Friday, July 25, 2014

June Wrap-Up

So it's the third fourth week of July and I'm only now writing a June update. July's looks equally as promising. Time is flying by so fast, I'm honestly overwhelmed by it. Okay, here we go:


Books I've Read 



The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steve Galloway
4/5

We read this for book club and had a good discussion about it. It has a pretty fascinating story behind it and I hear the author is quite an interesting and dynamic speaker (someone in our book club heard him speak a few months ago). This was also a "One Book, One Community" selection. His writing is lovely and it's about several characters experiencing similar things, but in different ways, so it's an interesting read.



Dear Luke, We Need to Talk. Dad Darth by John Moe

4/5

So, this book is a hilarious compilation of all kinds of pop culture references and essays. I picked it up while browsing at our local indie bookstore during Kate's writers' camp and read several excerpts. I did it again the next day. And by the third day, I figured we needed this book! Read about it here and get the book - it will make you laugh out loud. There are letters from Dora the Explorer's mother to Child Protective Services pleading her case as a stable mother, letters from the B-52's realtor about the state of the Love Shack, a hilarious letter from Dorothy to Glinda (the excerpt is available at the link above), a list of Jay-Z's 99 problems, and more. So, so funny.

I read a bunch of other books, including kids' books, with Max during that week of camp. We especially enjoyed The Day the Crayons Quit. 5/5. Highly recommend. Later that week, Thing 2 was recommending it to others at the store. We like it!



Movies/TV Shows I've Watched


TV

I'm on season 4 of "Parenthood" with Thing 1. I'm watching "Malcolm in the Middle" with Thing 2.  I'm watching "Gilmore Girls" with Mark (again). Other than that, our TV is hardly ever on really. We are, however, listening to a lot of music, including Ed Sheeran's and Sam Smith's new albums as well as the fantastic soundtrack for "The Fault in our Stars" movie.


Movies




"The Fault in our Stars"

 5/5

I'm a sucker for the book and I think the movie was very well done. They always seem to be well adapted with the authors are involved. John Green was heavily involved in all of it and they pulled of a really great book-to-movie adaptation. Mark and I took Thing 1 and her BFF. We all cried. The theater was filled with sobs, but also with laughter. Sweet, heart wrenching story. And happy day, teens with personalities that are real and mature rather than stereotyped and sub-par.


"Stuck in Love"

4.5/5

Such a fun flick. I've already written about this one before, but Mark and I got around to watching it together and I'm glad. Great movie about a family of writers. Well cast. Fabulous soundtrack. 


"It's Kind of a Funny Story"

4/5

This is another repeat watch for me, but I watched it with Thing 1 this time. She and I both read the book, and I wanted to rewatch the movie (the first time I saw it, I didn't know it was based on a book, so I hadn't read it) and she wanted to see the adaptation. This one is not as well adapted as other good Young Adult books like The Fault in our Stars and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but it was a good, quirky film. I prefer the book, but the movie is worth a watch.


"August: Osage County"

4.5/5

I've been wanting to see this since it hit theaters. Well, the polar vortex and busy schedules got in the way of seeing it there. Then it came out on DVD and even then it took us a long time to get around to it. We got it from Redbox and watched it. It isn't a light film. It's heavy. But the acting is superb. And, like any good, thought-provoking movie, it stays with you overnight and then you find yourself having a several hours-long discussion with your spouse about the possible meanings and interpretations of the film, characters, and outcomes. It's a movie about a highly dysfunctional family and the kinds of females in it. LOTS to think (and talk) about in this one.



Games I've played


Settlers of Catan
Ideology
Scruble and Chronology and Blokus with the Geckers
Spot It!
Bugs
Dominion

I'm sure there may be more, but I don't remember. And it's already almost August. Ugh . . . :P


 
Other Things I've done, Places I've visited, etc.



* June 1st involved a very full day of setting up our new clinic. I can't believe how quickly and well we pulled that off. Go us! While it was really sad to take apart the old clinic space, it was really exciting to set up the new clinic space.

* The next day was our official first day at the clinic. Mark started with a full schedule of patients. We love having two patients rooms - so much more efficient! And he's happier, too. It's a lovely setting. While we miss having it in our home, the ability to be more efficient is such a great improvement.

* I ran around like a crazy person all over town on our first official day. The kids helped me. We got all the little things we hadn't quite pulled together the day before. I mean, the office was functional and lovely, but we got all the little, extra, needed things to begin work there. And we got surprises, too. For fun and to celebrate. We LOVE surprising Mark at work!

* Had a GREAT first day at our new clinic space. Things are moving along nicely.

* Cleaned the house and did more setting up at the clinic.

* Took Thing 1 to her volunteering shift while running errands and getting things done.

* Had a family game night just to have some down time after such a whirlwind weekend.

* Started getting our CSA boxes - a grab bag of fun, healthy treats every week!

* Kids attended Nerf Club - basically a bunch of kids run around the park in teams shooting each other with Nerf darts and having a really fun time.

* Enjoyed $5 burritos, put the 3rd row of seats back in our van (we keep taking them out to move stuff), and picked up the three Johnson boys for an ice cream outing at this new place we've discovered. The have the BEST homemade ice cream. My favorite is the sea salt caramel with toffee chunks. The chocolate cake batter is also excellent. I'm pretty much addicted to that place now.

* Went shopping with my friend Kristie - we're both working on decorating our houses so we went to a new place and looked around and brainstormed ideas and even got a few things. Had lunch with her and her daughter (Thing 1's BFF) and my daughter.

* Thing 1's BFF stayed over. Mark and Thing 2 attended some taekwondo classes. Then Mark, Kirsten, Kate, and I all went to the premiere of "The Fault in our Stars" movie while Max hung out with his buddies (the Johnson boys).

* Park days! We missed Ron and Sherri and Jack, who were in NC for the week. We attended a food festival in that lovely town of Lititz ("America's Coolest Small Town") with the Johnsons. It was lovely. Such a great town. Good food. Relaxing evening.

* Mark and Thing 2 attended a morning taekwondo class. The Johnsons had us over to dinner - grilled wings and shrimp in several different flavors, along with a bunch of sides, and smores on the fire pit! Another relaxing night.

* Our new house is already all painted (it's awesome!) so we'd only painted Thing 1's room a bright, cheerful yellow color and we weren't going to paint any other rooms. But then we thought about painting the writers' room and couldn't talk ourselves out of it, so we painted it a lovely lavender and we love it!

* Went to dinner at our friends' (and realtor's) house. The meals out were very helpful as we were in the middle of so much moving, painting, unpacking, etc. So grateful. Played games. Had fun.

* Signed up for the library summer reading programs. Tradition.

* Thing 1 signed a contract with our local, indie bookstore and delivered a pile of books to them for them to sell. Exciting!

* Attended a fun homeschool group field trip at an ice cream-making place/hands on type experience. Ate a lot of ice cream. Did a bunch of exchanges all over the county there while our kids hung out at Ron and Sherri's. Then we all went out to dinner and tried Noodles and Company for the first time - we LOVE it. The food was delicious and far exceeded our expectations. Fun menu and delicious! Also fun to see Sherri get excited over the super cool soda dispensing machine from the future! ;)

* Met Sherri and Jack at the store where the gift she bought for Ron for Father's Day didn't fit in her car. She asked me to help out and I was thrilled to be able to help her out. They've done SO MUCH for us these past many weeks. They hung out with us, had dinner with us, and even watched one of Max and Mark's taekwondo classes. The class wore them out, but we went out for frozen yogurt afterwards anyway. Mark wasn't going to go (he was seriously worn out - they had worked them HARD during that class), but he showed up and surprised us. I love, love, love him and how sweet he is. He gives me butterflies in the best way. :)

* Thing 1's BFF stayed over (weekly tradition).

* Sherri, Ron, and Jack hung out with us and we all went to Scout's grooming and played with the puppies. So cute! We then went out to dinner and had delicious food, including a cream of 5 onion soup that was SOOOO good!

* We ran a booth for our business at our local, annual street fair and we're always so grateful for the support we get from friends who come and see us there. We put pictures up on our Facebook page. Yep, we now have a new business FB page. It wasn't hot, but it was windy and that even made it feel cold! The wind made things tricky and a bit exhausting. Anyway, good way to advertise our new business move.

* Took Thing 1 and 2 over to a friend's house where they helped babysit for an event our friend was hosting. Mark and I enjoyed some much-needed down time.

* Had a Father's Day brunch at the Johnson's house. We've been pretty low key about mother's and father's days this year, what with all the moving, so it was nice to enjoy both days at their house. Plus, Christie makes the best biscuits and gravy and that's Mark's favorite. We also took Thing 1 to her job training that day. Mark and I went shopping for her week's worth of lunches (writers' camp) - as homeschoolers, packing lunches is not the norm, so it's like an event to prepare for and do them. :P

* Spent a week going back and forth to a neighboring county every day for her writers' camp. Day 1, we took the 3 Johnson boys with us and I hung out with Thing 2 and the Johnsons (eating, playing games, and brainstorming a fun idea) while Thing 1 enjoyed a great first day at camp. The directors were thrilled to see her and even sort of begged us to please enroll her at their preparatory school so they can claim her when she's published. :) Even if it's as a PG (post graduate) year. Interesting idea!

* Day 2 - this day wasn't our usual "hang out and have fun" days, as we had/have a ton to do with all the moving and such. So, Thing 2 and I took Thing 1 to camp and we brought Scout along and walked around the BEAUTIFUL park (with cute baby ducks!) in that lovely town. Scout LOVED it. Such a fun morning for her. Anyway, we then came back and got a bunch of stuff done and played some games, too. We returned to pick her up and took Mark with us. We all ate a GREAT British pub down there and loved, loved, loved it. We all got different things and we all tried everything (well, the boys don't like eggs, so Kate and I got the Scotch eggs all to ourselves!) and it was all delicious - chicken and leek pie, shepherd's pie with lamb, fisherman's stew pie, bison burger . . . delicious! I should also come clean and admit that before dinner we also went to another local cafe to try their famous tomato pie and I had an amazing dessert (yes, before dinner) - vanilla bean ice cream with lemon-infused olive oil and sea salt. It was INCREDIBLE. There were so many things happening in my mouth at once - sweet, salty, bitter, citrus-y, creamy, cold . . . it was awesome. We love spending time as a family. :)

* Day 3 - Thing 2 and I spent the day together while Thing 1 enjoyed camp. Sherri and Jack met us and we enjoyed spending the afternoon together and having lunch. We also got to take Thing 1 to the bookstore to see her signed books on display (remember, I already blogged about all this about 2 posts ago).

* Day 4 - Thing 2 and I enjoyed a rainy day together - breakfast at a local, cool, hip coffee shop (best breakfast sandwich I've EVER had - egg, cheese, and bacon on a toasted, buttery croissant - YUM!), picnic lunch in the gazebo in the park, feeding the ducks ... all very relaxing.

* Day 5 - we got to take Mark with us for the whole day and enjoy eating, walking around, feeding the ducks, playing games, hanging out at the bookstore (we did A LOT of that all week), and then seeing Thing 1 present her readings! She did a fantastic job - so poised, so happy, so talented. Like I said before, our good friends came to support her and it was a GREAT afternoon and we all enjoyed dinner out together, too. Seriously, look at that post! Plus, Dave and I wrote a hilarious review of our dinner out. So so funny. It was a great week all around. As always. Love it!

* Ran a TON of errands after that week of camp - taekwondo, bank, etc. Kate hosted her teen book club - first time at our new house! Then the kids went to a friend's house to watch Anime movies together. Mark and I enjoyed watching August: Osage County together - we started a little later than we thought we would after a phone call, but it all worked out. The movie was good. Really enjoyed how it make me think. Superb acting.

* We had our book club the next day and it went really, really well. I believe this is our 10th year of book club with this group and we always have such good meetings. We have a new member - a literature professor and writer. Such a great addition to the group! Ohhh, and the food we eat is always so good.

* Thing 1 and I watched "It's Kind of a Funny Story" and enjoyed that.

* I had hormonal mood swings - these have been happening more often since my mid-30s. I've been told perimenopause can happen that early - let me tell you . . . it's not fun. I'm not generally a moody or grumpy person. But yeah, I'm thinking there's one day a month that I should be shut up in a room away from everyone. I don't know WHAT to do with myself on those days. If anyone has suggestions, please tell me. I feel restless and grumpy at the same time, so it's hard to sit down and relax, but trying to do anything also makes me grumpy. Very frustrating!

* We learned that banks have stupid rules that seem to support this country's attitude that teens can't be trusted for anything. Seems we can't get a checking account for Thing 1, because she's not 16 yet. Never mind that she has a job. Never mind that she'd like to set up direct deposit. Never mind that she would like an ATM card and continue to learn fiscal responsibility. Bah! People gripe about teens and deny them opportunities to learn responsibility and then wonder whey they don't know how to be adults. So stupid. Want to help your kid mature and learn responsibility? Well, too bad! So we're finding works around it all. But these things take time! And aggravation. 

* Thing 1 figured out at writers' camp that she was having difficulty seeing writing far away from her (on the board from the first row) - it was kind of fuzzy. This, of course, prompted calls to optometrists. She has a good friend whose dad is an optometrist, so we got an appointment with him and many calls, appointments, and hundreds of dollars later, voila, she's got glasses! She looks fabulous. She's one of those people who looks good in all hats and all glasses, as the lady helping her with glasses quickly figured out. So, she's got glasses and she's beautiful! She loves it - she looks even more like a writer!

* I was having a rough day - scattered, disjointed, feeling very "off" and my SWEET husband had a break in his schedule and drove home to hug me. Now, he would do this when the clinic was in our home, too, but I'm telling you that he drove back and forth from the new location. 3.5 miles each way. 9 minutes each way. He is AWESOME and I am so so lucky.

* Thing 2 started volunteering at the library and works the same shift as his sister. They don't usually have volunteers work together at the same time, but since they work during a particularly busy time and since they work REALLY well together  and work hard, the library is thrilled with the arrangement and supports it fully. Such a compliment. They say he caught on quickly and they're so very happy to have him!

* We spent many days gearing up for Grandma and Papa's visit. We hung many things on the walls and cleaned and put up curtains and got pictures out. Our house looks like and is a home! We love it!

* So, Mark's parents arrived on the 28th and stayed into July - where to document that trip . . . the June update or the July one? I think I'll go with this one since I've already picture documented much of June with the pictures from writers' camp and Thing 2's volunteering.

* We had a GREAT visit with his parents. It was so much fun and went by way too fast. The evening they arrived, we were barely ready for them in time as far as cleaning and decorating and car inspections go, so we ate on California time (heheheh) - we made an awesome dinner of chicken satay, coconut rice, and salad with red onion, mango, and avocado. We also had a couple of frozen pies - lemonade pie and chocolate crunch pie. Yum!

* It was fun to show them around our new house and they are so genuinely happy for us. It was super relaxing and easy going having them here. It had been a few years since they'd been here and we loved hanging out together and playing games (lots and lots of games). We stayed up late talking and laughing.

* The next day, Thing 1 had a shift at her job, so Thing 2 got Grandma and Papa and us all to himself. There was much game playing, including video games. Thing 1 got off of work early and that worked out well since it gave us more game time together. We had donuts in the morning. We made a big salad lunch with TONS of salad toppings for lunch. And we had those yummy satay leftovers for dinner. We went out for ice cream with the Johnsons and had so much fun eating and laughing and telling stories.

* On Monday, they hung out with me and the kids in the morning while Mark worked at the hospital. Then, after a big salad lunch, they got to see our new clinic space and hang out with Mark there. I'm glad they got that time together and that they got to see our new clinic space. They also got to see Max in a taekwondo class - that was really fun, too. We were going to go out for Mexican at our local hole-in-the-wall place, but they had some kind of mechanical fix going on in the kitchen and were closed, so we opted for a back up place that turned out to be GREAT. Big hit for all - phew!

* So, here's where it's technically July, but stick with me here . . . . Mark worked at the hospital in the morning and then we went to Lancaster and had Philly cheese steaks and then visited President James Buchanan's house (a GREAT tour). It was HOT. It was unseasonably HOT the week they were here. We then went to Lititz so they could see Thing 1's books on display at the bookstore. They bought themselves a signed copy. :) Then, Ron and Sherri, and Jack met us and we all went out for ice cream and then walked around that lovely park and sat and visited for a very long time! It was so much fun! Very relaxing and a beautiful day with a gorgeous sunset. We went home and watched Goldbergs and had some treats that Max cooked for us - quesadillas and homemade soda!

* Mark worked again the next morning and then we played lots and lots of games all day, ate snacks, and then went out for our traditional sushi dinner out - it was delicious and fun as always! Such a treat. We stayed up late again. I think we watched more Goldbergs or played more games or both. I don't remember exactly, but I know we had fun!

* They left the next morning. We were all sad to see them go. It was a GREAT visit.



Pictures from the Month
 
I'm posting many pictures here, but if you haven't read my most recent two posts, go do that, too - LOTS of pictures there as well from this month ("this month" meaning June)!

Setting up the new clinic space

Lots to do!

Everyone helps

One of the patient rooms

Another patient room

The office

Surprises on the first official day at the new space!







Celebrating Day 1 with a sushi dinner out (we all shared that sushi)!

Our writer daughter's room - couldn't resist a picture of her nightstand

A sunset behind our house - lovely view!

Nerf Gun Club!
Pictures of the clinic all set up:










We got sparkling cider to celebrate going to see The Fault in our Stars

Those who have read it/watched it will catch the reference.

Mark, me, Thing 1, Thing 1's BFF

BBQ at the Johnsons'

Chilling in the backyard

So relaxing

Painting the writers' room - Kate talks to Scout who is . . .

. . . hiding under the tarp in the middle of the room

My husband's calves are AMAZING.

Here comes the lavender!

My cute kid!

She loves to keep us company and we love her company.


What the house looks like when you take on a new project sometimes



The finished product (before wall hangings)
Mark hooked us all up with a wireless printer and here is our first print - a message from Mark in the other room!

The kids and Jack - field trip time!




Butter Pecan is one of my dad's favorite ice cream flavors, so I tried some and it was delicious.

Unlimited ice cream samples as part of the field trip - YUM.

SHE IS SO CUTE!

WE LOVE HER!

Thing 1 and her first paycheck! She loves having a job.

My beautiful family!!

We usually take these pictures at the BEGINNING of the school year. Oops.

Getting ready to hang pictures

Scout helpfully smells everything we consider.

Can you tell she'd just gotten a haircut?

On Thing 2's first day volunteering - hard at work!

Putting pictures on the mantel - something didn't look right, so we tinkered with it and came up with . . .

This. We love it. We've added one more tall, skinny, orange vase since then. Love it!

Looking homey!

Me and sweet Scout

It's all coming together nicely!



Lamps, pictures . . .

We love our new house!

An evening picture

Putting things on the walls

Word art over the pantry

Bon Appetit!

Playing games with Grandma and Papa!


Video games in the basement

Scout took to them VERY fast!

Watching Thing 2's taekwondo class

Thing 2 in action

He's a black belt, so he gets to help instruct the lower belts. He's a GREAT teacher!

Thing 1 with Papa

With the grandparents at Wheatland

A very quick trip to Wilbur Chocolate Factory - it was a bit of a whirlwind day

Getting ice cream with Ron, Sherri, and Jack

Talking at the park

We all talked for HOURS

Beautiful sunset

Max makes us a midnight snack

Thing 1 teaches Grandma and Papa about Goodreads

Lots of Catan - Cities and Knights version!

Sushi dinner out!

Sushi dinner out!


How was your June? You know, that month that was three weeks ago?