Archive for December 2012

Merry Christmas!

originally posted at

What a wonderful time the Christmas season was this year! For some reason James and I were on the ball and had everything bought and mostly wrapped before December 1st! Good thing too because for most of the month we were sick! Colds and flu have been passing from kid to kid to mom to dad and all around again. Just today Avery seemed to be getting better, but Miles was starting to cough as I tucked him into bed. Even with all the bugs we managed to have a great season. I had a goal for each Monday in December to focus on Christ, his birth and teachings. The first Monday we told the story of Christ’s birth and did a living nativity. It was the first time we have done that, a friend of mine said her family does it every year and I just loved the idea. Savanna was Mary, Miles was Joseph, and Avery was one of the Three Kings, giving a golden cup for her gift. The next day Miles said that it was the best family home evening ever!

My family, the Bogus’s had a Christmas dinner at my Uncle Tom and Aunt Brooke’s house in Salt Lake. It was really nice to spend time with my extended family and see all my cousins. The kids were really good and had fun with my cousins kid’s. Heidi, Emily and I took the traditional holiday picture. Back when were were four and five years old we had this picture taken of us at my grandmas house, it was either Thanksgiving or Christmas, I’m not sure, but every time we have gotten together during the holidays as adults, my Aunt has tried to recreate the picture. This year we tried making the same faces as in the original.

2005, extremely pregnant with Savanna!

2011, Emily pregnant with Lainey, she is a much cuter pregnant lady!

2012, no pregnant ladies!

This year we also continued the new tradition we started last year of decorating sugar cookies to give to Santa. Grandpa also came this year to help. We had so much fun! The kids, especially Savanna, were so creative in their decorating. Avery was so cute, she would spend so much time spreading the icing, putting on the sprinkles and chocolate chips, then she licked it all off and started on another one!

On Christmas Eve day my mom and brother came over and we gave them their presents and the kids got presents from them too. That night we stayed home (another new tradition that I am loving!) and had a big feast. I seriously made so much food, not sure why, there’s only five of us! We set everything up buffet style in the family room and ate while we watched A Christmas Story. My favorite movie! Christmas morning came very early at our house and James had put something special in the kid’s stockings. They each got a part to build a mysterious project in the basement. After they opened their stockings we went downstairs to build it.

The project ended up being a platform for the kids to set up their Defiant 4×4 track on! James discovered his new favorite toy this year and everyone has been having fun setting up new tracks and playing with it together. After building the platform we went back upstairs and opened presents. The kids are at such a fun age, every time they opened something they screamed “It’s what I always wanted!” so cute! Around noon we went to James’ parents house for another round of presents and Christmas dinner. The kids had fun playing with their cousins and running around eating candy. We came home and put the kids to bed at 6:45. They were beyond exhausted, and so were James and I. We were excited to have some alone time to relax and watch TV, but James fell asleep half was through one episode of Bored to Death, so we just went to bed.

This year Christmas time seemed to fly by, the day after I kept thinking of all the things I had wanted to do with the kids and just didn’t have time for. I was letting myself get a little sad and let down, but then a I remembered all the fun we did have and I know my kids are building good memories of their childhood Christmases. I am so grateful to be a mom and to have a wonderful husband who makes our life possible. I am also grateful for my Savior and being able to spend this time of year with the one’s I love most! 

Christmas 2012: Stage Complete!

originally posted at

Christmas 2012 is over. With the inevitable feeling of letdown that comes after you go back to ‘normal life’ it is nice to have some pictures to remember the fun moments and soften the blow a bit.

Here they are!


Moment of calm before the fury:

Christmas 2012 - Moment of calm


A White Christmas:

Christmas 2012 - A White Christmas


Nana is silly with a Santa hat:

Christmas 2012 - Nana is silly with a Santa hat


We had some canine guests too:

Christmas 2012 - We had some canine guests too


Avery gets a turn with the hat:

Christmas 2012 - Avery gets a turn with the hat


Adi seems to be enjoying Christmas morning:

Christmas 2012 - Adi seems to be enjoying Christmas morning


Brendan and Miles show off their new hats from their Aunt Melissa:

Christmas 2012 - Brendan and Miles show off their new hats from their Aunt Melissa


Jonathan got a cool game:

Christmas 2012 - Jonathan got a cool game


Miles was super excited about his British blanket:

Christmas 2012 - Miles and his British blanket


Savanna got a huge pink pony princess:

Christmas 2012 - Savanna and her huge pink pony princess


Avery got one too, she seemed to love it:

Christmas 2012 - Avery has a pony too


Adi didn’t quite get opening presents so her cousin Savanna helped:

Christmas 2012 - Adi getting her British blanket


She did enjoy goofing off for the camera though:

Christmas 2012 - Adi goofing off for the camera

I think everyone had a good time and the wrapping paper and boxes were piled high so I am pretty sure everyone came away with at least one or two fun items to enjoy. I know I got a couple of items I had my eye on from my Amazon wishlist, so thanks again to my parents for that.

Best of all, we had a nice drama-free Christmas with excellent food from Mom and everyone had fun.

Movie Review Time Again: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

originally posted at


Saw it last night, standard 2D version. I haven’t read the book in probably 20+ years so my memory of the specifics was dim but a lot of it felt a bit too familiar. I don’t know but I think there was probably too much effort and time spent on integrating the stories and winking to fans and those familiar with the setting. On the one hand, it was nice to see Frodo again, but on the other, it took a long time to get the movie going.

I would have to agree that, so far, there is too much movie for how much story has been told. :( Of course, if they decided to make 3 movies and then had to find logical places to cut the book into thirds, I guess there are limited spots to do that but I certainly wouldn’t have complained if about 20-30 minutes had been left for the inevitable extended edition.

No particular scene felt useless to me (other than maybe the rock giants battle) but many could certainly have been tightened up a lot. I think Peter Jackson suffers from the same malady that a lot of directors have as they become more successful and sure of themselves. They lose the ability to cut out the fat in their movies.

I think that especially in a book to film transition, you have to be careful not to be too slavish to the source material in its depth and breadth. Sure, you have to meet fan expectations and cover the important stuff, at least with a cursory nod, but a book can be allowed to be a bit languid and flourishing (because a reader is free to put a book down and come back to it later or skip a page or two) where a movie (at least in a theater) can’t afford a viewer that luxury.

Anyway, when the movie was on, I loved it. And it was on more than it was off, but overall I left feeling like there should have been at most 2 movies planned for the translation to screen (this is set to be another trilogy). Some cool stuff might have gotten the axe with only 2 movies, but I think it would have produced 2 really great movies. As it is, one pretty good movie is here now, and 2 more will probably follow, but they will be flawed and bloated. Hopefully they do at least as well or better than this and don’t fall any deeper into an overindulgent mire of excess detail and exposition.

Ironically, I think that one of the movie’s biggest faults (and LOTR had the same problem to a degree) is that, as much as it wastes time on expounding details, it falls short on actually exploring some of the characters. A lot of characters are basically just there to waggle swords and stand around shouting in the background. That is probably a failing of the original story too so I am not sure what could be done to improve it, but it still bothers me.

I’ll echo other reviews that Bilbo is very well acted by Martin Freeman. He needs more great roles in the future (be sure to enjoy his skill as Watson in the BBC series Sherlock). Andy Serkis is wonderfully creepy/fun as Gollum/Smeagol, and Ian McKellan is a perfect Gandalf as expected.

One scene that was really superbly acted was the Riddles in the Dark scene between Bilbo and Gollum/Smeagol. It was extremely well done but it does have one failing: It was too well lit during the whole scene. As much as I hate it when movies are overly dark and dim in an effort to induce a style or feeling, this was a setting where it was appropriate and accurate for it to be crushingly dark. Of course, having it be pitch black with just a pair of floating eyes might be too much and would probably be comical after a point, but it should at least start out that way or have some of the scene set that way. I imagined it as being almost pitch black in most of the scene with occasional areas where some light penetrated down from above and, of course, the light from Sting.

Now that I think back, the movie might have a few places where the ‘flatness’ of light bothered me. That probably has to do with the huge use of CGI for both characters, and sets. Letting your CGI artists do an entire scene probably tends to result in ‘lazy’ output, cinematically speaking, since they have to do more work to make anything different or complex. With actual physical location shooting you get a huge variance and complexity of lighting by default. In a digital world, you have to create all that. Pretty much everywhere in the caves and under the mountains feels kind of fake because the lighting is so consistent. Even though it is all torch light, it’s more like being in a modern football stadium with a huge set of lights overhead, no flicker or dark areas, no tone or shade changes.

I was invited to the movie by a couple of new friends in my neighborhood and one of them mentioned a few times through the movie that something about the big fat goblin under the Misty Mountains was bugging her. Finally after the movie she explained that she was sure she recognized his voice from somewhere. Turns out it was Barry Humphries who she remembered from his voicing of Bruce from Finding Nemo. After hearing the name, I remembered him as Dame Edna. Laughing

So overall, I would say I enjoyed the movie. On a rating scale of ‘Wilted Lettuce’ to ‘Home Made Ice Cream and Warm Cookies’, I would give it a solid ‘Cold Pizza on a Saturday Morning’. In other words, it was good but not amazing. It has some pretty obvious flaws but a solid core of enjoyable material and nothing that makes it too frustrating to watch again, or forgettable. I would say that it is pretty reasonable for kids to watch as well. The violence is toned down a bit from the Lord of the Rings movies and there is more humor. It is long (over 2.5 hours) so it will be a tough movie for kids to enjoy in the theater but I would say it is good for kids who enjoy fantasy type stuff from age 9 or so and up.

Giving Thanks for Family

originally posted at

This year for Thanksgiving the whole Bayless clan was together. Andy and Melissa came up from Blanding, Heather came up from Mesa, and Jordan, Amanda, and their boys came all the way from PA. It was decided that we should take advantage of all of us being in one state at the same time and get family pictures taken. Andy and Melissa arranged everything and presented the pictures to us for our Christmas present! So nice! It has been about a year and half since we had our family pictures so it was nice to update, and the last time we had pictures with the entire family Savanna was a just a baby! There have been two weddings and lots more babies born since then so it was definitely time for a new one.

The whole family!
My loves.

We spent the week of Thanksgiving spending time together. Monday night we had a family dinner at Taco Amigo then went up to Cabela’s to shop and let the kids run around and see the animals. Tuesday we went to The Living Planet Aquarium. Miles loved it! He just kept running laps around the place. Miles and his cousin Ben became really good friends and explored the aquarium together. On Wednesday Jordan and Amanda and their boys, Sam, Ben, and Grant, came over to play at our house. The cousins all got along great and played for a long time. My kids really fell in love with little Grant. He is the cutest little kid and Savanna, Miles and Avery loved making him laugh. The morning of Thanksgiving James took his brothers and oldest nephew, Jonathan to Little Moab. They drove the Jeep around and went shooting. They had so much fun that they were a little late getting back for dinner. James called me on his way back and said he was sorry they were late but that they had had such a great brotherly bonding time. They all came back with stories of adventure and lots of pictures. I was so glad that they got to have that time together.

 We had Thanksgiving dinner at James’s parents house and spent the day there, playing games, eating, and socializing. The kids had an especially good time. They were all excited to be together. When it was time to go home we had to say good bye to Jordan and Amanda because they were going back home the next day. Miles was beside himself. He loves Ben so much and could not help shedding a few tears (he was also extremely exhausted). Ben kept it together though, he told Miles that he had to go home because he had to go to school and clean his room. He told him he will probably come back when he finishes sixth grade, funny kid. We all had such a great time that week. It was really nice to see family and spend time together. I am grateful to have married into such a great family, they all feel like brothers and sisters to me and I am so glad my kids get to grow up with cousins to play with. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for family!