Monday, December 31, 2012

books i read that changed my life: 2012



"From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood."  -A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

My favorite books that I read this year:
The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright
This gave me a greater perspective on the privilege it is to be literate.  It was also a great lesson in humanity---there are many layers and aspects into every life.  Be so cautious in labeling and making judgements on a person until you have "walked in their shoes."
I initially bought the kindle version of this book...and I liked it so much I wanted to flip through the pages, make notes and use it as a reference...so I bought a paper back copy...and then a few more for anyone I thought might enjoy it as much as I do.
The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma
Reading to my daughters has always been one of my favorite joys of motherhood---this book took it to a new level for me.  It also adjusted a few of my parenting ideologies.
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Before reading this book I was fascinated by family history and genealogy.  This book fueled that fire for me.
I Knew Their Hearts by Jeff Olsen
A reminder that this mortal life is so small when considering the infinite.
This left me inspired to work hard for our daughters in order to give them as many opportunities as we can, but also because them seeing you work and sacrifice...is an even a better teacher.
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Peques
We read a chapter of this book on any morning we were organized and together. (It took us a few months.)  The chapters are short and it gives an assignment each day.  We LOVED it!  (especially Danny and I)  It gave us SO much to think about.  We plan to reread it regularly as a family.  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

she came into the world


Rose Aponi
entered the world on December 29th
weighing 8 lbs 4 oz
adored by her mother Lilly, her father Paul and her big sister Sage

She has many adoring aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents too...


Monday, December 24, 2012

my very favorite things at Christmas



No matter where we are in the world...
and what are circumstances might be...
with the these four I would find JOY!

Some of our favorite things about this holiday season---

Seeing the lights at Temple Square with most of the Davis family...Rob + Whitney were even there!  Danny, Kate + Sophie were able to be there (Ellie and I were hosting book club)

A new addition to our holiday celebration are the stockings hanging in the background.  Ellie wanted to learn to make a stocking in her sewing class and decided she would make three...one for her and then for her sisters!  They are beautiful!

Concerts...Ellie played O Little Town of Bethlehem (EmmyLou Harris inspired) at her guitar recital (a.k.a. guitar party) and I backed her up on guitar.  Kate played in a concert with all of her fellow cello students in her teacher's studio (50 students in all) at the Salt Lake Library.  Some of the songs she played were:  Jolly Old St. Nicholas, Allegretto, French Folk Song, For Health and Strength, Clock Tower Bells.  Sophie learned The First Noel and played slurs for the first time!  She worked so hard!

Grandparent parties...it was our second annual grandparent party.  Because Papa Davis is still recovering from his fall he couldn't come to our house SO we had two.  The first one was at the care center.  The girls brought their instruments to share their recital pieces.  Papa wanted everyone to hear it so we played just off of the dining room.  We brought clam chowder (Papa could eat it!) for dinner.

The next day we had the rest of the grandparents here at our house.  We served homemade clam chowder, rolls, appetizers, etc...  They were so sweet to listen to our music and the girls were thrilled to share their gifts with them.  The grandparents shared their favorite Christmas memories with us...and grandparent party has been some of our favorite memories!

We have loved our advent books each night...and LOVED the girls book club Christmas celebrations!  Ellie and Kate's groups did special service projects to celebrate the season.  Ellie's group collected books for the pediatric floor at South Davis Community Hospital.  Then as a group we were able to spend time delivering the books and reading to the patients (many who are very long term) there.  After 40 minutes or so I walked down the hall to find Ellie + Madelyn (they were reading partners) in a young man's room.  They had been there the entire time.  He listened with excitement and contentment as they read.  When it was time to leave I saw a glow and happiness on Ellie's face that brought tears to my eyes.  We wont forget that experience.  Kate's group collected books for Eliza's library!  Eliza is part of her book club and it was such a treat to be able to do something collectively in Eliza's honor---we  love her so much.  Then the girls wrote cards for Eliza's tree.  (Special service projects done in honor of Eliza that her mom + dad read to her as her gifts for Christmas.)

Kate's letter was as follows:  "I played cello at the care center and all the pepole were so happy and even my grandpa cried!  I love doing servece. (insert drawing of cello) I deleverd appel cider to som nighbors and was also thinking about giving this very letter to you.  All the pepole are proboly gulping the cider down! (insert drawing of Christmas tree with a gift underneath) Kate"  

A facetime performance...Annie and John practicing the musical number for John's family Christmas party.   We miss not having them here with us this Christmas.

Davis family Christmas parties:  With Papa + Sally @ Noah's...eating catered Cafe Rio and playing walley ball!  Then the next day @ Go Ute Nana's...a turkey dinner presents and stockings.  Hours of jumping (Lowe's Extreme sports) and two ultrasounds for the two babies coming!!!!  Lilly + Paul's baby girl and Sharon + Jason's baby boy!!!!!!!!!!!

Christmas Eve:  a phone call from the Lowe's in the morning inviting us to come enjoy homemade doughnuts!!!  The Passey's were there too and brought a delicious egg casserole! We met Nana Miller at Build A Bear in the afternoon so the kids could make their own stuffed animal...the older kids were give gift cards to spend at any store.  The little ones making stuffed animals were on CLOUD NINE!!!  It was so fun seeing them all together!  Mike + Annie were even there from AZ!  Ellie wanted to shop at Urban Outfitters!  She has wanted her own camera from there since her last birthday.  With a discount we receive because her aunt works for Anthropologie she could afford it with Nana's gift card and a few of her own dollars!  She wanted a mint colored Holga!  She went up to the counter with the camera, her gift card, and my discount card.  The manager was checking us out and said- "That will be $12.80."  She and I both thought it must be an additional $12.80 above her gift card.  As we were gathering more money the sales clerk said, "No.  Just $12.80"  The packaging was torn so I discounted it for you.  WOW!  Ellie was so excited.  We met up with all of the family to eat.  As we were walking back to the car we went by the Children's Museum.  Ellie asked if she could go into the gift shop.  She still had money to spend.  She saw some necklaces she loved right away...I thought she wanted them for herself.  She asked, "Mom, do I have enough on my gift card to buy these for Kate and Sophie?"  I was so touched that she wanted to share her own gift by buying something for her sisters.

How grateful we are to the many wonderful friends and family we are blessed to know.  It is our relationships and memories make Christmas so special to us.  Our blessings are abundant and we feel oh, so grateful!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird



It was our turn to host Ellie's book club in November.  She chose to read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  She had recently read it for a book report for school and LOVED it!  She and her fellow book club attendees are in fifth and sixth grade so I worried that the subject matter might be a little bit too rough for them.  I was wrong.  The girls that came to discuss the book that night loved it as much as Ellie and I do.

We discussed 4 lessons of the book (as found here)-

1.  put yourself in other person's shoes
2.  don't kill mockingbirds (hurt those that are vulnerable or weaker than you)
3.  keep fighting even if you know you'll lose
4.  the world is very unfair


The girls each shared different parts of the book that they felt related to these lessons.  Some of our favorites were:

When Scout and Jem learn that their dad, Atticus, is the best shot in the town.  They didn't even know he had ever shot a gun (is that an exaggeration?)  and were shocked when he was selected to save the town from a rabid dog.

The story of Mrs. Dubose.  She was so mean to Scout and Jem and said disgraceful things about Atticus.  Jem had finally lost it and destroyed some plants in her yard.  Atticus sent Jem back to appologize and then an agreement was made that Jem would read to Mrs. Dubose after school.  That story of compassion and forgiveness is beautiful.  Atticus later said of the experience,

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.  It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.  You rarely win, but sometimes you do.  Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her.  According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody.  She was the bravest person I ever knew."

He said those wonderful words of a woman who had judged him---yet he saw her from her perspective...in her shoes.  Instead of seeing meanness he saw bravery.  He taught his children the same.

There are so many wonderful lessons in this book.  We can find as much pain, misery and hatred in the world...that we want to find.  But as I listened to these 10 and 11 year olds discuss what To Kill A Mockingbird has taught them, I was reminded of how much good there is in the world.  Standing up for what you believe in, protecting those more innocent than you and trying to put yourself in another person's shoes were lessons that penetrated into all of our hearts...

lessons that weren't new...
but just remembered...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

our advent 2012

I have been struggling through an internal debate on whether to do our advent again this year...
We LOVED it last year...
my very favorite advent yet...
opening a present everyday...
ending every night in December reading on the couch as a family...
no fighting over which book to read!
but it was a lot of time setting it up...
wrapping and numbering 25 books!
and I was feeling lazy~

UNTIL
at Stake Conference today-
Kate showed me this picture on her electronic device
(which was keeping her entertained for the 2 hour meeting)

I don't think I ever looked at this picture after it was taken that night...
It was day 19 of our advent last year.
It was a brand new book for our family.
It isn't really a Christmas book but it has a beautiful message.
We made crowns that night.

After looking at that picture today I decided to get busy...and start wrapping!
(I am only one day late!)

2.  Good King Wenceslas by Jane Seymour 
(This is our new book this year.  We heard her recite this last year with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I love the song---and the story was beautiful.)
3.  Christmas Cookies by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
(make cookies this night)
4.  Christmas Every Day by William Dean Howells
5.  The Snowbelly Family by Cheryl Hawkinson
6.  Yes Virginia by Chris Plehal
7.  Only A Star by Margery Facklam
(one of my very favorites)
8.  Sally's Christmas Miracle by Charles Schultz
9.  Lucky Pup's Christmas by Ken Brown
10.  Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear by Don & Audrey Wood
11 & 12.  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
13.  A Shepard's Gift by Mary Calhoun
14.  The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
15.  If You Take A Mouse To The Movies by Laura Numeroff
(go to the movies...or watch a Christmas movie @ home)
16.  The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern
17.  The Other Wise Man by Henry VanDyke
18.  It's A Wonderful Life for kids by Jimmy Hawkins
19.  The Gift of the Magi by O Henry
20.  Room For A Little One by Martin Waddell
21.  Olive The Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold
22.  The Christmas Carol (abridged and illustrated) by Dickens
23.  Come and See by Monica Mayper
24.  Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
(and the Christmas Story out of the Book of Luke in the Bible)