Monday, June 17, 2013

So Ready...

Ugh! I'm so ready to start the new year. I don't have too much longer either!

We are actually starting July 1st. That's usually the plan, but my husband kind of balked at this information the other day. See, this is the first year he's home during the summer. Or really at all. And this may be off the homeschool topic (ok, it IS off the homeschool topic), but my husband is on terminal leave from the AF. Which means he's done working for the AF and now will be home while he looks for a job.

After all the separations over the years I'm really glad to have more time to see my love's face, but he kind of interferes with the homeschool schedule. He gets Zach all riled up and distracted. Which is sometimes funny, but usually just, well, distracting.

So, I guess we will be learning how to learn with dad hanging around. If he interferes too much I'm going to put him to work teaching Science and Art! Maybe Spanish too! Oh my, this could really end up being a great thing! =)

I'm totally glad to be starting the new school year. We still get to spend afternoons at the pool or bowling and Dad gets to be completely involved this time around!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Disney Dream(s)

We finally did it - we went on a cruise! Not just any cruise either, we went on a Disney Cruise!

It was all that we expected it to be fun, great food, beautiful weather, and absolutely relaxing. Honestly it was the first vacation that I didn't have to worry about anything - and that is wonderful!

We sailed on the Disney Dream out of Port Canaveral Florida on a four night Bahama getaway.

This was the tiny ship next to ours

This is what you see when you first walk on the ship

Up Close 
Almost at eye level - yes I was obsessed with this

 There were of course Mickey touches everywhere - but I'll not bore you with a ton of pictures! OK I lied, I will - but they will be fun pictures, promise!

 Our first stop was Nassau, we went a glass bottom boat tour (OK - we weren't impressed but we did get to spend time on shore too). If you go - just walk around the town. While the tour sounds fun, it really wasn't all that. Here are some things we saw -

The expensive side of the island

motoring past our ship o' dreams

we did see some fish - but it was through this green glass stuff
not cool

 The next day we went to Disney's own island, Castaway Cay. Which was a lot of fun. We snorkeled (saw only one fish) and hung out. They had these beautiful hibiscus everywhere. At least I think they were hibiscus. They were pretty though.

These things were huge! 

We also got to watch fireworks at sea (the ONLY cruise ship allowed to have fireworks!). And, I learned from my son (who learned in his tween club onboard) they are plant based so they are environmentally safe. Pretty cool.

Erik and I got to watch a couple stage shows, which were awesome. Very well done productions. And we all watched Wreck it Ralph in 3D. In an almost empty theater. Awesome. This is the theater.

Mickey everywhere!

The food was incredible. The only restaurant I remembered to bring my camera to was The Artists Palette. And I still didn't take any food pictures. But here's the bread plate and knife

And my boys enjoying dinner. Bonus - Zach tried a lot of knew food while we were on the cruise. Anyone who knows us knows this is a huge deal.

No, the french fries weren't the 'new' food

We also got fun towel folding critters every night. I only thought to capture this one though

And our room hostess was so awesome. She was super friendly and even remembered to tuck Zach's friends in when she turned down our beds at night.

We had such a great time. We are already planning our next trip - but this time we're doing a 7 day cruise! And now for some random family shots:

A great way to start the summer and an awesome way to celebrate Erik's retiring from the AF.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

{Book Review} The Bat by Jo Nesbo

The Bat (Harry Hole, #1)The Bat by Jo Nesbø
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was a little skeptical about reading this book. I read The Snowman a while ago and was not that impressed. I thought it was too wordy. But I'm always willing to give an author a second chance so I decided to go for it.

I'm glad I did. This book was really good. It gave me a sense of who Harry really is which I enjoyed immensely. It was also so well written - with twists and turns, red herrings, startling surprises, and in the end realizing that you had "who did it" wrong all along (even after changing your mind several times!). In short, the way a good thriller/mystery should be written.

I also enjoyed that this book took place in Australia. Nesbo didn't stick to just one place either, we traveled a little though the continent that I'd love to visit. The touches of Aboriginal history and politics were also well done by incorporating them into the backstories of the characters rather than just throwing them in for no apparent reason.

I am going to be reading more Jo Nesbo books, with the hopes that they are all more like The Bat and less like The Snowman.

I received this book from Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

View all my reviews

Monday, June 10, 2013

{Book Review} Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

What: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Who: Seth Grahme-Smith

What it's about: Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation. (view source)
What I thought: I actually didn't like this book very much. It came highly recommended to me by a friend, and since we usually like similar books I thought 'why not'. The fact is, it took me about 8 months to read this book - not because I was too busy, but because I really didn't like it. It sat for months with 50 pages left and I just couldn't bring myself to pick it up and finish it. Finally I did, just because I wanted to post it paperback swap and be done with it.

I'm probably in the minority here since this book did well enough to be made into a movie and all, but to me - just not worth the time. This is why I usually stick to my favorite types of books instead of jumping on the "you've got to read this book" bandwagon.

Now I'm off to finish some other books I've been reading!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

{Review} Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

Written By: Jenny Lawson

Narrated By: Jenny Lawson (AKA The Bloggress)

What it's about: Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut, and narrates this audio version.

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives - the ones we'd like to pretend never happened - are in fact the ones that define us. In Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor.

What I thought: I really enjoyed listening to this book. Jenny's homey Texas twang is fun to listen to and some of her memories will make you bust out laughing. Which is a good thing - unless you're listening while shopping (which I do), and then it just gets you some stares from semi frightened people! When I got done I sometimes replayed (in my head) some of her statements in a British accent. Also hysterical, by the way!

There are serious parts too - I can totally identify with some of her anxieties. Knowing that someone out there, that grew up completely different than I did, deals with some of 'my' problems is awesome. It also may explain why we both are sarcastic! :)

Although I'm not sure, the print version might have pictures (if it does let me know - I would love to see some of them!), but it's a good listen. I really enjoyed the time I spent with The Blogress.