The Greatest Show on Earth

Here’s another bit of fun with the new video camera. Last Friday, we all went to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Honda Center in Anaheim. We’d never been to the circus in an arena before. It was an interesting experience, especially seeing the trapeze artists swinging up in the rafters among all the lighting equipment. It was a great show!

I think everybody loved the guys riding motorcycles in the giant steel ball the best.  They got seven guys in there at once! Other favorites were the trapeze artists and the elephants. It was all great, though. They really had it all down pat and kept it moving. I think the only complaint would be the insane prices they were charging for any food or souveniers (which we warned the kids we wouldn’t be getting before the show to try to head off the whining — it mostly worked). One thing of cotton candy cost $15! (Pass!).

The video below is a highlight reel from the show set to music. Hopefully, it’s not too long. I got a little carried away with the video editing software. Good times.


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My Friend Is Sad – Mo Willems

friendissad.jpgWe love the Mo Willems books! We have collected a bunch of his pigeon books, our favorite being The Pigeon Finds A Hotdog.  While working at the book fair a while back I came across an elephant and piggie series I didn’t know about. I bought the book My Friend Is Sad, and it has been very popular too.  The kids really like these because they can relate to the characters and their dramatic emotional responses.  There are few words, and the illustrations are simple, but they work for all ages. Hunter at ten appreciates the subtle humor and Sabrina at two loves the simple story and expressive characters.  Genius!

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Wii (Are Not So) Fit


I have never been into playing video games. I felt like they were huge time wasters and just another reason to sit on the couch and be lazy. The main reason I agreed to let a video game system into our home was to take advantage of the chance to play games that would get the kids moving. Rob preordered the Wii Fit, and it arrived last night. Rob and I tried it out while the kids were sleeping.


First you do a sort of body test where your height, weight, and Body Mass Index are measured. My Mii was changed to reflect my height and weight; a little creepy, but a good motivator to get my Mii-self looking svelte. Then there are a few short tests of your balance. All of that information is taken into account and you are presented with your Wii Fit Age. Apparently my balance is really off, and the Wii even asked if I find myself tripping when I walk. My Wii Fit Age: 45. I’m so embarrassed. I felt a bit better this morning when Emma and Hannah both measured at 32, and Hunter at 29. I’m hoping as I work through the games my age will improve quickly. The games are pretty fun. I have mostly done the balance games so far because that seems to be my weakness, but there are also aerobics, strength training, and yoga games. A bank keeps track of the minutes you play and after you clock in a certain amount of time (it seems to be about 15 minutes) a new game unlocks for play. I think it’s a great way to keep things interesting, so that there is something new to try if you’re getting bored with the few options there are at the start. So far I like this one, and I hope it will get our whole family moving a bit more.


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Brite Music Review

safetykids.jpgWhen I was young we loved to listen to the Safety Kids on tape. I think there was only one in the series back then, and now it’s known as Personal Safety. The tape started with a club meeting of some kids and they discuss the importance of learning your phone number, staying safe from strangers and people who try to invade your privacy, and never going out alone. The topic is a fairly common one when discussing safety with kids, but by having the lessons taught by children and through songs, I was more easily sucked into the topic and able to remember the songs that went along with them.

My mom came across the tape when Hunter and Emma were toddlers and gave it to me. They loved it just as much as I did. We played the tape over and over until it started to sound weird and distorted. Several months ago I ordered Personal Safety on CD and discovered that there are also two more in the series, Stay Safe From Drugs, and Protect Their Minds. We have loved all three CDs and know all of the songs by heart. I have already heard the kids talking about why drugs are bad at times when we’re nowhere near the CD, and I had to laugh when someone brought up the evils of pornography in church and Emma looked up at me bright eyed and said, “pornography!” She was excited to know what the word meant now. We also have another CD called Show a Little Love that has some really good songs. Here are some clips of our favorite songs:

Personal Safety: Yell and Scream, The Telephone Song

Stay Safe From Drugs: All You Gotta Say is No, Go For a Natural High

Protect Their Minds: I Want to Have Clean Thoughts, See No Evil –the link is broken on this one 🙁

Show A Little Love: Show A Little Love, Never Tell A Lie

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For Christmas, Amy gave me the two-volume set of “Maus” by Art Spiegelman. I first read these books when I was in high school and was really affected by them. I had checked them out of the library so I never owned the set until now. I just finished re-reading them and I am just as amazed at the story as ever. Maus tells the story of Art Spiegelman’s father who was a Jew living in Poland during World War II. He takes you though his father’s whole experience first learning about the Nazis, being moved into the ghettos, going into hiding and finally being sent to Auschwitz.

What is really unusual about this is that Art Spiegelman is a cartoonist and he tells his father’s story in comic book form. In the book, the Jews are drawn as mice and the Germans are cats. It sounds like this would take away from the seriousness of the subject or be a distraction but it isn’t at all. It’s incredibly powerful and personal. The story of Maus has a way of pulling you into it and making you feel like you are right there with the characters. You feel their fear, their confusion, their helplessness, their despair and their determination. Anyone that wants to learn about the Holocaust needs to read Maus. Here are a couple of pages from the first volume.

Maus page 1

Maus page 2

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Christmas Eve Tradition

When Jesus Was Born in Bethlehem

About seven years ago, we were introduced to the work of a talented new LDS artist, Joseph Brickey. Our friends, Peter and Ann, knew his family well and told us to check out his paintings. Shortly afterwards I came across this book, When Jesus was Born in Bethlehem that is a collection of his paintings that accompany the Scriptural Christmas story. I loved the detail and emotion in the paintings, and bought several copies of it to give as gifts- and one for us too. We read it that year on Christmas Eve as a family, and it brings such a peaceful spirit that we have read it every year since. Merry Christmas!

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