Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Book List Review

This year I have picked up the hobby of reading. I have read before but this year I rediscovered the joy and love of it. I don't think there was ever a period of time this month where I wasn't in the middle of a book. If there was my ears were on the constant search of hearing about a new one to start. I have put together a list of all (if I remembered them all) of the books I read this year. I also rated them according to my nerdy tastes. Also, I wrote a note on the bottom of this post. Don't forget to read it. Sometimes I feel like the bottom of posts get ignored.
Here they are in no particular order:

The Host - YYY
By: Stephanie Meyer

I am pretty easy to please. It takes place right next to my home town. Aliens and such... I liked it. It dragged a bit in the middle and was a bit predictable.

The Secret Life of Bees - YYYY
By: Sue Monk Kidd

I read this at my first book club with the ward. It made me want to raise bees whenever we get our own place. It is a heartwarming story taking place in the south.

My Sister's Keeper - YYYY
By: Jodi Picoult

You may begin to notice a common trait in the books I choose. I like to read books that have been made into a movie. I love reading it first and then watching it. I read this one with my mom. We loved it. *Warning - tear jerker*

The Geursney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - YYYY
By: Mary Ann Shaffer

This book is a quick, easy read. It's sweet and romantic. It's a realistic fiction that will make you love the name Dawsey.

Eat, Pray, Love - YYYYY
By: Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is fabulous! There is only one word to describe this book: INSPIRING. I think I will read it again. Maybe right now.

The Lovely Bones - YY
By: Alice Sebola

Mason and I read this together and we were both extremely disappointed in the ending. We only hope that the movie ends better than the book. Also, this one is a little rough. If you read it - don't say I didn't warn you.

The Reader - Y
By: Bernhard Schlink

No I didn't see the movie. Don't worry I won't. I think it's rated X. (Ok it's not that bad) But atleast it was interesting.

Breaking Dawn - YYYY
By: Stephanie Meyer

I won't write my reviews of all of these. I mix up all the stories anyway. But I did like them and would recommend them to you if you haven't read them yet.

Eclipse - YYYY
By: Stephanie Meyer

You know...

New Moon - YYYY
By: Stephanie Meyer

But did you know that I hate the actors in the movies? I think they are horrible.

Twilight - YYYY
By: Stephanie Meyer

I feel like the casting director regrets his choice in Bella especially but now they are stuck with her. Lucky for her. Sad for them - and us.

A Christmas Carol - YYY
By: Charles Dickens

This was a good classic to read to get in the Christmas spirit. Plus it gave me so much insight into the beloved story we have heard since we were little.

Message In A Bottle - YYY
By: Nicholas Sparks

I don't usually read romance novels but I think this one came at one of those moments where I was desperate for something to read. But I liked it. I like to get sappy sometimes.

Angela's Ashes - BOO!
By: Frank McCourt

Worst book ever!! I hated it! I labored through it hoping for some resolution in the end and it ended in the worst possible way. Oh man. Don't read this unless it's the last book on earth. Maybe some of you have read it and liked it and I'm just not cultured enough to appreciate it - but yuck. No thanks.

The BoyLost - YYY
By: David Pelzer

This is a must read if you read "A Child Called It." It's sad but also makes you feel better for that poor child.

The Tale of Despereaux - YYYYY
By: Kate DiCamille

I read this book for the first time with my class. They loved it. I loved it. I know it's a kids book but it's great.
So there you have it. If any of you have read any of these books let me know. Even if you read them and felt differently I would love to hear it too. Also I am currently on the look out for some new good books for 2010. What are your favorites?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Have yourself an Arizona Christmas...

We have been having such a fun time in Arizona. We got here Wednesday night. I got to meet up with one of my friends that I haven't seen since we graduated. Lindsey! I love this girl. So that's what I did 3 hours after I got here. I made sure that I spent some very missed time with this girl.
Then the next day, Christmas Eve, it was time for the festivities. This was our first Christmas with everyone all together including the new inlaws ever. So Stacey and Mason got thrown into the Leybas family traditions. They survived the weekend - barely.
We always get up Christmas Eve morning and make tamales. Yummy! And then we get to smell them cooking all day. We don't do the traditional Christmas dinner with ham. We have a Mexican dinner including our tamales.
Then it's on to see Santa Claus in the Casa Grande Mall. You gotta love this old Santa. He has been the same Santa ever since I was 5 years old. I swear he never ages. Wait.. of course he doesn't. He's Santa!!! (But really! He never ages!!!)
It was funny. First of all when we got there the mall was completely deserted except for Santa and Mason turns to me and says, "Where is everyone??" It's CG. What do you expect? Then this little 7 year old African American boy runs up and yells "You all are too big for Santa!" Again... welcome to CG. I love it.
So then we end the night driving around while looking at Christmas lights. Then it's always been a family tradition that Christmas morning all the kids have to meet on the parents bed before going downstairs to open presents. So even though most of us are pushing 30 - we still did - barely.
Then it's on to open stockings. As you will notice the boys' (meaning my brothers) faces never change year after year.
I got my dad a snuggie for Christmas. He has been talking about these ever since he saw them on tv the first time. I couldn't resist. Haha.
After all the presents get opened it's a free-for-all in the wrapping paper. Yes Eric's in there somewhere.
And then it's pose with all your best presents. NOTICE MINE!!! I'M SO EXCITED!! I got the new Rebel T1I. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. I haven't put it down since I've gotten it. I just can't wait to get home to use my editing program!
That was about it for Christmas. Then the next day we went to see Avatar. I liked it a lot. After that we went to this yummy resturant called "My Big Fat Greek Resturant." While we were there these belly dancers came out. Here is one hitting on my dad.

Then we went to Grandma's house.
And I played with my new toy taking pictures of things I love...
...like these.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Lefler Christmas

I decided I couldn't blog about Christmas in Arizona until I finished blogging about last weekend's activites with the Leflers. It was a fun time. We had a delicious dinner. After dinner we did the nativity reading. Here is sweet little Sydney holding Ashlee's new baby... I love this picture.

Here is Mason and I. I'm the sheep. He is the shepherd.

Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus.

Then it was on to the gag gifts. I didn't really get any good pictures this year. These were the best I got. Laura got some extra high pants because she like to hike them up to be comfortable. Hilarious!

I had Bobby, Mason's brother in law and I made him a bubble due to the fact that he is quite germ-a-phobic. He doesn't have insurance and has a new baby so sometimes he goes over the top in taking precautions. But hey... it's worked so far!!

And then that's it so far. I will have to check around and see if anyone else got any pictures. It was a good night.

But I am loving being here in Arizona. Maybe I will post about it tomorrow. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

*Christmas Card*

(In case you didn't get one)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gingerbread House Extravaganza!!!

On Mason and I's 2nd date we went to his parents house for the annual Gingerbread making contest. We made an amazing 'Gingerbread House boat' that won first prize. Well the annual contest got postponed two years, but it was back again last night!! I started planning ahead on what our design would be and came up with an awesome idea that you will have to see at the end!! So now for the build up! PS: There is a 1 hour time limit.

Mason beginning the sketch for our masterpiece. Each team consisted of Mason's brothers and sisters with their spouses and then we all drew 2 names and had those kids on our teams. We had Zach and Avery.

Bryan, Tandi and Monet - not showing anyone the front until the end.

Ashlee, Bobbie and Sydney concentrating hard at the end of the table.

Mason and Zach making goofy faces while Avery and I smile away. Can you tell what ours is yet??

Tom and Adrian (below) were the other couple together last night along with little wolfy...

And below is little Lilah just loving all the excitement!!

And here are the finished results!!! Drum roll please......

Bryan and Tandi's 'Monster' Gingerbread house. I got this picture after the roof had fallen in. Dang it.

Ashlee and Bobby's Santa sleigh. I love the little Santa and reindeer. Aren't they cute?

Tom and Adrian's 'technical' Gingerbread house. Look at that precision!!

And... our Gingerbread baseball stadium!!

And in case you wanted a view from the other side, which I'm sure you did - here it is!! I'm so proud at how it came out!

We got a picture like this on our 2nd date. So we had to recreate the scene. I tried to find the picture to compare... but it's packed away in a box somewhere.

And then it was on to The Beetles Rock Band. An early Christmas present. I love the concentration on everyones faces.

Such a fun night!! Sunday is gag gift night!! Check back for pictures. I have a great idea this year... *wink wink*

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Yesterday while Mason was at work his car got tagged. I guess he works next to an 'alternative' high school for troubled youth. The funny thing is, is that being it was on the passenger side he didn't know it was there until after he had driven around all during his lunch break Christmas shopping. He must have looked pretty hard core.

But seriously though... who does that?? And Money Mob?! Oooo... tough. I feel like I'm back home in Casa Grande. Except they wouldn't be wanna be gangsta's like these Utah ones.

Luckily it came off nice and easy with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Works like a charm every time.