21 January 2013

New Blog!

Hey folks! I went and got myself a new blog  -- http://jandcswallow.blogspot.com -- Go check it out! 

I'll be leaving this one up for now, but all my new posts will be over there. :) 

14 January 2013

Flowell

This past weekend, Cass and I were able to take the St George Swallow cousins and go up to Flowell to hear Grandma Carma and Caleb, a Flowell cousin, give their mission reports. We went up on Saturday so that we could have more time to spend with the family and had a great time! The cousins built a massive snowman while I visited with Grandma and we got dinner ready. We all had dinner together and then watched The Avengers. 


I actually ended up not watching the movie, baby makes it hard to get (and stay!) comfortable, so I went and read and move and stretched and fell asleep. :) 

Sunday morning Grandma Carma and Caleb gave their talks at church. They both did a great job & it was great to hear them speak! Afterwards we went to Kelby & MaryAnne's house to eat. There was lots of yummy treats and I ate way too much! After most everyone else left, we played Rook. It was fun. I didn't do to terrible at it! And then we drove home in the freezing cold! 

11 January 2013

Savvy


One of Matthew's books, Savvy by Ingrid Law is a cute idea of a novel for the younger YA reader. It's sort of a fantasy, but not overly so.  it tells the story of Mibs and her siblings as they go on a coming-of-age road trip style adventure to "fix" Mibs's ill father. It's a cute book, but definitely more for the younger reader. It's not quite enough for an adult. I recommend as a read-with-your-child or for a younger YA reader. Read on, friends!

The Leviathan Trilogy: Leviathan, Behemoth, Goliath



In Scott Westerfeld's best work, the Leviathan Trilogy featuring Leviathan, Behemoth, and Goliath,we meet some great characters and go on an exciting adventure through alterna-history's WWI with both an Allied and an Axis perspective. The trilogy has elements of both steampunk and fantasy as well as threading in truths and actual people from history (Westerfeld includes an afterward correcting some of his alterna-history).  It was a lively exciting read that I highly recommend to any reader. I give it five stars. Westerfeld, you hit your mark with these works. Read on, my friends.

08 January 2013

Virgin Earth


Virgin Earth, the free-standing sequel to Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory, tells the story of John's son, John. The two men have never seen eye-to-eye, especially in the turmoil of England, but they have been able to make it work because they need to, because they are both gardeners for the king. And so John the younger goes to Virginia (remember, this is pre-United States of America. This is early Jamestown days) to collect new plants and escape the pain of his wife's death. While there, he falls in love with his young Powhatan guide. But the story doesn't end there! John travels back to England, then back to Virginia, and back to England again. Similar to Earthly Joys, yet slightly more enjoyable, there are nice aspects to Virgin Earth. It's neat to learn about the way of the Powhatan and the changes England goes through prior to and during it's civil war. But it has the same problems as Earthly Joys, too. I didn't connect with this John, either. It was like Philippa was trying to cover too much ground and couldn't get into enough depth for me to enjoy it. I'm not sure that I recommend this book, but it really wasn't a terrible read. I just expect more from Ms Gregory and didn't love Virgin Earth. 

Earthly Joys


Well, Philippa, ya win some, you lose some. And you just didn't win me over with Earthy Joys, either time I've read it. The historical backdrop of the switch from the Tudors to the Stuarts was interesting, as was the tulip crash. And sometimes I even liked John (the main character), but I didn't always get why I was reading about him. Nothing was pulling me forward into the story.  it covered almost John's whole life, instead of being a story about X,Y,Z. There wasn't necessarily a conflict, or even a climax to the novel. I couldn't draw this out as a plot line diagram, as they have students do. It was a long, long novel and didn't seem like one unified story. Maybe I just didn't get the love story between John and his "masters" well enough. Maybe I didn't get his love for his plants. So, I don't really recommend this, unless you're like me and determined to read all of Philippa Gregory's books so you can honestly say she's your favorite author (I need to be researched and legit, ya'll. and I have to read everything!!) or a lover of botany. And if you do choose to read it: warning & slight spoiler -- there is one gay sex scene. 

07 January 2013

Attack the Lusitania!


When I first saw my mom borrow this book from my grandpa, I was really excited to read it. Grandpa likes war books and this looked super exciting and about a topic I didn't know much about. Of course, it took me a while to get to reading Attack the Lusitania! amid the moves and book shuffles and the fact that I always want to read about 500 books, but I finally banned myself from the library and got to reading the books we have at home. 

I really wanted to like this novel. But no. I didn't like it at all. First of all, why even make the characters LDS? Is that a requirement for being published by Covenant? Because the characters being LDS didn't seem to have much of tie-in other than getting some of the characters to talk, but that could have been done in another way. And why were there all these different perspectives? The novel is barely over 200 pages, and I'm supposed to follow three different story-lines, one of which disappears halfway through? It made it so hard to get to know the characters and feel for them. There was no character development and I didn't feel attached to any of them. 

It was interesting to learn more about the Lusitania and the circumstances under which it was attacked, but I learned just as much about the Lusitania from The American Heiress, and I'm going to recommend that book to you instead!

Three More Months!!

Today is January 7th. My estimated due date is April 7th. That's three months away! Three months til I get to see my baby! I'm so excited! I hope these three months go by quickly, and not slowly and painfully . . . I know I'll continue to get more and more uncomfortable, though. But baby is doing well, she moves around a lot and the doctor said everything looked good at my next appointment. I want her to finish cooking, but I want her here soon too! 

04 January 2013

A Year in Review: 2012

2012 has been a good year for us Swallows. 

In May, Cassidy took me to Hong Kong where he served his LDS mission. He had a great time; it was a once-in-a-lifetime vacation! In July, my brother Michael got home from his LDS mission in Ohio, and we were able to have the whole family together! A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant, and we're so excited to welcome our little girl in April!

That's been about the jist of our year. Here's hoping 2013 is even better than 2012!



03 January 2013

Family Fun: The Whitakers

Friday afternoon we met up with Morrell (who is not a Whitaker, but this happened on the same day!) who wanted to buy us a baby car seat/stroller combo for our Christmas present -- Love it! Thanks Morrell! He's going to be such a good grandpa! Then he took us to lunch at
 Noodles & Co. Pad Thai. Delicious.

Friday was also Chris's birthday, and we wanted to take her out to dinner. She and Carrie were working on remodeling the shower at McCoys, so we spent the afternoon there playing with the kids til dinner time. Dylan met up with us and we had Mexican. Yum! 

On Saturday we went sledding. Pyper had a blast! Though she still said her favorite thing that day was Chick-fil-a . . . 

Covering her eyes, just a little scary! 
awww, good big brother!
by herself, from halfway

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On Sunday we went to church with Chris and Pyper and had a family dinner that night: Dylan came, as well as Madi and her boyfriend Colby. On Monday, Chris and Carrie had to work on the shower again, so Cassidy and I took the girls sledding. They had a blast and we wore them out!
Look at that smile!!
Cass got so far! 
Throwing Snowballs
Pyper the Sled Dog
The girls were about to crash, so Cass ran down to stop them.
When he realized they weren't going to crash, he slowed down and then fell!
Kaia & Mae
Rolling down the hill
Cold & Windy!
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Family Fun: The Stones

We spent the first few days of our vacation with my parents and siblings. On the day after Christmas, those of us who were around went to see Rise of the Guardians at the discount theater. It was a pretty cute movie and everyone liked it. Turns out Hugh Jackman's in it too! I'm not sure if he used his regular accent or if he exaggerated it, but he was very Australian. I didn't even know it was him til it was over! After the movie, we we went to Two Jack's Pizza for delicious BBQ pizza and cheese sticks. Yummmmmm. . . is it too soon to go back? 

The 27th is Ammon's birthday, and Michael had the day off of work, so Mom got us these passes for a bunch of activities up in Salt Lake. First we went to the Clark Planetarium. They had some cool things to see and then we watched a silly little Christmas movie. 

Ammon, Jordyn, and Michael trying to steal the electricity from each other.
Michael kept winning!
Ammon and Mom watching
The passes included a free lunch at the Lion House. The rolls were really good, especially with the honey butter! After lunch we headed to the Leonardo Museum. It was really neat!

Adam the engineer loves tinkering with wires!
Jenn was less than pleased that I took her photo, though
Dad also found a fun toy to play with.
With which to play. haha
Cassidy likes building things!
It's a rocket!
Matthew joining in on the fun!
Green Screen!
Where'd they go? 
at one with the mountain
Jordyn making a stop-motion film with 3D objects
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Cass and I made a stop-motion film too! 

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Cassidy doing it Gangnam Style

You stand in front of the computer and it copies your movements!
When Hagrid teaches "Care of Magical Creatures" . . . 
I just thought this looked neat!
After seeing all the exhibits at The Leonardo, we headed back to the Planetarium to see if there were any other neat movies to see. Well, we picked one, but it was kind of boring. Jordyn thought it was amazing; pretty sure the rest of us fell asleep! Then we went to the moon and Mars! It was a super fun day!





Christmas

Because of our work schedules this year, Cassidy and I drove up north for the holiday on Christmas Eve. It was pretty snowy, but Cass is a good driver and we had no problems! 

Our first stop was in Flowell to visit Grandma Carma. We just dropped in for a quick visit, but it was great to see her. Next we met up with Chris, Nathan, and Pyper at Nathan's parents to see their Christmas Extravaganza display. They have trains and Christmas's villages set up all over. 

Afterwards we headed up to Grandma & Grandpa McCoy's for the family Christmas Eve party, where we worked on a service project. Cass cut fringe on fleece blankets. I helped Pyper make a necklace and bracelet then helped tie a baby quilt. 

Then we went down to my parents' house for Christmas Eve dinner with all my siblings, Grandpa, Uncle Scott, and his kids. And I finally got to meet baby William!! he is so squishy and adorable!! 

Awww! Tiny squishy baby! 
me & Cass in front of the tree

We spent the night at my parents's house. A very excited Jordyn woke us up at seven; I think that's a new late for my family! 

Jordyn loves Alpine, the boo-eyed reindeer I got her
After presents, we had breakfast. Mom made some great cinnamon rolls. I just love cinnamon rolls! Then we played Ticket to Ride. I got Dad the 1912 expansion and it was fun to play with the new routes. 

Later that afternoon, Cass and I headed up to Salt Lake to meet up with Morrell and Dylan. We saw Les Miserables. While I was mostly impressed, there were definitely things I liked better in the USF production. The movie was much more emotional and less power ballad than I like. It was also harder to connect with the characters. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway were great, but stage is very different from screen. And Amanda Seyfried drove me nuts. Her voice was great, but I really didn't like her vibrato. It was excessive. As far as her role as Cosette . . . well, I don't like the character of Cosette, but Amanda Seyfried nailed the character. Overall, I thought it was a good production. Not the absolute best it could be, but certainly enjoyable. 

Cass and I had a great Christmas & I hope you did too!