Monday, August 18, 2014

Mom Thoughts:What Happens When Summer Fades Too Fast

There are many times when something random happens that sparks the need for me to write. This morning, I leaned into the back seat of my car to grab my laptop case when the scent of chlorine hit me. It instantly reminded me of the amazing day I had with the kids at the pool the day before. And then, the words that I am sharing with you today just kind of tumbled out from my fingers onto the keyboard. I decided to call it "Mom Thoughts" because it's not really poetry but it's definitely not a regular post. It's just me, thinking about my kids, our amazing summer and the fact that their childhood seems to be racing by way too fast... 

The car still smells like the pool and all I want to do is slow down time. 

The summer, it's as if my kids and I got to know each other in a whole new way, as if 
the sunshine was a spotlight, reflecting our smiles and making us more aware of our senses. 

I have more memories of my kids smiling and laughing this summer than ever before. 

There is something about warm freckles and salty kisses that makes me feel like I am tethered to something real. 

I see the pile of pool clothes and flip flops in one corner of the hallway.
And in the other, fresh boxes of crayons with initials written in marker and new backpacks with the tags still on. 

Why does life fly by so quickly? 
Who is holding the reins that are pulling on the time? 

The reins have not heard my pleas to slow down 
To make my children still fit on my lap, 
To stunt their ability to feel insecurities or regret 
To keep them in our own little world. 

I think that's the thing that scares me most.
Sending my littlest out into the world where influences come from every direction
Instead from just from my own dispense.

My mind races as I send them off through those double doors unto a new school year.
Selfish, fleeting thoughts I know only other moms will understand

Will others appreciate their quirks like I do?
Will they be polite?
Will their short-comings be a reflection of something I forgot to teach them?

My balance is sharp and even.
One side is jealousy of their teachers,
who are the blessed ones who get to see their minds at work,
their eyes light up, their thrill at meeting their new best friend.
The other side is calmed with the realization that if I keep them too close, they won't ever experience those wonders.

Have I prepared them? 
I vividly remember the taunting of children on the playground in my own youth.
More painfully, I remember being a bully myself, 
The sharp regret of making another hurt.

Have I raise them well enough that they won't ever experience that regret? 
Have I equipped them with the confidence to overcome that hurt?

As the memories of water-drenched kisses fade
To make room for cold noses and lost mittens, 
I know there will always be enough room for them all.

Every laugh. Every question. Every giggle. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Review: The Rosie Project

Lately, I have been hitting the good book mother load. 
As in, I've been so buried in them I don't have time to write about how good they are. 
Which is just a shame because my favorite thing about good books is telling people about them and nearly ruining the plot for them.  Just kidding, I would never do that, I promise. 

So, I bring you The Rosie Project

"An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love."

This book has the most lovable unlovable character I've ever met. Don Tillman is a genetics professor who is so socially challenged, it made me giggle out loud. He's oddly charming, too smart to relate to normal people and over the top obsessive compulsive. All things that have been stacked up against him and his goal to find a wife. Until he decides to start the Wife Project. He comes up with pages and pages of questions he thinks he can hand to women to fill out and it will help him weed out the ones he deems ill-equipped for marriage.  
He times his evenings down to the minute. He has a system for the meals that he prepares identically each week. He is literally living on autopilot. I wanted to believe at first he was just a little kid with an "aw, shucks" personality, whose mother just cut up his steak for one too many years as a child, but as I read more about Don's character, I began to realize that he was an adult with a brilliant mind that was struggling to handle social norms. The book explores many interesting facets of autism and human nature. Topics which I've found myself skirting around, never fully understanding or comprehending. Don's story changed that for me. I don't get it all now, but somehow, Simision really hit the nail on the head by creating a character whose shoes are so well written, you feel like you actually are walking in them.

Don knows that he should have a wife because that is what is expected in life, but he doesn't have the capabilities of understanding the concept of loving a woman enough to marry her. 
Until he meets Rosie. 
Now, if I thought I loved Don, then I love Rosie just as much. She's punky, she's sassy, she's smart. But she's also hurt and a little lost and desperately searching for any connection to a life that means something. She has a question she's been searching to answer her whole life and stumbling upon a obsessive-compulsive, lonely genetics professor weirdly  has a way to help her find it. 

“But I’m not good at understanding what other people want.’
‘Tell me something I don’t know,’ said Rosie for no obvious reason.

I quickly searched my mind for an interesting fact. 
‘Ahhh…The testicles of drone bees and wasp spiders explode during sex.” 

Both Rosie and Don are completely caught off guard by the concept of love. One, because she wasn't even looking. And the other, because he didn't even know he was capable of it. 
There are were twists in this story, but for the most part, I knew how it was going to end. Normally, I'd put that in a con category but I loved Don and Rosie so much, knew they went together so essentially, that I was okay with the predictability.  I was surprised and satisfied at the same time. It was just that kind of book.

My recommendation? Read it. Read it on a weekend where you are feeling a little disenchanted by the power of love, or when you are tired of thinking people don't still do nice things for each other. Because they do. Because love is still enchanting. Nice, compassionate people who care about others, who want to do each other favors, who are genuinely affected by what happens to the people around them, they do exist. Sometimes it just takes our own selves to move outside of our comfort zones, to ignore social barriers or norms, and scale those obstacles to find each other. For Rosie and Don, for me in my own life, jumping those walls has been worth all the while. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A "Life Is So Busy I Can't Blog" blog post

It's been a long hot minute since I've written a blog post It's a catch-22 because I can't have a blog about books and life unless I read books and have a life...but since I'm busy reading and living, I don't have time to write in my blog. 

I'm exhausted just typing that. 

But maybe that's because I have been having such a great summer.
For instance, When your sister and bro-in-law call and ask if you want to see Eve6, Soul Asylum and Everclear, you just say yes. 

The early 90s called, they want their music back. It was like a time warp and I loved every minute of it. 

You remember that one time I had a sister who got the great hair genes and is so much cooler than me she can pull of purple streaks and make it look cool? I want to be just like her when I grow up. 

I'll pad your thai. 

Can we talk about my new favorite place on earth? The Kansas City Library. 
I could have stayed there for hours. Downtown KC is gorgeous and this library is a book lover's dream. The old building, the stairs, the' just such a great place to spend a morning! 

We also went on a short island getaway. Okay, it was only Cheeseburger in Paradise but they had margaritas with salt, so that's pretty much the same thing

I started the weekend off by having a  meeting at the KC Chiefs Training Camp in St. Joseph. Nothing like trying to concentrate while there's a 350 lb lineback smashing into a dummie 15 feet away. NBD. 

How I didn't get a snapshot of this I don't know but we also went to a winery that is in an mental hospital that is supposedly haunted. I mean, it's creepy and cool with capital Cs. I love it. I loved the wine too, but I'm sure by now you've noticed I am a total wine-ho so that probably goes without saying. 

This weekend was a blast. I just have to say...that 2014 has been packed with more fun and laughter than any year that I can remember. I am just such a lucky person. Hashtag winning. 

This weekend, my family is in town from the east coast. So this is pretty much what we've been doing and I can't say I mind it one bit. 

Also, quit what you are doing and pick up Big Little Lies from Liane Moriarty. It's a fun, twisted, easy read...perfect for summer! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Round Up

About the only good thing about not being able to sleep is having a blog where you can pass the early morning hours. Thanks so my inability to catch some ZZZs, I bring you a book round up. I'm trying out a new format. I did away with copy and pasting Goodreads' book descriptions and instead, I'm sharing why I chose the book and a little synopsis to peak your interest. Hope you find your next great read! 

I have a secret that most bookworms won't agree with. I tend to not love Jodi Picoult. Her books are just too sad. Generally, anything tragic about children makes me so anxiety ridden, I just can't read them. Especially when I start thinking about mothers who actually do go through these terrible situations in real life. It just makes my heart hurt. It took me forever to shake the sadness from My Sister's Keeper and I couldn't finish House Rules. This book seems like it could be different though and I can't stay away from the soulful, beautiful way Picoult writes. 

 It doesn't seem like a coincidence to Jenna Metcalf that her mother studied about grief. Now, years after her mother disappeared, she is still searching for answers that just cause more questions by reading her mother's more

I checked this book out because of its cover. I know, I know, you're not supposed to do that but I couldn't help it.  I also can't stay away from good family dramas (mostly because it makes my own seem more normal).

It's the 1970s and a Chinese-American family, the Lees, are falling apart. They were holding it together  just barely until their middle daughter is found dead in the local more

This one makes the list, because duh, it's Rainbow Rowell. Not only is she amazing, but her other books,  Fan Girl - a national favorite- and Attachments are big hits too. Not to mention, she's from Omaha, NE., which pretty much means we're related.

If the promises you made in  your vows seems a million years ago, would you take the opportunity to change the past or would you just let it go? Georgia McCool thinks her marriage may be at a stalemate, so when her husband leaves to visit family in Omaha, she stays behind in California. The next thing she knows, she is communicating with him via a landline, only it's her husband from years ago, before marriage, before kids, before it all didn't go right. Will she use this twist of magic to change her present and save her marriage, or secure a future without him? more 

Yet another book that caught my attention by its cover. It's so colorful and bold! Another reason is because Moriarty is the author ofThe Husband's Secret, which I started to read last year but put down for some reason and then kept seeing it pop up with awesome reviews and I've always meant to pick it back up again. Instead though, I started this book last night and I am hooked. Like up until 1:00 am. and up again at 4:30 a.m. hooked. 

It's like all of those girls you hated but were envious of  in middle school are now grown ups. They have everything, the big shiny SUVs, the perfect volunteering resume and the rich husbands with perfect kids to match. Only now, one of them is a murderer and it all started on the kindergarten more.

Now get to reading and tell me about what you think! 
I'll be posting my review for The Rosie Project later this week and you can follow along on Twitter as I share my thoughts about Big Little Lies.

Speaking of books, who doesn't look a great book club? I know I do! That's why I love bloggers like Lisa Kerr, who are organized and internet savvy enough to spear head online book groups. This summer, Lisa and her fellow bookworms are tackling the Sookie Stackhouse series, so if you want to join them, check out her blog for more information. I read the books a couple of years ago and LOVED them. (creepy, scary and weird, in a really good way) 

Lisa happens to have an amazing blog. She also cracks me up daily on Facebook. 
Do yourself a favor and follow along with her. 

Which Book Round Up books are now on your to-read list? 

What are you reading right now? 

I want to know!

(Follow along with me as I added to mine on Goodreads!)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Things That Drive Me Crazy (The Good & The Bad)

Something about Mondays just makes me want to discuss the other things that drive me crazy. (Mondays being one of them). I started ticking off things and this list just showed up. But alas, it is always my goal to be more positive than negative so I had to think of things that drive me crazy in a good way too. 

1. Crazy Bad: Wendy's commercials. At first the red hair was cute. But now she's scewing up one my of favorite songs and if I hear her say Assssseeeee-aagggo one more time, I'm going to get really frosty with her.

2. Crazy good: Nicole Ritchie's new show, Candidly Nicole. This show is everything. She is doing and say the things aloud that go on in my head and I want her and I to be best friends.

3.  Crazy good: Have you seen LeAnne Rimes new show? She gets drunk at a cowboy bar and sings Can't Fight The Moonlight, which reminds me how much I need Coyote Ugly back in my life everyday.

4. Crazy bad: whiny 4 year olds. Seriously, if she says "heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!" in a high pitch voice only 149 times in one day, I feel like I've won the lottery. You know what is even worse? Realizing that she is getting her fit throwing, rolling eyes and temper from me. I can't believe I just admitted that.

(It's a good thing she's cute)

5. Crazy bad: I can't find the perfect pair of wedges anywhere. Where are all these magical shoes and outfits on Pinterest and do they even really exist? And why aren't they in my closet?

6. Crazy good: Everything about this book: 

7. Crazy Good: Glad Press N' Seal, because, THIS: 

Press'N'Seal all OVER those casts and not one drop of water got through. He was still limited to feet only in the baby pool but that was enough to make him laugh and have fun, which is all that matters to this mom! 

Now, please tell me some things that drive you crazy right now so we can all be crazy together. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Two Broke Arms: How Our Summer Changed With Just One Fall

For the most part, the summer has been amazing. And then something happened. 

It involved a fight between R1 and the playground. Let's just say the playground won. 

At first we thought it was just one arm. Once we got to the pediatric orthopedic office, they dropped this bomb on us: 

Yes, that's two casts. He can't just do anything half ass, not this kid. He shattered his growth plate and has 4 fractures in his right wrist and a small fracture in the left wrist as well. Luckily no surgery was needed (yet). We go back in one week to take more Xrays to see if they are healing okay.  He was such a trooper. He was making jokes with the nurses as they put on the casts. I'm pretty sure he was hitting on the cute brunette one. 

What are we going to do the rest of the summer you ask? That's the million dollar question. We've been adjusting well. And I'll admit, I can't decide who is more disappointed that we can't go to the pool anymore. But I'll give you a hint: My tan is suffering and I'm not thrilled about it. So far, we've done a bit more game playing, app downloading and movie watching. 

Oh, and eating watermelon with straws, because #nohands  

R1 has mastered Legos again, although getting ready in the morning is a whole new ballgame again. Like any normal morning, yesterday I opened his bedroom door and threw his clothes for the day inside. I came back 10 minutes later to tell him to hurry up and he was just standing there naked looking at his underwear as if it were Mount Everest. I felt so so bad. This whole experience has made us slowwww down a bit more and become a team again. And I can't say I hate that part. 

So right now, this is us 

It's a slower pace for sure but my kids are happy. And what a lesson that is. R1's life has changed so much in the last couple of days. His independent, adventurous, boisterous side has had to take the back seat because of his injury but that hasn't changed his spirit or humor at all. How many of us grown ups can say we'd just roll with the punches that easily? 

Lesson learned, kid. Loud and clear. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Page Girls!

Wake up, everyone! It's Monday and it's time to celebrate!  I wanted to introduce you to amazing website called The Page Girls.One day, this website popped up and SNAP - just like that, I'd found my new best friend. The site produces weekly e-magazines with everything from cocktail recipes to book reviews. Now if you don't see why I am obsessed with The Page Girls, then we obviously can't be friends. It's all my favorite things wrapped in to one. 

The Page Girls is Cecily Gates, April Jane, India Lee, Emily Poule, and Jasmine Tru. Five friends obsessed with romance novels, fancy cocktails, and more than anything, friendship. Learn more about The Page Girls here.

The Page Girls was formed to organize these thoughts and stories to share with each other and their readers as well.  Every Sunday evening, a new issue is released with essays, short stories, cocktail recipes, interviews, and more - each with its own new theme.  In the spirit of sharing, readers are invited you to be a part of The Page Girls by telling your stories, submitting your own books for review, or asking some questions that you'd like to see five opinionated girls answer.
How awesome is all this? I love that The Page Girls have created basically a girl's night out: Cocktails PLUS the comfort of having fellow women to talk to about anything from relationship questions to book talks about steamy romance novels. 

I can't pick a favorite part of the website, because HELLO, alcohol. But it certainly has to be the stories. Go read 

The Secrets We Keep: "Folders, Master-Plans and Locked Suitcases." 

 I read 9 Secrets Kept/Revealed From Fiction and Real Life and was instantly in love with the reviews and discussion about secrets in some of my favorite books and movies. Any website that combines The Fault in Our Stars, Orange is the New Black AND Emily Giffin is a website that I pretty much just want to live in forever.

 And did I mention the cocktails? Here's my favorite so far: 

Follow The Page Girls:

For The Page Girl's Birthday Celebration, they are doing giveaways all week long! 

You can enter the giveaway each day here! I can't wait to hear about what your favorite parts of the website are! Go take a gander and share with me what you love! 

Happy Birthday Page Girls! 

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