Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans was my book club read for the month of September.  And I'm just now getting around to writing about it.  Oops!  This little thing called school . . .

The Light Between Oceans is a historical novel by M.L. Steadman and one of the ladies in the book club summed it up best: "it's like it was written to be a movie."  Yes, exactly!  It's the story of Tom Sherbourne, a lighthouse keeper on an isolated island off the coast of Australia.  He survived World War I with more than a few emotional battle scars.  He takes a young wife, Isabel, and they live on Janus Rock together, a half a day's boat ride from friends, family, civilization.  Isabel experiences terrible miscarriages and both members of the couple are heartbroken.  Shortly after she delivers a stillborn, a boat washes ashore.  In it are a dead man and a live baby.  Against Tom's initial wishes, they decide to raise the baby as their own and call her Lucy.  On one of their trips to the mainland, they discover the truth about where Lucy came from and that there is another devastated family out there.

So. 

I didn't care for this book.

The beginning was so boring.  I was ready to shelve it and skip book club for the month.  It did pick up and get better but, like I mentioned earlier, it felt like it was written with the intent of becoming a movie someday.  And when I say "become a movie someday," I mean of the Nicholas Sparks ilk. 

I also really, really, REALLY did not like the character of Isabel.  In the beginning she's fun and free-spirited and the author does a good job of showing how loss and tribulation can change a person.  By the mid-point of the book, though, I was completely over her and closer to the end I wanted to straight up throttle her.  I also felt the author didn't illustrate Tom as completely and totally in love with his wife until much later on in the story.  He seemed more mildly annoyed by her, wanted her around for the company.  And, once you reach the end of the book, you realize he did love her completely . . . and then have to ask yourself why (or maybe that was just me!)

Overall, the book was just . . . cheesy.  And it could have been - it SHOULD have been - so.much.more.  Even the "truth" of Lucy is fairly anticlimactic.  The whole thing was just rather depressing and not even a well-written depressing.  

Don't get in a hurry to pick this one up!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Football Party

I honestly had no intention on throwing J a birthday party this year.  His birthday always falls during Fall Break, people are traveling, and we took him to the Bears/ Colts game.  However.  He's been invited to a ton of birthday parties already and he really, really wanted a small party.  I let him invite five friends from school and we threw together a little football themed party.
 
I did this whole thing on a BUDGET.  I told Mark I was going to open a party planning service for peeps who are ballin' on a budget! 
 
 
This chalkboard was something I already had.  I just wrote down various football facts from the year J was born.  I really LOVE how this turned out!  That chalkboard is supposed to hang in my kitchen but I think I'll just get another one for the kitchen and hang that one in his room.

We served Frito chili pies (original plan was walking tacos but Sam's didn't have individual bags of  Fritos), pigs in a blanket, a sausage and cheese tray, veggie tray, cookies, and I bought some blue and silver Hershey Kisses since the Cowboys are J's favorite team.


I made the banner from scrapbook paper.  I made one using red paper a few weeks ago for Razorback football kick-off so turning into a more Cowboys themed one cost me a total of, like, $1.50.


I made the runner myself with felt.  It looked a little janky but it was covered up with food so all good!  Ha!


I found the football confetti at DOLLAR TREE!  Holla!

I bought those referee serving plates for J's first birthday party.  We've been rocking them NINE years now!  Good investment!


Adult beverages!
 
And then for the kiddos.


I bought his cake from Sam's.  They've become our go-to for cakes these days.  They're tasty enough and inexpensive.
 
I used a white paint pen to put football laces on brown paper bags for treat bags.  Since I wasn't sure how many kids would actually show up, I waited to fill them until the kids got there.  They picked their own treats.  I had things like small footballs, football cards, football photo frames. etc.


I only did two organized games.  I made this football toss out of a vinyl tablecloth.  That thing was a BEAST to make, believe it or not, but it was such a big hit with all the kids.
 

We also played an updated version of pin the tail on the donkey.
 



I love this picture so much!  J's smiling at his friend, K1's huge smile.  I just love it.


He only got a couple small gifts.  Hello, we took the kid to an NFL game the weekend before!  He'd been asking for a Rubix cube for months.  Seriously, $8.88 and he was the happiest kid on the planet.
 
Side note: Every party my boys have been invited to, I just buy a card and slide in a $20 bill. I mean, that age boys are so hard to buy for!  Well, guess what his friends gave him?  Yes.  Cards with $20!
 
 
I used a cheapie table cloth and duct tape to put together a photo booth.  The Cowboys banners and all the props were printed things I found online.


It was such a great party.  Everyone had fun and J got a little extra celebration for a "platinum birthday."  And best thing about the day?  My Razorbacks beating up on some Rebels later that evening!  Woo Pig!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Da Bears

Wow, it's been a whirlwind few days!
 
Friday morning, I went to the zoo, field trippin' with the kindergarten.  That afternoon, I checked the girls out of school early and drove three hours to drop them off at my mom's house.  Three hours back home then Saturday morning, all the boys and I were on the road to Indianapolis.  All this for only one reason: the boys' first NFL game!
 
We kicked things off Sunday morning with some tailgating. 
 

This was another first for the boys.  They had never tailgated before and, well, safe to say they fell in love with that particular football tradition!  They found another group of boys to play football with and spent most of the morning playing two hand touch.
 

We grilled, cracked open our first beers around 10 a.m., and just enjoyed visiting with the other fans.  I told Mark later in the day that I LOVE that he's introduced me to the comradery of Chicago Bears football.  It really is like no other.  And, MAN, do they travel.  Indy loves them some Colts but I bet you it was close to half Bears fans.
 

Our friend Chris and his son drove in from Chicago for the game.  The boys - K1 especially - love his son and were so glad to get the time to hang out with him!


When we bought tickets, we got the best available that we could afford.  And, given that we were buying for five people, this meant we were not exactly close to the field.  ;)  The boys were blown away at how they could still see everything even so far up.


They spent the entire game in awe.  I'm so glad they got to have the experience!  And even more glad that I got to be there for that experience.

By the way, I was THIRTY before I went to MY first NFL game!  Lucky ducks!


It was a good game - stayed close for most of it - but the Colts ended up winning.  I'm not going to say which boy, but one of them actually cried.  He has a lot of passion for the game and really wanted to see a Bears win.


After the game, we made our way back to the parking lot, re-lit the grill, and continued the tailgate party.


It was SUCH an amazing day.  All the boys declared it the best day ever.  The only thing that would've made it better was a Bears win.
 
 
One thing is for sure: the tailgating and the game wore.us.out.  We didn't even want to go to dinner Sunday night.  Mark walked over to Texas Roadhouse and picked up takeout and we were all in bed by kick off of the Sunday night game.
 
And it was the last night as a nine-year-old for this one . . .


The next day I was looking up remaining schedules for the boys' various teams and we realized that the Broncos play the Titans in Nashville this year.  So these lucky boys MAY end up making it to two NFL games this season . . .