Summer Reading Challenge 2007 Update

June 30, 2007 Categories: Books | 3 Comments  

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~Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

~Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

~Echoes by Maeve Binchy

~River Rising by Athol Dickson

Still Reading:

~Fondling Your Muse: Infallible Advice From a Published Author to the Writerly Aspirant by John Warner

~Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Breaking the Bondage of Destructive Eating Habits by Elyse Fitzpatrick

~Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

To start and (hopefully) finish:

~Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

~Emma by Jane Austen

~Night by Elie Wiesel

Quit Reading:

~God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It by Jim Wallis

Continuing to read:

~The Oxford Book of American Poetry

And you? Read any good books lately?

Read Alouds – June 2007

Categories: Books , Homeschooling , Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

Egermeier’s Bible Story Book: A Complete Narration from Genesis to Revelation for Young and Old by Elsie E. Egermeier
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

Jonathan’s Reading – June 2007

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Buffalo Before Breakfast by Mary Pope Osborne
High Tide in Hawaii by Mary Pope Osborne
Tonight on the Titanic by Mary Pope Osborne
Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne
Viking Ships at Sunrise by Mary Pope Osborne

Noah’s Reading – June 2007

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Night in the Haunted Tower (Pokemon Chapter Book) by Tracey West
Geckos: Keeping Unusual Pets by Sonia Hernandes-Divers
Splashdown in Cerulean City (Pokemon Chapter Books #7) by Tracey West

Natalie’s Reading – June 2007

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Circus Act (Nancy Drew Notebooks No. 42) by “Carolyn Keene”
Dare at the Fair (Nancy Drew Notebooks #25) by “Carolyn Keene”
The Halloween Horror and Other Cases (Einstein Anderson, Science Detective) by Seymour Simon
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

Review of Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile

Categories: Reviews , Television | 5 Comments  

(Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile was provided to me by Special Ops Media for the purpose of review.)

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Most of you already know that I have a 10-year-old daughter. 10-and-a-half, she would tell you. Hannah Montana is a favorite at our house, so I jumped at the chance to review Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile. Mostly, I just knew Natalie would kill me if she found out I turned down the offer. ;)

Disney’s Hannah Montana stars Miley Cyrus, daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus, who plays her father on the show. Miley plays Miley Stewart who is also pop star Hannah Montana, a secret only her two best friends know. At school, she’s just Miley, trying to live a normal life.

I like watching Hannah Montana with the kids – and Kevin has even sat through a few episodes with us. The acting is broad, the comedy slapstick at times, but the fact that this is a comedy series that I can watch with all of my kids and not worry about content issues is a big plus.

Miley/Hannah’s best friend Lily is played by Emily Osment, sister of Haley Joel Osment from The Sixth Sense and Secondhand Lions. The friendship between these two girls is part of what makes the series work so well. It’s humorous and bittersweet to watch them go through all of those high school milestones like first love, being stood up for a date, and trying to fit in without giving up who you are. The comedy is amped up by the relationship between Billy Ray’s character (Bobby Ray, I think) and Miley’s older brother Jackson.

Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile contains the episodes “New Kid in School,” “More Than a Zombie to Me,” “Good Golly Miss Dolly,” and “People Who Use People.” The bonus features include the featurette “The Real Miley Cyrus,” a look at Miley’s family and costars. There is also a live concert performance of Hannah Montana’s hit “Nobody’s Perfect.”

Hannah Montana is a show you can enjoy with the whole family, knowing you’ll be getting comedy and family values, and no need to jump up and cover your kids’ eyes and ears.

30 Questions Meme

June 28, 2007 Categories: Memes & Quizzes | 5 Comments  

You’d think that with the kids in VBS every morning this week, I’d have all sorts of time to blog, right? Well, Monday morning while they were at VBS, I had a doctor’s appointment. All my labs came back normal, woo hoo! Tuesday morning, I fully expected to get some blogging and surfing done, but our DSL and phones went out for most of the day! Yesterday morning, Michelle and I took advantage of the kids being otherwise occupied, and browsed at a new Christian book store and had lattes. Today, I went grocery shopping – all by myself! So, since I only have five minutes left before I have to leave to pick them up, you get a meme.

Kev did this one at The Bayer Family Blog. Kev is one of only two guys – besides my husband – who actually read my blog. (At least there are only two guys besides my husband who have ever commented – maybe there are some male lurkers out there, but I doubt it.)

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
Does airport security count? I get stopped every single time – usually something to do with my bra clips or underwire. (Now you know why I don’t have many male readers. ;) )

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coaster?
I’ve never ridden on a real roller coaster, and don’t expect I ever will.

3. When’s the last time you’ve been sledding?
Years and years ago – probably in high school. I watch the kids sled every year, though.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
I like knowing Kevin’s beside me, but I don’t like to touch anyone while I sleep.

5. Do you believe in ghosts?

6. Do you consider yourself creative?
On a good day with enough sleep.

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
Oh, yeah.

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Neither. George Clooney (with a bonus – Brad Pitt)…

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…or Gerard Butler…

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…or Clive Owen.

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9. Can you honestly say you know ANYTHING about politics?
Actually, I follow politics quite a bit.

10. Do you know how to play poker?
Yes, I used to play penny poker with my dad while growing up, and also with friends in college.

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
I probably came close during finals week.

12. What’s your favorite commercial?
I can’t remember the company, but it’s the one with the guy on the treadmill that malfunctions. You can watch it here:

I just realized I have a slightly sick sense of humor.

13. Who was your first love?
Hmmm. Kiddy love? Probably Travis, my mom’s friend’s son. First major love in high school (and again in college): Cliff.

14. If you’re driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around you, do you run a red light?

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
I can’t think of one. Kevin knows everything there is to know about me.

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
Is that baseball? I’m a football fan, so the Seattle Seahawks.

18. How often do you remember your dreams?
Almost every night.

19. What’s the one thing on your mind?
That the kids are going down for quiet time soon. Ahhh, quiet time…

20. Do you always wear your seat belt?

21. What talent do you wish you had?
The ability to keep my house spotless with little effort.

22. Do you like Sushi?
Never had it, and don’t want to. Although Michelle is convinced that if I tried her – I think they’re called tuna rolls? – that I’d like them.

23. What do you wear to bed?

24. Do you truly hate anyone?

25. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
I’ll plead the fifth.

26. Do you know anyone in jail?
I used to have a brother-in-law in jail, but he’s out now. Maybe a cousin, too.

27. What food do you find disgusting?
Peas. I can’t even stand the smell.

28. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
Not that I can remember, but maybe in school. Not recently.

29. Have you ever been punched in the face?

30. Do you believe in angels and demons?

Whew – what a bizarre group of questions! If you decide to play along, be sure to let me know.

Restaurant Meme

June 26, 2007 Categories: Memes & Quizzes | 7 Comments  

Oops, I forgot to tag some people. I tag Woman, because she hasn’t met a meme she doesn’t like, and Birdie, just ’cause. And anyone else who feels like doing it.

Lawanda tagged me for the Restaurant Meme, so here goes!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to name of person that tagged you.
2. Include state and country you live in.
3. List top 5 favorite local restaurants.
4. Tag 5 other people and let them know they’ve been tagged.

I, like Lawanda, live in a pretty small town: Colville, Washington. We don’t have a huge selection as far as restaurants go. We have Subway, Arby’s, Taco Bell, Taco Time, McDonalds, and Zips, though. No shortage of fast food here.

1. Rancho Chicos – a locally owned and family run Mexican restaurant with the yummiest food.

2. Stephani’s Oak Street Grill – this is a new one, only open a few months, and I’ve only been there once. I took Natalie there for lunch on Saturday for our girls’ day out, and it was absolutely wonderful. The atmosphere is very nice, and the food was delicious.

3. Dragon Inn – at least I think that’s the name. There’s a Chinese food restaurant in Chewelah – 1/2 hour south of us where my parents live – that has the most fabulous special chow mein. And great egg foo yung, too.

4. Tony’s Pizza – great pizza, lasagne, gyros and meatball subs.

5. Westside Pizza – best Hawaiian in town.

We really don’t eat out all that much – it’s way too expensive with four kids – but those are my picks when we get to splurge.

AFI’s 100 Years – 100 Movies List

June 25, 2007 Categories: Memes & Quizzes , Movies | 6 Comments  

Carol at Magistramater made a fun meme out of AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies — 10th Anniversary Edition list of the 100 all-time best movies, and I decided to play along. Bold titles are ones I’ve already seen.

1 Citizen Kane (1941)
2 The Godfather (1972) This is one of Kevin’s favorites, but not really my cup of tea.
3 Casablanca (1942) I didn’t like this at all. It may be blasphemy to say so, but I don’t like Humphrey Bogart.
4 Raging Bull (1980)
5 Singin’ in the Rain (1952) Only about 100 times.
6 Gone With the Wind (1939) Another “all-time best” that I don’t like. At all.
7 Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
8 Schindler’s List (1993) Well worth seeing, but I could only do it once.
9 Vertigo (1958) Classic Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart at his best.
10 The Wizard of Oz (1939)
11 City Lights (1931)
12 The Searchers (1956) Very good – one of John Wayne’s best.
13 Star Wars (1977)
14 Psycho (1960)
15 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
16 Sunset Blvd. (1950)
17 The Graduate (1967)
18 The General (1927)
19 On the Waterfront (1954)
20 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Every year at Christmas.
21 Chinatown (1974)
22 Some Like It Hot (1959) Very funny, but I still can’t believe Marilyn Monroe got away with wearing that dress in the ’50s!
23 The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
24 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) One of the first movies I remember seeing at the theater.
25 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Gregory Peck is the perfect Atticus Finch.
26 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
27 High Noon (1952) Didn’t really care for it.
28 All About Eve (1950) Can’t remember if I liked it or not!
29 Double Indemnity (1944)
30 Apocalypse Now (1979)
31 The Maltese Falcon (1941) Blech.
32 The Godfather Part II (1974) Liked this one better than the original.
33 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
34 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
35 Annie Hall (1977)
36 The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
37 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
38 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
39 Dr. Strangelove (1964)
40 The Sound of Music (1965) Lots and lots of times.
41 King Kong (1933)
42 Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
43 Midnight Cowboy (1969)
44 The Philadelphia Story (1940) Yes, yes, yes! Perfection.
45 Shane (1953) Sob.
46 It Happened One Night (1934)
47 A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) I watched this after we had just done the play at WSU. They changed the ending in the movie, and that really bugged me.
48 Rear Window (1954) Another classic Jimmy Stewart.
49 Intolerance (1916)
50 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) I recently re-watched this with my kids. The first time I watched it, I was completely caught up in the story and special effects. When I watched it with my kids, I was amazed at how many wonderful themes there are in the story – and the kids and I have had some great conversations about the characters, the choices they made, what makes them great – or evil. Good stuff.
51 West Side Story (1961) I could take it or leave it.
52 Taxi Driver (1976)
53 The Deer Hunter (1978)
54 M*A*S*H (1970) Liked the TV show better.
55 North by Northwest (1959) Cary Grant. Mmmmm.
56 Jaws (1975) I will never, ever watch this. I hate and loathe sharks.
57 Rocky (1976)
58 The Gold Rush(1925)
59 Nashville (1975)
60 Duck Soup (1933)
61 Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
62 American Graffiti (1973)
63 Cabaret (1972)
64 Network (1976)
65 The African Queen (1951)
66 The Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Anyone else looking forward to Indy 4?
67 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) Another one that I watched after studying the play. I’ve never been a big Elizabeth Taylor fan.
68 Unforgiven (1992)
69 Tootsie (1982)
70 A Clockwork Orange (1971)
71 Saving Private Ryan (1998) Hated, hated, hated it. Very well made, but the ending was horrible. To put that burden on a man – “You earn this!” – how wicked.
72 The Shawshank Redemption (1994) I loved this movie. So strange that it is based on a short story by Stephen King.
73 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Paul Newman and Robert Redford. ‘Nough said.
74 The Silence of the Lambs (1991) I get shivers just thinking about it.
75 In the Heat of the Night (1967)
76 Forrest Gump (1994)
77 All the President’s Men (1976)
78 Modern Times (1936)
79 The Wild Bunch (1969)
80 The Apartment (1960)
81 Spartacus (1970) “I am Spartacus!”
82 Sunrise (1927)
83 Titanic (1997)
84 Easy Rider (1969)
85 A Night at the Opera (1935)
86 Platoon (1986)
87 12 Angry Men (1957)
88 Bringing Up Baby (1938) One of the best comedies ever.
89 The Sixth Sense (1999) This movie has become part of our movie-watching vocabulary: “It has a twist almost as good as The Sixth Sense!”
90 Swing Time (1936)
91 Sophie’s Choice (1982) Moms, don’t watch this movie – it will tear you to pieces.
92 Goodfellas (1990) Kevin really likes mob movies. Sometimes I worry about him. ;)
93 The French Connection (1971)
94 Pulp Fiction (1994)
95 The Last Picture Show (1971)
96 Do the Right Thing (1989)
97 Blade Runner (1982)
98 Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
99 Toy Story (1995)
100 Ben-Hur (1959) This used to be an Easter tradition at our house growing up.

You can sure tell I was raised by movie buffs who loved AMC (American Movie Classics)! So are there any on there that I’m really missing out by not seeing?

Happy Birthday, Noah!

June 24, 2007 Categories: Kid Stuff , Memories | 6 Comments  

Noah’s birthday was Tuesday, and we celebrated Friday night at the park. His friends were there, Grandmama and Papa were there, and he loved all of his presents. It was a good party. Saturday, Kevin took the boys fishing and Natalie and I had some girl time – we went out to lunch, shopped, had ice cream, and went to a neighbor’s party.

I searched the archives, and there isn’t a birth story post for Noah, so here it is. Feel free to click away if birth stories aren’t your thing! It won’t hurt my feelings, honest. ;)

Noah’s birth was my only “normal” one: I wasn’t induced, and it didn’t end in a c-section. I was induced with Natalie, so I really had no idea what labor was supposed to be like.

I was due on June 9, 1998, which came and went with nary a sign of baby. As did June 10th, 11th, 12th – you get the idea. I tried everything I could think of or had read on the net – short of drinking castor oil. I went out for spicy Mexican food with my parents, then drove home on a bumpy highway in my dad’s trucks that had very poor shocks. Thump, thump, thump – and heartburn – but no baby. Kevin and I tried the other thing, which isn’t exactly graceful when you’re nine-plus months pregnant. No baby.

On the night of the 18th, I walked laps around the house every few minutes. We went to bed, and I woke up at 2 a.m. with contractions. They were fairly mild and I was able to sleep in between them until about 6 a.m. Kevin got up, and I told him I thought it would be a while, so to go ahead to work and I’d call him when it was time to go to the hospital. Of course, right after he left the contractions started coming harder and faster, about 5 minutes apart. We were about 15 minutes from the hospital, so I called Kevin, and Mom and I headed off. I’m trying to remember now who we left Natalie with – she was 18 months old – but I think my youngest sister Marni was living at home. (We lived with my parents in a huge house.)

By the time we reached the hospital, I was having to breathe through the contractions and was getting pretty uncomfortable. We checked in, I got gowned up and put on a monitor and all that jazz. I knew I wanted an epidural, so they started an IV. Kevin got there shortly after we did. I had a little pain medicine in my IV, which had the effect of making me sleepy between the contractions, but didn’t really take the pain away.

As soon as I was dilated enough, I was given an intrathecal. This is like an epidural, but not as strong. It takes away the pain in the uterus and back, but does not completely numb you, so you can still feel to push. I remember thinking this would be just fine. I hadn’t felt the pushing with Natalie’s birth, as I received an epidural right before I was fully dilated, and my sister Andrea had told me that after going through labor, the pushing didn’t really hurt at all. Needless to say, I was very surprised when it came time to push and it hurt like all get out! Thank God, I only had to push three times, and Noah was born. I believe it was sometime around 1 in the afternoon.

He was 7 pounds, 5 ounces, the same as Josiah would weigh when he was born. They were my biggest babies.

I was starving, and so Kevin went out and got me a sandwich from Subway. Not a good idea. I didn’t realize that one of the side effects of the intrathecal was nausea. (The other was itching, which we’ll get into later.) I immediately was sick, and so they gave me some inapsine, a drug for nausea. It’s amazing how at the hospital they give you medicine for everything, where as if I was at home and felt nauseated, I wouldn’t eat much and would just wait for it to pass.

It turned out that I was allergic to inapsine, and it caused me to shake uncontrollably. If I laid perfectly still, the shaking would stop, but if I moved at all, it would start all over again, and I would be shaking so hard the whole bed would vibrate. Remember the itching? Well, it started, so I’d lay still for as long as possible to keep the shaking at bay, but then my face would itch something fierce, and I’d reach up to rub it, and the shaking would start all over again. It took three doses of Benadryl to finally stop it.

My pastor’s wife and her son, who I think was around 8 years old, stopped by during this time, and I think he thought I was dying, with all the shaking and everything. His eyes were like saucers by the time he left. The most amazing thing was that Noah slept through the whole thing, and didn’t wake up until later that afternoon after the shaking had stopped. Good thing, cause I don’t think I could’ve picked him up without dropping him on the floor.

I went home the next day. It was by far my easiest delivery, and he was our easiest baby. He slept through the night at four weeks, a habit he continued until he was several months old. Then teething would wake him up, and he got in the habit of us rocking and feeding him back to sleep. He kept up this habit until long after Jonathan was born when Noah was 15 months old. There is a period of about two years that are simply a sleep-deprived haze. Good thing they’re so worth it.

So that’s the story of how Noah came into the world. We named him Noah because we liked it, and it has since become more and more popular. His middle name is Blair, the same as my father’s middle name and his father’s before him. Since my dad had four daughters, I wanted to pass on his middle name. His father was Robert Blair, my dad is Rodney Blair, and now we have a Noah Blair.

At nine years old, Noah is all boy. He loves to draw, to build Bionicles and with Magnetix and the gear kit we got him, to play Pokemon, and to ride his bike. He also loves his GameBoy, but we’ve been having an extended break from all electronic games, and he’s been spending more time doing creative things and reading. He’s sensitive, and cries at sad movies with me. Bridge to Terabithia just about killed him. He’s still sad about Lucy, our hamster, who died two weeks ago. I thought he had gotten over it, but we saw a segment about hamsters on Blue’s Clues, and he teared up. His Grandma and Papa got him Sea Monkeys for his birthday, and he is very excited to add the eggs to the water tomorrow afternoon, after the water purifier has had time to work.

He is not as affectionate as he used to be, but he will always willingly give me a hug when I ask. He tells me he loves me every day, and sometimes even snuggles up next to me all on his own. He has a special smile that is reserved just for me, and it makes my heart sing every time I see it. He also likes to wink at me from across the room. I, of course, always wink back.

I love you, Noah! I am so proud of the young man you are becoming.