Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010 Books

New year, new list of books! I read 19 books last year, not as many as in 2008, but I think many of them were longer than most of my 08 books, so I'm pleased with the number. It's nowhere near Becky's list. She read like 752 books or something...okay, slight exaggeration, but she read way more books than you would think possible for a mother of three! I'm amazed by her! Michelle probably read just as many as Becky, if not more, if that's even possible! She amazes me too! Let's blame my faulty eyesight for causing me to constantly miss punctuation marks, thereby forcing me to have to keep re-reading because the sentences don't always make sense if you miss the punctuation! It takes so much extra time!

Anyway, I'm trying a new thing with this year's list. I'm going to try ranking the books, rather than giving a mini-review. I'm going to use Becky's ranking system which is as follows:

1-3 I wish I could burn all copies of this book
4-6 Had a few things going for it, but definitely not my favorite
7-8 I enjoyed or got something out of this book, worth reading
9-10 One of the best, highly recommended

I'm also going to try to link all the books to Amazon so you can easily check them out if you want to know more.

1. Endurance by Alfred Lansing 9
2. The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde 8
3. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells 7
4. The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers 8
5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Shaffer and Barrows 9
6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker 8
7. The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington 9
8. Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv 8
9. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout 9
10. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 10
11. The Lost City of Z by David Grann 9
12. Wideacre by Philippa Gregory 4 (I have read 2 other books by this author and really enjoyed them. This book was well-written, as well, and had a plot that drew you in quickly, but within the first few chapters, the main charachter had sunk herself into levels of depravity that I just didn't want to continue to read about, especially since this was a 500+ page book and the first of a trilogy. No thank you.
13. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead 7
14. The Road by Cormac McCarthy 9
15. In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd 8
16. 1632 by Eric Flint 8
17. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 8
18. 1633 by Eric Flint 7
19. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson 8
20. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 9
21. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins 9
22. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 8
23. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Graham-Smith 4
24. Othello by William Shakespeare

Things We Love #3: Christmas Edition

Okay, here’s the last of the Christmas posts…I think.

The kids were REALLY into Christmas this year! It was a lot of fun! They were able to help out more with decorating AND be trusted with decorations. We were actually able to hang ornaments on ALL of the tree instead of just the top half and keep the stockings hung up without worrying they’d pull the hangers down onto their heads. (Granted, they did break a few of the ornaments. Oh, well. Reindeer don’t really need 4 legs, do they? I mean, they fly!)

So here’s a special “Things We Love” post for one of our favorite things about Christmas!

TV Specials!!!!

I LOVE TV CHRISTMAS SPECIALS! And the kids loved a few this year too. They still weren’t huge fans of Charlie Brown (Sigh, maybe next year), but Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was a hit for the second year in a row (not much is cuter than 3 year olds reenacting this show! “That’s a mighty humble Bumble!”) as was How the Grinch Stole Christmas (cartoon, not Jim Carrey), but the biggest hit of the season was a newcomer:

prep and landing

Meet Lanny and Wayne of Disney’s Prep and Landing. If you missed this show this year, you really missed out! It tells the story of Wayne, a longtime member of an elite force of elves whose job it is to prep each home and roof before Santa’s arrival. They make sure that no creatures are stirring and that all presents will fit under the tree, etc. Wayne is a veteran and ready to move up to bigger and better things, but becomes disgruntled when he’s passed over for a promotion that goes to his partner, whom he himself had trained. Due to his consequent bad attitude, the next mission is almost ruined. New rookie partner Lanny must help Wayne remember why their job is so important, so that together the two elves can save the mission. It was great! For more info, check it out HERE.

Obviously there were lots of other things we loved about this Christmas, but most of them have already shown up in other posts. No need to repeat them here!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


And I've registered in three different contests to try to get one! If you don't know about Yummie Tummie, check them out HERE. If you want to know how well they work on REAL people, check out the blogs of some fellow quad moms who were SO LUCKY they got to get free ones and have written all about their experiences:


Steecie's Pieces


Each of them is hosting a giveaway to win a Yummie Tummie gift card, so if you want a Yummie Tummie, go enter! The contests end on Thursday, I think, so don't wait too long! And feel free to enter even if you don't want a Yummie Tummie! You can always give your gift card to me!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Naughty Nibbling

Apparently someone told Zachary that once Santa leaves the North Pole, your place on the Nice List is secure because he felt safe enough for this little escapade, happily documented by Jim who notices everything!

We put out cookies for Santa, took our picture with the cookies, and headed for bed. At least, some of us headed for bed! Oh, those tempting cookies…






Friday, January 15, 2010

The Big Day Finally Arrives

…and so does my post about it!

Our big project for Christmas Eve Day was baking cookies for Santa. I had received a large set of cookie cutters from my sister and was anxious to try them out, so the kids and I cut out and decorated some sugar cookies. I had never done this kind of cookies before, so I was a little unsure of how thin to roll the dough, etc, and I must admit that after baking, a lot of the shapes were barely recognizable! Oh, well! The main thing was that we all had fun doing it, and the cookies were delicious whether you could tell what they were or not! Santa certainly didn’t mind!


It took a LOT longer than I planned on to cut and decorate the cookies, but we managed to get it done, eat dinner, and get ready for bed. We set out cookies for Santa, with chocolate milk to drink (Thanks to “Max and Ruby” for informing us that Santa prefers chocolate), and made sure our stockings were hung with care. After many reminders that Santa wouldn’t come until they were asleep, the kids finally went to bed.

DSC_1338 Having indulged in a cookie or two themselves, this was unfortunately the best shot we could get of our overly-sugared, squirmy foursome.

DSC_1330 Jonathan

Special thanks to Aunt Ruth for the Christmas pajamas, by the way!

After the kids went to bed, it was time for Santa to show up and get to work. He ate all four of the cookies set out for him and really enjoyed the chocolate milk! He filled the stockings and set out the toys. After seeing them all laid out, he had to admit that the large boy toys made Reagan's things look rather small, so at the last minute, he made an emergency trip back to the North Pole for a couple extra things for her.

We got some great video of the kids emerging the next morning, but it’s really long. I’m going to try to take out a shortened clip of just the good parts and will post that later if it works.

All in all, the presents were a big hit. Here’s a few of them:

DSC_1385 Zachary got a new train. It’s “The Little Engine that Could” just like in the book. This boy loves trains!

DSC_1386 Thomas got a dinosaur, and everyone liked this one, once they got over being afraid of it! It roars and stomps around and makes all sorts of fun racket!


Reagan preferred to play with as many of her presents as she could all at once. Here she has new jewelry, microphone, shoes, stroller, and doll. (The stroller wasn’t actually new. It had been in the closet forever after the kids broke it. I fixed it up, and no one remembered having played with it before!)

DSC_1388 Jonathan got a dragon that stomps and roars and flaps its wings. Great flying fun!

Christmas Day we played and played! We had a delicious ham dinner together and broke up a lot of fights over new toys. Still working on that sharing thing!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We Finally Get to the Smiley Face

To the kids it seemed like an eternity, but the day finally arrived for us to hit the road to Bud and KayKay’s house.

As you may remember, Jonathan had been taking special medicine for the last two weeks in preparation for this trip, due to his recently discovered cat allergy (See HERE and HERE). We had high hopes that this medicine would keep him from having any allergic reactions, but had an alternative plan for sleeping at Jodie and Jeff’s house if things didn’t go well. Thankfully, he had no problems at all! Hurrah!

Our visit to Memphis was a lot of fun—filled with family, friends, delicious food, and lots of presents!

We tried something new this year with the kids. Last year they ripped through all their presents all at the same time, and we had no idea who gave them what, so this year we made them take turns opening one present, so we could all see what each child got and know who it was from. It took longer, but it was worth it!

DSC_0997 Zachary in the special present-opening chair!

DSC_1048 Reagan sporting her new jewelry

It was so much fun to watch the cousins all playing together…


…and eating together! What a spread!



Me and Jojo, when she hosted the family at her house

We also tried several times to get a good group shot of all the cousins together, never an easy task! Here are a few of the best shots we got, different poses in different places.




This last shot was taken at Kirby Pines, when we went to visit Uncle George and Aunt Nancy. They reserved us a nice big table in the dining hall for lunch! This is the fanciest place our kids have ever eaten, but they behaved well enough to entertain the other diners without being too much of a bother!


We also managed to pull off this pretty decent family shot on Kirby’s grand staircase. Thanks Jodie, for taking it!


Check out that beard!

We got to see my friend Whitney and her family while we were there too. That was really nice because it had been a LONG time since I had seen Whitney!

As you can tell, we had a really full visit. We had so much fun! The kids are at a fun age and really enjoyed getting to spend so much time with Kinley and Kallen.

As a parting shot for this post, here are the kids right after breakfast, all lined up playing with their new computers. Theses Tote ‘n Go Laptops have been a real hit! The kids LOVE them! And they look so cute when they all play them at the same time!


Thanks Bud and KayKay, Jojo and Jeff, Kinley and kallen, George and Nancy. etc., etc. for a great visit! We loved it and WE LOVE YOU!!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Christmas Chain Gang

Here is a picture of the Christmas countdown chain I mentioned in an earlier post. You can see the smiley face we added so we could also countdown to the day we left for Bud and KayKay’s house. The kids really loved removing a link each day. I wrote their initials on the links so we would have no arguments over whose turn it was to take the link off. (They each got a chain at preschool, but I used the other three as decorations in the playroom. I just didn’t have a good space for four countdown chains!)


This chain worked really well as a visual way for the kids to understand how many days there were until Christmas. It was also a good way to practice counting! If you’re like me and not lucky enough to have a beautiful countdown calendar that can be reused every year, this is a nice, easy, super cheap alternative that you might want to consider for next year!

Merry Christmas from JonZReaTom!


Jonathan, Reagan, Thomas, and Zachary are all smiles in anticipation of the upcoming series of posts relating all the chaos and joy of our Christmas season! We all hope that you had a wonderful Christmas, that Santa was good to you, and that God will bless you abundantly in the new year!

And as you sit in awe of this beautiful picture of my four beautiful children who by some true supernatural act are all looking at the camera AND smiling at the same time, please don’t fail to notice the pink camo stocking hanging in the background. Rather than put up the “Baby’s First Christmas” stockings for the fourth Christmas in a row, we decided to get new stockings for the kids this year, and we let them pick their own. I was able to steer the boys enough that they chose pretty, coordinating stockings, but Reagan REFUSED to accept any stocking that wasn’t pink! And let me be honest with you, the choices out there for pink stockings are not too impressive! She finally attached herself quite firmly to this camo one and would consider no other options. And so the pink camo stocking came home with us. If it had also been covered in glitter, it would have been perfect!