Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Clubbing

I love our book group so so much and when I add two 'so's", it's a big deal.
We get together and discuss the book for about half an hour and then just laugh and tell stories and thoroughly enjoy one another's company. It's wonderful and really does make me happy.
This night we missed a lot of our people but the ones that came were dressed in either grey or plaid...except Amber.
 And now for the book review.
We read Elenor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of a high school year in 1986, this is the story of two unexpected people that fall in love under the strangest circumstances and although they are smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, they are desperate enough to try. Their relationship is truly tested by the influences of everyone around them. Anyone who has made it through high school will be able to relate on a lesser or grater level with these extraordinary characters.
Out of 5 stars I gave this 4 stars. Here's why.
The things that I love about this book are that it is set in the 1980's which I love. They reference their 80's life style from their clothing, music, icons and their everyday lifestyle. I loved being able to think of the songs they were talking about almost as if it were a soundtrack playing in my head as I read.
I thought the author portrayed what it was really like to fall in love for the first time. The giddiness and obsession that you feel for each other and how ridiculous you must look to everyone else. I totally got that and loved it. It certainly threw me back to 1997 when I experienced my first kiss/crush with the one and only Jason Moses.
I may be twisted here, but I also liked that this book wasn't all happy. I get that crap happens in peoples lives and maybe the part that draws me to these types of book is that it puts my life into perspective and makes me realize that my crap isn't half as bad as other people's crap. {yes I do realize that this a fictitious book, but I do know that lifestyles like these are real}
Things I didn't like about this book
I had the hardest time picturing the main character, Elenor. And maybe that's because I know of a student that I worked with and she kept popping up in my mind and I couldn't shake that image. Ugh. After talking with other fellow book clubbers, I realized that I wasn't the only one with this exact thought.
Okay so I get that {some} high school kids swear a lot, but I found that it was a bit excessive in the beginning of this book. Normally I don't mind, but when this is classified under a Young Adult read, I would expect it to not drop so may F bombs.  Again, after working in a high school for 4 years, I do realize that {some} high school kids do use that sort of language but I would expect more creativity especially when a large percentage of your readers may be young adults.
The ending seemed a bit rushed in my opinion and I wanted more closure. I wont spoil anything, however, I wanted more out of the characters.
We heard that this book was going to made into a movie so I'll see how that goes. I will be excited to see how they bring this to the big screen and maybe and finally my image of Elenor will be explained.
Next months book is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This is a fat book and a book that was suggested to us by one of our smart readers.
And just for the record I'm not a smart reader. I prefer easy, mindless, un-biographical  books.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mexico Trip Part 1

On a whim, My mom and I decided to go to Mexico to be guests at one of my favorite little cousins wedding. I was thrilled that I was able to get things covered at home and go. It had been 7 years since I last visited my moms home town. That seems like an eternity especially because growing up, we would go at least every two years. This was going to be a treat and I was so excited about it.
Since Amy works at the airport, she got to send us off. I liked seeing a familiar face in an unfamiliar place.
 As we were getting on the plane, we noticed a familiar face in first class. It was David Archuletta and my mom got so giddy. The whole plane ride she was plotting how she would approach him and ask to have her picture taken with him. It was great and made me smile. When we landed in MX, she was already looking for him and at first we thought he got away, but we quickly spotted him in the Customs line and my mom quietly asked if he was Elder Archuletta to which he replied that he use to be. She then asked for a picture with him and even though he was a bit hesitant to, he did and my mom was so happy about it. 
 After another 5 hours of waiting for busses and bus rides, we finally arrived in Tehuacan at around 8PM.
 We were welcomed at my aunts house by this group. My sister and niece had flown down a day earlier and it was nice that we all had arrived safe and sound.
 And the man of the hour, Juan Carlos.
The next morning I awoke in a familiar place that I have been looking forward to be in again. Abuelita Licha's house (grandma's house)
She has been gone for eight years and now this home belongs to my mom, but forever and always this will be grandmas Lichas house. This was the place where I learned to walk, where I played for countless hours on the patio with my cousins, where we would all gather to spend time with one another. Where we learned to love Mexico.
The views over looking the neighbors homes, her living room where I remember eating dinners and watching TV with everyone. My uncles bird cage where his parrot use to live. My grandmas kitchen. Oh her kitchen. My grandma was an amazing baker and this is the place where her works of art were created. He little tin table and humble wooden chairs. We would often sit there with her and watch her work. it was a beautiful thing to watch her create. This home will always be Mexico to me. 
My mom woke up early one morning to go out and wash her clothes. There is something that I simple love and appreciate about hand washing clothes and hanging them up to dry...but only in MX. 
 And this is the street, La Privada. 
It's on a dead end with a kindergarten school a few doors down so in the morning you see young uniformed students walking hand in hand with their parents on their way to school. There use to be a small snack shop on this street where we would run to grab a bottle of soda or some candy or chips when we were younger. It's no longer there but I sure remembered and loved that little shop.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Briony and Milo turn 1!

These two turned one and I can't believe how fast the year has gone by. I say this all the time but this has been the fastest year of my life. We {I} decided to go all out for this party and invite our close friends and family to come and celebrate with us.
 I planned for weeks in advance and hired my SIL, Taleesha to make their cakes which she executed perfectly. I spent quite a bit of time making their cotton candy piñata and getting all the decorations and food just as I wanted it.
I was a little sad to see those piñatas get smashed after I put so much of my heart and time into them, but I know that the kids loved it and that's worth it right there.

The kids patiently waiting to hear the rules and for their turn to break the piñata.

 And then came the cake. The babes were not feeling very well and they were totally off their schedule so when it was time to smash into their cake, they weren't too into it. Briony would take little finger licks of her cake and with some help, Milo took a few bites out of his. They mostly wanted to play with their little name banners.

Later that night we went home and opened their gifts together. Everyone was so generous and thoughtful. Briony and Milo {and Oliver} loved opening the gifts. Milo especially loved eating the wrapping.
I am so incredibly thankful for all those that have been there for us with Briony and Milo. It has been quite the journey to get them here and I know that I wouldn't have been able to do it without the kindness of the loved ones in my life. Cheers to Briony and Milo for turning one and bringing so much joy into this world.