Thursday, April 27, 2017

Books 2017

So, I've realized lately that I kind of miss blogging about books. I really liked going back and thinking hard about what I had read. I'm aware of the fact that this makes me super nerdy, but I also kind of liked having a little catalog of everything I had read in a year.

It's funny, because sometimes I am painfully aware of how little I have read. I have a degree in English and my Master's, too, but there are JUST SO MANY good books that I haven't read. In high school I read some of the "basic" classics, but I feel like in college I kind of skipped ahead and read pieces who lived in the more obscure corners of the literary canon, so in the middle there is this big gaping hole of classic books I just haven't read. It's okay though, you know? My best professors were always the ones who would readily admit that there is always more to read, and they themselves felt like they hadn't read enough.

So this year I'm trying to fill in my holes and read more classics, but that is a less important goal than just reading good things and continuing to learn.

Books so far from 2017 (Two of these are repeat reads. Ahem, I'll let you guess which)

The Music of Dolphins - Karen Hesse. Funny story about this book, my teacher read it to our class in the fifth grade. But I missed parts she read aloud because of ELP and orchestra, so I've always wanted to go back and read it, and I did. Very interesting, sad but sweet.

The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Inheritance - Charles Finch. Part of a series of guilty pleasure mystery novels.

State of Wonder - Ann Patchett. I was mostly interested in this because one of my favorite books in the world, Journey to the River Sea, is also set in Manaus, Brazil, at the mouth of the Amazon. A scientist goes to the Amazon to get information about a dead colleague and a bunch of interesting weird sciencey stuff happens. But the ending was kind of terrible.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith. LOVED this. Should have read it years ago.

Night - Elie Wiesel

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens. I finally read this dang blasted book. And I liked it. I didn't love it, but I liked it.

The Wives of Los Alamos -TaraShea Nesbit. Written from a unique perspective. Tells stories from the point of view of women who lived in the top secret facility where the atom bomb was developed during WWII. 

1984 - George Orwell. Blew my mind. I found myself thinking not only about the political scene but also a lot about gospel principles. God does expect us to submit to Him and give Him our free will, but it is all about us gaining happiness. It is about us improving and growing and loving and changing and actually choosing something better. It is not just about God having power. Anyway, this made me think very deeply about how obedience can be freedom (because of the Big Brother saying "Slavery is Freedom") and WHY that is true only if it is done in the right way. It is so easy for this concept to be subtly manipulated into something so heinous. Such a terrifically tragic book, but so good at the same time. 

Anyways, those are my books so far. Any other good suggestions? 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Happy Easter!

For FHE on Monday we dyed Easter eggs! It is so fun for Greg and I to finally get to do all this fun holiday kids stuff. Greg was quite afraid that Brynn would spill dye all over our table/carpet/chairs/whatever, which I have to admit was a pretty legitimate fear, considering she's a one year old with a fervent love for throwing food, but all in all it was a great success. 

Brynn was initially pretty confused about this whole egg dipping thing, but she seemed to catch on and enjoy it. 

We tried to get her to color the eggs with crayons too, but that mostly evolved into her smashing them on the table. 

The cutest little egg-dyer I ever did see! 

Some of our finished products. Hey, we never said we were actually good at this. Also I don't know what I'm doing with my hands in this picture. 

Even though she was confused at the get-go, she got pretty attached to her brightly color eggs as the night when on. This is Brynn refusing to go to bed because she was sad we put the eggs in the refrigerator. 

It was a fun start to our Easter week. I've been studying what connection Easter eggs have to the Atonement and the Resurrection, because I'm going to talk about it with the primary kids at our ward egg hunt on Saturday. Eggs are a symbol of new life, and they initially were dyed red to remember the blood of Jesus Christ. The hard shell also symbolizes the tomb--a tomb that can be broken and eventually be empty. Matthew 28:6 - "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said." 

Easter has taken on new significance for me these past few years. Because of the love of Jesus Christ my family can be whole. I love celebrating this time of year and I hope we are always able to have meaningful traditions so that it is special for Brynn. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Trip for Jenna's Wedding

Greg's little sister Jenna got married in March, and we had a blast going to Idaho in the springtime to celebrate with her. It was actually the first time since 2012 that all of Greg's siblings have been together. It was super fun, but also made us miss everyone a lot. Thanks to my great sister in law Calise, we have these cute pictures to remember the week. 

Here are some adorable ones of Brynn playing Grandma's piano. 

All dressed up in our wedding clothes. Grandma made this dress! 

With Aunt Megan at the temple. We love her. 

The Bride and Groom, Jenna and Justin. Cute couple! 

Had some time for family pictures between the sealing and the luncheon. 


Have to give the nephews a hard time every once in awhile. Pat takes the brunt of it since he's the oldest one. 

This grandparents and grandkids picture wasn't too successful. 

Greg's wonderful parents. 

All the boys. Grandpa Zollinger is 95 (I think).  

I don't think pictures could do justice to how beautiful the reception was, but here are a few. 

The day we left. Greg may or may not have run to the store very very late at night after we were cleaning up the reception to buy a ball so they could play "Jump Ball." 

Greg says "Look at my hops." 

These brothers have something special, and, cheesy at it may sound, I feel so lucky to have inherited these good men as my brothers when I married into the Zollinger clan. 

One last picture of Grandma and Brynn. 

Everyone ran along the car as we drove away. Sniff! 

How I love all these people.