Thursday, December 17, 2015

12 Books in 12 Months

At the beginning of this year I set a goal to read a book a month or basically 12 books this year. I love reading and one of the things I miss the most now that I'm a full time parent is not being able to snuggle up with a book and read it cover to cover in one day. Over the past few years I would get a couple books read now and again and often those were parenting books. I also found that I was reaching for books on my bookshelf that I wasn't really enjoying or wanting to read.

The first thing I did was get rid of all the books on the shelf that had been sitting there for years that I wasn't interested in reading. Next, I headed to the bookstore. I don't normally buy the books I read, but I wanted to start out my goal with a freshly purchased book. Finally, I decided I wanted to read something that would make me feel happy. Nothing depressing or sad. Nothing that was a mystery or gory. I wanted a good feeling happy book.

I asked book store worker what would they recommend as a happy book. He looked at me like I was crazy. Not a good start to my process. He then found someone else to help me. She had two recommendations for me. Guess there aren't an abundance of happy books out there. That is how I ended up reading my first book of 2015:

1.  The Rosie Project By Graeme Simsion. This book completely fulfilled by goal of happy. It was lighthearted, thought provoking and a page turner. There is a follow up book called The Rosie Effect, which is on my list for 2016.

2.  Some how I stumbled onto my next book, Moloka'i by Alan Brennert. It's a fiction book based on non-fiction events around leprosy. This was a very interesting read! We are headed to Maui in 2016 and I have on my bucket list a trip to Moloka'i.

3. The Night Circus, By Erin Morgenstern, was an amazing read. I've never read a book written like this before. After finishing it, I instantly wanted to read it again, which I NEVER want to do.

4. At this point, I remember thinking that I was 3 for 3 with great book choices. I then picked up 2 other books, that I just couldn't get into. It was kinda like I didn't want to ruin the streak that I was on. I found The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon at the library and went with it. I don't remember much about it, but that it was entertaining enough.

5. Me and Emma by Elizabeth Flock, had been sitting on my shelf for a couple years. I decided to finally dive into it. The ending of this book blew my mind. It oddly was another book that made me think about reading it again because of how it ended.

6. Another book that had been living on my shelf since before Adalyn was born. Look Again, by Lisa Scottoline, involved a missing child and for some reason I could never bring myself to read it, but couldn't get rid of it either. A heartbreaking story, as well as a page turner.

7. My Mom passed Anie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral, By Kris Radish onto me. This was fun read with a good message to live life.

8. I grew up hearing about Ivan, so when I heard about The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate, I jumped on it. This is a youth book, but heartbreaking all the same. Shane's teacher actually read this to his class this year.

9. I stumbled onto If I Stay, by Gayle Forman at the library, later finding out it was a pretty trendy book. I finished it while on vacation this summer. It has a horrible abrupt ending to it, which drove me crazy since I couldn't pick up the 2nd book instantly.

10. While on vacation at Donner Lake in CA, having finished up all the books I brought with me, I grabbed one that my in laws had at their place. Desperate Passage, by Ethan Rarick was a fantastic historical non-fiction book about the Donner Party. Making it even more interesting to read while hanging out around Donner Lake.

11. The Martian by Andy Weir, is completely not my kind of book. Kenny had heard about it from his brother in law and a co-worker lent it to us. Kenny read it first and I decided to give it a shoot. I was really surprised by what a fun read it was. I did skim some of the endless technical jargon. Kenny and I even saw the movie last month. The book was better, but the movie wasn't bad at all.

12. I finally got my hands on Where She Went, by Gayle Forman, the sequel to If I Stay. The majority of this book drove me crazy, but it got all wrapped up nicely finally by the end.

13. A friend lent me For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. I devoured this book while in the middle of reading another book. A hilarious light-hearted read full of great life lessons. I yet again, wanted to pick it up and read it all over after finishing it.

14. I joined a book club in September and All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr was my first read for the club. Man, oh, man. I struggled with this book that was something like 500+ pages long. I just couldn't get into it, but wanted to read it so badly. I finally finished which felt like quite a feat. It was a very well written book. Almost a must read, but by no means one of my favorite books.

15. My 2nd book club book was The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. This book had been catching my eye for awhile and I was excited to read it. Page turner! I couldn't put the book down. Great psychological thriller.

16.  Our current book club book is League of Denial. Read read this wordy book over Thanksgiving. I've never been a football fan, yet I found this book insanely interesting. Amazing behind the scene stuff regarding the NFL, football players and concussions in general. A great read of any parent of kids who play any sport.

17. I'm going to wrap the year up with A Dog Name Christmas by Greg Kincaid. I haven't read it yet, but think I can pull of this easy made into a Hallmark movie book in the next couple weeks.

There you have it. I reach and surpassed my goal of 12 books in  2015! For 2016 I'm going to take on 12 movies in 12 months. I'm not much of a movie watcher, so this may sound easy to some, but a movie a month is a big deal to me. I think it's time to catch up on some tv time I've been missing out on. Bring it on 2016!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Birthday #5


Our baby girl turned 5 today and she fills those shoes perfectly already. Just in the past month she has increasingly become more independent. Doing tasks all on her own. Problem solving things that she is struggling with. Thinking about other people other then herself. Her interest in the ABC's is slowing increasing. Though she'd prefer to craft or take her "babies" for a stroll then to learn about letters or numbers.

She had a princess tea party birthday bash over the weekend with 11 of her closest friends. They arrived in princess attire and were all giddy to play and eat cake.

Busy crafting their princess crowns while the other half searched for the missing glass slippers. 

 A lot of giggling happened while we played the game "pass the wand".

My favorite game was kiss the frog with real lipstick. A handful of the girls wanted nothing to do with this game while many wanted to play it over and over again. 

 She begged for a princess cake and I pretty much couldn't turn her down. Thanks to Safeway, they whipped one up for us. She picked chocolate with vanilla in the middle. Chocolate is totally not her, but I guess when you are 5 your likes change.

 I let her pick pick the menu. Her must haves included peppers of all colors (though the green were for her friends, 'cause she only likes red, yellow and orange peppers), apples ('cause she is an apple monster), PB and J tea sandwiches. From there we added turkey tea sandwiches, scones, mini popcorn balls and mini brownies.

The little princesses sat so very nicely and ate their snack. 

And they drank their "tea" in fancy tea cups (Adalyn wanted lemonade instead of real tea). 

Time for some cake. Daddy needed to help her blow the candles out. 

Present opening was a hit. Smiles all around.  
Cousin Arli and Adalyn

Korkor and Adalyn

 Sarah and Adalyn

Adalyn and Abby

The party was a hit. The girls had a blast. We feel very blessed that Adalyn has such great friends to share her birthday with and thankful for the people that hoped in to make sure 12 little princesses got everything they needed.

This morning, on her birthday, we spent the first few hours with out power. School was canceled for both kiddos, so the day ended up being quite different then planned. That didn't shake her the least bit. She couldn't believe Brother got her the best stroller in the whole wide world, plus 3 new baby dolls for her birthday equaled one happy little 5 year old girl.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bob's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

My CrossFit Kenmore friends had their 2nd annual fire pit gathering at Bob's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch over the weekend. We thought it sounded like a good reason to head out to the pumpkin patch and enjoy some amazing fall weather. Turns out we couldn't have asked for a better day! We'll be talking about this pumpkin patch trip for years to come.

They truly had the best pumpkin patches we've ever seen. You could pick the pumpkins right off the vines and there were so many varieties of pumpkins and gourds to pick from right out there in the fields (they have 3 fields to select from). All the pumpkins were perfect. We spent a lot of time just walking through the fields ohhing and ahhing at the pumpkins.   

If you can't tell, it was SUNNY out. Bright blue skies and down right hot. I was trying to embrace the fall, but turns out for a time there I was way over dressed.  

They had apple or pumpkin cider donuts with either cinnamon sugar, plain or powdered sugar on them. Yum, yum, yum! Nope, not the least bit Whole 30, but I'm all about enjoying life when it comes to my Whole 30 eating habits and fun adventures like these. 

They had this really cool area that had samples of pumpkins and their names. Maybe 50+ different kinds of pumpkins. The kids and I thought that was super cool.

After picking our pumpkins, eating donuts, going through a rope maze (which we totally had to cheat to get to the middle), watching the apple cannon, walking through their country store (BEST no sugar added apple butter. I should have stocked up on this stuff!), eating kettle corn and taking lots of pictures. We took a tractor ride over to the BIG corn maze and fire pits. This year we decided to pass on the corn maze adventure, which takes 30+ minutes to get to the half way mark. We knew that the shortest legs of the family wouldn't have that much walking left in her. We are saving that up for next year. Instead we walked around to the fire pit which had been reserved for the CrossFit group.

We had heard about the potential of hot air balloons and we quickly were not disappointed.  You could see two out in the distance heading our way.

Then bam! It was right over our heads and coming in for a landing. 

We watched them deflate it and unload. Then one of the balloon guys said the kids were more then welcome to come hop into the basket. Shane has ride in a hot air balloon on his bucket list! Super nice guy from Airial Balloon Company in Snohomish if you are looking to enjoy a trip up.

The 2nd balloon came in quickly after the 1st. We had a fabulous time watching the action. 

Then it was bon fire time!  Hot dogs and s'mores all around. I highly recommend reserving yourself a fire bit at Bob's! Since we've been missing out on fires camping the last two summers, this was perfect!

Kenny and the kids had fun jumping around on the big hay bales. Though we were eventually asked to get off of them. It was fun while it lasted.

Can you do it, Shane!?!  It took a lot of hemming and hawing, but eventually he jumped his way across a handful of them.

As we headed back to the tractor for one last ride, the fog started rolling in. 


Shane said, Take one last picture, Mommy! At this point I was getting a lot of hugs, this was the best day evers and I love yous. He was literally on a high from all the fun.

It doesn't happen all that often in our little family of crazies, that we can have an overall good happy adventure for all. This goes down in the record book for sure! We'll be back Bob's! Thanks, CrossFit Kenmore! With out that invite we would have never had this amazing day to look back upon.