Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009--The BEST of!


Well, lots of publications have "Best of" lists at the end of the year. Why not me?
And really, it is the end of the decade ( gulp! weren't we just celebrating the dawn of a new century?) but I couldn't possibly remember the" best of's " for the past 10 years ( well, maybe if I thought long and hard. ;)


Probably the one I am reading right now "A Separate Country" by Robert Hicks.
I liked his first novel "The Widow of the South" pretty well, but he has really outdone himself with this one. It's always heartening to see someone ( even if you don't know them personally) grow and develop in their craft, and that, he has certainly done. A very gripping novel based on the life of the fascinating General John Hood and his equally fascinating wife, Anne Marie Hennen Hood, who gave birth to 11 children in 10 years and that included 3 sets of twins! ( Yet, that is really not a huge part of the story, just an interesting side note). Probably a bit too much adult subject matter for teens, but an engrossing read.

And a quote:
"Now I see it through new eyes that have of late, so late, recognized suffering as the corrupt and permanent condition of man, something inescapable and best faced square on, for in suffering is life, and its denial is a kind of death."


Well, there have been quite a few winners, but I'll have to say "The Seamstress" wins out by a hair.


"The Painted Veil" with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts.

I happened upon this one at the library. It looked interesting and I always check them out on Amazon to read other reviews and there were a good many favorable ones so I gave it a try. It turned out to be a favorite of the year. A good story ( again, maybe a bit too much adult subject matter, but if you watched it first and then knew where to fast forward, it would be ok for teens) and a good "moral" message in it in the end. Set in China in the 30's during a cholera outbreak, it is the story of a young married couple who learns the true meaning of love in a nutshell. :) A bit more gritty than polly anna, though :) I didn't realize this was based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham .


Well, there have been really too many to list ( or have already been listed) but a recent one was "The Story of Adele H" by Francis Truffaut. This was made in the 70's, which is unbelievable to me because historical pieces made in those times usually aren't very historically correct ( at least in appearance, you always have perhaps historical dress but then a totally 70's hairstyle :)
The story regards Adele Hugo ( yes, the daughter of the infamous Victor Hugo) who had a very puzzling life, to say the least. While the tale is sad, it was a beautiful film visually....and her story is one of those that prove life is indeed stranger than fiction.

BEST SONG: Well, thanks to Gwen's ballet recital, I have revisited worship music. I don't listen to much of the "christian" genre of music (I'm not talking about hymns--ie: modern christian music) because, well, um, gulp, I think a lot of it is cheesy ( no offense to those who enjoy it).
But I heard some pretty lovely tunes at her production and found them on napster. Hard to say which one I like best but they have been a nice addition to my year.

BEST TIMES: Since we got a lot of snow last winter, sledding was high on the list. Whether pulling the littles around the neighborhood or heading out to the sledding hill, definitely a highlight of the winter.

Spring: Possibly an early season camping trip at Lakeport. It was too cold to swim, but the weather was pleasant enough ( after it quit raining) to make for an enchanting get away.

Summer: Dylan's graduation was a golden day. He was the first to participate in a ceremony, and graduated with so many nice kids. The service was well done and there was a nice reception after.

Fall: Well, there was a nice little trip to Greenfield Village for the Farmer's Market. Having a pass this year has been great, but this trip was without the whole group and it was nice to explore the village without worrying about who wanted to do what and wanted to go where. It was also a lovely fall day and not very crowded ( which is always a big bonus for me! :)

BEST MEAL OUT: Toss up between Mother's Day Lunch @ Brio and dinner date with my parents at "The Hill"

BEST MEAL IN: Hmmm, a survey of the response of others leads me to say either Father's Day ( Jimmy Dee recipe ribs) or Christmas (roast beef and lamb)

BEST NEW RECIPE TRIED: Again, gauging the enthusiastic response from the majority of the household, it has been Neana's chili recipe which was first introduced on January 1st, 2009, btw. ;)

BEST THING THAT WAS SAID TO ME THIS YEAR: Jed "Mom, I've never seen you cry."
Let's hope next year someone will say "Mom, I've never heard you yell ( this year, at least;)

BEST NEW DEVELOPMENT OF THE YEAR: Somehow our move has made Jed a bit sleepier. Instead of getting up at 4:30 am he now slumbers away to at least 7....dare I say it aloud.... sometimes 8! Not that he is much of a troublesome fellow in the morning, I just selfishly like an hour or so of free brain time in the morning before everyone gets up and having someone there with me seems to intrude on that.

BEST DISCOVERY OF THE YEAR: Books. On. C.D. A revolution!

BEST UNEXPECTED TREAT: Having Nan here ALL summer! I know she missed her sunny, warm home but we were blessed to have her with us for an extended time this year!


Al-- probably I have said it too much, but mostly it has been amazement at seeing my little boy turn into a man. Excelling at his work, getting his own apartment, taking care of business all with very little help from us. Often, when we are together, he will get several calls from fellow employees and I marvel at how he interacts and makes decisions on the spot. He was always a bit shy and lacked self confidence and I've seen such an enormous growth in those areas.

Zak- It's always good to see Zak moving forward in life, and this year he has made great strides in that regard. College in Florida, a new job, a lovely girlfriend for over a year :), plans for college here this winter. He's always the life of the party, even when he visits us and we all appreciate his spunk and charm.

Dyl- Watching Dyl make conscious efforts at holiness. You can see it is sometimes a hard choice for him, but he does it anyway. He tries to keep things on an even keel around here. He tries to inspire others to do the right thing. He offers help. He went on a mission trip to Nicaragua and it made a real impact on him. He's excited about starting school this winter and finding a new job and having fun with friends, some a little more special than others :).

Noah: Noah is dutiful. He never (well, almost never:) complains when he is asked to do something ( and he is usually asked to do a lot due to his home improvement/computer skills) He never gets ruffled about much ( save an annoying sibling now and then). To someone like me who's emotions and moods are always flying in a hundred different directions I must say I find this trait very consoling. He's also very witty and fun to be around.

Naomi: Our refreshing breath of femininity even if she is a bit of a tom boy ( you'll often find her lounging on the couch watching a foot ball or basketball game). I marvel at her creativity in photography and writing. She really takes ownership of her education. She is motivated ( about most things, washing dishes, not so much ;) She loves her friends and is a good pal. She cares about their souls. She will often come up and give me a hug and say "Mom, I like you" :) That is a precious gift to me.


Jax hit the teen years this fall. While it could be said there have been some rough moments, ack! it is fun watching him meld into this phase of life. Gosh, he is getting SO big. His voice is changing. He's still not too old to give me a hug and a kiss and tell me "Mom, did I ever tell you that you are the best?" He's thoughtful. He has a tender heart. It's wondrous seeing this transition from boy to man.

George: Dear George is always looking out for me. Especially when I am stressed out ( which sometimes seems to be 99.9% of the time :) He asks how he can help. He tries to be responsible about his duties in life ( ie: school and chores)
He's always thinking. He ponders the great questions of life. He so wants to be a good kid and succeeds most of the time :) (Hey- he just turned 11- a little preteen lip-y-ness sneaks in every now and then). He has taken a real interest in photography and is almost never without his cd player and a good book on cd. :)

Sigh. Jed will be 7 this year. Well, that doesn't say much about his 6th year, except he is getting bigger like all my babies. I know it's got to happen, but there are days when I wish I could just slow things down a bit. He amazes us with his vocabulary. Like George he is always pondering what is going on around him and has many interesting and amusing reflections on it. He has a very good memory as whatever he is taking in stays with him ( at least for now, I remember those days when I was young, but they are now gone!;) He really is just a good little boy. He rarely gives us a bit of trouble. That isn't the be all and end all of a life, but it helps ;)

Immanuel: His fourth year. Manny is a quirky one. We all know it, yet we laugh. While I am chuckling a nervous thought about how "this seems funny now but what will he be like when he is a teenager" always seeps in. : ) Well, there ARE people who put quirkiness to good use! Right?
Of course he is absolutely adorable and we all want to munch him. I think of all the littles he is the universal favorite of his older sibs (Good thing Jed and Miss G. can't read this! ;) I'd say he has had a pretty good year. He gets a bit wild when out of his routine (I've had a few of these, so I am getting better at anticipating it) but overall he has been growing out of an extremes in that area.


Our little princess. So in love with pink and sparkles and pretty dresses and painted toes and nails, dolly's and hairbows. I'm thinking she is truly a girly girl. She even talks all the time! And dances! And sings! She's a smart little cookie.
Tim and I are constantly amazed that you can have coherent conversations with her at this age. Of course, we forgot we had 4 boys before her :) I've had to get used to having one who really enjoys having your undivided attention most of the time. Strange as it sounds, I don't actually have many kids like that ( or maybe I have and just ignored it before. :( Since it is looking like she is the last, it's not hard to just try to "be" with her...and drink in all that is left of her babyhood. She is definitely LOADS of fun.

Happy New Year!

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Streams of consciousness from a mother of 10 who usually can't collect her thoughts and finds commas a nuisance.