Monday, August 24, 2009

A house of order

I had the privilege recently of attending a few Education Week classes, courtesy of a very dear aunt and cousin. And while the first couple of classes were very good and uplifting, the most informative class I attended was one on organization.

And so, I will share some of the things I learned. I'm still working on implementing these suggestions, but it does seem at least somewhat doable.

Seven Days to Organization
by Marie Calder Ricks

1 - Make a plan. This would be a plan for your week, a calendar, so to speak. It doesn't matter what form this plan takes, as long as you keep some form of it with you at all times. The mind is for solving problems, not for remembering. Keep memory out of the equation and you'll have a lot more brain space for doing important things.
2 - Family council. This is where you might alter your plan based on the needs of other people in the family. Plan on Sunday so you don't fight on Thursday.


1 - Desk area. You need 3 things to count it as a desk area (not necessarily an actual desk). 1) Flat surface with some space. 2) Drawer - keep all your tools for planning in one area (so you don't get up to get things and get distracted away from the task at hand). 3) File - piled paper is lost, filed paper is found.
2 - Hidden hoard of treasure trash. Everyone has it. Get rid of half. Share the surplus.


1 - Laundry. Everything you need to complete the task should be within easy reach. You shouldn't need to leave the area or room to get important things. Most importantly, put it away (or into the kids' baskets/rooms) while it's still warm. You'll do less ironing this way, and it will never get mountainous.
2 - Bathroom. Finish everything. Don't partially do the task. Teach kids that their shower or bath is not done till the towel is hung, the dirty clothes are in the hamper, the shower curtain is closed. Keep it small and simple and it won't ever pile up.

1 - Kitchen.
2 - Closets.

Four zones of organization. A) With elbows at waist, everything you can reach - things you need most often. B) Arms extended up and to your knees - need pretty often. C) On your knees or on a step stool - need only occasionally. D) Kept way back behind things where it takes some effort to get to - things you want to keep but rarely need to access.
Ask yourself - Is it useful to me now?

1 - Shopping. Buy double, half the time. Shop early, shop alone, always use a list. These will ensure that you don't waste money on impulse purchases, and will allow you to have some stored for just in case.
2 - Use cash. No credit cards. Budget, council as a couple, buy by the year as possible.

1 - Children. Insist on obedience, resist anger. Never get angry. When parents get angry, kids are in charge. Watch until they obey. This will let them know you're serious about the request.
2 - Be early. Things come together when you're prepared. The spirit is more easily with you.


1 - Garage. Everything that lives in the garage needs a home, a specific place so it can be put away. Discard, share, or put away. Everything.
2 - Kids' rooms. Don't make them do it alone, especially while young. Shed extra clothes and toys. It will make cleaning much simpler and more enjoyable.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sometimes your meaning can be mistaken

Daddy: Come on Felix, we're going to sleep now.

Mommy: No, I'm going to attempt to go to sleep now.

Felix: I want to go to tempt.

(much laughter)

Daddy, patting his pillow: Tempt is right here, bud.

Felix: Go to nunno (another) tempt!

(more laughter)

Mommy gets up to get paper to write it down.

Felix, getting desperate: I want to go with mommy to tempt!

(still laughing)

Felix, crying now: Go new tempt!

Man, this kid cracks me up!

And now, a photo dump.

This is a fun Japanese balloon toy Felix got while we visited his cousins in Logan (who are hosting someone from Japan) along with an allergy to bird feathers - we think.

Ammon really liked my canned peaches and even after he'd been fed, he kept trying to take them from Amelia too. She wasn't very happy about it. :)

Amelia is normally a very happy baby and she's got those amazing blues like her big brother.

My lovely sister Sarah who visited us for a week just recently.

Getting changed during a Utah Lake activity with the family.

Before the weight loss... The family outting at Utah Lake in May. Can you tell she gets her skin coloring from her dad?

What a happy slobber baby!

For some reason, Amelia really likes chewing on people's faces.

One month apart. Can you tell who was full-term and who was a preemie?

Once he's sleepy, not much can keep him awake.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Three movie review extravaganza!

Here's a rundown of the last three movies we've seen in the theater:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Chances are you already know a lot about this one, so I'll keep this short. Things grow more intense and serious as we learn about Voldemort's past and we start moving toward the conclusion of the whole thing. This is the first of the Harry Potter films that cannot stand on its own, for good or ill. If that bothers you, then this movie will bother you.

The good: Visually, the movie is fantastic. The effect of going into the memories is particularly sweet. Also, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe continue to demonstrate that they were the right choice for these roles. There are some great moments of humor, particularly those scenes with Harry and Ron dealing with maturity and romantic feelings.

The bad: There are some major changes to and omissions from the story. Of course, throughout the series they have dropped side plots (like S.P.E.W., for instance), but this one is particularly spare. One glaring omission is the battle at Hogwarts during the climax.

Overall, it's good, but not as good as Prisoner of Azkaban or Order of the Phoenix.

4 stars out of 5.

G.I. Joe

Okay, confession time. There was a long period of my life when my younger brother and I were very much into G.I. Joe. I remember the time very fondly, in fact. Had I seen this movie at that time, I probably would have thought it was the coolest thing ever made. There are cool gadgets, lots of action, and some memorable characters. The acting is passable, given the script they were working with, and there's an air of fun to the whole thing.

The Good: Like I said, fun. There's some globe-trotting, some winking references to the cartoon from the '80s, some destruction, and some old-fashioned good vs. evil melodrama.

The Bad: It's cheesy, very cheesy. The special effects aren't all that special. Rather mundane, actually. Some of them looked almost unfinished. The story is goofy in the extreme. Heather and I laughed at it throughout. It is filled with "A-ha!" moments (where a character figures something out, not because we've seen them look at the evidence or we are shown a logical progression to lead them to that conclusion, but simply because the plot needs to advance at this point – as Heather is fond of saying, it's in the script!) and implausible occurrences.

Go see it if you want to see something fun and brainless. Don't go if you are expecting something that makes sense or can be taken seriously even a little teeny bit.

3 stars out of 5

District 9

Wow! This movie is cool! It's smart, well-executed, and pretty darned original as aliens-coming-to-Earth movies go. These are not the hostile aliens of Independence Day or War of the Worlds or a thousand other alien movies. These are also not the friendly, peace-loving aliens of E.T. or Close Encounters. Arriving malnourished and sick in a derelict spaceship that appeared 20 years ago over Johannesburg, South Africa, they were sorely in need of some relief efforts. In the two decades since their arrival they've become somewhat unwanted by the locals.

The location is the first hint we have that this is not your typical alien flick. It's also no accident, and it's not just because first-time director Blomkamp is South African. No, there are plenty of things here that are intended to make one think of South Africa's apartheid past. The aliens, referred to in a derogatory manner as "prawns," are kind of gross and a bit dangerous. Ultimately, because there are pretty legitimate reasons for not wanting to integrate them into the populace (a really nasty sickness, for instance), the movie loses quite a bit of its sting as a commentary on racism and immigration.

The good: The effects here are terrific! Not only are they believable (within the world constructed by the film, at any rate), but they are never an entity unto themselves. They exist because the story needs them to. The lead actor is tremendous in his part. I was utterly sucked in by his character and found him to be credible throughout, even as some pretty wild things happen to him. The character is a moron, but never cartoonish in his idiocy. You probably know some people like this guy (if you don't, it may be you).

The bad: Cardboard villains, whose only motives are nefarious. They might as well have been twirling big mustaches.

4.5 stars out of 5

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gross, but really funny

While changing Felix's diaper this morning, "Bent (he doesn't quite have the "r" sound down yet), look at my green poop!"

Yesterday Felix and I took nice long naps so we were up very late. After normal bedtime but before we were tired, I did a bunch of cleaning and laundry. Got lots done. Feels great, but too bad it won't last.

We've been to some great movies lately, but Brent is going to review them for us. My nutshell reviews:

* Harry Potter was great but isn't a stand-alone movie.
* GI Joe was really campy and cheesy and the effects were terrible, but it was fun to laugh at.
* District 9 was intense and truly original and I loved it.

I finally got a new camera. I lost my previous one at Utah Lake 2 months ago. Thank goodness for cell phones with cameras, but I missed having a good camera around. Worst part was that some of the photos would get downsized to transfer and others wouldn't so some are much lower quality than regular. Brent was due for a new phone and since he wanted a camera too, we decided to get him a nice camera phone. Turns out the LG Dare has a couple of fun tricks along with a decent camera. Since it's bluetooth, you can download pics to your computer just by being in close proximity. And you can download songs onto the phone from your computer the same way. Pretty cool toy.

Summer has been filled with lots of long walks and bike rides, cleaning up Felix messes and hurrying after Amelia to keep her from danger (she's a champion stair climber now, as well as a really fast crawler). Felix is a great helper and an amazing talker. He loves making Amelia laugh. Yesterday after our nap, Amelia kept leaning over and looking at Felix with anticipation and a big grin on her face, hoping that Felix would start laughing with her. So freaking cute!

I've lost over 30 pounds of fat since I started my program a couple months ago. My clothes are starting to feel looser and people do say they can see it, but I'm still waiting for some drastic changes. Guess I just need to take pictures regularly so I can see the gradual progression. I'm going to go on vacation in January as a reward, so I better get my butt in gear.

My little sis was here for a week and we had lots of fun together. I need to get out to California to visit her there now. She says the weather in Alameda is stupendous, and since I already really like San Francisco, I think it would be a great time.

In all, this summer has been a good one. Tough financially (taxes are still kicking our trash), but filled with lots of friends and family. Good times.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Apparently I needed a nap

Yesterday we had a very full day. Pampered Chef meeting in the morning (I made this awesome lemon pudding cake that was just decadent), distant Webster family reunion near Ogden in the afternoon, and then a book club (The Midwife's Apprentice - good and easy read about life in the middle ages - YA book) and Hardman picnic in the evening.

As we were finally driving home, we saw the fireworks from Lindon Days and Felix was pretty unhappy that he couldn't stay and watch them. We told him that next time we went to the store we'd look for fireworks and maybe could buy some to do at home.
This morning both kids were pretty congested. Thanks to a very generous friend, we have a nebulizer for Felix and gave him a breathing treatment both last night and this morning. The wheezing makes ME uncomfortable! We stayed home from church because I didn't want to pass on any germs, and Brent got a good nap. Then this afternoon it was my turn. I slept for about 4 hours - it was a wondrous thing!

Felix is in that stage where he is learning to use tenses for all his verbs. He's pretty good at it. The best is when he asks questions because he inflects every word, making it sound totally sing-song. It ends up being something like: Are? You? Going? To? Buy? Me? Some? Fireworks? Brent and I giggle a lot over this.

Apparently while I was sleeping this afternoon, Felix asked where I was. Brent told him I was sleeping, but Felix insisted I was at the store buying him fireworks.

Man, this kid cracks me up!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


My baby loves her chair. She also loves to eat just about anything. This time it was mushy zucchini and carrots. Yum!