Larger Than Life & Where There’s Smoke

A while back, a friend told me to download Larger Than Life when it was free on Amazon because she knew I liked Jodi Picoult. I recently finished reading it and found out it was a prequel to one of her new books, Leaving Time. Then I found out there was another short story about some backstory to “Leaving Time” called Where There’s Smoke and thought I should read that, too since it was free. Here’s a little about them:

Larger Than Life:

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A researcher studying memory in elephants, Alice is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf—the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat—while following an important rule: She must only observe and never interfere. Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Thinking back on her own childhood, and on her shifting relationship with her mother, Alice risks her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love.

Where There’s Smoke:

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Even as a child, Serenity Jones knew she possessed unusual psychic gifts. Now, decades later, she’s an acclaimed medium and host of her own widely viewed TV show, where she delivers messages to the living from loved ones who have passed. Lately, though, her efforts to boost ratings and garner fame have compromised her clairvoyant instincts. When Serenity books a young war widow to appear as a guest, the episode quickly unravels, stirring up a troubling controversy. And as she tries to undo the damage—to both her reputation and her show—Serenity finds that pride comes at a high price.

Both were really good stories and I couldn’t put them down. I read the second one before bed thinking I would just start it. I always get engrossed in Picoult’s books. I liked having a bit of a backstory to one of her novels. I know I am going to have to read that one now since I read these two books.

They were both really short, so if you’re looking for a fast read and like Jodi Picoult, I definitely think you should read them. And if you have already read “Leaving Time”, let me know what you thought of it!

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was the pick for my book club this month. We chose it because our city does a program called “OneBook, OneRosemount” where the pick a book for all ages and then have the author come speak. They only do this once every other year. Here is a bit about the book:

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

Overall it was a cute story. It was written for about 6th grade, so it wasn’t a challenging read. But it was a good story with a good message. I didn’t go to hear the author speak, but a friend of mine said she had heard her before and she was inspirational and interesting to listen to.

I’m not really going to recommend this because it was a book for such young readers, but if you have kids, this might be a good book to read along with them. I know a friend of mine had planned to do that with her daughter.

Happy reading!

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Our Dannie

Dannie is really the funniest little thing. She makes the goofiest faces, laughs at everything and is just so sweet and happy. I have been collecting some videos I have taken of her recently. Enjoy.

Dannie eating Cheerios. She thought this was the best game ever. I have no idea where she got it, but chances are she learned it from watching her sister.

She also likes to wear this owl bucket around on her head (something she also learned from her sister). This time she was walking around making owl noises.

Dannie was being so funny and pretending to be a frog. At least I think it was a frog. That or a rabbit. But she kept saying “laahhhdeeet” over and over. That is how she says rabbit, but also ribbit. So your guess is as good as mine.

DeeDee is so excited when someone comes in to get her out of bed. This morning she was using her bed like a trampoline. Admittedly, this isn’t something I should encourage, but she was just so cute with her crazy hair, I couldn’t help myself!

We went to Chuck’s mom’s house the other day and Dannie just loved the rocking horse that Chuck’s grandpa made. She couldn’t get enough!

This morning we went to my friend’s house to hang out and D kept playing with this bouncy dog. It was so cute to see her bouncing on it. But when I took the video, she couldn’t stay on it. It was hilarious.

There’s a few videos of our silly little monkey. And as a side note, I call her all sorts of names. Dannie is the most common, but I call her “D” a lot and she calls herself “DeeDee”. I think the last one will really stick because we all tend to call her that. And it’s so cute when she points to herself with that big smile and says “DeeDee”!

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Wrestling

Not a day goes by that Chuck and the girls don’t wrestle on the big pillow Chuck’s mom made us. The girls like to run laps around the island and bombard Chuck. It’s hilarious!

Dannie also really likes to get airplane rides. It’s pretty amusing, too. Smile

I just love how much they love their dad and how much fun they have wrestling with him. I hope Chuck doesn’t end up too injured from their rough housing, though….the girls are getting pretty good at their attacks!

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Sports

Most nights after dinner we go outside to play. We either head to the park, go on a walk or play in the driveway. One night Maddie wanted to play some sports.

First she took out the t-ball set. She’s pretty good at hitting the ball…when she makes contact!

(I was sure I had posted the pictures of Maddie playing t-ball a while back, but I can’t seem to find the videos archived on here. So if you are interested, you can watch more videos HERE.)

After she had her fill of t-ball, she wanted to play some hockey. She was schooled a bit by Chuck, but they had fun. Smile

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October 2014 MOPS Calendar

Here is the activity calendar for MOPS.

October 2014

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Crazy Baby

The other day I took a video of my stomach moving because little man has been going crazy in there. I’m actually looking forward to him getting a little bigger so he has less room to jam his appendages up under my ribs and poke me so low that I’m afraid he will fall out. It’s definitely creepy to watch sometimes. It’s like an alien is going to push right out of you.

And I didn’t mean to take the video vertically. My camera was sideways, but decided to change it. Blah.

If the video doesn’t work, you can see it here.

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4th Of July

Nothing like posting about the 4th of July on October 1st…I promise I’ll be caught up soon. Smile 

In celebration of the 4th of July, Maddie wanted me to paint her nails. And she did a great job deciding how she wanted them painted.

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Mid-morning, we went over to my mom’s house for a little gathering. We did a little swimming, but it wasn’t as warm as I would have liked for that. Smile 

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We tried taking a family photo, but the children would not cooperate. And it’s too bad because we all looked so cute and coordinating. Smile

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Dannie was feeling especially photogenic. You stick a camera in her face, and on comes the charm!

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While Dannie and I were taking pictures of ourselves, Maddie was lighting sparklers with my brother in the driveway.

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The girls had their nap/rest time there, then we headed home. After it got a little later/darker and Dannie was in bed, we told Maddie we could do some more sparklers and some fireworks that she picked out with dad. She sat so patiently in her chair and had so much fun. (WOW does she look grown up!)

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Maddie even had fun helping dad light the fireworks and she would giggle as she came running back to her chair.

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Had to get a little picture with my sweet girl!

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And I can’t remember if this was on the 4th or the night before, but we were sitting on the porch, enjoying the lovely summer weather and I could see some fireworks right through the trees. Smile

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We had a great 4th and I am glad the girls are getting more excited about it. We just recently finished all the sparklers and the last of the fireworks. Next year we are hoping to take Maddie to fireworks. We had hoped to take her this year, it just didn’t end up working out.

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Minnehaha Falls

Since I’m doing some catch up to things we did earlier in the year, this was another fun outing we did this summer. I had been wanting to take the girls to Minnehaha Falls, but until this year, Maddie wasn’t old enough and Dannie is a bit easier to take places since she can walk. So we packed ourselves in the car and headed there on a gorgeous July morning!

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Are these two related or what?! I just love how much the girls love their dad! It’s so sweet.

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We stopped and played at the park for a while until we were all hungry and tired of being in the sun.

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Dannie even found a little friend to play with.

I could seriously gobble her right up!

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On the way to the falls, I was telling Chuck how we came here each year growing up for a big Norwegian get-together. My dad’s mom was Norwegian and she loved her heritage so much. She dressed us up for the events and although I don’t remember specifics about going there, I remember how much the event meant to my grandma each year.

So I was floored when we got there and found out that Norway Day was being held the day we are there. It’s one day of the year. And we came on that day. It made me so happy to think of all the fond memories and it made me miss my grandma. I didn’t take any good pictures, but the fact that it was on that day was enough for me.

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Dannie’s Pigtails

Back in July, I finally gave Dannie pigtails. Why it took me that long (and why I haven’t done them very often since then) is beyond me. The pigtails themselves are not all that exciting. I mostly couldn’t decide which of her crazy faces to post in a different post, so this one got its own with all her goofiness.

I should really do them again soon. She has a lot more hair than she did in July, and I am sure they would work even better (you’ll note how crooked these are). But it’s hard to get them to look good with a wiggly toddler!

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