we went to meet Santa at our town's annual Winter Wonderland event. John was excited about it. He finally understands that Santa brings presents, fills up stockings, eats cookies, and flies through the air in a sleigh. And that now makes Santa one very acceptable, very cool person!

Here he is waiting in line to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus:

When it was John's turn to meet the man of the hour, he ran right up to him and threw his arms around his neck and gave him the biggest hug. It was very sweet! And pleasantly surprising. I wish I'd gotten a picture of it. His excitement and enthusiasm were truly genuine.

John was thrilled! Sam was happy too, even though he, of course, had no idea what was going on. At 11 weeks old, he was probably the youngest child to sit on Santa's lap that day. People in line behind us went "Awwww" when they saw him with Santa.

"Santa, I've been a good boy this year. (!!??) Can I please have a skateboard for Christmas?" Meanwhile, Sam was trying to give Santa's beard a tug to see if it was the real thing. Maybe babies understand more than we realize!

A (blurry) family photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

This Saturday we're going to a Christmas Breakfast on a farm where John will get to see Santa and Mrs. Claus again, along with Frosty the Snowman, some reindeer, and his personal favorite, the Grinch. (I'm not joking...his hero is the Grinch!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Newborn Photo Shoot

At the end of September, when Sam was a mere nine days old, he starred in his very own photo shoot! I've always liked the well-known Anne Geddes-style baby pictures, so I jumped at the chance to have Sam's photos done in similar fashion when I found out that my new friend Jessica is a photographer who specializes in baby and child photography. These are some of my favorite photos that she took of my own little "Anne Geddes baby."

(Little cuties!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful Four...

This Thanksgiving, I'm especially thankful for these four:

From left to right,

1) Sam, who brings me the sweetest joy each and every day. Through him I've learned not to take anything for granted. He is truly a blessing to be thankful for this year, as we have been waiting years for his arrival into our lives.

2) John, one of my biggest challenges in life right now, but without a doubt one of my biggest blessings. I'm learning and growing so much in ways that I never expected to because of this special kid.

3) Peter, who is not only my husband and the father of my children, but also my best friend. He's talented, kind, and he has a heart of gold. I lucked out to get him.

4) Christy, my beloved dog of 14.5 years who has been with me through high school, college, getting married, working, and having kids. Last month she became very sick, and for the first time in her life, I thought she might be nearing the end. But she's made a full recovery and is healthy and happy again. I love my dog and I'm thankful we've been together for so long.

I wish you and the ones you love a very happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Movie Review: New Moon!

As you may have heard, on Friday New Moon broke the opening-day box-office record that was previously held by The Dark Knight. If it goes on to have the best opening weekend ever, I'm happy to say that I'll be a part of that new record, because I saw the movie today, and (surprise!) I really enjoyed it. I like that it stayed so true to the book. People who have read the series will likely be very happy with the movie. Admittedly, it can be slow in parts--there's a lot of talking in it, so I can see why some movie critics (who obviously haven't read the awesome books!) thought it was boring. The action scenes were great, though, especially the ones with the werewolves. Kristen Stewart is beautiful as Bella, and Taylor Lautner plays a perfect Jacob. (And man, is he ripped!) Overall I'd give this movie four out of five stars, or a B+. I'm in the mood now to re-read the books, and I can't wait until Eclipse comes out next year!
*If you saw New Moon, how many stars or what grade would you give it?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Baby Blessing

Sam's blessing at church was last week on the 8th of November, when he was seven weeks old. It was a sunny, mild, lovely day, which was a pleasant surprise, it being November in Connecticut. In the Mormon Church, when a baby is a few weeks or months old, the father (if he holds the priesthood) gives him or her a special blessing. A circle of men stand around the baby with their hands on his head while the father blesses him with what he is impressed to say by the Spirit. It's a simple, beautiful thing that I've always appreciated; never more so than when it's my own child!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


It's been awhile since I've paid a visit to the blogosphere, due to a certain little guy who arrived in my life about two months ago. I've missed reading the blogs of others and creating my own blog posts. I know I'm stating the obvious here, but having a baby is life-changing! It's making me re-prioritize what I do with the precious little free time I now have. As hard as it is for me to accept sometimes, it's impossible to do all of the things I was doing before Sam was born.

This process of re-prioritizing and cutting some things out has forced me to consider giving up blogging. But I've missed it. It provides a good creative release, as well as an entertaining, interesting window into the lives, experiences, and opinions of people all around the country. I don't want to give it up! So I've decided to fit it in when I can and do mostly short and simple posts that won't take a lot of time to create and edit. I plan to check my friend's blogs regularly like I used to do, but probably about once a week instead of a couple of times. That seems pretty reasonable, right?

I also want to give my blog a new look, and that was decided for me anyway because the background I had before has magically disappeared. I think I'm going to come up with a new name too. Any cleverness I ever had has disappeared these days, so I don't know how good or original it will be, but I'll try. I'm looking forward to getting back into the bloggin' swing of things again! And if you're one of my blog friends, I've missed you and your blog! I'm back! I think! Almost!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Exploring Nassau

Well, I've finally found the time to continue writing about our trip down to the Bahamas in June. (What? It was only three months ago!) Peter and I went there for our anniversary and we had a great time. On a hot Saturday morning we walked around part of the city of Nassau, which is the capital of the Bahamas, doing some exploring. It was fun at first, but the heat got to me and I quickly became an impatient grump and just wanted to get back to the hotel and sit on the beach. I was six months pregnant, so I had that right! Here are some pictures of our explorations:

A nice pink building in the government district. Many of the buildings were pastel-colored and pretty.

Pirates once ruled in Nassau! This is my tribute to them.

More pink! This is where the governor lives.

And right across the street from the governor's place was a broken-down slummy area. What an interesting and all-too familiar contrast.

We hiked up to this old Fort, named Fort Fincastle. It almost killed me. It was difficult to find but a native led us there. It had some nice views...

A view of our hotel from the Fort.

The view looking inland from the top of the fort.

Our next and last stop (we took the bus there instead of walking...the heat was too much!) was a big open-air marketplace right on the water near our hotel. It was full of various crafts, knickknacks, clothes, and knock-off designer handbags, literally stacked up to the ceiling. Haggling was the name of the game, which I stink at, but it was fun and I got some cute things there.

I've never seen so many designer knock-offs, not even in New York City. I didn't get one, although I was a little tempted to get a "designer" diaper bag.

I spent the rest of that day back at the hotel, relaxing on the beach and in the ocean. That's what a beach vacation is all about! These are a few of my favorite pictures from there.

Our hotel was right near where the cruise ships docked. I never realized how huge those ships are! It was neat to see them go by.

This is one of my favorite photos from the trip.

Just chillin' in my pale fair skin. I'm not very interested in tanning!

I forgot my sunglasses in our room. Darn it!

Cruise ships in port.

This picture really makes me want to go back! The water was warm, clean, clear, and beautiful.

I have one more post to make about this vacation, and it's about our day trip over to Atlantis, one of the most stunning resorts in the world. I think I took around 150 photos there, but I'm going to be a good editor and include no more than 15 of the best ones when I write about it. That will be a challenge, but I think I can do it!