Friday, February 26, 2010

Book Review: Alas, Babylon

Let the reading continue! Yessssss.

This lil beauty was a find on Barnes & Noble's "Buy 2, get the 3rd FREE" table. That's a great table. Especially when you can find books that you actually might sorta kinda want to read on that table. Which I did: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank.

Apparently this is an old book. The copyright page (which I know how to read because of all those practice sessions in elementary school) tells me that it was first published in 1959. Wikipedia (which I learned how to use once I forgot everything I learned in elementary school) confirms this.

The story takes place in the Nuclear Age town of Fort Repose, Florida. Randy Bragg is just a guy with not a lot of direction in his life...until his Air Force brother Mark lets slip that they've got it on good authority that the Russians are going to be attacking the country. It's going to be bad, and it's going to be soon. So Mark sends his wife and kids to Fort Repose to be with Randy (apparently it was likely to be safe there?) while he hunkers down at a military base type thing in Omaha. Well, the nuclear war happens, and it basically wipes out most of the country, including pretty much the entire state of Florida other than Fort Repose. So, Randy, his new family, his neighbors, his girlfriend, and the rest of the surrounding population have to learn how to survive in this new world in which cash becomes worthless within a few hours, running water and electricity become things of the past, and highway robbers kill for things like honey and whiskey.

It's pretty interesting. It's also pretty terrifying. Especially if you don't have much in the way of food, oh say, me. Seriously, this book was a kick in the pants, if I've ever had one. I even put "Figure out food storage" on my "Things to do when I'm bored" list. True story.

It took a little long for the book to really get going. It seemed to me like too much happened before the actual bombing occurred - which, of course, is what really sets things in motion. I would have liked to be kind of thrown into the middle of the chaos, rather than placed nicely in the neighbor's yard with fair warning of what was about to happen. But you know, that's just me.

What I really liked about this book was the ending. And I can't quite put my finger on why! I won't tell you what happens...not like it's a big surprise or anything, because not much really does happen. I just thought the last few lines had some nice meaning embedded in them.

So, if you see Alas, Babylon on a "Buy 2, get the 3rd FREE" table, at a secondhand bookstore, at the library, on a street corner, or on my bookshelf if you live close to me, I would say this book is worth reading. It will make you think. And maybe even inspire an interesting nightmare or two...not that that happened to me. Even though it did.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Family Pictures

We haven't had any "professional" pictures taken of Madelyn. (GASP!)

Not like the girl's life isn't documented, because it totally is. Enter my mom.

My mom is really a great photographer. She has an awesomely awesome camera and has taken a few classes on photography techniques and what not.

She's been taking pictures of Madelyn from her first seconds of life. You think I'm kidding? I'm not. We all joke that Madelyn is going to think cameras are called "grandmas."

Anyway, it's been great to not have to shell out any moo-lah for "professional" pictures and still have great pictures of Maddy girl.

And then when I decided I wanted some cute pictures of our whole fam, my mom was more than happy to oblige.

I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you. There are many favorites, so get comfy. The first is at the top of my blog, as the header. I love how you can see Madelyn's little footsie sticking out. I do not love that it looks like I don't have a butt. I have a butt. I promise.

*Side note: These are very hastily and unprofessionally edited by me. Don't judge. Side note over.*

Told you there were a lot. There are a lot more. I'm sparing you from endless scrolling. You can thank me later.

Anyways, I loved taking pictures with my two favorites, and I love how they turned out! I also love my mom, and I love that my mom's going rate for picture taking is a junior candy sundae from Sonic. Maybe someday I'll buy some frames and make a cool wall collage of pictures. Totally want to do that. Totally need money for frames. Totally accepting donations in person or by mail.

Oh and also, if you looove Maddy's headband like I do, my sister makes them. I can totally hook you up (and yes, they're cheap [pricewise]!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For the love

Just thought I'd give you a quick lil summary of our Valentinesian weekend, since it was full of people I love, things I love, food I love, and just love in general.

Saturday, I woke up to balloons, chocolates, and ROSES. Mmm mmm that's a good start to a day. I have a picture of this, but my camera is...not within arm's reach. Just imagine it. It was as good looking as you can imagine (which is not an insult to your undoubtedly colorful imagination, but rather a compliment to the excellentness of this gift).

I got ready and then we went to breakfast at IHOP. Nothing like having a great breakfast you don't have to make!

And then Dallin, in all his hotness and sweetness, said we should go get me some clothes, which, let's face it, I've been in dire need of. I ended up with some new jeans (so badly needed) and a cute shirt. Lovely.

We browsed Barnes & Noble for a while (does anyone else LOVE doing this?) before dropping off Madelyn at my parents' house and going to dinner and a movie. We finally saw "Sherlock Holmes," which I thought was fairly to moderately spectacular, and then went to Olive Garden, which is basically my favorite food this side of the universe.

And, of course, the whole day was full of flirting, kissing, hand holding mushy-ness. Because we like each other almost as much as we love each other.

Sunday, I gave Dallin a heart attack. I used the time immediately following Maddy's early morning feeding to put little paper hearts on his mirror, around his desk, in his shoes, etc. Some of them were even couponified. I love giving coupons. We went to church, made delectable red velvet cupcakes in the afternoon, and then went to my parents' house for a steak dinner, various desserts, and Olympics watching.

So yes, it was a practically perfect weekend. I'm very lucky to have a guy that tries so hard to make me happy...especially because he usually succeeds.

Hope your weekend was full of love too!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Blessing

Madelyn IS a blessing.

Madelyn also RECEIVED a blessing.

A very special blessing from two very loving fathers - one on Earth and one in Heaven.

Madelyn's blessing day was February 7th.

Dallin gave the single most beautiful blessing I have ever heard. I wish I was just saying that, because then I would feel like I wasn't bragging. But I'm not just saying that, so I am kind of bragging, which is terrible, but whatever.

Some of the notable things I remember from the blessing: that Madelyn will have a sense of humor, that she will have patience with her imperfect parents (YES.) and that she will be her mother's best friend, because her mother loves her very much (ALSO YES.).

I know that God has blessed us by allowing us to have access to His power through the holy priesthood. It's hard for me to even say how grateful I am that Dallin is a worthy priesthood holder who is able to lead and preside over our home with the very power of God. That power is real. I believe that with all my might, and this sweet blessing reaffirmed it with every word.

We were so so glad that so many of our friends and family came to share this special occasion with us. Happiness IS the love and support of those you love and support!

Here are some pictures my mom snapped of the big day:

Madelyn and Great Grandma (who might not have been ready
for the picture...but looks great anyway!):

Good shot of her dress (which is the dress my mom was blessed in...let's hope Madelyn catches whatever my mom caught so she can be just like her G!):

The whole gang:

Daddy, Mommy, and Baby:

Same day, different outfit, too cute to not post:

Blessed baby. Blessed parents. Life is good.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


L is for the way you look at me

O is for the only one I see

V is very, very extraordinary

E is even more than anyone that you adore

Love is all that I can give to you

Love is more than just a game for two

Two in love can make it - take my heart but please don't break it

Love was made for me and you.

[trumpets at end of song]

Friday, February 12, 2010

My second favorite holiday

I've been noticing that in recent years, and much to my dismay, Halloween's popularity has increased rapidly.

I especially noticed it this year, when I stumbled upon more than one blog whose writer claimed that Halloween was her favorite holiday.

Well, I'm calling you out, liar. Christmas is your favorite holiday. If you have a soul and love joy and Christianity more than a holiday with little to no intrinsic value, then Christmas is your favorite holiday. Unless of course it's so incredibly obvious that Christmas is pretty much everyone's favorite holiday that you don't even feel the need to rank it amongst the other holidays.

Which is weird, but ok.

Halloween can be your second favorite holiday... I guess. But personally, I don't understand how it can be with a day like Valentine's Day around!

I. Love. Valentine's. Dallin said the other day that it was "my" holiday. I was kind of questioning it at the time, but he's totally right.

Let's think about it: Love. Chocolate. Roses. The color pink.

Need I go on? Those are like, my most favorite things in this world.

Throw in the fact that The Precious and I spent our first full day together on Valentine's Day (click here for the story if you haven't read it...seriously) and you have the recipe for the second best darn holiday there is.

I'm not sure what we are doing for Valentine's this year. I guess it's a surprise...and Dallin is the master of perfect surprises. Probably not something too extravagant though...we're, um, poor. But you know what? If I've got a hunky guy to snuggle with and tell me he loves me, Valentine's is pretty much a success.

I think it'll be a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Water for Elephants: DNF

I put down Gruen's Water for Elephants for the last time last week.

I was on page 159 of 331. It just wasn't worth it anymore.

I was barely reading it anyway, what with the swear words and the, well, inappropriateness. Call me a prude if you want.

I don't understand why books have to have that kind of crap in them! I would think that it is possible to write an interesting, historically sound story about a circus without being quite so blunt and detailed about the sexual side of things. Just my opinion, I guess.

This one caused quite a bit of buzz, and was on bestseller lists for a while, so I'm bummed about it being unreadable. I looked up the end on Wikipedia, so I at least know what happens.

Another potentially great story, ruined by sex. Shame.

Up next: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. Anyone read it? I haven't started yet.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I want to be...



a writer


able to let loose


always spiritually in tune



exceptionally good at something



a good cook

someone people want to be around

the friend that's always there

pure in heart


someone worth looking up to

able to look at this list and feel like all these things are possible; like if I just take it step by step, a little bit at a time, I can be everything I want to be.

Sometimes, I'm afraid it won't ever happen. Don't mean to go all emo on you or anything, but sometimes I just get overwhelmed thinking about everything I want to do and become. And I know I should think, "Sure, I can do this, I can be that." But sometimes, I just don't. And it's because sometimes, I just don't try. I think I'm afraid of getting my hopes up only to let myself down. I hate it when that happens. It makes me so much less likely to try again.

I know - I'm whining. I have people that love me just the way I am, in spite of all the things I am not.

But don't you ever look in the mirror and wonder about all the great things you could do, if you put your mind to it?

I think I want to make some of those "coulds," "dids." That's all.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Review: The Help

Welcome to "What Katie Thinks About Something or Another, Part III."

Seriously, review central, my blog has become.

Also, apparently channeling Yoda, I am.

Ok, that's gotta stop.

Anyway, I'm loving that I'm finally reading again. It's wonderful. If you don't read...please, please start reading.

And put this book on your "To Read" list:

Yep, I liked it.

Pretty much the only things I heard about it were positive, so I was expecting to like it...but then again, I don't like the "Twilight" books, and I hear a lot of positive things about those, too.

Although, that might just be because "Twilight" lovers are loud. I'm just sayin.

So, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

It takes place in Mississippi in the early 1960s, so if that doesn't scream "THIS BOOK IS ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS!" I don't know what does. And yes, it does focus largely on civil rights. The story is told from the viewpoints of three women: two black women who are employed by white women as "help," and one white woman who is a) desperate to be a writer, and b) questioning the way her white, married friends treat their "help." This white lady is thus inspired to write a book in which she anonymously interviews several different black maids about the experiences they've had serving white families.

There were a couple things I especially liked about this book:
  • Great voice(s). I could practically hear each character telling the story. In fact, sometimes I did hear the characters telling the story, since I read I good chunk of the book out loud to Madelyn. The book is written in such a way that if you read it out loud, you will have a southern black woman accent. Law, have mercy!
  • Got the Civil Rights message across without making me especially angry, upset, or heartbroken. Let's face it, that's not too easy to do. And it even talked about some of the positive relationships that some white women had with their maids, which was nice to hear.
  • Pretty darn funny in some parts. I might have lol-ed once or twice.
But my favorite thing about this book was that (almost) nothing went the way it was supposed to. If there was something that would be just terrible for so-and-so to hear about it, well, so-and-so heard about it. If one character was living in fear that such-and-such would happen, well, it did...

And the characters kept on living and trying and growing. I would say that probably one of the most important things any of us can learn is that life is not always going to go the way we want it to go. Sometimes the worst case scenarios - those things you just absolutely dread even thinking about - will actually happen, and you'll just have to live with them and find a way to keep finding happiness. Tough lesson, right? But I think it's very applicable to all of us.

So yeah, I totally recommend The Help. You'll like the story and love the characters.

I actually finished this one last week and am into my next one: Water for Elephants. Not loving it so far, but I'll let you know the end result.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'll Like You For Always

It's mornings like this morning (when I was pooped on in the first 5 minutes of holding Maddy girl)

following nights like last night (during which I got up just about every 2 hours exactly)

that make me think I could very easily be mad at my little girl.

And then I go to change her, and I get:

and I'm like, "Mad? What's mad?"

"Wait, who's mad?"

"I'm not mad!"

"Um...what was the question?"

I guess anger and chubby cheeks just don't mix.