Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NEWSIES AND MOCKINGJAY

I have been so spoiled last week.
It all began on Wednesday night.  Scott took me out to dinner and a show.  And not just ANY show, he took me to see the Broadway version of Newsies.  It was an absolutely perfect date.  
We went to Chuys for dinner.  (Chuys is my favorite!)  As we visited and enjoyed our enchiladas, we discussed life and love and work and family.  It was fun to reconnect.  We did notice a sad trend though:  We saw many people on "dates" but instead of enjoying each others company, they were on their phones and/or technology.  Scott and I have a no phone clause on our dates.  We consider our dates time to reconnect not catch up on social media, or playing games.  It makes me sad about what this world is coming too.  (Now don't get me wrong.  I LOVE my technology.  And sometimes I have to force myself to be present in the moment with my family.  But I do try to make my family the number one priority over my i-phone.)
Newsies, the Musical ROCKED!  I loved it!!!!  Let's face it.  Disney knows how to make you cry, laugh and in the end provide audiences with a satisfied ending to the story.  And Newsies does all that and more.  I started loving Newsies in high school.  What could be better than watching a somewhat unknown Christian Bale dance around and stick it to the man by protesting through song and dance?  The musical version was just as much fun.  The dancing and singing were amazing.  The sets were awesome.  A few things about the story varied from the movie and I wasn't the biggest fan of those (I'm a movie purest) but I understand the stage needed something different.  I couldn't have been happier.
And on a more personal level: I "tested" my husband with this musical when we were dating.  He said he loved musicals.  I had to make sure, before I started liking him too much, that he really did enjoy the musical genre, so I had him watch Newsies.  He loved it as much as I did!  So I fell for him!
Saturday night I got to go on another date.  This time we double dated with the Bettenhausens.  We went to Qdobas.  (Another favorite restaurant.)  
And then we went to see Mockingjay!  If you don't enjoy (or haven't even read) the books, than this movie isn't for you.  But I LOVE the books.  I LOVE the characters.  And I LOVED the movie (despite how sad it is.)  I just wish we didn't have to wait an entire year for the next installment....
The Hunger Games trilogy is primarily a story about war and human tragedy.  It is about what we will do to each other in the name of preventing the same thing from being done either to ourselves or to someone that we love.  War is awful.  War is messy.  The plot is messy.  Katniss's mental state is messy.  I think, one of the main "take aways" from this story is this:  Humans have always killed each other and will likely continue to do so.  But we find the strength to love and continue on, despite the damage that has been done to us or by us.  I liked the way Mockingjay ended.  It was realistic and full of hope.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

HALLOWEEN NIGHT AND BOOKS AND 9 CHILDREN!

Halloween was wonderful, because we shared it with people I've come to love a lot!  Since we can't spend Halloween with our families (who live far away) we spent it with our "adopted" families here in Kentucky!  Who are these "lucky" (some would say unfortunate since we've decided to claim them) families?  They are none other than: the Bettenhausens, the Larsens and the Schmids.  The Melansons were also invited but got sick at the last minute!
Here are the kids BEFORE candy!
Key Lime Pie and Lemon Drop are "PRETENDING" to sleep.
They can't fool me!
I told Jalapeno to dress up...  I even splurged and got him a skunk costume!
He wore it!  Kudos to this big "kid!"  I'm proud of him and his sense of humor!
Two of my favorite people:  Jelly Bean and Lemon Drop
Aren't they adorable?
The teens took the younger kids trick-or-treating, while the "adults" visited and ate chili.  Chili is tradition at our house.  Mmmmmm!  Scott and I always fix chili with corn bread for this fun holiday!  I love celebrating!

Sooooooo - I love reading.  But I haven't had much time lately.  I did get to read two books in the past month:  The Skeleton in My Closet Wears a Wedding Dress by Sally Johnson and Cress by Marissa Meyer.
The Skeleton in My Closet Wears a Wedding Dress isn't something I would normally read, but one of my good friends from Las Vegas wrote it - so I bought it with the intent to read it right away.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to read it right away as my daughter "stole" it first and read it first.  As soon as she was done, I picked it up.  I couldn't put it down.  I enjoyed it!  Sophia, the main character, has a lot of emotional baggage because of her sudden divorce.  I thought it was uplifting to see that good things did come from such a sad experience.  I thought the book was humorous AND thought provoking.  It was engaging and sensitive to difficult topics (like divorce and depression).  It provided a sense of hope in such a sad situation.  I look forward to reading more books from my friend.
Cress was the 3rd book in the Lunar Chronicles series.  I STILL love the series.  I STILL think it is appropriate for teens (with no bad language and no immorality).  I STILL want to read the rest of the books in the series when they come out.  Full disclosure:  I love fairy tales.  I also love SciFi.  And Marissa Meyer did an excellent job putting these two together.  It was a page turner.  And if I say anything more, I'll probably give somethings away.  So READ these books.  They are fun!

I LOVE KIDS!  I really do!  And I was privileged to get to have 9 of them for an entire week at my house.  The Larsens were kind enough to trust me with their 7 children for them while they went out of town.  I LOVED it!  The kids were AWESOME!  And it was nice to know that Scott and I could handle a LARGE family.
Do you know how hard it is to get 9 kids to pose without making weird faces?
Check out Kotten Kandy's odd face...  And Doritos put pretzels in his nose?!
Me and a daughter and a son...  Who knew I had a son?!  :-)
9 kids - ages 16 to 3!  :-)
Believe it or not, we still homeschooled with this small army.  We ate well.  (I'm not great at fixing breakfasts and lunches - I consider making dinner a feat) but we managed to keep them all fed.  And we kept them clean.  And we got to church on time.  And we went to the park twice.  And we showed them the Liken the Scripture videos (which a couple of them would sing afterwards and make me smile!)  And I got to tuck them in to bed and sing to them at night.  We still were able to do our scripture study and family prayer and FHE.  I enjoyed every minute!  And I really do love those 9 kids!  I'd "adopt" them all in a heartbeat!

Monday, October 27, 2014

ZOO, HALLOWEEN AND BOOKS

We have had a fun, crazy, and busy week!  It started on Wednesday...  We decided to take 14 kids to the zoo to see the monkeys:
Just kidding!  I really enjoyed these two, big, strapping young men: Doritos and Jalapeno.  They were really helpful with the younger kids.
The zoo was wonderful!  The weather was perfect.  The kids were well behaved.  And the company was delightful!  I've always wanted a large family.... and Wednesday I pretended I had one.  (I think my nieces and nephews need to live closer to me so I can "adopt" them too!  But luckily my two Amy friends let me "kidnap" their kiddos once in awhile to feed my crazy tendencies.)
I wish I could tell you about the day in minute by minute details - but I'll let the pictures tell the story:
Apple Pie loves his pig!
Jumbalaya is ADORABLE!!!!
Spaghetti was excited to see an ant eater....
Key Lime Pie and Jalapeno as confused super heroes!
Eclair and Marmalade were VERY photogenic.
This cute little wallaby is 16 1/2 years old.
We decided she would make the perfect date for Jalapeno...
He said he would take her to Outback Steak House for dinner.
Lemon Drop decided to take a page from
the wallabies by holding Jumbalaya in her "pouch"
Jumbalaya and Snickerdoodle got to ride...
I was a bit jealous....
Obviously Jalapeno was jealous too....
Kotten Kandy LOVES ice-cream!
But she doesn't like pizza....
Key Lime Pie is a natural with Jelly Bean!
And Jelly Bean LOVED being tall on Doritos shoulders!
Brothers - First they were monkeys.  Now they are turtles?!
Snickerdoodle isn't quite as big as a gorilla....
Teenagers?!
Snickerdoodle and Jumbalaya...
Mom - this pics for you...
Consider yourself challenged!
Come visit so we can play!!!!!
Boys!  If you look closely - there are 6 of them in this picture!
Nuts is relaxing on Spaghetti
- while Dorito's head is precariously positioned in the throne.
Crazy moms who brought the crew!
Me - Jan - Amy B.
Marmalade and Eclair channeling Elsa....
Nuts, Apple Pie, Spaghetti, and Juice
Crazy boys!
I really had a great day!  I hope the kids did too!  They are all wonderful children of God!

So... this month has been crazy busy.  I have been helping my husband a lot at work.  And I have been trying to keep our homeschooling efforts alive and well.  I've also been trying to keep up with my Church calling.  Between all the business, I haven't had much time to read.  But I did manage to read two books from The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer.  Much to my surprise, I REALLY liked them.  Marissa Meyer likes to re-tell the traditional fairy tales using a futuristic, space-age theme.  At first I was wondering if I would really like reading about a "Borg"-like Cinderella... but she actually works as a "cyborg."  OK... let me start at the very beginning:
Cinder is the first book.  It's loosely based on Cinderella.  And yes, she is a cyborg.  Throughout the book, we are introduced to a world of technology and wonder - in addition to governmental intrigue and the Lunars, another species.  Prince Kai - from future China - meets Cinder early on in the story to ask her help in repairing his android.  And it becomes clear that he may have to marry the evil Queen Levana, a Lunar, to avoid a war with the Lunars.  While some of the aspects of the story are similar to Cinderela, there are some changes.  And the story enthralled me from start to finish.  I wasn't surprised by the big reveal at the end.  But overall, I thought it was a terrific and unique retelling.  I liked it a lot!  (And there is no swearing at all!  Which is a HUGE plus in this mother's eyes.)
I was really excited, after reading Cinder, to read Scarlet.  Scarlet is the second book in the series.  I liked the sequel just as much.  It picks up right where Cinder left off.   Now there is an army of genetically modified human/wolf soldiers hunting Cinder down and poised to destroy all of Earth's major cities.  Fortunately, Cinder isn't alone.  She has "Captain" Thorne.  And Scarlet Benoit, aka Red Riding Hood, on her side.  Wolf, a street fighter with his own issues also joins the unusual group of fugitives.
I liked both of these books enough to buy the third book in the series, Cress.  I'll let ya'll know about it when I've read it.  :-)

The ward Autumn Festival was Saturday night.  Of course, we wouldn't be THE DeGooyers if we didn't dress up as a family!  We were elves this year!  Lord of the Rings elves to be exact.  Scott and I were woodland elves while Key Lime Pie and Kotten Kandy were from Rivendale.
We were thrilled that Lemon Drop decided to dress up too!
She was adorable in her colonial outfit!
There couldn't be a nicer girl!  And I LOVE that smile!!!!!
Doritos attempted to dress up, but the blond wig didn't work.
He is supposed to be Edward Elric (a cartoon character I had never heard of before)....
I miss my blond hair....
And Scott is the MOST handsome guy I know!
He can pull off any look - He's even better looking 
than Orlando Bloom as Legolas.
Key Lime Pie
Kotten Kandy
These two girls are GORGEOUS (inside and out)!
I'm lucky to be their mother!

Monday, October 20, 2014

HALLOWEEN FUN & IN LOVING MEMORY

We love crafting with our Bettenhausen friends/family!  Here is our latest creations:
Juice, Kotten Kandy and Key Lime Pie
Apple Pie, Marmalade and Nuts
Jelly Bean wanted his picture taken too...
He didn't make a candy corn candle, but he loved the candles themselves!
Yeah for electric tea lights!  :-)
Key Lime Pie created these cute candy corn candles
 Kotten Kandy made these crazy creations
 I joined in the fun with these adorable guys
On a somber note:
Kamelot passed away last Sunday, October 12th.  He had been suffering, and we believe he had a heart attack.  He passed away quickly.  And it was difficult for the family.  We had him for 12+ years.
He really was a good dog.  His nature was calm.  He was scared of flies.  And he was loyal, loving and a true friend to all of us.  He will be missed.  We celebrated his life this evening for FHE.  We made a beautiful memorial to mark his grave.  And we all remembered stories about his life.
He will be missed.