Book Review: The Wednesday Group

This is the kind of book you'll want to read to feel better about whatever unfortunate event in life you may be facing. Because it could always be worse. 

The Wednesday Group (named such because of the day of the week a group of women meet for a support group) has all the makings for a great saga. 

These women's lives range from that of a high profile judge to a housewife but they all have something in common: sadness. 

They are seeking the help of psychiatrist Catherine to cope with the fact that their husbands are self proclaimed sex addicts. Some are addicted to porn, others are addicted to casual sex and others may or may not be gay, but all are struggling to save their marriages. 

How much unhappiness is too much? How many times can you go to bed crying? How long do you stay in a loveless marriage? These women are trying to discover just how much the heart can endure. 

What I liked the most about the story is that all of the the women don't know each  other at the beginning. They start coming to the meetings not knowing the others' stories or lives but slowly, they open up to each other and quickly find they are not alone. What an amazing feeling, suddenly realizing that the storm you've been experience is something others can empathize with and help you through. 

The thing I didn't enjoy about The Wednesday Group is the ending. It was one of those stories where I think the author wanted to leave the stories up to the imagination of the reader. But that's just not what I want in a book. Especially this kind of story, where I fall in love with the characters. They became my little sister, or aunt or dear friend. I needed to know if they were going to be okay in the end. And I didn't get that ending, so here I am, still wondering. But I guess that's the mark of a good writer, isn't it? Writing such a story that stays with the reader, so much so that they are left wanting more? 

This is a great quick read if you are between books that are really intense. It was a great book to listen to on audio book because the individual stories about the women make it go by really fast. It really helped passed the time of my commute. 

Happy Reading! 

Our Vacation to Colorado: 10 Hours, 5 Kids, No Electronics

Recently, our family had quite the adventure. 

We took the kids on vacation....

And I know that doesn't seem like that big of a deal...but there's 5 kids in our family. That's alot of kids. And 10 hours on the road is a long time.

And to top it all off, I decided we were going to go sans electronics. No IPods, no "Can I play on your phone" and no Kindle, pads, tablets, DS, etc. Note: I am not saying there is ANYTHING wrong with electronics and kids. We love them!

 However, with 5 kids, we simply don't have enough electronics to go around and I couldn't stomach the thought of trying to referee the sharing of said electronics for 10 both ways hours from the front seat. No. Thank you. 

So, I came up with a No Electronics Plan. But more on that later. First, a quick vacation recap:

 I was ecstatic about our vacation. My kids and I had never traveled anywhere further than Kansas City (2 hours) so I was super excited to explore with them! 

We headed to Denver first, where we spent the day with cousins of our at the Downtown Aquarium. 

It was fun, even though super expensive to get our whole family in. The kids had fun, the girls met "real mermaids" and R1 got to climb a coconut tree and they all loved the 4D movie so everyone was happy. There are over 500 sea creatures, so there was something fun around every corner.

Along the way, we found a carnival, so naturally, we had to stop: 

The REAL gem of our trip was hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. We drove into Estes Park, parked at the Visitor's Center and took shuttle buses to Bear Lake, where we were able to hike up, up, up until our little hiking hearts could hike no more. The kids just wanted to keep going and going. We hiked around Bear Lake, then next to Nymph Lake and finally, to beautiful Dream Lake, which literally took my breath away. It was amazing. The kids thought it was so amazing that there was snow on the ground in June. We kept passing hikers with all of their gear, whose faces lit up with smiles when they saw our clan hopping up the trail. 

And the views? There are no words. 

I could have stayed for days. On the way down the mountain, I already wanted to go back. I can definitely see us making Estes Park a family vacation tradition. I loved seeing all the amazing views for myself, but watching our kids enjoy it doubled the excitement all over again. 

The way home was slightly more dramatic than I would have liked...I will spare you the details of how one of the 7 year olds managed to tangled himself so bad up in the seat belt strap that we had to pull over and extract him. Oh, and about how we got a flat tire in the middle of No where, Nebraska. 

But the important thing is we all got home in once piece. 
Are you wondering exactly how we survived the "no electronics" pledge?

I can't lie, it was pretty amazing. I can't believe it actually. But there was ALOT of planning ahead. 

First, I went to The Dollar Store to stock up on things that were going to keep the kids entertained. 

My plan was this: 

Each child would get their own "Road Trip Box" filled with goodies. 
Every time we had to stop for gas or bathrooms, the kids would have an opportunity to get their box "filled" IF they were on good behavior during the trip. That meant no whining, no physical harm to a sibling and always being kind and helpful.  If any of those rules were broken, that child's box would be taken away for 10 minutes. 

So how did it work? Like a charm, I tell you. On the way there, only one of the kids got her box taken away but after that, she snapped out of it and we were on our way. Whenever we stopped for a rest or gas, I would "fill the box" with a new treat for everyone who had followed the rules and been a trooper. No one wanted to miss out on whatever new goodie they could get when it was time to "fill the boxes." We had a lot of traveling to do and there were a couple of whines when they found out we had another hour in the car, but once they remembered the boxes, they were excited and helpful to get on the road. 

Here's what was in the boxes to start with: 

1 Tiny toy (Shopkins) for the little girls
1 Lego kit for the older kids (see below)
Post Its 
Fruit Snacks
Cup of Cookies

What I filled the boxes with along the ride: 

Masking Tape in fun prints- This was a HIT. The kids put it on the outside of their boxes, on the windows and the leather seats. It's no too sticky and doesn't leave a residue, so it's mess free. The girls made jewelry out of it and made letters on the windows. Literally, they played in silence with the tape for well over an hour. 


Sticky hands and maze games from the party favor isle at Target. 


Trail Mix 

$5 DVDs- (we did use the DVD player in the Yukon)

I also got 2 shower caddies from the Dollar Store to put in the seats since it would hard to reach the kids if they needed anything. I put wet wipes and extra snacks in those. 

Here are the Lego Kits I put together: 

I bough a pencil box and then hot glue Lego bases to the top and filled the pencil box with a new $5.00 Lego toy. They had fun building the set and putting in on top of the box and were able to built without dropping the pieces. 

These small little boxes helped make our vacation even more enjoyable, which almost seems impossible, because it was so fun. We loved seeing the joy on the kids faces and their excitement in every new thing was infectious.

 I can't wait for our next adventure! 

Lately, I've been reading...

Need a new book? Look no further because I've read some great books lately that I know you will love! (Plus one that you can probably skip, so you can save your time!) 

Here's a quick summary of the books I've read lately: 
Side Note: For a TON of great book round ups, check out Life According To Steph's Monthly Show Us Your Books link up!)

When I heard that Judy Blume was writing another book, the Margaret and Deenie inside me shouted with glee. This book didn't disappoint. There is much less talk about periods and teen angst but it still was a winner for me (my tastes have thankfully matured since the 1990s) 

In the Unlikely Event is based on the true story of numerous plane crashes that plummeted in Blume's home town in the 1950s. Her story looks into how those events effected several different characters.  Her descriptions of the crashes, including news stories and police reports, as well as various characters' personal recollections gives this novel multiple dimensions. Ruby, Christina, Merri, Cathy and more..they all tell a side of the story that the other didn't see and I love how all of it connects in one way or another. It was also really interesting to see how people in the 1950s dealt with tragedy. What a difference from the media circus that occurs in our lives now. These disasters were still felt by other miles and miles away but the stories are told in letters and phone calls and limited news coverage so they are much more personal. Most memorable moment: Realizing a character I loved had died in one of the crashes. I was so involved. It was a riveting story. 

I listened to this family saga on audiobook and I have to say, I just wasn't thrilled. How boring was it, exactly? Enough that I can't remember any of the characters' names. The story has splendid potential: family drama, love triangles and wine. LOTS of wine. What could go wrong?  It's just that this book was everything I hate my wine to be. Bland. Boring. Watered down. And no matter how much I drank, I just needed a little bit more. 

Oh, this book. I'm telling you what. You have to read it. 
It's like Dateline meets True Life meets Intervention. I know for a fact this will probably become a movie at some point. The main character is haunted by ghosts of a past no one should ever have to experience. As a teenager in a privileged life, Ani is revisiting the place where her life changed forever and there is a lot of soul searching she needs to do before she does it. There's a lot of hurt involved in Luckiest Girl Alive, you can see the scars of the characters from miles away. You can tell that Ani is deeply traumatized and the author pulls you in so deep, you'll be captivated all the way to finding how what happened that shattered her life. And that's really just half the story. I feel like I should give you more but  I don't want to ruin any mystery, it is what makes this book so awesome.

I'm currently reading: 

This book, from new author Kate Michaels had me hooked just from the cover alone. It's like the Devil Wears Prada plus the cute girl from SkinnyGirl cocktails. Booze and books. Two of my favorite things, so read it I will! 

Plus, it's about a twenties New Yorker slumming around in a classy way, Sex and the City meets Lena Dunham.  Her first year of living in the big city had plenty of intrigue and possibilities, but the stranger in her bed and the walks of shame aren't living up to her expectations. I can't wait to see how this stories plays out. 

I'm also currently listening to

A judge, a psychiatric nurse, affairs and illicit chat rooms. Don't let he cushy cover of this book fool you.  This raunchy look at what happens when people don't think they are being watched is just the kind of book I'll need to help me move on since I'm done binge watching Orange is the New Black. 

After you've put your book away, I also highly recommend you watch UnReal on Lifetime. You can watch the first 4 episodes online and then catch up on Monday nights. It's a scripted show about producers of a Bachelor type reality show and boy, is it juicy! Just a little heads up for anyone who loves a good show to binge like I do! 

What are you reading?