Tuesday, September 28, 2010


So, here's what I've been doing this past weekend....=)

David Alan
born 9/26/10
5 lbs 13 0z
19 1/4 inches

Sophia Lynn
born 9/26/10
4 lbs 13 oz
18 inches

Everyone is doing well! We are so very blessed!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Art Envy

Have you all met Rebekah Joy Plett?? She is one of my FAVORITE artists.

I met her about a year or so ago, thanks to her sister, the fabulous book blogger Raych. There was some kind of contest or something going on.....I can't remember. Anyway, I spent a bunch of time poking around on her portfolio, and kind of became a little bit internet-stalkerish, and eventually wound up buying myself a print of her incredible piece, Words Take Flight.

Cut to this year, and now we are Facebook friends, and about a month or so ago she announced a contest (I know, I'm apparently a sucker for those things) in which she asked her fans to give her a list of 10 interesting, obscure, and inspirational words, and she would choose one entry and make a painting based on those words. I thought that sounded pretty cool, so I came up with a list and submitted it. Alas, I did not win - and after reading all the entries, I wasn't surprised. She could paint for years based on the creative responses she gathered.

However, about a week later, I received and very unexpected email - Rebekah wanted to use MY list of words to create a painting for the annual Paint for Peace fundraiser!! Of course I said yes - how completely fantastic to have the list of words I thought up be used to inspire a painting for such a great cause. In case you were wondering, here is my list:

, piano, 
curly brown hair, 

Rebekah has been keeping me and her blog readers updated on her progress, and this week she shared this picture of what the painting looks like:

I might be biased, but I have to say I think it's pretty cool. Also pretty cool? On it's way to me is one of her initial sketches, that I am planning to frame and put up next to my grand piano. I can't wait!!

If you'd like to watch the progress of our painting, check out Rebekah's blog - she is always working on something fantastic.

And yes, this just makes me wish even more that I had even a TEENY bit of artistic ability - I guess I just have to live vicariously through the people I know that do.

p.s. I did receive permission from the artist to post her work on my site - please don't steal it without getting her permission as well!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Review - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
published 2010
400 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

My thoughts: (probably full of spoilers, so if you are one of the 3 people left in blog-land who hasn't read it yet, be careful...)

I finished this book 3 days ago, and I'm still not sure I can write a coherent review. It's been a very long time since a book has affected me in the way Mockingjay has. I expected it to be dark. I expected it to be violent. I expected characters I'd learned to care for to die. I just, somehow, didn't expect.....this.

I think one of the reasons it was so affecting, for me, was because Collins took all of the action completely out of the arena. For me, this made the seem much more immediate and threatening. The past two novels have taken place in a world that was clearly not my own - this one felt much more realistic, as if any of the situations Katniss finds herself in could be happening just a few months into the future.

I thought Collins' portrayal of the horrors of war to be excruciatingly true. Sometimes, the lines between good and bad get blurred. Sometimes, good people decide to do very bad things. Sometimes, it's almost impossible to know who to trust, and who is on your side. And it's violent, and people die, and it's heartbreaking. And Collins gives her readers all of that, in a way that felt completely honest and real.

I once again fell in love with Katniss - her toughness, masking the vulnerability that she couldn't help but reveal. Her confusion and desperation and fear. I think part of the reason I care about her so much is that I can relate to her motivations - she never wanted to be famous, or in the spotlight. She just wanted to do whatever it took to protect her family, and then suddenly she was in this situation that was so far beyond her control. To me, she has always been so believable, even when she is being stupid or whiny, because I can imagine myself reacting the same way she does.

And I'm not sure I will ever get over the losses of Cinna, or Finnick, or Prim. I knew going into Mockingjay that characters I loved would have to die. There was really no way to follow the story to its conclusion without that happening. But I truly felt their losses as if they were real people - probably crazy, but that's how immersed in this world I became.

Perhaps the best thing I can say about the novel is that I know I won't soon forget it. Love it or hate it, I can't think of another book recently that has generated this much conversation. Personally, I loved it, even as it was breaking my heart. Thank you, Suzanne Collins, for this unforgettable reading experience.

Finished: 9/9/10
Source: my shelves
MPAA rating: PG-13, for violence
My rating: 10/10

This book counts toward:

42 Science Fiction Challenge 2010
9/42 complete

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Shorts

Hard to believe, but in the midst of the craziness of the past few months, I've actually found some time to read again! It certainly didn't hurt that the third book in one of my favorite trilogies came out in August - of course, I had to re-read the first two in the series, so here are my thoughts....

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
published 2008
374 pages


Does anyone really need a synopsis at this point? Katniss takes her sister's place in the infamous Hunger Games, and uses her wits and skills to try to keep herself alive.

My thoughts:

Re-reading this book only reinforces my belief that had I discovered Katniss before I read the Twilight series, I would never have made it through the first Bella Swan installment.

I love this book for so many reasons. I love it for giving young women a strong, smart, vulnerable young heroine to take into their hearts. I love it for showing that being smart is often just as powerful and being strong. For maintaining the edge-of-my-seat suspense without descending into sheer, gratuitous violence. For the struggle, and the uncertainty, and the humanity - yeah, I just love this one.

Finished: 9/4/10
Source: my shelves
Rating: 10/10

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
published 2009
391 pages


Katniss returns home after the games to find herself in big trouble with the Capitol for her intentional act of rebellion.

My thoughts:

While I enjoy this one almost as much as the first, it is definitely a second book. It still has all the things I enjoy about the trilogy, but because much of the book does return us to familiar territory, it doesn't quite pack the same punch as the first. It's interesting reading this series for a second time and paying attention to my initial reactions to the characters - a number of them I remember loathing the first time around have since won places in my heart, and so this second read finds them already endeared to me. It still has a horrible cliffhanger, though - thank goodness I have the third book waiting on my shelf!

Finished 9/5/10
Source: my shelves
Rating: 9/10

These books count toward:

42 Science Fiction Challenge 2010
8/42 complete