Two Museums

12 06 2008

In May, we were able to go to two children’s museums. See slide show for in-depth photos of both events.

Fablehaven 3: Grip of the Shadow Plague

11 06 2008

The third book in the Fablehaven series, Grip of the Shadow Plague, starts out fast and keeps running clear until the last page. Like in the other Fablehaven books, Brandon Mull uses solid writing and likable main characters to keep the reader engaged in the battles they fight with the somehow believable mythical creatures. And despite the complete impossibility of the task that ends up falling on Kendra and Seth’s shoulders, they are somehow both able to use their greatest strengths to help overcome the plague of darkness that had begun taking over Fablehaven. Mull tied up the story enough to make the ending satisfying, but left enough strings dangling for readers to be excited about the next installment in the series.
The only thing I didn’t like about this book was in the beginning, when I couldn’t remember who (or what) quite a few of the minor characters were. I hate information dumps as much as the next person, but I think some sort of character glossary in the back would be helpful. Then again, maybe it’s just me that had forgotten entirely who in the heck Warren, Dale, and Coulter were.
Otherwise, I highly recommend this book along with its two predecessors.


11 06 2008

Stan and I usually go out on Friday nights. There are a lot of things we struggle with and are spotty on, but we’re pretty consistent when it comes to date nights.

There was one Friday last month, however, when Stan ended up having to work. Still, I’m pretty loath to give up the one night someone else puts my kids to bed, so I kept the babysitter and went out to take some photos.

I love to take photographs, but I’m the first to admit I don’t know what the hey I’m doing. I pretend like I sort of know a few things, but I really don’t know much. So these aren’t amazing or anything like that. Just so you know.

Also, just as a warning to the grandparents: this post doesn’t have any kid pictures in it. Sorry. You can skip it if you want to.

I took this mostly because I thought it was a little overkill–how many people want to get in to see old railroad pilings, anyway? Wouldn’t a regular fence have done the job just as well? But I have to admit I’d never seen it this closely before; vicious-looking, that’s for sure.

I really love dandelions. Not in my yard. But anywhere else.

Spooky floating mountain.

Pretty-much-spent tulips.

I think this sign would be better served with a dash, or possibly a semi-colon. What do you think, Use Your Litter Bag? (Crazy Washington names . . .)

What I want to know is why anyone would want to watch a race where the speed limit is 40 miles per hour. As Zack would say: “B-o-o-o-ring.”

A pole.

I saw this and thought it had some pretty good cheesy horror film implications.

Question of the day: why are some fire hydrants yellow while some are red? Actually, most of the hydrants I see are yellow. Maybe it’s a newish movement since yellow is easier to see. Some fire trucks are yellow, too, but more are red. I wonder why.

The reason I chose this street to take pictures on was because of these funky trees. They’d all grown together and for a long time I kept thinking, I should get a picture of those trees. Unfortunately, there is no immediate parking available, and I didn’t want to walk another 1/2 mile to be on the same side. I tend to misjudge distance when I walk, and my car was already WAY farther than I thought from this point. So I took this from the other side of a four lane road where cars were streaming by (although I’m sure none of them were going faster than 40).Here’s another shot–I think I’m going to have to go back, though, because you don’t get the entire weirdness from this side, like a grafting experiment gone a bit awry.

The speeding cars.

I call this the “chain-link fence vingette” effect.

I saw these poles as I was cutting through a city maintenance lot of some sort on the way back to my car (still a long way)–destined to become streetlights someday.


11 06 2008

I’ve realized that I’ve been slacking again lately in my blog posting.

But I can safely blame that on the stomach virus that started with Eden and systematically reamed out the rest of us (save Stan) throughout last week.

Lots of laundry.

Even more fun.

Summer Reading Challenge

4 06 2008

I have decided to participate in the Summer Reading Challenge over at the LDS Fiction blog: I’ll certainly read enough books by LDS authors over the summer, so why not have the chance to win a book while I’m about it? There’s nothing I like more than free books.

The rules are simple: read fiction books by LDS authors. They don’t even have to be LDS books, either, just by LDS authors. Here’s what I’ve currently got in my reading pile:

Upon the Mountains by Gale Sears
Before the Dawn by Dean Hughes
Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
Red Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham
Fablehaven 3: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

Then, of course, there’s Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, but I’m around 200 in the library’s hold list so I might not get it before the cutoff.

I’ll update as I go along, and do a couple of reviews, too. If you’re interested in participating (remember: FREE BOOKS!) you can sign up here:

Happy Reading!

I Begin to Understand

1 06 2008

Stan is a great guy.

And I’m not just saying that because he’s my husband.

He’s kind, considerate, funny, smart, and incredibly good-looking.

So, when a co-worker of his left the company about a year ago, I was really surprised when Stan told me said co-worker (whom we’ll call Mirag) had told another co-worker (I think it was Dennis) when he left, “Watch out for Stan.”

Exactly. “Watch out for Stan.”

I was shocked because, really, “Watch out for Stan”? How B-movie can you get? Even more than that, Mirag made it sound like Stan was out to get whomever he could because he was a power-hungry egomaniac.

(Granted, I’m getting all this third-person through the Stanfilter, but honestly Stan is about the least power-hungry egomaniacal person I know.)

So I was confused. And, I must admit, a bit huffy about the aspersions being cast upon my husband’s character. “Watch out for Stan” indeed! “Watch out for Stan’s angry wife” is more like it!

A bit of the puzzle was solved for me, though, about a month ago. Stan and I were on a date at IKEA. If you’ve ever been to IKEA, you know that it is a human maze which, once entered into, takes hours to get out of and requires seeing almost the entire inventory (and warehouse!) of what I lovingly refer to as Swedish junk.

I love going to IKEA.

Especially without kids.

Anyway, because of the maze-like nature of the beast, as well as the incredible number of people who are always shopping there, I think it is safe to say you’d be hard-pressed to meet someone when inside its bowels, even if you were trying to.

We weren’t trying to, and yet we still ran into someone we knew—Stan’s co-worker and his wife, whose names I cannot pronounce or even begin to try to spell because they are from India.

We visited for awhile, then Stan offered to drive the bed they were buying for their son to their house, since they didn’t have room in their car. (I told you he was kind and considerate!).

We tailed them to their house and I got the grand tour (Stan had already been there a couple of times helping with their yard and sound system–I won’t repeat it, but really–how can you not love this guy?) of their lovely home (she’s an excellent housekeeper) and they invited us to dinner with our kids sometime.

We haven’t gone yet, but I want to–although I’m a bit leery of my kids’ grubby handprints getting everywhere. She is so sweet, though, that I don’t think she would mind.

Anyway, to finally fit my mini-epiphany in here, we were driving home and I asked Stan, curiously, “I wonder what they’ll serve to eat?”

Stan and I both like Indian food, and I thought they were vegetarians. Stan informed me, though, that “On some days they eat chicken.”

He then started chuckling a bit, and said, “Did I ever tell you about when I made Mirag eat chicken-fried steak?”

Hmm. Interesting.

Apparently, they were in the company cafeteria line when Mirag asked Stan, “What’s that? Is it chicken?”

Stan thought, “Chicken-fried steak?” Then he said, “Yeah, I think so.”

Stan was cracking up while he was telling me this part. “Could he tell it wasn’t chicken?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah,” Stan said. “I had to trade him for my sandwich.”

Methinks the ominous, “Watch out for Stan” is making more sense now.

Of course, I’m pretty sure Dennis doesn’t have any religious dietary restrictions, but you never know.