Friday, March 7, 2014

Best Books 2013

This posted is a little belated and maybe it is a little too late to try and do these book justice tonight, but here it goes.  My favorite books from 2013...

The Glass Castle : An amazing memoir by Jeannette Walls telling about her nomadic childhood.  It was shocking to me to read about intelligent people not willing to work to put food on the table for their kids.  Yet, I admired certain traits of her parents and the things they taught their kids.  It mad me laugh, cry, cheer, scream…I loved it.

Gifted Hands : I made Natali read this when I finished.  An autobiography of Benjamin Carson, a famous neurosurgeon.  This book is full of powerful lessons about faith, responsibility, hard work, determination, you name it.  I was inspired by his life.

Ender's Game : This one has been on my to read list forever and I finally got around to it.  I loved the twists and turns and the way the author really makes you think.  A creative and fascinating story.

How Will You Measure Your Life? : Clayton Christensen is a professor at Harvard Business School and closes his students semester by discussing this topic, How will you measure your life?  In the book he outlines his observations about what things matter the most at the end of your life.  I really enjoyed this book and wish I had marked in it more so I could review some of the ideas and apply them better.

Turn Right At Machu Picchu :  Greg read this on his way to Machu Picchu last year so I picked it up and really loved it.  The author, Mark Adams, tries to reenact explorer Hiram Bingham's trip that put Machu Picchu on the map.  I learned a lot about the site and the area around it.  Interesting and well written.

Christmas in the Desert

This year for Christmas we headed down to Mesquite. The kids loved playing at the park and playing football with cousins.  They loved all of grandma's food and the buzz of Christmas.  But everyones favorite part was the day we spent at the sand dunes.  Digging, riding four wheelers, sledding in the sand, hiking, and just enjoying the warmth.   Kate conquered her fear of moving fast and soon became a four wheeling enthusiast.  She has requested one of her own for Christmas next year (probably not going to happen but a girl can dream).  We all loved it.
 Uncle Brad pulling Andrew, Ari, and Natali on the sled.
 Lily got buried in the sand and didn't really mind that much.
 Emily got her turn to drive.
 Mack digging and Kate climbing.
 Kate riding with Dad.
 Mack pulling a cousin off a jump they built.
Andrew climbing and hiding in the rocks barefoot.

We had a great week with Greg's family and a wonderful Christmas.

I love Christmas but I'm always trying to figure out how to reduce the number of toys my kids get.  So this year the kids made each other presents.  They were all supposed to work together to make one gift for each kid.  I put one child in charge of each gift.

It was so fun.  Natali made a book for Kate on Shutterfly.  She wrote a story and had the kids act stuff out while she took pictures.  It turned out great.  She also recorded a CD for Emily full of stories to listen to at night.  Here are a few pictures from the story.  Looks interesting huh?


Mack created this awesome mountain out of salt dough.  Now Andrews animals have a place to roam, sleep, drink and hunt, but don't try to pick it up - it weighs a ton.

Andrew made Mack some marshmallow guns out of PVC pipe and then covered them in camo duck tape. And Kate and Emily helped me make some skirts for Natali.

It was fun to help them think of things the other child would really enjoy that wouldn't cost a lot of money.  We had a lot of fun - especially with that salt dough.
For New Years one of Greg's sisters and her family came to visit.  Teresa brought a ton of things from an Asian food store.  So we had a Chinese feast complete with some Japanese treats for the kids try :)  It was so funny watching everyone try to suck these little Jello like treats out of their tiny package.
We loved the time together playing games and just hanging out.  Andrew love playing with the babies and the girls had such a blast together.  Too bad it ended early because of that stomach bug…the bug that lasted forever.  We had it before Christmas, brought it with us to Nevada, then our hold out child got it the day before the cousins came.  Sadly, they picked it up and left early to nurse themselves back to health.  We had such fun while they were here!  Sorry we got you sick.