Archive for November 2008

Funny Things

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While we were driving in the car to Nana’s, the kids were talking about stars.  Marissa suddenly said, “If you take away the ’s’ on star, it says ‘tar’.”

“Good job, honey,” I replied.

Then Jonathan chimed in with, “if you add a ‘d’ to the end of ‘tar’ it says, ‘tard’.”

Adam and I began to giggle.

“And,” he continued, “if you add an ‘er’ to that, it says ‘tarder’.”

Adam looked at me and said, “What’s more than a tard? Tarder.”

Squandrum of Possibilitace

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Erica took me to Quantum of Solace last Friday night as a late birthday present. We saw it at Larry H Miller’s Megaplex Theater at Thanksgiving Point. We’ve seen several movies there lately and can I just say how impressed I am with his theaters? They are well designed technically (Save for the digital projection, which I still have not managed to get used to. Doesn’t anyone else see the pixels?) so the experience of watching a movie is top notch, but the real killer feature is reserved seating. We bought our tickets online a few days ahead, chose the seats we wanted, right in the middle of the theater, went to dinner at Thanksgiving Point and then entered the theater about ten minutes before showtime, retrieved our tickets from the kiosk and went to our seats. No waiting in endless lines on premier night, FTW! Erica and I had the same experience watching Mamma Mia at the Thanksgiving Point theater and Jon and I saw The Dark Knight in IMAX at the Jordan Commons theater that way. Kudos to Mr. Miller for removing my biggest gripe from the theater experience.

Now that I’ve covered the theater, as far as the movie is concerned I went in with both high expectations after Casino Royale and low expectations after reading a couple of reviews and a smattering of fan reactions online. Quantum of Solace would have worked as a generic action movie. I can see it easily as a one-off, like The Rundown, or even as part of a sort of internationalized Die Hard-type franchise. It’s not worthy of being called a James Bond movie, and it’s especially unworthy as a successor to Casino Royale.

First off, the quick cutting has got to stop. I don’t know what the average seconds per shot was in the pre-titles scene, but it has to be somewhat less than the 2 seconds per shot average the The Bourne Ultimatum achieved, and that movie made some people sick in the theaters. The opening scene of Quantum is a car chase through the Italian Alps. It would have been ages better with even just a couple of wide, 8 or 9 second establishing shots thrown in as the cars careen around precarious curves set atop 100 foot high cliffs. As it is, it’s extremely difficult to understand what’s going on inside the cars or when the vehicles are seen maneuvering around each other.

The opening titles song by Alicia Keys has been much maligned across the web, so I won’t repeat any of that here. Suffice to say it is less than memorable at best, and complete drek at middle.

After the titles we’re treated to a foot chase under the ongoing Palio di Siena and across the rooftops and through the houses of that beautiful city. Of course, it’s cut so quickly that it’s near impossible to tell who is chasing whom and how far ahead the chasee is at any given moment. Some of the stunts were ingeniously put together, and evidently Daniel Craig performed many of them himself, but you’d have to watch it in slow motion to really appreciate the work he and the crew did. Erica’s comment was “Can’t they at least put one of them in a light colored suit so we can tell who’s who?” Hear, hear.

I could go on and on, but how about something positive? I like a couple of the throwbacks to previous Bond traditions, like the gathering of the baddies out in the open at a packed opera performance, and the bad guy’s lair (a pretty pathetic lair, however) exploding around him as he has a final duel with Bond, and the pretty local operative with a colorful name sent to escort Bond from the airport. The problem with that one, however, was that they never revealed her full name (Strawberry Fields) in the dialogue. You’d have to watch the credits to get the joke, and who, besides Erica and I, stayed to watch the credits?

What the film really lacked in comparison to Casino Royale, though, was the wonderfully slow and deliberately paced character building scenes. I missed Bond just chatting with his co-stars like he did his last time out. The filmmakers need to put a little more trust in their audience. Don’t force feed us quite so much exposition. We’ll figure out the plot on our own, just give us a hint or two every few minutes. Don’t spend quite so much time on mindless action. We know Bond can best just about anybody if you give him enough time.

When we walked out of the theater I had to do a double take when I looked at my watch. The showtime was 7pm and even after seeing trailers up front and staying through the credits, we were back in the car by 9:00. Quantum of Solace is 38 minutes shorter than Casino Royale.  It clocks in at 106 minutes, making it the shortest Bond film yet. I think it suffers for that. I want to know what was cut out. Was it the very element I missed? Maybe they shot those scenes and they just didn’t work. Maybe they listened to the couple of whiners on the internet who complained that Casino was too long? Hopefully we’ll get some idea of that when Quantum is released on DVD. In any case, I was disappointed even considering my lowered expectations going in.

Get Well Soon

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A little over a month ago I was called to be the Relief Society Compassionate Service leader in the ward. I was intially shocked, then terrified, then humbled, then down right excited! I used to think that there was no other calling in the church that better encapsulated all my weaknesses and fears at once: coordinating, delegating, calling people (oh the horror!) saying the right thing at the right time, relating to women across the entire spectrum, preparing meals…etc. Of course I still feel that way sometimes but I just try to remember what one of the missionaries told me once. He said, “you need to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable” or something like that. Pretty profound eh?
Anyway, the only reason I even mention this is because by far the greatest reward for me has been to see Sam caught up in the spirit of service and compassion. He’s already a sensitive and caring child but I am just amazed by what comes out of his mouth sometimes like when during a visit with a sister he asked her “What can I do to help you feel better?” or my favorite “I will draw you a picture and bring it the next time I come.” Sam has already developed a special bond with an elderly woman in the ward who is currently homebound. When I told him we’d be visiting her again today, he asked if he could make the following card for her. He insisted that she have one of his soccer pictures (grandparents, you’ll be getting yours soon) and delivering it himself. Both Benjamin and Samuel thoroughly enjoyed her and her dog’s company. As I watched her and Sam exchanging stories and hugs, I couldn’t help but marvel at his genuine love and concern for her. It’s in those moments that I catch a glimpse of the young man he’ll be one day and it gives me the perspective I need to get through the day to day challenges of raising two very active boys. I’m just so grateful for these opportunities because they bring so many blessings and opportunities for growth. Um, I think I just wrote a talk, not a blog post. Sometimes I forget this is the world wide web and not my journal 🙂

Sunday Best

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I wanted to post some pictures of the kids all dressed up for church. I thought they looked very sharp together. Miles wouldn’t smile and when I asked Savanna to give Miles a kiss for one of the pictures, she smothered him! But at least you can see her cute hair that took me awhile and a lot of “hold still!” comments from me. I also wanted to share an experience we had the previous day. We attend the baptism of Austin Anderson, his dad Ben has been James’ best friend since they were kids. First of all it makes me feel very old that someone I went to high school with has a child old enough to be baptized! But secondly, it just goes to show how far we come in life and how quickly it goes by. The baptism was wonderful and Austin seemed very happy and proud to be baptized. He is such a nice kid and he loves little kids and tried to talk to and play with Savanna, of course she was putting on her I’m shy act, but it was cute anyway. It was a stake baptism, so of course there were several children being baptized. Their stake primary president (or counselor, I’m not sure) gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. To my surprise Savanna must have been listening because she said to me, what’s that mom? I said, the Holy Ghost?  Yeah, she says. So I told her that when you get older and dad baptizes you, you will get the gift of the Holy Ghost to help you feel safe and happy. She looked at me for a minute and said, no, I don’t want that. Oh well, I tried!


originally posted at

Sam only has one more soccer game left in the season so we thought we’d better hurry and get some pictures. This was from their game on Saturday. Sam in the middle of the action
He was so proud of himself for blocking two shots when he was the goalie.

Sam had a hard time getting the ball at the beginning of the season because he’s not naturally aggressive and physical. I think he’s got the hang of it now 🙂

Go…Purple Team!

The last Halloween related post

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Sam singing with his preschool class at their Halloween Parade. I thought our spiderweb turned out really good. This is the best picture I could find of the boys in their costumes. Sam was a dragon slaying knight and Benjamin was the dragon of course 🙂Sam passing out the candy. Thanks for the basket Mom.We went trick-or-treating with two of our neighbors and their kids. We pulled Benjamin in the wagon and Sam was always way ahead of us with the “big kids.” Benajmin was being pretty grumpy, so I took him home after covering our street. Our new neighbors have a 15mo old daughter who wasn’t exactly embracing the trick-or-treating experience either, so they came over while Jordan, Sam and the rest of the group stayed out to cover the neighborhood behind us. Once out of their costumes, Benjamin and Kaelyn were back to their happy fun-loving selves and had a blast just playing together at our house. Jordan and I got to go to a “grown up” party on Saturday. WooHoo! Our hosts Amanda and Brandon were nice to let us old fogies come hang out with their young and hip friends. Luckily we weren’t the only parents there or we would have felt a little lame. Jordan and I met Amy and her husband at the party and we immediately hit it off. They have twin 4 year old girls, he and Jordan both seak German and she and I both love to talk, so it made the night even more fun. All four of us were enjoying our time away from the kiddos, but we were still the first couples to leave since babysitters aren’t cheap these days! They came as Death & TaxesJordan had such a bad attitude about wearing a costume. But at least he got to put his poor attitude to use in his tough guy biker get-up. As for me, I just had to have the blonde wig, but hadn’t a clue as to what to be (without being someting completely scandulous). I wandered into Claires when we were at the mall and saw the plastic crown (meant for 5 year olds) and the sash that said “Birthday Princess” and thought the pageant queen running off with bad boy biker would be classic!

Ward Halloween Party

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For the ward Halloween party, the boys dressed up as scarecrows. The parade.Sam asked for a black nose and whiskers so he could be a “scarecrow cat.” Um..OK. It was Benjamin’s job to pass out the candy to the trunk-or-treaters. But he thought it was more fun to just transfer the candy from our basket to his bucket. I think he had 12 nerd boxes in his bucket before I realized what he was doing.

Pumkin carving

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We caught Benjamin shoving (by the handfuls) raw seeds and pumpkins guts into his mouth. The boy will eat anything! It’s got my hand!

Jordan was quite the carver extraordinaire. He did the skull & bones. Very impressive I think. Sam, Jordan and Amanda’s creations


originally posted at

We had a pretty good Halloween this year. We went to my moms’ work party for lunch. It was pretty much an excuse for all the employees to show off their kids and grandkids, but it was fun. Later on we went to the trunk or treat at our church which we have never done before. It was really fun! Now that I am in primary and starting to get to know some of the kids it was fun to see all the different costumes. Also, people were very generous handing out handfuls of candy at each car! Then we went home and got James and went out Trick-or-Treating! We cheated and drove out of the ghetto to a nicer neighbor hood and got some more loot. Savanna was being really funny, at first she would not say trick or treat or thank you. Finally I told her she had to at least say thank you for the candy or else I would eat it all. That worked! Then eventually she  said trick or treat. After trick-or-treat we came home and made nachos and stuffed our faces! It was a pretty good night! I can’t wait for next year when they are both a bit older and get more into it.

Halloween Trio

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For Halloween, Marissa wanted to be Tinkerbell again.  She was this two years ago…so her costume that I made her then no longer fit.  So, I made another.  This was finished October 30th at 11 at night.  Jonathan’s Ben 10 costume was a little easier.  I cut up a white t-shirt and a black t-shirt and sewed them together.  Then I went to Saver’s and found these green pants.  Score!  Brendan had no choice in the matter.  He fit perfectly into the Superman costume that I made for Jonathan at the same age.  Next year Brendan will be a Musketeer and the next year he’ll be a Jedi…

The kids wore their costumes to school for the parade and the parties.  Then we went to dad’s work and showed off their costumes at the bbq.  Then we went to the mall and trick-or-treated from store to store for about an hour.  We saw a man dressed up as tinkerbell, but could not convince Marissa to get her picture taken with him.  Then we rushed home to pick up our candy for the trunk-or-treat.  We then drove to the church and experienced that with our neighborhood friends.  Then we packed up quickly and drove to Grandma and Grandpa Stone’s house to trick or treat there.  This is the first year we haven’t gone to my mom’s house…but she recently contracted shingles…and apparently they can cause you to spread chicken pox and shingles to others.  So…we took pictures for my mom.  Then we drove to Nana’s house to have toad in the hole and eyeball soup.  After that we followed Uncle Jon home to see his Halloween decorations.  These were VERY cool.  He even had a projector showing spiders, scary guys, and even a huge blinking eye-ball in his window.  The kids were very impressed.  Of course, at this time, Marissa realized that she’d left her candy at Nana’s so we drove back to pick it up.  We finally drove home to put all the kids to bed…and Adam left to go to work until the wee hours of the morning.  Phew!