Wonder by RJ Palacio


Wonder by R.J Palacio

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

This book is a MUST READ.  I read a lot of books, and I don’t come on here a lot and urge Mommies to read along.  But this book is, well, Wonderful.  It’s middle grade so it’s a quick read that can also be read while multi-tasking.  The perfect read for the busy mommie!

Even though my sons don’t have the craniofacial deformity that Auggie has, I saw my boys in them.  I hurt for him like he was my son.  I laughed with him like he was my son.  And I stood up for him like he was my son.

I also would love for my sons to read this book when they get older so they know how to be the person that makes Auggie feel good, not bring him down.

I could go on about how much this book inspired me or how many awards it has recieved, but instead, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes.

“Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.” 
―    R.J. Palacio,    Wonder

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” 
―    R.J. Palacio,    Wonder

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you wil try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.” 
―    R.J. Palacio,    Wonder

“The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average– though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.” 
―    R.J. Palacio,    Wonder


―    R.J. Palacio,    Wonder

“It’s like people you see sometimes, and you can’t imagine what it would be like to be that person, whether it’s somebody in a wheelchair or somebody who can’t talk. Only, I know that I’m that person to other people, maybe to every single person in that whole auditorium.
To me, though, I’m just me. An ordinary kid.” 

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.” 
―    R.J. Palacio,    Wonder

Christmas Movies Without the Kids


These are the movies that we, for now, since our kids are 5 and under, watch without our kids.  We are pretty much lazy for over a month to fit it all in, but it’s worth it!

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

White Christmas

Deck The Halls

Miracle on 34th Street

Christmas Episodes of The Office

Christmas Episodes of Friends

Family Stone

The Holiday

It’s A Wonderful Life

Nightmare Before Christmas

Top Ten Kids Christmas Movies


One thing I love about the holiday season is all the family shows and movies there are to watch.  Ever since I was young, I have been an avid ABC Family 25 days of Christmas fan.   Well, more than a fan.  I wait all year for it.  If you don’t have television, I put together a list of my top ten (but in no particular order) holiday movies to watch with the kiddos.

The Grinch (animated)

The Grinch (live action)

Home Alone (1 and 2)


A Christmas Story

The Polar Express

The Santa Claus (First one only)

Jingle All The Way

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Muppets Christmas Carol

Now lets pop some popcorn, make some hot chocolate, and snuggle up with family and a movie!

Songs of Summer

Even though school started over a month ago, September is almost half way through, and the weather has already started cooling off, it never feels like the end of summer until we get back from our annual trip to the beach.  We had an amazing time and really just took some time to relax.  Part of relaxing, to me, is listening to some good tunes.  These are the songs I’ve been digging this summer, and now that it’s over I’ve compiled a top six list.  In no particular order….

(click the picture to go to the YouTube video for the song 🙂 )

Fun:  Some Nights

Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen: Good Time

Of Monsters and Men:  Little Talks

The Lumineers: Hey Ho

Taylor Swift

Train: Drive By

12 Steps to Getting Over The Summer Olympics

Summer Olympics are one of my favorite things.  Now that the Olympics are over and I’m in official withdrawals, I thought I’d come on here and go through my 12 steps, or list my 12 things I will miss the most, to get un-addicted to the Olympics.

1. Sitting with the boys and watching Michael Phelps win his 21st Olympic medal, and then going out to the pool and watching Mikey do the backstroke all on his own and hear him say he’s going to be an Olympic swimmer someday.

2.  Taking a time-out in that same pool and explaining to the kids that even though Ryan Lochte pees in the pool, WE do not.

3.  Cheering on Gaby Douglas and remembering how my siblings and I used to memorize Domenique Moceanu’s floor routine from the ’96 Olympics.

4.  Crying every time that Oscar Pistorius crossed the finish line.

5.  Seeing Mary Poppins beat Voldemort in one of the weirdest but coolest moments…and seeing JK Rowling read Peter Pan.

6.  Watching Will and Kate hug and do the wave (I’m one of the weirdos that really loves that British couple 🙂 )

7.  Misty May and Kerri Walsh’s three peat Gold!  Woot Woot!   And have to add Misty May’s after the match camera shout-outs (Happy Birthday Mike!  Here’s to the Troops!  Go Dodgers!)  Love her and will miss watching her.

8.  Seeing  Great Britain’s Mo Farah and the USA’s Galen Rupp get 1-2 in the Men’s 10,000 Meters.  Love cheering for best friends 🙂

9. Watching The Dream Team 6.0 win basketball Gold (and hearing about Superman coming to L.A)

10. Watching Kenya’s David Rudisha crush his world record in 800-meter race with a time of 40.91 seconds.  The person who came in last in that race would’ve got Gold in the last three Summer Olympics.

11.  Even though Bolt was amazing, I’m not going to miss when he says stuff like this: “I am now a living legend.  Bask in my glory.”

12.  Gotta love that Missy Franklin.  She is just so happy all the time!

I will repeat these 12 steps to myself over the next few days as the withdrawal symptoms worsen.  Watching this video and this video sure won’t be good for my dependency, but I just can’t help myself.

Go USA!  104 Medals!  Let’s get ready for Rio!


Road Trip Essentials

Today we are embarking into the unknown.  Well, not really.  It’s actually all too well-known in our family.  The 12-hour trip from Southern California to Northern Utah is one we both love and hate to take.  To be fair, our kids were awesome on our last trip.  Ty was only 6-weeks old and it was our best drive yet.

We just don’t want to risk it this time.  So we’re trying to drive overnight.  I’m sure we’ll get tired and sleep off and on, so there will be some daytime driving.  We need to be prepared for the times when the kids are awake so that they are fully occupied and we don’t hear “are we there yet?” or “this is taking a long time!”.  Both favorites of our kids even on a 5-minute trip to Target.

I get gallon ziplock bags and fill it with snacks for the kids.  They get one snack at a designated time until their snacks are done (a trick learned from my parents) and an etch-a-sketch each.  Then we have the DVD players for when it really gets out of control and little hands aren’t kept to themselves.

Something we found at Marshall’s this year and I am really excited to use is this book:

Amazon.com description: Product Description: Fill long car rides with games to entertain the whole family! Featuring group activities, games and puzzles for all ages, this fun and interactive book is an ideal way to pass the time while traveling. With spotting, guessing, action, imagination and word games, this book makes the perfect antidote to a long drive.

I’ve looked through the book and there is A LOT for even toddlers to do. The kids are excited and I think this book will become a family treasure.

Heaven Is Here

(Heaven Is Here)

This week has been hard on me.  My husband got an earful of how I’d failed as a mother because Riley spends his days talking back, spitting on me, defying me, or ignoring me.  When it’s time for bed, it takes hours to get them asleep.  We’re seriously considering turning our office into a bedroom just to separate them.  But…that’s not the point of this post.

I was feeling really down on myself and wondering how I could not freak out on him and try to make a difference.  I’m sure other mothers have experienced the feelings that if their kid is doing something wrong, it is their fault.  I went through this with Mikey’s terrible threes and it’s just running it’s course again.

It seems that Life seems to know when I think I have it hard, and It wants to remind me just how wrong I am.

I’ve been following the NieNie Dialogues for a while now.  When she wrote her book, I couldn’t wait to read it.  It’s a massive understatement to say that she is an inspiration.

To be able to read in detail just what goes into recovering from an airplane crash where 80% of your body is burned was heart wrenching and addictive.  I already knew where she was today, but I just had to keep reading to see how she made it through.

When you read about somebody who truly has struggles in their life and who has pure gratitude to be alive and be a mother, wife, daughter, sister and woman, you try to emulate that attitude in your own life, without having to go through the hard part to get there.

If you are like me and need constant reminders about how good you have it, or you just want to read a true story of hope, please read this book.  It was a quick read that is sure to inspire.

“I have accepted myself in a world that does not accept me, because I have learned – and more than any of the lessons of my accident, this is the one I wish I could teach everybody – that our hearts matter most.  Your heart matters most, so be gentler and more patient with yourself, and their hearts matter most, too, so be kinder and more compassionate to others.  It’s a beautiful heart, not a perfect body, that leads to a beautiful life.”  ―    Stephanie Nielson,    Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy


If you read the title of this blog you probably think I will go on and tell you how HAPPY my children make me.  And they do, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about.

I’m going to talk about another obsession of mine (seems like those keep coming out lately).

I am obsessed with happiness.  Mine and others and just the general theory and idea of it.

A couple of years ago now I read this book:

First off, Gretchen Rubin is so cool.  I wish we were friends.

Secondly, this book was amazing.  I don’t think Oprah did a special on it or anything, but she should have.

The ideas in this book are so adaptable by anyone.  They are simple and memorable.  You will remember how to add happiness into your life years after you read this book.  Not just while you are reading it.

She has a website that has all these documents on it to help you with the resolution charts and goals that you will find out more about when you read the book.

She updates it VERY regularly with articles and ideas and updates.  It’s a constant flow of happiness reminders.  But not the sappy, made-up things that don’t last.  Real life changing happiness.  So real that it’s right there and you didn’t know it.

In the book, she talks about a one-sentence happiness journal.  She will write one (or two, or three, or four…but just short) sentence about the day.  Then she can look back and remember the little things that happen and it also helps her to find the happiness in her daily life.

Last year, she came out with this:

A five-year happiness journal.  I got it for Christmas and it is amazing.  I write one sentence every day and then I write in my regular journal monthly.  I have never had so many reminders of the past.  One sentence can trigger a day full of memories.  It has been the best habit I have picked up this year.

She has a new book coming out September 4 called Happier At Home.  Pre-ordered!

Plus, she will send you an autographed notecard to put in your book for free!

I love following her, reading her books, and implementing their happiness tips.

Please read her book and get ready for her second.  I am Happily recommending them.

Top Ten- Dystopian Literature

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I’ve got Hunger Games on my brain.  Especially this week when the movie is coming out.  Especially because my husband read the books and may be more excited than me to see the movie.  Especially because when a book I love is made into a movie, it brings my two favorite things together.  Books and movies make me happy.

In honor of one of the best dystopian novels to come out in a while, I thought I’d compile my top ten list of my favorite dystopian literature.  I actually only came up with nine, but I researched quite a bit for the tenth spot and have some good reading in my future.

In no particular order:

1. Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

2. Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner

3. The Giver Trilogy by Lois Lowry

4.  Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

5. Matched Trilogy by Allie Condie

6. 1984 by George Orwell

7. The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld

8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

9. The Farwalker Trilogy by Joni Sensel

All of these are linked to Amazon to buy them or you can also check them out from your local library.  And I wouldn’t put these on here if I didn’t 100% recommend them.  If you’ve read them and want to chat, I’m here for you.