Merry Christmas.

Today I’m feeling so much about Jesus Christ.
So happy he was born.
So awed he died.
So grateful He lives.
He is All that is Holy and Good.
There’s nothing to do about that except celebrate and follow Him the best I can.

This is my favorite Christmas song, “What Child is This?” My favorite part (while thinking about all He is and was and will be): “This! This is Christ the King.”

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Baby, the son of Mary.

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The baby, the Son of Mary.

Merry Christmas.

Nostalgia. Not.

I already posted this on Facebook today, but thought I’d immortalize it on the blog. The following is an email my mom forwarded to me today. Matt wrote it to her in August 2004. She had just gone home from helping me after Clark’s birth, and wanted to know how we were holding up now that I was on my own. Grant was 19 months old. Behold:

“I just got a call from Steph. By 9:58 a.m. today, Grant attacked Clark with a strangle throwdown chokehold, off the couch. This led to immediate spankings. Grant sneaked off and ate the nightlight lightbulb from the nursery. Fortunately, he didn’t swallow it. Grant hid behind the recliner while Steph fed Clark. He wrapped the baby monitor cord around his neck. When he started crying, he wouldn’t come over to Steph. She got up and found him ‘plugged’ to the wall, unable to move.

While Grant was destroying something in the nursery, she laid Clark on the bed for a moment. He projectile vomited 5 feet across the new duvet cover. Grant then scattered all the diapers in the linen closet down the hallway. At least 100 of them. For his midmorning snack, Grant tried eating Clean & Clear face lotion.”

All that in about two hours’ time. And this was a typical day. This, my friends, proves that it is a miracle that we are all still alive and that I did not turn to whiskey. And by the way, I don’t ever remember spanking my kids, but after reading this, I don’t feel guilty one bit.

And then, in a conversation with another friend about abhorrent car behavior by children, she asked me to repost this gem from 2008:

Evil Genius

Step aside, Super Nanny. I’ve found the trick to controlling children’s behavior in the car.

Don’t look so surprised. Oh yes I did. And there’s a button for it.

When your children are acting like crazy freaks in the car (yelling, wiggling, kicking, fighting, etc.), just point out the rear defrost button on your dashboard. Warn them that your vehicle came with an eject button that can shoot them out the window. If they act dubious and say, “you’re just kidding, right, mom?,” let them take a close look at the button. There are clearly three lines representing three children being thrown out the window.

defrost button

Then spend the next five minutes in peaceful solitude while your children begin to let this new reality sink in. Imagine the phone calls that will come soon from Super Nanny’s producers. You’re welcome.

Book reviews: A regency romance and a middle-grade series

When Deseret Book contacted me about reviewing Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson and Books 2 and 3 of the Janitors series by Tyler Whitesides, there was some excitement at our house. I loved Donaldson’s first book Edenbrooke, and my sons Grant and Clark had already read Janitors book 1 and liked it. So we all agreed to read the books and collaborate on the reviews.

I’ll go first.

Blackmoore, by Julianne Donaldson

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This is the story of Kate Worthington and Henry Delafield. She’s determined to not marry and travel the world, but her friendship with Henry has some unfinished business, and seems to be meddled with on all sides. She takes advantage of a long-awaited opportunity to spend the summer with Henry’s family at Blackmoore, their vacation home since childhood. It’s just as magical and mysterious as she always dreamed, but she’ll have to face both her feelings and her fears before she can truly figure out her future.

I liked this story, but found it much more predictable and regency-cliché than Edenbrooke. There were story elements reminiscent of Wuthering Heights, Emma, and even Jane Eyre–with some gothic undertones and a flawed, sometimes misinformed main character. I occasionally lost patience with Kate, and were she my friend in real life, I would think she cries too much, but I still cared enough about her and liked the story enough to be interested in how everything resolved itself in the end. It was an entertaining read, and can be easily recommended as a clean, “proper romance.”

Janitors series by Tyler Whitesides

Janitors 2: Secrets of New Forest Academy

review by Grant, age 10

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The Elementary school Spencer and Daisy go to is no longer safe for them! It’s crawling with toxites (little monsters that breathe in student brain waves and breathe out drowsiness, distraction, and confusion)! The Bureau of Educational Maintenance is taking over the school and Spencer and Daisy must leave. There is only one place to go. New Forest Academy. Walter Jamison says a man named Robert Monroe is there. He’s a janitor. They must go to that school. It’s the only place that’s safe. They go to New Forest Academy, and but it has some of its own problems. Spencer and Daisy must work on staying alive more than passing tests!

Janitors: Secrets of New Forest Academy is full of danger, toxites, weapons, clues, glop, mystery, adventure, action, dumpsters, and glopified toilet plungers! The book has no swear words. I hope you enjoy the book!

Janitors 3: Curse of the Broomstaff

review by Clark, age 9

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When my mom first told me we were getting a free copy of janitors 3, I was really excited. Not just because I like the series, mostly because my, ok let me get this right, my friend’s sister has a friend whose uncle is Tyler Whitesides. For those of you who are reading this, you have probably already read Janitors, and Secrets Of New Forest Academy (Janitors book 1 and 2). In Curse of the Broomstaff, Spencer, Daisy and their rebel friends, Walter, Penny, Alan, and Bernard must destroy all Glop, before it destroys education. It leads them to the Aurans, guardians of the source of the magical Glop. As it turns out, Spencer discovers his true powers as an Auran, and finally discovers how to get Marv out of the Vortex.

In my opinion, this book is for kids ages 8 – 12 (grades 3 – 6).  I liked this book because it’s creative, original, and magical. This is the best book in the Janitors series, but I’m sure book 4 will be better.

And there you have it, straight from the readers’ mouths.

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blackmoore janitors 3

Pretty Darn Funny (with a giveaway)

Those of you who have weathered the years of Diapers and Divinity may remember that last year I won a video contest that was part of a release party for a new web series called “Pretty Darn Funny.” I told a humorous story about my son Clark and won a CRUISE (it was so fun!!). So now I’m indebted to this web series for the rest of my life. When I got word that they were about to release season 2, I knew I wanted to support them and share the news.

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Basically PDF (that’s a very clever acronym for “Pretty Darn Funny,” not to be confused with a digital document) is a bunch of cute, clever episodes about the adventures of an (almost) all female comedy troupe that’s trying to fill a void in the genre of clean comedy. The thing is, their routines really aren’t that funny, but they are. Their mishaps, and lack of fame, and just down-to-earth, hilarious day-to-day lives are all just fun. It makes for some great entertainment.  Anyway, I think you need to know that TODAY IS THE DEBUT OF SEASON TWO, and there will be a new episode released every week for …. I actually don’t know, but I think it’s about six weeks.

Go find it all here:

Website: http://prettydarnfunny.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/prettydarnfunny

Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/pdfunny/

I even got to meet the lead actress (“Gracie,” played by Lisa Clark) and she is really just the kind of person you wish you could hang out with all the time. And the producer of the series is the husband of my talented friend Jana, so basically I want you to enjoy this show and appreciate it. (I think you would even if I didn’t like all those people in real life.)

Anyway, Deseret Book is going to offer a prize I can give you as a giveaway associated with the launch of season 2. I have no idea what it is yet, so we’ll just call it a SURPRISE. Get up to three entries by:

Here’s a fun teaser to get you in the mood.  It’s a parody of Footloose… but “mom style.” Pretty darn funny, indeed.

If you like what you see, either the parody or the new episode, help them get the word out by sharing and liking and all that other social media jazz, and then come leave a comment so you can get your entries in the mystery drawing. Winner will be announced Wednesday-ish. Probably. 🙂

(And if you’re going to Education Week at BYU this week, I’m teaching Tues.-Thurs. at 4:30. Come say hi. And pray for me.)