Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday traditions, not traditional holidays.

We'll start with the Oram family Thanksgiving in 30 seconds...

(If you're reading this via goodreads, you'll have to visit the actual blog to see the video.)

I know what you're thinking. Where's all the pictures of the food? Did anyone watch the Lions play? And... was that a camel???

I can explain.

There is nothing my husband hates more in life than Thanksgiving. Seriously. He hates it. Hates loud family gatherings. Hates football. Hates turkey, stuffing, yams... pretty much all food served at Thanksgiving dinner save the pumpkin pie.

Well, he married into the right family because as much as he hates Thanksgiving dinner, I hate cooking it. (And cleaning it.) I get this from my mother. Growing up, my family decided cooking thanksgiving dinner was overrated and a waste of a day off, so we always went to a buffet every year and spent our time saved not cooking or cleaning doing fun things like going to the zoo or bowling or the movies.

When my husband learned of this he was basically thrilled. This year, in grand Hamilton tradition, we went  went with my parents to the Phoenix zoo, then to the buffet, and then took the kids to see Tangled. (Very cute but I was disappointed in the music. The horse=awesomest character in the movie.)

And then there's Christmas...

Traditional, right?

What? You don't make smores over a campfire on your back patio every year? At least there was hot chocolate involved. See?

(Yeah, I'm totally rockin' the I heart Troy High School Musical mug. I'm cool like that.)

 Okay, this is only the second year doing this, (and last year I wasn't there because my husband and I jumped a plane to Germany Christmas day and left my kids with my sister...) but it's also only our second Arizona Christmas. I have a feeling this one's going to stick! Here are a couple of thing the kiddos got for Christmas this year. Santa was really nice to me and brought Josh and Jackie a trampoline. Better than a babysitter!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Story (That doesn't shoot anyone's eye out.)

Children are great. Okay, sometimes children are great. Today, when my son had a massive meltdown about getting out of the bath and then sat in the empty tub screaming for half an hour? Not so great. But the other night when we were talking about the true meaning of christmas with our kids? Great.

So, funny story. The other night we were reading this story in the December Friend magazine about Christmas. In the story the mom was telling her kids how Jesus Christ was God's gift to us and that we should give gifts back to God to show our appreciation.

So we asked our kids how can we give Heavenly Father gifts? Josh gave us a blank stare. Jackie thought about it really hard for a minute and then (in all seriousness) answered, "You can wait until you're really old. Then you make Him a present and hold on to it really tight. That way, when you die you take it with you to heaven and you can give it to Him."

Kids are seriously the best.

Merry Christmas everyone. Have a safe and wonderful holiday!

Here's the link for the story we read. It's called Straw For The Manger.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Welcome December! I'm allowed to read again!! (Review for Lauren Oliver's Delirium!)

So I basically have to ground myself from reading for the month of November if I ever want to finish NaNo. (Which I so won this year, go me!) But going a month without reading? It KILLS me! (I also cheated a few times and read four books last month. Shh! Don't tell my husband.)

Anyway, welcome December and all the books it allows me to read! I don't always review books, but I try to. But since I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced reader's copy of Lauren Oliver's Delirium (thank you lovely Goodreads first reads giveaways!), I figured I'd share my thoughts on here.

So the book is: Delirium by Lauren Oliver.
I rated it: 3 out of 5 stars
The Summary from goodreads is: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that one love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. 
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My overall thoughts:Over-all consensus? I liked it. But not nearly as much as Scott Westerfeld's Uglies. And I can't not compare the two books. From page one Delirium had an Uglies feel to it because the concepts are exactly the same with just a twist on the type of procedure people go through to be secretly subdued. Lauren Oliver's writing style isn't particularly my favorite. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just a personal taste thing. I tend to have the attention span of a gnat and Oliver will spend pages and pages at a time of just description, back story and inner dialog. At one point I counted 14 pages straight without a single line of dialog. For my ADD brain, that's essentially 13 pages worth of skimmed or skipped paragraphs. I need character interaction to move a story along. So this book felt incredibly slow. It also felt a little redundant--constantly drilling the same points into us over and over. 

But still, the book was enjoyable even if I did skip or skim a bit. It picked up a lot in the last half to third of the book, which helped and I loved the romance of it. That is where I liked this book more than Uglies. The Uglies was a book that focused on the adventure and the conspiracy and along the way a romance flourished. But Delirium definitely focused on the romance that spawned an adventure and a conspiracy. I've always liked books that focus on the romance. I was a little disappointed by the end, but I suppose that's what the sequel is for. And hey, at least it had some resolve, if very little. (I'm not going to rant about the popular trend right now about books that just stop and don't try to wrap up anything at all... okay, so I'm ranting. sorry. stopping...) 

I enjoyed the main characters and liked how Lena's eyes were slowly opened to the "system" and how she was being lied to and controlled, it just seemed to take way too long to get from one event to the next. I'd say that this book was good, and I'm sure many will be a lot more happy with it than I was. And as for book two? Well, it will probably make the bottom of my to-read list. Will I be holding my breath for it? No. But would I pick it up if I had nothing else I was dying to read at the moment? Sure. Will I be running off to read Lauren Oliver's other book Before I fall? Eh... maybe someday. 

Does this book make me very self conscious about my own writing? Definitely lol. But then, every book I read does that. 

I kind of feel this sounds like a somewhat negative review and feel the need to stress that I still thought it was a solid book and think there are many people out there who will really enjoy it. I think my dislikes were more a personal preference thing. 

So Have you read or reviewed this one yet? What'd you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Or if you've reviewed it on a blog somewhere, feel free to post a link to it.