Weekend Update

Okay, so I wasn’t going to post any more of these here because Kevin has been working on the new site, but it’s not ready yet, because we’ve both been so busy. So here I am!

The latest:

~ We got our tax refund back and took our annual weekend getaway. It was heaven. We’ve also been doing some fun things with the kids and I have gone really crazy and bought new socks and underwear for the entire family! Oh, and I went to Barnes & Noble and bought three books: The Vacationers by Emma Straub, I Was Here by Gayle Forman, and All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry.

~ I am not going to talk about that football game last week.

~ I had a Walking Dead marathon day with my friend Traci yesterday; we watched all eight of this season’s already-aired episodes. It was so much fun, although I did dream about zombies last night.

~ I have been very busy with camp stuff and kid stuff and have not had nearly enough time to read. I did finish Authority (not as good as Annihilation, but still compelling), and An Unnecessary Woman, which was freaking amazing.

~ Watched three movies with Kevin over the weekend: Fury – horrible; This Is Where I Leave You – entertaining, but not great; and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – horrible.

~ Noah got a job at the local Zips. He is enjoying it so far.

That’s really all the news I have time for. I know it’s not much of an update, but I’m exhausted and really want to read while I can still keep my eyes open. I’ve been missing your blogs, and am hoping to get caught up on your weekend/currently/salon posts in the next couple of days. :)

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Weekend Update – January 24, 2015

So, it’s been a week! Actually, it’s been two since I’ve posted an official update, but I mean this week has been especially week-ish. Sigh.

No news on the job front – for Kevin at least. He has about five applications out right now. Waiting, waiting….. My opportunity looks on track for April 1st, but I still can’t really say anything about it yet. I will say that it’s only 12 hours a week, so easy to work around my homeschooling/parenting duties – pretty much tailor-made for me.

Noah (16) and his girlfriend of almost two years broke up this week. Cue teenage drama and heartache. Lots of it. And questioning of parental decisions, and lots of discussions with Kevin. Parenting teens is hard, even when they’re generally good kids. There have been lots of tears in our house this week, as Noah is sad, and Kevin and I are sad for him.

This next week is going to be insanely busy, with multiple appointments, lots of Royal Family Kids Camp duties, a church board meeting, normal school stuff, and, oh, yeah – that little Super Bowl at the end of the week! Can I just say that “Deflate-gate” has made Facebook a particularly hilarious place this past week?

I also need to start working on the FAFSA for Natalie. Any advice from those of you who have gone through it? I keep hearing that it’s like having bamboo shoots shoved under your fingernails. Really looking forward to that.

I haven’t had as much time to read this past week as I would have liked, but I do have four books going, and I’m enjoying all of them:

~ Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson
~ Authority by Jeff Vandermeer
~ An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
~ City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

On audio, I am finishing up Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon (yes, still!), and I started Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. Oh, and I’m reading The Book Thief aloud with Josiah. This is my third time through it, and I simply love it, although it breaks my heart.

We watched The Maze Runner for movie night last week – Noah’s pick. For the next several weeks, we’re changing things up a bit. Instead of drawing a name of a person who will pick the movie, I have put the titles of about a dozen movies in the hat. They are movies that people have mentioned over the past six months – either movies that are due for a re-viewing, or movies that the kids are now old enough to appreciate. A vast variety from Hello, Dolly to Gladiator to Dennis the Menace to That Thing You Do – and everything in between. Should be fun!

I think tomorrow afternoon, since there is no football, Mom and I are going to see Into the Woods. No one else in the family is interested.

Oh, and have you been watching Downton Abbey? What do you think so far? I think Lord Grantham is becoming even more of a pompous ass, and he’s setting himself up for heartbreak if he doesn’t start treating his wife with more respect! I’m really looking forward to Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder returning this week. Oh, and The Blacklist, in the much-coveted post-Super Bowl slot. And Justified is back! That series reminds me of a modern-day Shakespearean tragedy. Looking forward to this final season.

Have you been watching, reading, listening to, doing anything interesting this week? I’d love to hear about it.

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Let’s talk about books, baby

So, now that I don’t HAVE to write any reviews, I am excited to post about the books I’ve been reading. Funny how that works! It’s the 20th of January, and I’ve finished 10 books so far, though many were in progress before the New Year started. As I look at my list, I see that I’ve rated them all four stars, which means I’ve been enjoying all of my reading, but so far there are no real standouts.

I did finish one last review copy that came in the mail, and I only broke my rule because it was Beth Kephart’s new novel, One Thing Stolen. I have a full review coming out in April, closer to the release date, so I won’t say too much. I did really enjoy it, but it wasn’t as wonderful as her other books, which I’ve invariable adored. Of course, a “not her best” book by Beth is better than most people’s “best,” so I’m not complaining. Plus, it made me want to go to Italy and eat Italian food. :)

My lightest reading hours have been spent with Agatha Raisin: I finished The Perfect Paragon and Love, Lies, and Liquor in M.C. Beaton’s cozy mystery series. I think they are books 16 and 17 in the series, but I’ve lost track. I still love them – they make me laugh, and I love the recurring characters like Bill Wong, Agatha’s policeman friend; Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, who loves Agatha in spite of the fact her husband loathers her; Charles, Agatha’s flighty friend; and Roy, her former employee. The only character I don’t love is James, her ex-husband, with whom Agatha is always trying to reunite. I hope they kill him off in the next book.

I finished two read-aloud titles. I read The Screwtape Letters aloud to all three boys as part of our Bible study time. C.S. Lewis is amazing. And Josiah and I finished Graduation Day, the final book in Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing series. We liked the whole series. It is quite reminiscent of The Hunger Games, but original enough to make it worth reading – and no love triangle, thank God.

On audio, I finished The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, read by Elijah Wood. Noah read it in print for his English 10 class, while I listened to it to keep up with him. I think he would have enjoyed it more if he had listened to it; the dialect can be difficult to decipher. I also finally finished Stephen King’s Duma Key, narrated by John Slattery. It was really good; I loved how Florida-ish it was (yes, I know that’s not a word), and how creepy it was without being a gorefest. The friendship between Edgar, the main character, and his friend Wireman, was the best part of the book for me. There aren’t enough books that portray really loyal, fierce friendships between men.

I finished Countdown, a prequel novella in Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series. I’ve had all her novellas from that series on my Kindle app forever, and I’m finally getting around to reading them. It makes me want to read the series again. The last two titles were forays into science fiction: Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer and The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. Annihilation is the first book in a trilogy, and it was really unsettling, in a good way. I simply could not stop reading, but came away from the book feeling so lost and disquieted. I just picked up book two from the library, and I have my fingers crossed that it answers a few of my (many) questions. The Walker book is a coming-of-age novel set in California right after the earth’s rotation has slowed down. Gravity is changed; tides are affected; the weather is messed up; people are getting sick – and in the middle of it, a young girl is going through adolescence. I enjoyed it very much, although again, I was left with a lot of questions. Since this was a stand-alone, I don’t think they’ll be answered any time soon.’

Well, that’s it so far. It has been so incredibly freeing to read whatever I want, talk about it if I want, keep my mouth shut for a change if that’s what I feel like. I had forgotten this feeling! I sound horribly ungrateful, don’t I? I absolutely enjoyed my years as a book blogger, but now that I witness this feeling of being done, I realize I probably held on long past the point when I should have let it go. Lesson learned, right?

What have you been reading this New Year of 2015? Anything amazing?

Off-topic PS – Did you see that mind-blowing game between my ‘Hawks and the Packers on Sunday? I screamed myself hoarse, and almost put my back out jumping up and down. :)

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