What I Read 2017- May/June

Influx- Daniel Suarez: high-tech thriller imagining a world where a covert government agency tries to keep most of humanity from discovering the most incredible technological advances. Fun as an adventure story, but a little mind boggling with the physics explanations. 

King’s Cage- Victoria Aveyard: book 3 in the Red Queen series. YA fantasy is becoming my favorite genre, and this is definitely one of the better series. 

Thirteen Reasons Why- Jay Asher: YA pseudo revenge novel where a girl who has committed suicide leaves behind audio tapes detailing all of the pain inflicted upon her by her fellow students. Depressing in the sense that the “abuses” she suffered literally happened every day in every high school. 

Change Agent- Daniel Suarez: high tech thriller that takes place in a future where genetic modification is an everyday occurance. 

I Let You Go- Clare Macintosh: this book tracks the aftermath of a hat and run that kills a 5yo boy- both from the perspective of the detective on the case and a surviving victim. Surprisingly compelling read (despite the dark subject), and the author pulls off a masterful sleight of hand halfway through. 

The Broken Eye- Brent Weeks: book 3 in The Lightbringer series. I re-read this as a refresher before starting book 4. One of the few fantasy series I’ve read with a truly original form of magic. 

The Blood Mirror- Brent Weeks: book 4 of Lightbringer. There comes a point in every epic fantasy series where one book serves more as a set up for the next than as a stand alone adventure. This is that book, although to a lesser degree than often happens. Still exciting and enjoyable, but primarily developing characters and placing them in position for whatever is coming next. 

Into The Water- Paula Hawkins: second novel by the author of The Girl On The Train, and a disappointing follow up. Chapters alternate between 7 or 8 characters’ points of view (most in first person), which is a little excessive. And it deals with multiple murders/suicides that have all happened at the same spot. And yet, despite three separate mysterious deaths, it is completely predictable. Bummer. 

The River At Night- Erica Ferencik: four middle aged women head to the wilderness of Maine on their annual girls trip. Things do not go well. 

Ill Will- Dan Chaon: not good. Disjointed, rambling, and with a preponderance of fragment sentences. Definite waste of time. 

Curioddity- Paul Jenkins: a tortured attempt at quirky magical realism. Could have been good if the author had laid off the excessive, forced whimsy a bit. Someone should explain to the guy that every sentence doesn’t have to be droll. 

The Kept Woman- Karin Slaughter: nice, tight thriller, a little heavy on the relationship melodrama. Sadly didn’t kill off a recurring character who is THE WORST PERSON EVER. 

The Darkest Minds- Alexandra Bracken: YA sci-fi about teenagers with special powers on the run from forces who would either imprison and experiment on them, or turn them into weapons. Nothing surprising (YA is easy to figure out), but well written and good characters. 

Seabiscuit- Laura Hillenbrand: on my to-read list for years, and I finally got around to it. Just as wonderful as I expected it would be. 

Never Fade- Alexandra Bracken: book 2 of The Darkest Minds trilogy. Satisfying continuation of the original story, if not mind blowing. 

In The Afterlight- Alexandra Bracken: final book in The Darkest Minds trilogy. Sadly, the author decided emotional turmoil and self-pity was more important than anything actually happening for the first 2/3 of the book. But the ending was fine, even if it did feel perfunctory and rushed. 

Camino Island- John Grisham: fun and intriguing set up, following the heist of five original handwritten manuscripts. Unfortunately nothing even vaguely interesting happens for the next 200 pages.

Only Daughter- Anna Snoekstra: a girl facing arrest decides to take the place of another girl who has been missing for 11 years. Definitely does not telegraph the final reveal, but also fails to create an atmosphere of threat or unease so the ending is just sort of abruptly disturbing. 

The Love Interest- Cale Dietrich: two boys raised by an evil conglomerate must compete to the death to win the love of a certain girl, but instead find themselves falling for each other. Silly but fun twist on the ubiquitous (and annoying) YA love triangle. 

Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand: another one on a years long to-read list. Absolutely incredible story, the first half of which has enough to fill several books. 

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Adventures in Bebe(sitting)

Today is the last full day of just Bebe and I hanging out. Ever.

Tomorrow is her very last day of preschool, and Brett has taken vacation days for the rest of the week. After that, the other kids are on summer break, and then in the fall she’ll be going off to school with them, so this is the very last time it will be just the two of us.

It’s bumming me out more than I expected.

Until yesterday, I’ve mainly been focusing on the fact that I won’t be her sole source of entertainment/ and I sure as hell have been looking forward to next year when I can finally Be. Alone. All. Day.

But then it occurred to me this was the very last time being home all day with a preschool kid FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, and now I’m super depressed. (Got some hormones helping me on that count as well- thanks biology)

But seriously. End of an era. It has been THREE YEARS of just me and the Beebs- I’m pretty sure with the exception of my own parents I’ve never spent that much time with anyone person in my life. She’s practically my best friend- not in some creepy “I’m the cool mom” way, but just generally in a ‘you’re the only person I actually talk to most of the time’ way.

Maybe less pathetic than that sounded.

I asked her this morning if she wanted to do anything special for our very last day, and after she cried about kindergarten being scary (whoops), she asked me for orange juice. Not exactly what I had in mind, but it’s a start.

Onward and upward, little girl.

Posted in Bebe, growing up, memory lane, mom stuff, parenting, personal musings, pics | 1 Comment

Unintentional Over-Scheduling

Contrary to many of my parenting peers, I do not fall into the ‘kids must play sports, participate in structured activities’ category. I grew up practicing gymnastics 25 hours a week during school (40 hours a week in the summer- and yes, you read that right. FORTY) and all I have to show for it is zero friends from high school and completely anemic social skills. I like that my kids can come home from school and do whatever they want all afternoon. The fact I don’t have to rush them from event to event is pretty ok too. 

Of course kids want to try things, and we have always been happy to sign anyone up for sports when they expressed interest. We have experimented with dance classes, tennis lessons, soccer, and karate. But there was never any pressure, and while we expected them to make full effort and commit to whatever their chosen activity was, they were also allowed to stop if they were no longer enjoying it. Which is how we found ourselves with a very open calendar for the past 6 months or so. 

Well, let me tell you, those halcyon days are OVER. When it rains it pours, and the kids have suddenly developed a desire for competitive sports, which, given their ages, now consist of practices and multiple games per week. We are a long way from t-ball people!

Isabelle started basketball a month or so ago, and she has practice every Wednesday night (at 8:30pm! On a school night!) and then a game on Saturday. Totally manageable, other than that practice which is WAY after I like to be changed into my jammies. 

Then Jack started baseball. And because he’s 9, even though he’s basically a beginner this is little league. Which means 2 practices and up to 3 games. A week! Some of which are also at 8pm, and why the hell doesn’t anyone put their kids to bed at a reasonable time anymore? 

But again, not really an issue, we can totally make it work, and going to the games is actually really fun. Not counting last Wednesday where we walked in like 19 runs. That game was brutal. But there’s a playground right next to the field to entertain the little girls while I watch the game and Brett coaches. And the basketball games are super fast, so everyone doesn’t mind watching those (and everyone WILL be sitting and watching from now on since Saturday’s game involved an unsupervised Bebe falling on her face and requiring a trip to the ER and 3 stitches. But that’s another story). 

So great. Yay sports! We round it all out with Bebe and Sophie taking ballet lessons, one on Thursday afternoons and one on Saturday morning, which don’t really conflict with anything, although we do have a baseball game the morning of their recitals (which are at different times BACK TO BACK because sitting through one 2 hour display of awful dancing once just isn’t enough. Shoot me now). But although we were looking at some long days, in general we were spectacularly conflict free. 

Clearly that couldn’t last. 

Sophie has been asking to ice skate since she first saw the Winter Olympics, and we are just now getting around to signing her up.  Brett had been taking her occasionally for fun, but it’s cheaper to just pay for the lessons so, boom, Tuesday night we now have ice skating. It could have been any night of the week, but I picked Tuesday because we hadn’t had an event on a Tuesday for MONTHS, and I’m too stupid to check the calendar before making decisions. Good plan. 

But still. We only had a few instances where there were overlapping events, and thankfully there are two of us so being in two places at once is actually possible. Case in point tomorrow night: sophie has ice skating and I’m scheduled to teach yoga, so Brett will have to take all the other kids along to the rink. And then Jack has a baseball game at 8, but there’s totally enough time for me to swing by and either pick up the girls and go home (Bebe’s bedtime is 7:30), or even watch a little of the game. Easy peasy. 

the calendar for Saturday (oh, and we have out of town guests)

Next Tuesday was going to be a little bit more of an issue, because ice skating and baseball are BOTH starting at 6pm. Again, not an issue schedule wise, just kind of a bummer because I can’t be at the game for Jack. But then Isabelle had to go and tell us that her band concert is ALSO on Tuesday, and ALSO AT 6PM!! 

Three places and two parents is not doable, people! 

Brett HAS to go to baseball because he’s the assistant coach, which means he’ll miss Izzy’s concert. And she can’t have no one come watch her play, so I’ll have to get someone else to take Sophie to ice skating, meaning Jack won’t have his mom OR grandparents cheering for him in the stands. Sad face. 

I’m beginning to realize that it isn’t necessarily the expense that is the worst thing about having multiple kids in sports. And of course, it’s only going to get worse. Next year Jack wants to play soccer, and I recently overheard Bebe telling someone that she’s starting karate when she turns 5. 

I better hope I don’t make any mistakes updating my calendar!! 

Posted in bloggin it up, family, growing up, kids, mom stuff, my kids, parenting, schedule | Comments Off on Unintentional Over-Scheduling

Mascara Of The Month: Antonym/ Ilia

You get another 2-for-1 mascara post this month, seeing as I never got around to posting in April. It’s easy to blame my usual procrastination for the failure, but to be honest I was a least partially waiting to see if my under eye circles might go away long enough to photograph the results without horrifying everyone. I’d like to blame spring allergies for the return of the puffiness and super dark circles, but given the difference between one Whole30 and off, I’m going to have to admit they are probably more diet related.

Damn. Continue reading

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What I Read 2017- March/April

Behold! The assortment of books I read in March and April: Continue reading

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