random parts of august

One Sunday some friends invited us over for dinner.. They have lots of toys and a bunny, who Sam loved and probably poked in the eye a bunch. 

One evening we decided to use an olive garden gift card so we didn't have to cook. Sam really chowed down on the salad. Yes, he loves lettuce/spinach (with dressing, obviously) these days. He preferred this to the pizza. !! And he often eats with his hand up like that, mostly because he stuffs his mouth so full he always needs back up. 

We went up to a big park at the rose garden a few times. Sam finally decided he likes swinging and actually requests it. He also climbed those stairs all by himself (not even holding onto the rail). Which, now that I write that down, seems like a weird thing to brag about, but I think for 1.5 year olds, it's totally a big deal. 

Sam's always had fun with the elevator (banging on the walls, stomping/marching, not to mention all the lights and buttons), but earlier this summer he got his hand stuck in the door (wait, did I not write about that? We spent a nice evening the the ER, which was basically pointless, but you know. due diligence) and we had to coax him over the threshold for months. He finally runs in now and hangs on the bar and really enjoys the ride. I imagine he'll be the only kid of ours with such frequent elevator rides. 

Earlier this month we joined some friends of ours for a concert at a really cool concert hall downtown. It was really fun! It's been a while since I've been to a big concert and I loved it. It was band we'd never heard of (broken bells) but they had a great show.

this year's reads.

This spring/summer I feel like I accomplished a lot as far as reading goes...I finally had/made the time to sit and read. And listen to books. I feel that still counts, and it's a way for me to read (or "read") when I couldn't otherwise.

It's been a few years since I did a list of my favorite reads and since lately each book I finish I dub my favorite book of the year...I thought maybe another list was in order. Well, there were a few duds in the mix, but you can't win them all. (only one I didn't include on this list because I just can't recommend it)

Looking back on the books I read this year, I was surprised that I actually read (not "read") the majority of them. Fancy. Most of these came at recommendations, because honestly, I don't have time I want to spend reading books I know nothing about or that didn't come from at least one other person on the internets that I "know".

And in chronological order, because I'd be hard-pressed to pick favorites.

1. Killing Jesus: I don't listen to Bill O'Reilly in any other context, but this book was fascinating.

2. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage: wonderful book of short stories.

3. Ender's Game: nothing new, but after watching the movie, we listened to this during our beach trip. It's awesome.

4. How We Decide: you know I'm a sucker for books about decisions. This one was pretty good.

5. Stories I Only Tell My Friends: I mean, Rob Lowe is awesome. And if you like celebrities and fun stories about how rob low seriously knows every other male celebrity every (rdj, tom cruise, etc)...read it! I also had to watch a few episodes of the West Wing after. 

6. Proof of Heaven: super interesting and it resonated with me; I felt it totally jived with part of my beliefs about heaven. 

7. Things A Little Bird Told Me: A Colbert bump, I was intrigued and I really liked it.

8. David and Goliath: if not for just a more correct perspective on the actual David vs. Goliath story, it was a really inspiring and had lot of things to incorporate into future thinking. How was that for vague?

9. The Body Book: A Jimmy Fallon bump. And it's written by a celebrity who isn't an expert in that field or anything, but I liked it. I like the science and while I didn't necessarily learn anything new, it was a great overview. Plus I felt like Cameron Diaz and I were having a chat and were bffs. There are worse things.

10. Divergent: I know it's like written for teens and there is plenty of things to roll your eyes at but I still liked it. One review mentioned how it isn't a girl deciding between two boys, but between something like "good and evil", which is much better. I read it twice in a row during our utah trip (and saw the movie again). I saw the movie earlier this year, and thought they did a great job with it. Dave even read it (though he isn't patient to wait for the other two and just looked up the endings on wikipedia). He wondered why it always talks about girl's stomachs. Which is a great question. But seeing the movie, I suppose I can give you Four reasons ;)

I still haven't read the two other books, but my hold for the third one did come up, so I'm just hoping the second one does too...otherwise...that was pointless and back into the really long hold line I go. 

11. It's OK Not to Share: My favorite parenting book, by far. I love her philosophies and really want to incorporate a lot of these.

12. All Joy and No Fun: I listened to this and it was so great. A fascinating look at parenting and made me quite introspective (I'm not quite sure how to use that word, to be honest) on parenting and our life. And the future. yikes, the future scares me. Highly recommend.

13. Blink: Listened to this one and Malcom Gladwell is a great narrator. I love his books, and as always, they are just so interesting and give you a lot to think about. In this case, it's thinking about how you think. Ha.

14: The Princess Bride: I've never read it! But my sister-in-law said it was a must read (or something, sorry if I'm misquoting you, Karren) and I was a little nervous it would read like an old classic that would be harder for me to read, but it was a quick read. I started it on the way home from the beach last night and finished it today. It is hilarious (I love his style), easy to imagine since the movie was pretty much spot-on and of course, a great love story. And I also learned it's WesTley, not Wesley, as I had assumed.

I also re-read (or listened to) Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling's books, which are always great. I also listened to The Fault in Our Stars (which I read a couple years ago) and I can't decide if I preferred listening or reading. Both made me cry, of course, but something about listening...I must see this movie soon. 

You can find more books I've read in the last few years here, if you're interested.

I want to know what I should read next!

off to join the rodeo or bears

We're lucky to have friends with passes to the fun places in Portland, like the zoo and children's museum. Sam's getting to the age where we'd probably get a pass to something around here for the rainy days, but for now we are enjoying being the guests of our wonderful friends.

This trip was more about banging on the fences, hanging on railings, climbing on rocks and splashing/sticking your face in the waterfall (gross) than looking at the animals, but Sam's anything but conventional at the zoo. (although he did pet a duck and get a kick out of the goats)

summer fun

We've had lots of fun since we've been back in portland. We had a picnic at a cool park on the East side and saw a lot of very friendly geese, spent an evening at director park for a little concert and some giant chess, worked on our balance at the park and played at a few splash pads. We may have had fun in utah, but we sure love portland. 

backyard swimming

My parents bought a little kiddie pool for Sam to play with while we were staying with them, which was a lot of fun for him. The two times we went to a city pool, we had to drag him away when we were ready to go, he loved it so much. This afternoon they pulled out all the stops: warm kitchen water in the pool and perfect placement in the shade. And a doting aunt to play with Sam until he was done. My dad took some great pictures of them playing.
Meanwhile, I was doing this:

And then I did a little of this:


One reason we went to Utah when we did was to be able to drop my sister Alisa off at the MTC for her mission to Baltimore, MD! It was a fun week of family activities, dinners and a great experience for us to be there with her as she left. We'll miss chatting with her, but she'll be a great missionary!