Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Round Up: Barnes & Nobel Edition & Life Lately

The other weekend, Hubs and I found ourselves without the kiddos on a beautiful weekend and I said, "let's get the heck outta here!"

And so off we went for beers with this beautiful gal  named Brin and her teddy bear fiance: 

We laughed. We drank a few beers and we talked about her upcoming wedding. It was the bees knees and more. 

We also stopped by a couple of my favorite places. 

Trader Joe's and Barnes & Noble. Can I get an AMEN? I can't think of a better way to spend the day. 
Here's a couple books that caught my attention while in book heaven: 

I am currently reading My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh. It's pretty interesting so far. It's about a boy who knows about the rape of his neighbor and it's written almost documentary style, as if you're reading the script of 48 Hours. So far, so great. I also read the sample of The Children's Crusade and I will definitely keep going with it. 

Lately, our life has been pretty full. We're outside, we're spending time with family, we're cheering on our Royals. We're having fun with friends and there are smiles for days. 

Life is just better when it's 75 degrees and sunny, am I right?

This Mother's Day, I was blown away with the amount of love all around us in our life. The kids gave me beautiful flowers and wrote the sweetest notes to me. Hubs and I even got to take our own mothers to a winery and spend hours just sitting around the table telling stories and laughing with them. 

Seeing my mom enjoying my kids was the best Mother's Day gift I could think of and I know she enjoyed it too. I love this photo so much. Almost as much as I love those smiles.

The summer is quickly approaching. On the horizon? LOTS of t-ball. Playing outside, swimming and a quick trip over to Colorado. It's going to be a great one, that's for sure! 

What are your summer plans? 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day is Everyday

This is just one happy's mother day a year but there are many, many other happy days.

I love being a mom, but I love being their mom even more. They make me smile like nothing else in the world. 

I just don't want to be anything else. Just their mom. Their cheerleader, their rock, their happiness. 

I could ramble on for hours about how wonderful life is just because they call me mom. 

It's loud, it's hectic and I'm a grouch sometimes. But they always kiss me good night.

 I can always make them crack a smile. It's the coolest trick up my sleeve that I can think of...

I love the way they look at me. I love the way they look like me. Those freckles, those eyes. 

Hashtag blessed. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book Review: Ruby by Cynthia Bond

This book I am going to tell you about is not just any book. It's Oprah's Book Club book, which whether you like it or not, you know you're going to appreciate the writing and quality at the very least. It's going to be beautiful and moving. It's Oprah. 

"The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her—this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction."

I think the only way for me to describe this book to you is to use the word haunting.

Like, you have to close the book because you're afraid to continue. Not haunting like there's ghosts. Haunting because the sadness seeps into your bones. 

This book contains the most beautiful prose I have ever read. 

The book is a little cryptic and some of the imagery is hard to follow. 
First, there is Ephram. He is a black man in his 40s with a past that causes him to hang his head. He lives with his sister, Celia, who he calls Mama because she has practically raised him. 

Because his real mama ran naked through their church picnic years ago and died in a mental hospital. Because his daddy was hung from a tree in the woods. 

Ephram is in love with Ruby, a woman he barely knows, one that he has known from afar except for a short encounter as children. I honestly couldn't tell in the beginning of the book where the story was going. It's very cryptic, but the gist of it is this: We all have demons, but how powerful those demons can become depends on our ability to overcome them. 

 People who think that because someone's skin is a different color or because a person is a woman, they are less. There is a lot of "adult" content in this book. There were times where I was cringing. Other times, I had to stop completely. But I had fallen in love with the characters so much that I felt protective over them so I had to keep going to make sure they were okay.

Ruby's character was the hardest. She was forced into prostitution at the age of 6.  In adulthood, the woman who Ephram sees walking the roads day in and day out is a shell. She's haunted by so many demons she's barely alive. The amazing author spares no details in Ruby. You get all the details on Ruby's experience in a brothel as a young girl, her struggles with the ghosts of her babies that never made it into her arms, the terror that follows after years of abuse and mistreatment, have turned into demons that haunt her where ever she turns. As the story unfolds, the answer to where and who those demons originate from shocked me, as I am sure they will you, as well. 

Throughout the entire story, I wanted Ephram and Ruby to connect just so that they could protect each other and help each other heal but stories from the past that kept coming up made me realized how utterly tragic their lives were, it seems impossible that they would ever overcome them.  

 I know Oprah chose this book because it is so big. The sadness is so big, the characters are so big

Read it if you don't mind reading about a little sadness. But thankfully, you'll also read about human resilience and love that reaches beyond tragedy to give hope. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What Do Moms Do: A Post Inspired by a Wonderful Book

What Do Moms Do?

It's a question that will never be fully answered. Mostly, because us moms never actually stop doing. The minute one stage or task or tear is done, we are on to the next. We are a treadmill, an infinity sign, a constant stream of mothering. Of tssking. Of "what were you thinking?" of "please, just one more hug." 

We are a never ending cycle of trying to capture a moment on cameras one minute to not wanting to miss a minute in real time.

So what do moms do?

What do moms do when they are sad? They cry, they call their own mothers. They watch commercials that make them cry, like this one: 

What do moms do when they are happy? They marvel at the wonders they created. They take time to appreciate each freckle, eye crinkle and loose tooth. And they brag. 

Oh, how we love to brag. We earned those bragging rights. 

What do moms do they are frustrated? They yell. They eye roll. They consider writing a scathing review on Mr. Clean's Facebook page because the Magic Eraser failed to do its job. (That may be just me...) They let their kids quit soccer mid season. They throw around grandiose phrases like "I've never been this mad before" and "I'm leaving to go get a pop and never coming back!" (maybe that's just me again?) 

What do moms do when they forget things? They call their best friends and fellow moms. A village, it takes. Whether it's calling on them to go into my house and deliver the forgotten Valentine's box to the preschool or bringing extra snacks to soccer games, I don't know what I'd do without my little gang of fellow mother hens.

What do moms do when they are proud? They beam. They cry those kids of happy tears that come out of nowhere and just don't stop. They watch videos on their phones over and over again. They tell the same stories to as many people who will listen. They make art displays out of stick figure drawings that takes up the whole living room wall. 

I'm not the first mom to ask the question regarding what it is we actual do...we've all been answering that question since the beginning of time...but one amazing mother and daughter duo took it a step further and wrote a children's book about it... 

Amy Houts & Emily Bush wrote this sweet book and my kids and I love it. 

My favorite part was seeing myself in the pages. I was proud of myself because LOOK, I've done that for my kids, too! I've let them stay up past bedtime and I've scared away the scary things.  I'm apart of the biggest team: the mom team. The stay up passed your bedtime time, the tough love team, the that's-not-how-you-load-the-dishwasher team. 

Do the mothers on your team a huge favor and give What Do Moms Do as a Mother's Day gift this year. Passing on the love is just what moms do. 

You can buy What Do Moms Do Here on Amazon or from the author's website.

What are some of the mom things you do for your little ones that you hope they'll remember?  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Times When Parenthood Was My Favorite Thing in the World

I have been an emotional mess these past couple of weeks and it's all Parenthood's fault. I cry all the time, I stare off into space and mentally play a slow song in my head and I eat way more Twizzlers than usual. I haven't seen the final season yet SO DON'T TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS. (Although I have found some episodes on Youtube but I don't know how long that will last so I don't want to jinx anything). Anyhooters, here are my favorite moments of the most amazing show: 

When Julia stays at the school for Victor, all day. Sits in the parking lot while he is inside at school all day, just so he can see her while he plays at recess. Just so he can be comforted.

When Haddie gives Max the weighted blanket before she leaves for college and he looks so peaceful.

When the Braverman Four get together for a sleepover.

When Christina didn't say a word when Haddie's heart was broken, and that was enough.

When Max gets the vending machines back. 

Adam's face when Max announced he was running for class president.

Jabar's fist pumps in the rain when his parents tell him they're getting married.

When Amber finds a rat in her apartment and her mom comes in the middle of the night to rescue her.

When Christina tells off the bully who is mean to Max at school and Adam floors it in the get-a-way car.

When Amber is sad and Sarah curls up on the hide-a-bed with her to make her feel better.

When Jabar teaches Crosby how to pray.

When Christina and Adam tell Haddie everything is fine after surgery and send her back to Cornell.

When Christina and Max slow dance. 

Oh, and Joel. That's really all this post was about. 

And yes, yes, yes, I know that there is so much more to this show but these are the parts where I had to push pause because of the tears or the laughs. I didn't even get to some of the other major parts, but I have stuff I have to get done. Like watch more Parenthood on Youtube. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book Review: The Boston Girl

What better way to spend a Saturday, other than cuddled up on the couch watching Parenthood and writing...it only gets better because I am writing about books.

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant 

If you are in the mood for magnificent storytelling, this is the only thing you need. 
I wish, I yearn, to write like Diamant. How she crafted this story of past, present and future so flawlessly is beyond me. 

First, I have to start with why this book caught my eye, besides the fact that it was featured in People and all of my Goodreads recommendations. Anita Diamant is the author of The Red Tent, which is an unexpected favorite of mine that I read a couple years ago. So I knew there was a big chance I would love this book as well. 

The Boston Girl opens with Addie Baum, a woman in her eighties, who has just been asked by her granddaughter "what made you the woman you are today?" and Addie starts to tell her story.

Addie Baum grew up in the early 1900s in Boston. She experiences many  things, including poverty, oppressive, conservative parents and multicultural challenges Jewish families faced in America during that time. Addie's outlook on life is drastically different from her parents and I couldn't get enough of her endless curiosity. It leads her to the world of art, music, shorter skirts and climbing the job ladder that was virtually non-existent for women in that era among many other adventures. 

As I read along, Boston came alive in my imagination. I loved the friends that Addie meets as she discovers The Saturday Club, a place where women made life-long friendships and learn from each other about things the world around them was trying to keep them from. She grows through strange changes, she struggles with relationships, she loses loved ones...but her stories remains bright and entertaining throughout the entire book. 

Bottom line: I was never bored. I was mentally booking a trip to Boston. Wouldn't it be amazing to witness such growth and advancement in America? 

My favorite parts of the book were when Addie makes discoveries about life, love and success. She started working for her brother in law in a seamstress shop, she worked as a maid just so she could stay among friends in a summer boarding house, and later, took major risks to secure herself a job in a newspaper.

What I loved most about The Boston Girl is getting to know Addie as a young girl and then here and there, throughout the story, modern day Addie pipes up and and explains how those moments in her past shaped the woman she became.  

Here's my favorite passage: 

Read The Boston Girl. It's a satisfying tale that will leave you feeling inspired, and wanting to go back in time, to Boston, to adventure.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Book Round Up: High School English Edition

You don't like to admit it, but we all know how much everyone loved SparkNotes. 
Whether you just didn't want to, you couldn't find the time, or the subject matter was so over your head you couldn't cope, there were books in high school English class that you pretended to read, but actually didn't. 

For me, as a bookworm now, I can't believe there were books I left unturned. Especially if people were telling me to read. Nowadays, I have to beg for time to read. I can't believe I ever passed up the chance to read when people were requiring it of me. 

The books that I did read and will NEVER forget: 
To Kill A Mockingbird
Romeo & Juliet
The Scarlett Letter 
The Great Gatsby 
The Lord of the Flies
The Odyssey 
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 
The Giver 
My Antonia 

Books that I Didn't Actually Read:
Great Expectations 
A Tale of Two Cities 
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm 
Uncle Tom's Cabin

And then I had the bright idea to add "A book I pretended to read in high school" to my Book Challenge list. And I had to look online to find required reading for high schoolers. I thought surely, I read most of them. Clearly, either my high school English teachers were clueless, or I was. Because I haven't read ALOT of those books. Probably because I was hanging out way too much by the water fountain, showing off my new Sketchers. 

But now I want to. 

The ones I remember skimming SparkNotes for instead of reading I listed above. I'm finding as I get older, I crave these types of books even more. I've now reread The Great Gatsby and The Giver and I want to keep going.

I remember sitting in many English classes, sometimes feeling bored out of my mind. This feeling also coincides with memories of flirting with a boy named John, but I digress. However, there are also times I remember being completely overcome with emotion while reading about Hester's anguish, Huck's tenacity and Jonas' curiosity. These books are required for a reason. And there are so many more that will surely be added as the generations go by. As a self proclaimed bookworm, I feel like it's my duty to actually read these other masterpieces. 

I'm going to start with The Catcher in the Rye. I've always wanted to read Atonement and Wuthering Heights as well. After that, Great Expectations, 1984 and Tale of Two Cities.

Have you read The Catcher in the Rye as an adult? 

What was your favorite book you read in high school English class? 

What are your recommendations?

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