Monday, August 31, 2009

Be "in the know"

Some of you have wondered how I find my articles. Well, here is one way. :)

You can get news updates from LDS Newsroom by e-mail or cell phone. You can either go to the LDS Newsroom at http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng and enter your e-mail address in the little box on the left or you can text ldsnews to 29222 (if you're in the US or Puerto Rico). If you’re outside the United States, text the word ldsnews to 44-762-480-5710.

So, you can be in the know, too!

I enjoyed this video. Although I do wonder why the girl running the marathon doesn't have her hair in a ponytail. :) You might remember it from Conference.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Some interesting articles

So, I've been doing some internet reading, and I found some interesting articles I would like to share with you.

The first is a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard. He gave it at BYU Commencement in August, and the main topic is how to talk about our religion. It's not even necessarily missionary work directed. It's more about if you're talking to someone and Mormonism comes up.

I particularly liked this quote: "When all is said and done, the most important thing about you and your testimony is that you base your beliefs on what Jesus Christ taught, and you try to follow Him by living your life in a way acceptable to our Heavenly Father and to the Lord."

Well said Elder Ballard. Man. The apostles are so good at phrasing things. Must be because they are inspired. :)

It's so true. When the Church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is brought up, that is the most important thing to get across. I was recently discussing some of our beliefs with one of my friends, and I found myself describing a completely random, nonessential belief of ours, and I'm kicking myself about it now. Why?! Why did I waste precious time and her curiosity by going off on that? Sigh. Too late now. But not too late for next time! I can be focused!!

I also liked how he said we need to stop sharing our beliefs or talking about the Church in a defensive way. I hadn't even really realized it, but I often do come off as apologetic instead of confident. I'm getting better now than when I was younger, but there is no reason to be defensive or apologetic. I can be confident without being rude; honest without being unkind. The more I study the scriptures and the better prepared I am to have the Spirit with me, the more able I will be to respond as I should when it comes up.

Here is a link to his complete talk. Click me.

In his talk, Elder Ballard mentioned an article in a recent Time magazine that I did not know about. Probably because I don't read Time magazine. Well, not recently anyway. I know I have at some points in my life. Probably whenever a magazine fundraiser came around the house. Anyway (good example of an unnecessary tangent).

So, I was curious about the article, and if you are too, here is the link to it. Click me!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Melt My Heart!

I love my nieces! I know, I know, I post about them all the time, but come on? Who couldn't resist with nieces like this?!

So, my niece Hallie is the oldest, and she is cute as button. (Most of the time. Haha, I've heard rumors from her mommy that she isn't actually always an angel . . .)

Anyway, her mother (my sister) and I talk on the phone a lot, and apparently sometimes Hallie goes to the house phone and says "Mimi Mimi Mimi" at it. I had my doubts that she meant me. I thought maybe she was just saying "me me me me" haha. But today she took Amy's cell phone and handed it to Amy saying, "Mimi Mimi." So, Amy called me, and we had a nice chat.

At the end of the phone call, Hallie was waving good bye and then AWWWW she said "Bye Mimi!" AWWWW So, she's a year and a half old (20 months), and that is the first time that she has talked loud and clear to me on the phone. She has waved goodbye to me on the phone and made noises on the phone, but never distinguishable sounds meant just for me!

She just melted my heart!!
Doesn't she melt yours?

Here we are when she's six months old.
Watch Hallie grow!!
Newborn, five months old, one year old (almost), and
a year and a half old

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Endeavor

I am going to try to learn HTML and CSS. For fun. I'm not very impressive yet, but here is what I created so far if you want to take a peek: my first website attempt.

Just ignore the ads on the top and the bottom. Those are there, because I'm using free hosting from angelfire instead of paying. If I pay, then the ads leave. My websites will have to look a lot better before I start paying for them. :)

I really need to figure out why my images are broken. Hmm . . .

Caught in the act!

Jeff caught Jill and I taking some Zs. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Urbanspoon

I am trying to verify my urbanspoon connection to this blog, and this is how I do that apparently. :)

Urbanspoon rocks!

Jill *not* Rolling Over

So, Jill (on the sly) has been rolling over when we're not looking at her. Well, Jeff has caught her at it now, but I still have yet to see it at this point. This is a long video (5 minutes). So, there's a warning in case you don't have time for one that long. :)
video

Monday, August 24, 2009

Date Night

So, on Friday, Jeff and I got to go on a date. Yay!

It was an impromptu one, but I count it nonetheless. Yes, we did have Jill with us, but she doesn't do much right now, so that didn't matter either. :)

We began by eating dinner at Ban Thai. They don't have a website I can link to, but the food was delicious. I have only had Thai three times now (and I didn't like it the first two times), but I loved it this time!!

Ban Thai
792 Eastgate South Dr # 300
Cincinnati, OH 45245-1590
513-752-3200

They're on the road you take to get to Biggs. You can't see them from the street. They're in the same complex as Everything Bagel (which you can see from the street). It's on the side. It's worth finding—trust me.

The entrees ranged from $7 to $15 if I remember correctly. I got a fried rice and vegetable meal, and Jeffrey got Duck Szechuan stir fry. We both loved our meals. Oh yeah, we also both had an celery egg drop soup. Or something like that. It was also very good. It was kind of unusual. I'm not used to having pieces of a fried egg in soup, but it was good. I'm glad I tried it.

We got ours medium, and it wasn't as spicy as we wanted (but we both really like spicy food). We mentioned that to the waitress, and she bought us a container of REALLY spicy stuff that we got to add to our food. Add with caution. ;)

The plates were on the pricey side compared to other restaurants, but in our opinion the food was way superior to other restaurants. It was tasty and healthy. I also liked the atmosphere of the restaurant.

The service was very attentive. Oh yes, if you like sushi, you would be interested to know that they have a HUGE sushi menu right now.

I read some of the reviews online. Some were positive; others were not. Regardless, our experience was definitely positive, and Jeff wants to go back at least once a month. And I wouldn't mind doing so either. I like eating something different than what I eat every day. :) So yes, yay for Ban Thai!

Another date activity involved getting soft serve ice cream cones for only a dollar each at the gas station near our house, on the corner of Schoolhouse and Old 74. Yum yum yum. That part was for me.

The other activity was to spend just over an hour at Golf Galaxy, where Jeff got to try out different clubs and drivers and do a bit of dreaming. :) That trip sadly ended when I let Jill drop on her head. She was "standing" up, so it wasn't too far to fall at least. My foot slipped from under me. I'm basically a bad mom. But after us having to leave the store because her crying was so loud, she pretty much survived.

I wonder how many times I'll have breastfeed in our car in a parking lot total by the time she's done nursing . . .

Ban Thai on Urbanspoon

I'm trying out this urbanspoon site. You can link to it when you review a restaurant, and they'll post your blog review on their site. It's kind of cool. That's why that icon is right up there above this paragraph.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dress from my Aunt

My aunt Cyndy Homer gave Jill some great gifts, and some of them were darling dresses. There were three of them: a pink one, a blue one, and a yellow one, all different sizes. Well, she fits in the pink one now. One of my favorite things about them is that they almost look more like mini grown up dresses rather than baby dresses. She looks so cute! (Jeff looks pretty good, too!) ;)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pretend Momming

One of my friends let me babysit for her kids today, or what I like to call "pretending mommy-ing." :) I had Jill and her three, approximate ages of 6, 4, and 2. So, it's kind of like what my life might be like in six years. Things went pretty well.

This little guy, Nick, was especially helpful. Jill only sleeps during the day if you're holding her (unless you want her to only sleep for like 15 to 20 minutes). Every time I tried to put her down that day, so I could put Andrew down for his nap, Jill would wake up and start to cry. So, Nick helped me out! What a sweetheart!
It was lots of fun, and I can't wait to babysit again!

Interesting news

Clips from a talk given by Elder Russell M. Nelson at a worldwide convention for family rights, specifically the World Congress for Families in Amsterdam.

Click here to watch the video.

Other interesting news that I wish you could find on main media sources.

CDC Data Show Teen Abortions Lower in States with Abstinence Funding. Using the figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, San Antonio Coalition for Life determined that from 2001 through 2005, the states that rejected abstinence funding had a 7.5 percent decrease in abortions, but in states that accepted the grants, there was a 23.1 percent decrease in abortions. Read more here.

UN Data Show Pro-Abortion Laws Lead to More Maternal Deaths for Women. The UN has long claimed that restrictive abortion laws increase maternal mortality. However, as the Catholic Family and Human Rights reports, in spite of liberalized abortion laws, the maternal death rate is rising in some African countries. In South Africa abortion is legal, yet from 2005 to 2007, maternal deaths have increased twenty percent. On the other hand, Mauritius has very restrictive abortion laws and has the lowest maternal mortality rates. Read more here.

Additional Research Underscores That Homosexuality Can be Successfully Treated. In a direct challenge to the contention of the American Psychological Association (APA) that maintains reorientation therapy is unproven and possibly harmful, two researchers, Drs. Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse, reported to the APA at its annual meeting follow-up analysis of their study of religiously motivated reorientation of unwanted same-sex attraction. They found that among the subjects they have now studied for between six and seven years, there was a 53 percent success rate. Read more here. Read their study here.

No Choice for Marriage Commissioners in Saskatchewan. The Court of Queen’s Bench upheld an earlier ruling that marriage commissioners who refuse to perform same-sex marriages are guilty of discrimination. The Saskatchewan Human rights Commission agreed with the ruling. Read more here.

New Study Measures Benefits of More Involved Fathers. A new study published in the Journal of Marriage and the Family found that when mothers and fathers were enrolled together in training that helped to improve their relationship as parents, their children were less likely to be depressed, anxious or hyperactive. Most family services are directed toward mothers, and fathers are often left out, but it is clear that fathers must be included in programs to achieve the best results for children. Read more here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I may be little now.

One of my friends blogged about poetry and art. I admired her art, and it got me thinking of poetry. I'll never win any Nobel Prizes for mine, but it's fun to do sometimes. Here's one about Jill that I just wrote.

I may have little feet,
But I am going far.

I may have a little chest,
But behind it is a big heart.

I may have little lips,
But they're usually curved into a smile.

I may be little now,
But your attention is very worthwhile.

I'm growing bigger every day,
And one day we'll have to part.

I'm growing bigger every day,
But I'll always be your precious, little star.

These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

These Is My Words These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a very good book. It was a hard read for me at first. The book is written from the first person perspective, and the main character doesn't have much of an education. She does get one though during the book, which helps. Also, I think I just got captured by the story and stopped caring when the words were misspelled or when it said "its" instead of "it's." Also interesting, this book included some very hard things. Things I don't usually like in my books. I tend to prefer books that don't include "ugly" things. However, life isn't all roses, especially the frontier life that this book is portraying. That said, the hard issues are handled as delicately as can be, so you know something is occurring, but you don't have to wade through all the horrible details. So, I enjoyed the book, and I wouldn't be surprised if I read it again some day.

It is a very interesting story about the hard realities of frontier life. I believe it to be pretty accurate with the time period. It was actually really, really interesting.

View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Child Naming

So, there are different kinds of parents. Some parents have all of their children named before they're even conceived (haha Jeff and I), and other parents want to wait until the child is here, you know, to see what he or she is like. Both types are great.

Today is a double birthday for Jeff and I. It is my brother Danny's birthday, and it is also Jeff's sister Jill's birthday. Jill stopped moving two days before she was born and was stillborn. Her name is Jill Marie Collett, and she's Jill Halley Collett's namesake.

So, in honor of her birthday, we went to the cemetery where she is buried. (Danny was honored as well; we talked on the phone.) She was buried in the part of the cemetery that used to be dedicated only to babies and small children. Two tombstones there particularly stood out to me. They both had last names, but one just said "Baby Girl" and the other said "Infant."

Since Jeff and I name our children way ahead of time (like way, way ahead of time), this was pretty foreign to me. So my initial reaction is that we would never have a tombstone like that. Any stillborn or miscarriage we have (if gender is already known) would already be named.

But then I thought about it longer. If we do have a stillborn or miscarriage, would we want to use the name later for a living child? Jeff and I have done a good amount of genealogy, and it is pretty common back in the day for children to have the same name as a dead sibling.

Now I'm thinking that I wouldn't want to use it, that I would let our deceased child keep the name, because I know my son or daughter still exists in heaven.

So anyway, what do you guys think?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jill *not* Sitting

Here is a video of Jill not sitting. She is getting pretty good at it these days though, sometimes. It just depends on if she leans over to try to eat something, like her dress or toes. If she doesn't lean over, then she does quite well. :)

video

The Dress

So, for those of you that remember the dress I posted back in March, Jill was finally able to wear it! It is one of the ones my mother-in-law made. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Four Generations

Lucille Ellsworth, Daryl Collett, Laurie Collett,
Jill Collett, and Jeff Collett
Lu is Jeff's paternal grandmother.

Philip Boling, Marcia Boling, Jill Collett, and Michelle Collett
Marcia is Michelle's paternal grandmother.

Benjamin Homer, Vickie Boling, Jill Collett, and Michelle Collett
Ben is Michelle's maternal grandfather.

Jill's Gargle Laughter

Here is a video of Jill's gargle laughter. I guess babies drool, because they haven't learned to swallow their spit. Perhaps? Well, Jill has a lot of saliva in her throat sometimes. Here she is laughing and gargling, because her daddy is so funny. :)
video

Just stole this picture from my sister's blog. Way cute, huh?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Reds Game

Jeff and I finally got to go to a Reds game and had amazing seats, thanks to my friend Elizabeth! She just moved here a month or so ago and won tickets at work. She offered one to me, and it worked out great, because we've been wanting to go and I haven't seen her in forever.

So, she had really nice tickets ($32), and we bought a $5 ticket for Jeff, but the different . . . what are those people called? Ushers? Perhaps. The ushers were really nice and let us all sit together in the bleacher seat section, way close. :)

The Reds are not having their best year this year. Apparently they haven't been too good since the nineties, but they won this game! There were even at least three home runs! That was pretty awesome, expect that it meant fireworks. Now, Jill didn't have a problem on the Fourth, but she was nursing through them, and that makes her pretty focused.

She's older now and more interested in the world, and she was not a fan of the fireworks. Luckily, she fell asleep before one set and slept through them.
Classic. Haha. Jeff was way happy to be at the game. Jill, on the other hand, was not a fan of the aforementioned fireworks, the clapping, any yelling, and 1-2-3 Strike You're Out (that part of the song).

Elizabeth and I went to high school and middle school together back in good ol' Muncie. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Scrapbook

You saw the cover . . . here's the finished product!

My mother-in-law has this cool machine from Provo Craft that laminates and binds books. She asked me if I wanted to make a book. Of course I did! I haven't done any scrapbooking in forever, because, well, scrapbooking costs money. So, I was way excited!

I made this for my mom and dad. I can finally post it, because they have it now!



Monday, August 10, 2009

A day about town

Well, you know me. I like to do stuff. Now that I have the Bean, I spend a lot of time sitting at home. Holding her while she sleeps and while she's nursing. I love all that time. But, I'm still me. I like to be out and about. So, when Dad and Grandma were in town, I used them as an excuse to do stuff. :)

Our Day in Cincinnati began with a visit to Mt. Airy Forest over on the other side of town, on Colerain Avenue. It is (I think) Cincinnati's largest park. It's lovely. According to Dad, he and Mom have driven past it all the time, because it's on the road they used to drive to come visit my Great-Grandma Boling. He doesn't know if he's ever stopped there before, but Grandma Boling thinks she may have been there before on a picnic.

It has the usual: playground, picnic areas, hiking trails, disc golf course (way popular in Ohio!), etc. This park is extra special though, because it has a treehouse! It's a big one, and they made it so handicapped children could enjoy it too: it's ramp accessible.


Note: Grandma ended up not even needing the wheelchair. She only needs it if she's on her feet for hours. However, we didn't know how strenuous the day would bring, so we had it just in case.

Isn't the bench we're sitting on cool? It's carved completely out of one piece of wood, possibly apple. Grandma Boling used to have a table like it. And I think Uncle Geoff and Aunt Phyllis might have one, too. Or maybe Aunt Cathy and Uncle Larry. Not sure.

After driving around acres of beautiful land, we headed over to Mariemont. Everyone here seems to pronounce it "Mary-mount." However, it just begs me to pronounce it "Marie-mont." It's named after the lady who founded the town, Mary Emery. So, I'm not sure. Her name was definitely Mary, but the town is spelled like Marie. A mystery. Maybe "Marie" is like the blending of Mary with Emery? Oh well. A mystery for a different day. ;)

Once there, we lunched at The National Exemplar. It was a really great restaurant with delicious entrees. Apparently, Grandma had eaten there before many times with my grandpa and great-grandparents. So, it was fun for me to see it. My grandfather's brother, Robert, and his wife, Jane, treated us to lunch. I haven't seen them in a long time (about three years), so it was fun to see them again. He's about ten years younger than my grandfather would be, and my great-grandparents moved here either near the end of or right after my grandfather graduated from high school, so my great-uncle Robert has lived here almost his entire life, since elementary school. How cool would that be? To live in one place that long.

I really enjoyed the food at The National Exemplar. The decor was absolutely beautiful. You could tell that the inn had been there for a very long time, and the restaurant felt that same way. It was an upscale place. By the time we left, they were transitioning to dinner by bringing out the cloth napkins. I wouldn't wear jeans there. The food was amazing. I can be a picky eater, and I ate absolutely every single thing on my plate. I got a BLTE (I think that is the right order). It is a BLT sandwich with a fried egg! Cool, huh? It came with sides that I didn't get to choose, but they were so good, too. They weren't listed on the menu, and I'm not used to eating at places like that, so I actually worried that all I was getting was my sandwich. I shouldn't have feared. :)

The service was very attentive. The kind that can refill your glass without you even knowing it. They have indoor seating (of course!) and patio seating as well. It's right on the main street and has a lot of charm. I loved it. I don't remember how much the plates cost, but I'm guessing $8+.

National Exemplar on Urbanspoon

Moving right along, I forgot something. In between Mt. Airy Forest and Mariemont, we stopped at Hyde Park and Ault Park. I can only assume Hyde Park is named after the one in England. My great-grandparents used to live in Hyde Park, and my grandma showed me the house her in-laws had lived in for 40 years. It has been added onto since then, but it looks basically the same, just larger. It's a lovely home. I am not sure if I've ever been inside. I believe they moved into a nursing home around the same time I was born.

Ault Park is actually a park. :) (Not like Hyde Park, which is a neighborhood!) It is in Hyde Park and just lovely. Grandma showed me approximately where Grandpa gave her the engagement ring. The landscaping has been done many times since then, over 50 years ago, so the exact look out doesn't exist anymore, but it was still cool. Then Grandma sat while Dad and I walked around the flower gardens that my dad and mom used to walk through when they were dating and newlywed, visiting our family here. It was fun to feel connected to the past.

Back to the present day though—our next adventure was in Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, in Newport, Kentucky. We took a one-hour river cruise on one of the BB Riverboats: the Mark Twain. It actually poured during most of the trip, but it was still a lot of fun. I don't know much of the history of the area, and the captain of the ship filled us in on many of the buildings and other areas near the river. It was a lot of fun. It reminded me of the all-week river cruise my grandmother took my sister and I on back in 1998 (I think). That was on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

I learned that BB Riverboats does the same thing. You can go from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh (or something like that). I'm sure it's way, way too expensive for me right now, but it might be a fun thing to do some day. :)

A picture of Grandma without her glasses! Score! :)
Jill and Pappy
Jill is always looking for something to eat. :)
A pirate flag!
Mommy, Jill, Gigi, and Pappy
(Jill's blanket is apparently enthralling.)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jill & Gigi

My grandma Boling makes a trip every year to see her posterity, and this time, I was in the Midwest too, so I got to see her! She's 89 and going strong through Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan—all in just under a month. I sure loved getting to see her for her two days here. And Jill got to meet her great-grandma, Gigi.

The gorgeous dress is courtesy of my gorgeous friend, Holly. ;)

A highlight of tonight's evening was the funnel cakes my father-in-law made for all of us to enjoy. I also liked that my dad and grandma went to stake choir practice to listen to us sing. :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Play on the Playground

One of my new friends, Sara Hosler, lives just a few streets away. So, every now and then I get Jill and I out of the house and walk over to the elementary school. She has three super cute kids. (She's super cute, too.)

Anyway, when I come, I bring an interesting new toy with me that is sometimes more interesting than the playground equipment. What is this magical toy?

Jill, of course!

Here's sweet Lilly.

And Nick who likes to get to do things, too. :)

Andrew wanted to hold her (and has before), but he got shy around the camera. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ohio

Jill is really getting into the Ohio spirit. She's already getting the hang of cornhole. I guess next time we should play with bags instead of tossing her . . . jk of course! (Cornhole is a type of bean bag toss that is really popular in Cincinnati.)
She just started playing with toys a week or so ago. :)
Mallory and Benji feeding the ducks. Well, Mallory feeding the ducks. Benji didn't really understand the concept. :) He thought he should get to eat the bread.
When the goose stretched his neck all the way, he was as tall as Benji. Whoa!
Some would call this a bib. But Benji knows better. He knows it is truly a cape.
I'm a Skyline newbie, but I'm dedicated to being a real Cincinnatian. :)
Haha. I tricked her. She always wakes up right away when I stop holding her to put her in the crib, but this time, I put the nursing pillow in the crib with her a nd bought myself an extra 40 minutes!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Cover

I'm working on a scrapbook for Jill. This is the cover. So far at least. I might change my mind. Jeff doesn't think the black and white looks very good. Hm.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hannah Swenson Mysteries by Joanne Fluke

So, when something is awesome, you should share it, right? :)

This is for any of my friends looking for good books that like mysteries, specifically murder mysteries.

My mother-in-law has recently introduced me to Hannah Swenson mysteries by Joanne Fluke.

Let me share with you some of my favorite things about these books, one of which is there to the left.

These are murder mysteries, but not they're not incredibly gory or explicit. You don't feel depressed or grossed out when the murder scene is described, at least I don't. It isn't in overly necessary detail. So no worries there.

These are actually solvable mysteries. There are some authors out there that I really like, but it is impossible to get to be a detective while reading them, because they don't share all of the information with the reader. You'll make it to the grand reveal, and the detective/main character of the story will explain why it was so and so, and there will be details that you, the reader, had not previously been privy to. What fun is it if I can't sleuth along with the characters?

Haha, the main character, Hannah, has quite a background. She is the founder of The Cookie Jar, a great bakery. She is a fantastic baker and makes yummy desserts. The recipes for these desserts are included in every book! That's fantastic. You can read about them as they mentioned and then cook and try them yourself if you want!

Hannah was also an English major who finished just short of a masters in English teaching, so she's also way interested in English language and literature. So, there are references to other pieces of literature and authors as well as snarky mental comments about grammar that I just love. :) I also wonder why unnecessary prepositions are used, etc.

Hannah also took some psychology classes, so she has lots of interesting comments about things that she learned in her psychology classes. Like one of her professors said that most people can't be nervous and amused at the same time. So if people are nervous, then say something to make them amused, and while they're amused, they can't be nervous. :)

Hannah's mom is a lover of Regency romance novels, and I'll admit, I once had a day where I was too. So, she's always throwing around these old-school British phrases that I think are awesome. :)

These books make me laugh out loud every now then. I love it when books can actually get me to laugh out loud instead of just chuckle mentally.

The books are clean. There is no swearing (hallelujah!), and there is no sex. I mean, comments are made about afairs (there has to be some motives in some of these murders! haha), so sex is mentioned but it is not described, explained. Does that make sense? So you don't feel dirty while reading these books or get images in your head that you don't want or have to skip pages because there's trash on them.

And another favorite thing about these books is how much continuity is within them. Some mystery novels have new characters in each book so that a new mystery can exist. Not so with these. Of course there will be new characters, just like there are people that come in and out of lives, but there are a ton of repeating characters. So, I learn details about lives of lots of people, and they seem so real. For example, one character was introduced in one book and didn't get murdered until two or three books later. So, I already knew more about her, etc. It was great. It feels more real that way. I guess I feel less manipulated by the author, and the stories seem mor realistic.

So yeah. I'm a big fan. :)