Cannot Wait!

By Gregory Ellwood
"Twilight" may have saved Robert Pattinson's career. The 21-year-old Brit made a name for himself as Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," but he was slowly getting seduced away from acting by his musical interests. That changed when he was persuaded to read for the role of Edward Cullen, a 108-year-old vampire. He soon found himself in director Catherine Hardwicke's Los Angeles home auditioning alongside Kristen Stewart, who was set to play his romantic interest Bella, a teenage girl madly in love with the eternal teenager.

Pattinson recalls, "I had no idea how to play the part when I went in, and it was a good thing to find during the audition. I really wanted it after that, but I didn't really even know what it was. I hadn't really read any of the books. And just from that, 'I want this job.' It was pretty much because of Kristen."

As Edward, Pattinson plays Bella's soul mate, a person the novel describes as making her "ache" whenever he comes into a room. Even after landing the part, Pattinson wasn't sure he could live up to that sort of scrutiny.

"I thought I couldn't deal with the humiliation of 'Could he be more good looking?' Then I kind of read it [as] it's not like the author is saying Edward is the best looking guy in the world; it's from Bella's perspective who is obsessed with him," Pattinson says. "When you take into account that, he could look like anything. When you are in love with someone, you look past all the flaws."

He also had the opportunity to sit down with Stephenie Meyer, who wrote the original novel, and she provided him with extensive notes.

"There is another version of 'Twilight' called 'Midnight Sun,' which isn't finished, which Stephenie Meyer wrote, and it's the entire story from [Edward's] perspective," Pattinson says. "He just sees himself as the most disgusting person in the entire world, which is how I was trying to play it before I read that. Luckily, I was on the same page as the author."

Although the film contains many intimate, dramatic scenes, it also has its share of action. As a superpowered vampire, Pattinson is in the middle of most of it. He'd experienced much wirework on "Harry Potter," but running at "vampire speed" on this flick has unfortunately led to some "terminal groin chaffing."

"You're on this wire track and going 30 miles an hour and that's kind of fun, but the main thing you are thinking about is unbelievable pain and just wanting it to end," Pattinson says. He does add, "It's quite exciting, though."

Like his co-star Stewart, Pattinson is signed for a number of possible "Twilight" sequels, but he isn't sure what he'll do next. One thing is for sure: He's not so keen on returning to the damp and cold weather of Oregon after coming down with bronchitis for the first time.

"I never took antibiotics before in my life. [My infection went away] within two hours," Pattinson says. "I'm a big advocate for that now. A Z pack every day."

Can someone say endorsement deal?

"Twilight" opens nationwide Dec. 12.



Take Your Daughter to Work Day

This is where Bryan works in Dallas. It's close enough to the American Airlines Center that when we went to the Stars hockey game Bryan walked from his office to meet us. The building is called The Crescent and Bryan's office is on the very top floor on the right... way up there... He works as an accountant for a very nice family. Most people think he does their taxes or something but they have their own tax department. Bryan works more with their personal finances and most days he comes home from work pretty happy.

Today was National Take Your Daughter to Work Day (always the last Thursday in April - I learned something new today!) and Cara jumped at the chance to spend some time with her daddy. She was up and ready super early but nixed the dress we had picked out last night, opting instead, for her shirt that says "My Dad Rocks". How could I argue with that one??

Of course Jordyn and I wanted in on the action and met them in Dallas for lunch at yummy Potbelly Sandwiches. Secretly, it was also Plan B in case Cara was bored at the office and wanted to come home with us...

Much to my surprise and delight, she informed me that she was now the official paper shredder for the office and couldn't come home with us because she had an appointment with Adam, one of Bryan's co-workers. "Yes, I told him I wouldn't be available until after lunch, Mom." Okay.

She's always said she wants to be a teacher, or a scientist, or a mom. Maybe now she might start saying she wants to be an accountant...

Looking out of Bryan's office window... I thought I might be able to get a photo of the hawk that comes to visit him but he never showed up...


Meeting the Mayor

Our family was invited to attend the Arlington City Council meeting last night as the Fit Future program was honored for their contributions to decreasing childhood obesity. You might remember my post about Cara's new bicycle...We got to ride the bus down to City Hall which was probably the highlight for Jordyn... She has a knack for entertaining anyone who will listen to her. :)
This is Mr. Sam. He runs the Fit Future program out of Amos Elementary and he works really hard at educating the students on healthy living choices like exercising and eating right.
Getting to shake hands with the mayor of Arlington, Robert N. Cluck (yes, Cluck...), was a highlight for Cara. I was too late in snapping this picture. He shook Cara's hand right before this. Drat.
Mayor Cluck reading the proclamation with the director of the YMCA, Sue White, looking on. It was pronounced that April 2008 is Fit Future Month.
This group photo cracks me up because all of the children look like deer in the headlights! It can definitely be nerve-wracking to be stared at by a room full of adults...

What a neat experience for Cara this was!


Gold Medal Readers

The Battle of the Books competition was yesterday morning and a certain nine-year-old I know was a big bundle of nerves. It seems she got over it quickly, though...

There were nineteen elementary schools who competed in Arlington's Battle of the Books 2008. Each group was seated at a table with a librarian from a different school who scored their answers. The parents were all sequestered at the back of the room behind a partition - I guess to eliminate any parental help. (Even though I read most of these books, I wouldn't have been much help as I only knew five answers for sure...)

At the beginning of the match, the officials explained that 50 questions would be asked. If a team scored between 0-29 questions correct they would receive an honorable mention certificate. Scoring 30-39 correct would earn them a red ribbon. If they answer 40-44 questions correct they would receive a silver medal and if the team answered 45-50 questions correctly they would earn a gold medal.

Rules were read, criteria announced, and then the questions began. "In which book does a stare feel like being stung by a thousand bumblebees?" Mister and Me. "In which book does a character have leaf-shaped eyes?" The Forging of the Blade. "In which book do the characters know not to drink from a river?" Earthquake Terror. If I leaned WAY over in the aisle from my chair I could see Cara as the answers were read all the way across the room. There were only a few times that I could gage from her reaction if they got the questions correct or not. Most of the time she and her team sat there quietly moving the chosen book titles back and forth.

At the end of the fifty questions, Cara's librarian, Mrs. Bogart, who was scoring another team, must have talked to the librarian who had been seated with Team Amos because she was SO excited and was jumping around with a huge smile. She told me the great news even before Cara did - that they earned a GOLD medal! It was a first in Amos Elementary history! The team missed only five out of fifty questions and was one of only three schools that earned gold medals. We are very proud of Cara, her team, and the librarian for all the hard work that was put into the Battle of the Books. :)

Team Amos: Gabrielle, Louis, Francisco, Cara & Mrs. Bogart

Calling the principal, Mr. Rinn, on speakerphone to let him know all about their success!


Wii Love Star Wars

We bought a Nintendo Wii for Christmas this year. (It actually was 'discovered' under our bed in October - but that's a whole different story...) We don't own any other gaming systems because Bryan and I have always thought playing outside or reading books would be better entertainment for the girls AND, honestly, because we both also knew that we could easily become addicted ourselves...

It's happened. Every now and then we'll play Wii Sports or Wario Ware or Harry Potter 5. But we LOVE Lego Star Wars - the Complete Saga. It is really fun! I do realize how lame this sounds, trust me, but there seems to be no end to my Star Wars love in the near future.

It has all six Star Wars movies played out by lego characters. Each movie has six chapters to play and there are three different ways to play each chapter. You can play a chapter once as Anakin Skywalker and then again as Darth Maul, Jango Fett, Jar Jar Binks, or Yoda and they all have different special powers. It really is pretty cool.

I didn't realize how invested I'd become in the game until Suzy's son, Max (5), came over to play Lego Star Wars and I said, "Okay, now change into Jango, throw a thermal detonator and run for cover. Now change into Darth Maul and use the dark force on that red glowing panel. All right, now use Jar Jar to jump up for the mini-kit canister. Watch out for the Droideka!"

I don't want to use the word 'obsessed' but I might just be borderline with it now.

It's not all bad. We play together and work together to defeat the dark side. Cara will practice her piano willingly in order to have some Wii time. After a few late nights of playing, Bryan and I are limiting ourselves to one or two chapters a night so we get some rest... Has anyone else played this or tried it out? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

May the force be with you...



Well, we survived our first Sunday in the new ward...

I've been chastened by Heavenly Father for my feelings of doubt about why we were in the 4th ward as I am now serving as the Primary President. Didn't see that one coming but I am very excited about taking on this challenge. My hope is I'll be too busy every Sunday to remember that I miss the way it used to be. :) Bryan is now the 1st counselor in the Young Men's Presidency.

Trying to choose counselors and a secretary from a list of sisters I didn't know by name or face forced me to truly rely on the Lord for guidance. After meeting one Thursday night, one Saturday night and one Sunday at church, I feel confident that things will be okay.

We generally have our Sacrament meeting last down here but it was first this Sunday in order to sustain all of the new leadership. I felt like I was under a microscope as I stood and when I was asked to come up and bear my testimony I could feel my entire neck get flaming hot and red! I made some comment about trying not to cry because I do the ugly cry and I didn't want to traumatize the children on their first Sunday with me... I don't remember everything I said but I do remember telling them about growing up military and a sign in my mother's kitchen that said "Home is where the Army sends you". I thought I needed to make one that reads "Home is where the Lord sends you" because this was our new home...

I thought I had everything prepared and ready for Primary time but having the Sacrament meeting first really threw me off with the timing of everything like class changes, our poor new nursery leader had 3 screamers and I needed 2 substitutes but other than that things went as best as could be expected. My good friend, Erin, is still the Primary President for 5th ward and now Jennie Jo is Primary President for 6th ward so I have close resources to call on for help if I need it!

Cara and Jordyn seemed to have a great first week. I think it helped to have me close by, at least for Cara. Jordyn handles new situations extremely well, thankfully.

All is well.


Too, too cute...

A message on my answering machine from Jeremy & Alyssa's son, Tyson. He's almost 3 years old and such a daddy's boy. If this doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will...

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

I haven't had a true birthday party for a very long time. I've had small family parties with cake and ice cream or gone out to eat for a birthday dinner but the last time I had a real party was when I turned 16 while we were living in Heidelberg. We watched The Little Mermaid, ate junk food and played "Elephants and Giraffes". In hindsight that sounds kinda lame but, at the time, it was awesome!

Bryan threw me a surprise party Friday night that was so much fun! We were supposed to be going to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner with Suzy & Brandon. When we pulled up to their house Bryan pretended to be pulling the car seat out while I rang the bell.

To my utter shock their house was full of friends, pizza & an awesome cake made by Sandee Bryson. One of the best parts was getting to see my good friend, Kay, who lives in Oklahoma now. She just happened to be in town for the weekend and it was so good to see her again. I still cannot believe I had no clue about any of this!
Except for the whole Little Mermaid thing, this party was oddly similar to my Sweet Sixteen party... We ate junk food, played silly games and spent the entire night telling stories and laughing until our faces hurt. Seriously.
Musical chairs was hilarious! I got out first but was glad because then I got to watch the rest of the mayhem unfold. These people were serious about some musical chairs! Jenner was the big winner.
The orange game involves pantyhose, oranges & some serious hip action... Jennie Jo won this one!

The Allens, the Manns, the Petersons, the Jeffords, Bryan, the Koenigs, the Wurtz', Stephanie & the Brysons.

This was truly a memorable birthday for me. Maybe you can get an idea of why it was hard to be separated from them all when the wards realigned. Bryan earned major points for this one and special thanks to Suzy and Brandon for opening your home for the fiesta and fun games!
I love you all!



Nacho wants to wish his Encarnacio a Happy Birthday.


I love you


There's Something About a Pedicure...

... they just make me happy! This is a picture from last summer when I took the girls with me to get a pedicure and they got their toenails painted. It was a fun girls-only kind of day.

I am by no means high maintainance but I do love a good pedicure. I got one today at a place called Foxy Nails. Catchy name, huh? Hmm... I do feel kinda foxy now. :)


General Conference Artwork

We don't have cable at our house. We got rid of it a few years ago because we found we were watching (and tivo'ing) way too much TV... The two times a year we miss not having cable are when General Conference time rolls around. Then we get to impose on the hospitality of friends, bring our children to their house and try to glean as much important information from conference as we can.

This session we were at Suzy and Brandon's house. Brandon is an artist and illustrator for Reel FX in Dallas which should explain everything about the following ankle and leg artwork the kids were treated to today.
Jordyn's Boz, the bear.

Darby's butterfly

Spongebob jellyfishing

Dash's little leg...

Cara's Darth Vader
The artist at work...
Notice the hand puppet too? It was singing I am a Child of God.

Max's Yoda

Something at least a little churchy...

Suzy & Brandon - love birds....

We have a playa, folks!

Yes, even more confirmation that Cara is my little mini-me. (Even though she's not so little any more...) We finally convinced her to participate in a team sport and she decided on volleyball.

Cara has a 'thing' about people watching her or being the center of attention... She doesn't like it so much. Several years ago, after practicing in the backyard with Bryan for months, she smacked a great hit at the Boyer Family Reunion Baseball game. Half-way to first base she was sobbing in huge gulping tears. When we got her to calm down enough she explained, "I don't like people yelling at me". No one was yelling at her; it's called cheering. Hmm...

She's lately been trying to face her fears. She started a new school. She got her ears pierced. Now she's on a volleyball team through the YMCA called the Pink Ladies. The league she's in is for girls aged 9-11.

Guess what? She loves it and, even better, she's good at it! We had a blast watching her play yesterday in their first two matches. They play four-on-four on a shortened court with rally score to 25.

This is actually two different teams with the same color jersey... Cara's team only has 6 girls on it.


Battle Royale

Cara is an avid reader. Voracious is a good word to describe her when it comes to books. Not sure where she gets this... hee-hee! So it was no surprise that she came home last month and told me she was made the captain of the Battle of the Books team.

A typical "Battle" is a full day tournament or game, like the College Bowl, in which students' teams earn points by answering questions about the books on the book list. Students are expected to read and re-read these books over and over again to basically become 'book experts'. The competition will be on April 19th and her team has been practicing with the librarian every day either during recess, lunch or before school begins. It's fun to see her so excited about it all!

Some sample questions they would be expected to know:
1) In what book does a character feel as popular as a bad case of chicken pox?
2) In what book does a sawmill whistle mark time?
3) In what book does a character mention rabbit-skin underwear?
4) In what book does a character get his or her first taste of french fries?
5) In what book is burgundy silk material used as a bookmark?

Yikes! The ten books this year are:

Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo

Earthquake Terror
by Peg Kehret

Ferret in the Bedroom, Lizards in the Fridge
by Bill Wallace

The Forging of the Blade
by R.L. LaFevers

The Grand Escape
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Mister and Me
by Kimberly Willis Holt

by Bill Brittain

The Silver Balloon
by Susan Bonners

Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear
by Lensey Namioka

The Year of Miss Agnes
by Kirkpatrick Hill

I've read most of them and, of course, they're all pretty good books!