Thursday, January 31, 2013

Here I Go Again ~ A Book Review ~

Here I Go Again has a really nice book cover.  The jacket comes off and there is a little hole where the mirror is (the pink part) that you can see the actual cover through.  The actual cover has a photo of a blond girl in a pink prom dress.  I mention this because, literally, the cover is the best part of this book.  I really did not like this book.  I normally like chick lit.  I even enjoy a great 'fluff' read occasionally if it's done well.  This is not chick lit done well.  This is a cliched bunch of characters doing their best to perpetuate stereotypes wrapped up with some nice editing and a pretty cover.  Don't waste your time.  I know that it will probably be a best seller and of course there were a few funny one liners and the ending was all Hollywood happy, but I still wouldn't recommend it.  It's basically Mean Girls meets 17 Again.  It's been done...and it's been done way better.  Here's a brief synopsis of the plot...

Lissy Ryder ruled her school in 'mean girl' fashion.  She was prom queen and peopled feared her.  She married her high school sweetheart and naively thought they would rule the rest of their lives in the same manner.  Flash forward 20 years and she's now 37 and her marriage is over, she's lost her job, and she's living with her parents, sleeping in her old bedroom under the same heavy metal band posters she had in high school.  She attends her high school reunion in hopes of getting some new clients for her business and finds to her shock that everyone hates her.  She ends up getting a potion from a kooky old classmate that takes her to her past so she can relive her glory days.  Will she change anything the second time around?

It's pretty predictable, so you can probably guess how it ends.  I will say that Lissy is probably my least favorite book heroine ever.  She wasn't funny.  She has no redeeming qualities.  She wasn't a mean girl who was hurting inside.  She was just plain mean and self centered.  A true bully.  I didn't root for her.  I just wanted to get it over with.  In about the last 20 pages she completely redeems herself and changes the course of her life, but it's way too late.  I lost interest about 200 pages earlier.  In all honesty, if I hadn't committed to finishing this book, I wouldn't have read past the first 2 chapters.  Now let me tell you how I really feel...just kidding!  I already did...  :)
"This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own." 
Check out more reviews and discussion about this book here:

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Trip Down Birthday Memory Lane

Today is my baby girl's birthday.  I guess I should really stop calling her that now.  After all, she's 9 now...but I'm her mamma and she'll always be my baby girl.  The sweet, adorable, squishy cheeked person who stole my heart.  There's something about the firstborn that's special.  Obviously both my kids are special to me and I love them both to death, but there's something to be said for being the first baby and having parents who have no idea what they are doing.  By the second kid you've got it all figured out, right?!  Ha!  Every single stage with her is new and I still have no idea what I'm doing...but I love that she's the one that I get to learn with as I go.  She's a challenge and a blessing all rolled into one and I wouldn't have her any other way.  :)  Every year on my children's birthdays I start to get all sentimental and start dragging out the old photos to see how much they've changed.  This year is no different.  I realize all too clearly how incredibly fast it is going and how much time I waste doing other things rather than really being present with my girl.  These next few years are going to be big ones with lots of changes and that terrifies me and excites me all at the same time.  I hope I can be the mother that she deserves.  I pray that I make time for her and all of her questions and silliness.  I am looking forward to a year filled with giggles and craziness, cuddles and love, moments of teaching and learning, plenty of patience and growth, sharing of hopes and dreams, and times of quiet to soak it in.  I can't wait.  It's hard to believe that it was just a short nine years ago (you know you're getting old when you refer to nine years as a short time!) that I met this amazing baby girl.

My original baby (she likes when I call her that since I call her little brother 'the baby').  We didn't even have a digital camera it was so long ago!  This is one of the few digital pics I have of her and I have no idea where I got it.  I wish I could make it bigger, but this is as big as it gets.

And then in the blink of an eye she turned 1.

And then she was 2.  Oh, the cheeks, the pigtails and the smile!   I just wanna squish her.  

And then she was 3.  My little princess.  She was so girly and would never wear pants.  

Her 4th birthday.  The one and only time she had bangs.  I hardly recognize her in this photo.

Then she was 5.  All smiles and perfect little baby teeth.  I love and miss her short hair.

Then she was 6.  I love her little face.  She still looks so young.

From age 6 to 7 brought a big change with much longer hair and some grown up teeth!

That year I did a photo shoot for her birthday in the snow.  This is one of my favorites.

And then she was 8.  Looking so grown up here!

I took this photo of her on her actual birthday last year.  So exactly one year ago today!  

I cannot believe another birthday is here.  I don't have a photo yet.  I'm writing this the night before so I've yet to take her birthday photo this year.  She's got big plans though.  A Luau themed party with friends and a couple of birthday dinners with family.  She can't wait and that makes me so happy.  I love her.  I wonder if I'll be writing about her birthday someday when she's turning 37.  I wonder what she'll be like.  Will she be married?  Will she have kids?  Will she still be the crazy, sweet, wonderful girl who fills my life with sunshine?  How could she not be?  I know I will love her just the same and that is all that matters.  Happy Birthday to my Favorite Girl!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Pinewood First Place

My boy is in cub scouts this year for the first time.  He's a Tiger Scout which is what they call the youngest group of kids (1st graders).  The best part of scouts...are you ready for it?...the uniform.  I cannot begin to describe how I felt when he put on that shirt and little neckerchief for the first time.  It is the cutest thing I have ever seen!  I guess that whole loving a man in uniform even translates to little boys, who knew?  Anyway, I've been meaning to take a photo of him in his uniform ever since that first time he put it on, but he is usually in a rush to get to his meeting after dinner and it's dark outside and I just hadn't gotten around to it. I have plenty of photos now, but I seriously will probably try to take a real portrait type photo this spring outside.

So yesterday was his Pinewood Derby.  I remember it from when my brother was in cub scouts and him and my dad worked on the car together.  Or maybe my dad worked on it and we just watched.  Either way, it made an impression because I remember it.  My brother won the pinewood derby.  So did my husband who still has the trophy to prove it.  We were talking to a friend who did scouts as a kid and he admitted that he won the Pinewood Derby too.  That made us a little suspicious...I mean, where are all the Pinewood losers?!?  Did every kid have a memory of winning this thing?

Well, we got to work on the car after much research as to what design to do.  We google searched photos of cars and got tons of results and proceeded to show them all to our son and ask him what he wanted his to look like.  He really had no opinion which was frustrating us to no end.  I thought a Lego car would be really cool, or one that looked like an Indy car.  He really didn't care, he just wanted his car to be the fastest.  So my husband found a site with a winning car that was not going to win any 'craftsmanship' awards and my boy finally gave his approval.  I tried to stay out of the whole thing stating that it was a father/son project, but I ended up helping, which is fine because now I can have bragging rights on my fast car. :)  We tweaked the design a little with some leftover gold spraypaint from an unfinished project and some decals from Michael's. Then we super glued a weight to the top of it.  Super classy.  But hey, guess what.  It won 1st place!!  My boy is so happy to finally have his very own winning trophy.  That makes it worth all the work. :)

My sweet boy in his uniform.  He keeps doing this really goofy smile and it drives me insane!  I remember my daughter did something similar when she was his age...go check out this post to see.

Before the Derby started they did the Flag Ceremony.  It was my son's Den's turn to do it and he got to carry the American flag with a little help from his dad.

This is before they did the ceremony.  What is with my son's face?!  He cracks me up!

After the race was over he got to carry it back out.  I like how he looks like he's doing some sort of javelin throw. :)

Some of the cars.  The banana car was very realistic.  And someone else did a Lego car!

Ours in in this photo but it's not in focus.  I have to say that I don't think anyone looked at it and thought to themselves, "That right there is the winning car."

Here it is!  Built for speed...not looks.

That's my boy's car in the far lane.

I didn't know this beforehand but they actually have 20 rounds of racing.  With 3 races in each round.  So there was a lot of standing around waiting and watching.  And had we known that the car would have to race that many times we would have taken the durability factor a little more seriously.  I was praying the super glue would hold and that weight wouldn't come flying off mid-race!

Winning again!  He beat the batmobile.

More waiting around.  Why can't he do this real smile on cue when I pose him?

She watched some races and played on my phone.  What a patient big sister.  And I know this is going to shock you (ha, ha), but I really like her profile in this shot. :)

Winning another race...I need to work on my action photography.  It is seriously lacking.

More waiting...

The results are in!  He won first place.  I love the boys all checking out their trophies.  They gave out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for speed and then Best Craftsmanship, Coolest, and a couple others that I can't remember.

They are all so cute!!

But he's the cutest. :)

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Christmas 2012

I realize that it is halfway through January, and Christmas feels like it was ages ago now, but I'm going to post about it anyway! I've been meaning to post some photos for a while, but I seriously took so many photos this year that it took me a while to get through them all.  We had a wonderful Christmas season filled with lots of family celebrations and some low key fun as well.  I'll just tell you about it as I share some (and by some I mean tons of) pictures...

We started off the season with my daughter having a little solo in the children's Christmas program at our church.  I was so proud of her!

My mom and I took my daughter downtown to see the nutcracker for the first time. We definitely started a new tradition because it was so fun!

My aunt had her Christmas celebration early this year which worked out great since almost everyone was able to come.  It was so nice for my kids to get to play with some of their cousins who we rarely see.

We did a white elephant exchange which was a pretty big hit with everyone.  My mom got a singing was pretty hilarious.

Some of the kids checking it out.  I'm just glad it's at her house and not mine!

Baby tricks.

I love this picture of the cousins!  There were two missing that night and we've got two more 'on the way', so next year's picture will be fun!

We made it to see Santa just in the nick of time for them to give him their lists.  My son took his Lego catalog and pointed to a bunch of different things he wanted before Santa gently nudged him off his lap. :) 

They weren't fooled this year...they both said this wasn't the real Santa and that he must just relay their lists to the real one since he can't possibly be at every mall and store in the world.

Christmas Eve at my mom's house.

My daughter got a fake breathing dog from my mom.  She begged and begged for it while we were on our trip to Florida and she never forgot all year.  I'm glad my mom went back and got it for her. :)

I love this picture of my sweet girl.

My son got this amazing lamp from his aunt!  He loves it. That's all the cousins (minus one who wasn't there) in their Christmas jammies in the top photo.  

Another cousin pic.  These are all my mom's grandkids.

Christmas morning.

You thought I was exaggerating when I said tons of photos, right?  Yep, one last celebration with my husbands family.  My boy finally got the one present he was dying for, Lego Heroica.  He was one happy boy.

Her uncle made her a bed for her American Girl doll.  She was so excited.

I love these kids.

My son got tons of Legos this year...just what he wanted. :)

If you stuck around after what might possibly be the longest post I've ever written, thanks, you're probably related to me. :)  Next post...Favorite Photos of 2012.  I've got some narrowing down to do!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Bright Spot in my Day

A friend and I were talking tonight about how depressing it is living around here during the winter.  It gets dark so early and the landscape is dull and grey.  We are stuck inside most of the time and our bodies aren't getting as much activity.  The sun doesn't shine quite so bright.  I find myself forgetting to open the curtains some days and it feels as if I am in a cave.  I have to fight with myself to stay out of a funk.  I have to try not to sit down and curl up in a blanket, because if I do, I may not ever want to get up.  I don't want to sound all depressed on you, because I'm really not an easily depressed person.  I say these things because they are reality and sometimes I just need to put it out there.  Every day though it seems God shows me something that will perk me up from my funk.  It may be my daughter's smile, or a hug from my son.  It may be a fire in the fireplace warming our home.  It may be the ray of sunshine slicing across the living room floor that beckons me to come lay in it for a moment.  It may be the deer wandering through our backyard.  Or it may be the beautiful cardinal we spy outside our school room window that we all just sit and look at for a few moments until it flies away.  It's the moments that get me through.  And that's what I'm trying to remember.  I'm pausing to soak them in so that they can restore my spirit.  So's working...

What's cheered you up this week?


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