Wednesday, November 27, 2013

BOOK REPORT: The Obituary Writer

I read a review of this book a few weeks ago in some trashy women's mag (like Oprah or Ladies Home Journal or the like) at my hair salon while sitting under the heated dryer. Immediately, I checked to see if my beloved Boise Public Library had it on their shelves yet, and they did, in New Fiction! I checked into the book on as well, and was thrilled to see it have four stars. Here's the blurb from Amazon, which was basically what I read in the mag that had me so quickly hooked:
On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.
At just under 300 pages, I finished this book in about four days. It is the kind of fiction I love, suspenseful and dramatic, beautiful and sad. I had never read anything by Ann Hood before, but now want to devour it all (I get that way with intriguing writers). However, it appears as the author has suffered from some traumatic deaths in her life, both of her brother and a young daughter, both which inform her fiction a great deal. Often children die in her stories, which, being six months pregnant and overly emotional, might not be the best reads for me at this stage in my life. Soon, though, you'll see me with another Ann Hood book in my hand. So, so good and worth it. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Not-So-Vanishing Twin Syndrome (And Broken Hearts)

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month (and today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day) and last October, I had no idea this existed. This October, my life has been changed in ways I never thought possible.

I have lost two babies in 2013 - one, a surprise pregnancy in March, which I miscarried somewhere in the first trimester, and, two, a twin to the baby boy I'm currently carrying, just six weeks ago when I was 11 weeks pregnant. I had not even told family members we were expecting baby #3 back in March, so my miscarriage was mainly suffered alone, at home, with my husband (and the exception of a few close friends). I wish I would've shared that pain. Before today, I've told a handful of people that I just lost a twin to my baby.

Now, suffering a loss again and so soon, I'm devastated and lost, grateful and happy. After doing some soul searching via the internets invaluable motherhood boards, I came across Brandi Wolfe's story from Preggie Pals today, and I couldn't have written it any more eloquently. Nor could I have found a story that is almost identical to my own unless I wrote it myself (which is why I stole her title). Like Brandi, I think these stories of loss are very real, and not sharing them is doing a detriment to future mothers of the world, who deserve some peace when they (we) are crying and bleeding at 2am, eating Golden Grahams and trying not to vomit, seeking solace for our souls and our wombs.

To celebrate this month, and to help heal my heart, I'm writing this post and sharing my story. I'm also one of the artists creating a small niche for Boise's Dia de los Muertos celebration at Boise 150's Sesqui-Shop in honor of my two babies that I can never hold, except in my heart. I'm ready to speak out. I need to know I'm not alone. You are not alone.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

CULTURE: Our Oregon Trip

Our trip to the Oregon coast trip was so fun! Our first stop was Hood River a little ways before we were in town we saw Mt. Hood . The hotel we stayed in was right by train tracks after we brought our suitcases in we went swimming in the Columbia River. The next morning we were off to go to Enchanted Forest first you have to go through a castle then on a path. On that path you can go in a little rabbit hole. There are also dwarf mines, indian caves, and much much more. Me and my sister Alice went on a roller coaster that is connected to a mountain and it went so fast. Me, my sister, and my dad went on a log ride and we got soaked. After that we went to Corvallis it was so fun. Then we stayed for a couple of days. Then we went to our yurt on the coast. The beach was cold but we saw tide pools we made sand castles we also watched the sunset. Our last stop was at a campsite its name is KOA.This trip was so fun!!!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BOOK REPORT: Fun on the Run


As part of my reading this summer, I picked up a couple of books on parenting based on some reviews online and this was one of them. We spent the majority of our summer on roadtrips and camping and this tiny guide seemed perfect (really, it could fit in your pocket or purse). Fun on the run! 324 Instant Family Activities is divided into easy to read sections like outdoor games, dr. office games, restaurant games, and baby games. While I didn't really feel the sections were necessary, there were some fun ideas throughout the book. Mostly, though, the games really work best with older kids, with many complicated spelling and repeating games that were pretty advanced for my five- and nine-year-old. I didn't learn a lot of new 'tricks' from this book, but it was a good reminder of old classics, like I Spy, writing with your fingers on the other's back and trying to guess what it says, staring contests, juggling three items, and drawing faces on your hands to make a 'finger puppet.'

Thursday, August 15, 2013

BOOK REPORT: No Regrets Parenting

A few months ago, when I was featured on 3 Things for Mom, I came across some great fathers to follow during her Fathers Day week. There are so many great dad blogs out there, and, of the guys Lauren featured that week, Harley Rotbart was one of my favorites.

So much so, that I immediately searched for his book, No Regrets Parenting: Turning Long Days and Short Years Into Cherished Moments With Your Kids, at the Boise Public Library. What a great, quick read and resource for mamas like me, who are looking at the big picture of life with kids. Dr. Rotbart is an experienced pediatrician and, more importantly, a father of three grown kids of his own. His insights into raising kids right with no regrets are spot on. After reading the book, I was thrilled to see that Eric and I already practice so many of ideas he suggests: that money isn't necessary to 'buy' cherished and memorable trips and adventures with your kids, checking the family calendar each Sunday together for the coming week, and little traditions, like our weekly Taco Night. He had some fantastic additions that I can't wait to implements, like evening Pajama Walks, teaching the girls to drive, and quick cell phone calls on walks between college classes in the future. His ideas are so simple and wonderful, that I think this might be one of the greatest parenting books I've ever read. It's so worth it, friends. Pick it up today.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

CULTURE: Silver City

My whole family and I went on a day trip to Silver City.  It is an abandoned ghost town, but not any more its not.  In the summer their family stays there in a building their relatives owned.   It took 3 hours on the drive, on the drive you drive on the freeway and turn on to a dirt road.

There is a cute little store that sells diamonds, crystals,and real live gold. Also they sell  rock candy that tastes so good .  We also played in a creek and we found crystals in the creek.

They also have some awesome pie and sarsparilla I never had sarsparilla but I guess I don't like sarsparilla we got these at a cute little restaurant.                                                                                                                           

Saturday, August 3, 2013

CULTURE: Fat and Happy

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I'm fat, happy and proud. My activism, in the Fat Acceptance and Health At Every Size movements has gained momentum over the past two years, and I'm thrilled to post some links to a couple of my most favorite accomplishments of late.

A little over a year ago I was selected to give a 5 minute presentation on fat acceptance for Ignite Boise 11. If you're not familiar with the Ignite format, click here. Getting up in front of a packed house (nearly 800 folks!) at the Egyptian Theater in Boise and telling them how much I weigh was terrifying and exhilarating.
For some reason, I can't get the YouTube video to embed in this here blog, but you can watch it here.

This summer, I was thrilled to be one of the moms/writers on 3 Things For Mom, offering up my truth, tip and a find by blog found, Lauren. It was such an honor, and an important way to spread the body love message. Click here to see my post.

Being an activist is hard work, and I've had my fair share of bad days and nasty comments from 'friends' on Facebook about body positive concepts. It can be exhausting and sad, but is mostly important and wonderful. Being happy with who you are and helping others on the self-acceptance journey is pretty crucial and special work.  And I'm honored to do it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

About Lucy

Hello my name is Lucy and I am going to be one of the writers on the awesome blog.  I'm nine years old and going into fourth grade so I'm pretty young to be a blogger. 

Amy Pence-Brown is my mom the one who started this blog.  I'm also a big sister to Alice my little sister she is so curious and funny.  You might of heard of me and my sister on my mom's posts.  I'm lucky to be a blogger most kids don't get to do this awesome job.  I hope you like me as a blogger and I hope I like this job, too.


Monday, July 1, 2013

KIDDOS: Spring shots

A few shots from the last few months of these daughters of mine I can't get enough of : My baby girl learns to write her name and gets creative all over the place. || She also joins a team sport for the first time (soccer with the Boise Nationals) and is more aggressive than I thought. || Lucy & Alice at Sara Smart's BOISE 150's Sesqui-Shop photo booth in April. || Dressed up as old west pioneers in the most creative kids' space I've seen in an Idaho museum. || The girls love the Ramona books as well as the screen version of Ramona & Beezus, so we took them to see the stage version in Idaho Falls. || Face painting at the school carnival. (Apparently mustaches are all the rage with tween girls these days. Who knew.)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CULTURE: Remnants of Boise exhibition

In April I was asked to help coordinate part of an exhibition of architectural artifacts for Preservation Idaho in conjunction with the City of Boise Department of Arts & History. This year, 2013, marks Boise's 150th birthday, or our sesquicentennial. In honor of that, the City has rented this really cool historic storefront on Main Street and named is the 'Sesqui-Shop.' For the entire year, new exhibits, lectures and events will grace the space each month.

For Remnants of Boise, the City put together a huge number of historic photos of neighborhoods throughout time. On behalf of Preservation Idaho, Dan Everhart and myself put out a call to the public for parts of major buildings which had been lost over time. As a result, I drove around town picking up some major sandstone elements and other quirky artifacts.

Here you can see some metal roof shingles from the old Territorial Capital, a door from a historic home, and an arched window from the old Veterans Home, along with photos of the building and what is in the location now. Most of the time, sadly, it's a parking lot. Oh, urban renewal (sigh).

You can purchase an exhibition catalog of sorts, with many of the stellar historic photos of Boise from BOISE 150 here and/or check out the cool virtual 360 tour that was part of the exhibition here.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

KIDDOS: Ceramica birthday

As always, I make Lucy and Alice have a joint birthday party, since they turn a year older just two weeks apart. So far, at ages five and nine, they still love this idea. I'm going to milk that until I no longer can.

This year I took the easy way out of birthday party planning and splurged on a 'destination party' for the first time ever. In the past, as you've seen here on the blog, I always do it up fun and big in our backyard or at a park. For several reasons, I just didn't have the energy this year, and decided to take ten girls to Ceramica, just down the street in the Vista Village shopping complex.

Ceramica is a paint-your-own ceramics studio, a place the girls adore but I rarely take them. We've made some really cute platters with handprints for grandparents 'gifts, but in the past they've been a bit too young for art making like this.

I made my favorite easy cupcakes, these vanilla ones from Fannie Farmer's Baking Book, and handmade goody bags with a pencil, tiny notebook, and colorful bracelets from our gift stash at home. We reserved the private studio room for free, where they let us set up the treats and gave us our very own artist helper. Turns out, the party cost about the same as I would've spent at a home party, much to my surprise. It's only $5 a kiddo for the studio fee at Ceramica, and I pre-picked out 5" blank tiles for each of the girls to paint ($4 each). Plus, both Lucy and Alice got a large birthday themed plate, complete with all their friends' signatures and thumbprints as keepsakes, all for $96! It was so worth it. The girls thought it was the most fun birthday ever.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ARTSY: Carousels: Art & History in Motion

This spring we took the girls to Idaho Falls to visit their grandparents for a weekend. In addition to taking them to see Ramona Quimby, the play, at the local arts center, we also go to catch this wonderful exhibition on the history of carousels at the Museum of Idaho.

There was a real, working carousel as part of the show, which the girls got to ride indoors. Displays showing how the carousel animals are carved and painted, photos of historic carousels, and unusual lighting and hand-pedaling features were among the highlights. This show is only up through May 27, 2013, so if you're in or near Idaho Falls, I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Happy spring, y'all, from the Pence-Brown household. As my baby girl just turned five in April, she's taken on a new hobby of taking awesome self portraits.

Friday, January 11, 2013

KIDDOS: Knock Knock Joke Book

My girls, Lucy and Alice, love jokes. Knock knock jokes are their favorites, as they are the easiest to understand and tell, and it takes some group effort.

I picked up this book for 10 cents at the senior center thrift shop a while back and it is HIGHLARIOUS in my household. (I don't know why this damn photo is sideways; I've uploaded it three times now and it appears to be correct but it's not. I've given up. Whatever.)

The illustrations are straight up 1970s and I don't know why the book is titled the "World's Worst Knock Knock Jokes" because they really are pretty great.