"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." -- Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Seven Years to One Month

Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of the day Beau and I got engaged. We bought a ring and then he taught me to shoot. A good day, indeed.

Today marks one month out from our closing date on our house. I'm getting more anxious - good anxious to be in there and making it our home and bad anxious because it means we have only 6 more weeks to pack up our stuff.

We went sofa shopping yesterday. One the one hand it was helpful - we determined that do like the same style but we differ on leather vs. upholstery; on the other hand is was extremely frustrating - two littles who were bored to tears the whole time and weren't shy to express themselves. By the time we got home I was ready to kill someone. No buying yet. We're still sort of trying to decide the placement of our current furniture. Certain pieces will determine whether or not we go for a total color makeover or not.

Either way it will be a fun challenge.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reading Room and Bube Tube Stuff

I managed to get another audio book completed in record time. Crossed, book two in the Matched trilogy, is a good middle of the story book. It moves the plot along rather well and further develops the main characters. That each character was narrated by separate narrators made it more effective as a listen. I liked it and I look forward to the final book when it comes out in the fall.

Interestingly, after I posted my short review on GoodReads.com, I found that most of the readers there HATED it. 3 stars out of 5.

I'm now listening to The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey. It is narrated by Davina Porter, who is one of my favorite audio book narrators. This is a reboot of Jane Eyre, which I have never read. I have seen one of the movies, though, so I am familiar with the general story of Jane Eyre. This seems pretty faithful to the spirit of that classic - Gemma Hardy is still in her boarding school years so there's a long way to go to get to the Rochester character/story. I am enjoying it so far.

On the Kindle, I also started Wool by Hugh Howey. Wool was originally just a short story, but was popular and the author wrote more episodes.I have the omnibus version, which includes all of the short stories in one package. I finished the first story this morning and I can see why there are more. It's dystopian and mysterious. I wish I could read more - I really want to know where this one goes.

On the TV, we watched the final episode of this season of Masterpiece Theater's Sherlock. We watched the first season last year and were surprised at how much we loved it. I am so disppointed that they only do 3 episodes at a time. It's smart, quick, funny, good TV. The last episode of this season blew me away. Such a great show. If you haven't seen it, you must. The first season is available for streaming on Netflix. And for a short time now, you can watch this season at the PBS website.

How Fast Can You Read?

Staples has launched this fun infographic-test that will tell you how fast you can read. Interesting...

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department


Friday, May 18, 2012

The New 'Hood

So with every day that passes, we're one step closer to home ownership. Closing is June 29.

Beau mentioned several weeks ago that he needed calling cards for the kids to set up play dates. Jesse has mentioned play dates with random people recently. But he often doesn't know the kid's last name, definitely doesn't know the parent's info, and they definitely don't know ours. Hence, the calling card idea.

Now that we're moving to a brand new neighborhood, the calling card idea became a smarter idea. Tooling around Etsy.com I found a lot of cute options. Did we want individual cards for each kid? A card for them together? A family card?

In the end I opted for the family calling card (in lime) since we will all be new to the neighborhood. As we meet people, we can hand them the card that contains each of our names, Beau's and my cell number, our home phone number, and a family email address (which I created today).

What I bought is the digital file. I'll get them printed from GotPrint.com, where I get my business cards printed.

And I'm also looking at change of address cards to mail to family and friends when the time comes.

Reading Room Reviews: The End of the Affair and Insurgent

I finished two more books yesterday. Thanks to my weekend epiphany about listening to audio books while putting on my make-up (instead of listening to TV, which is pointless), I am cranking through audio books much faster.

I also started reading on my Kindle while blow drying my hair, since most of the time I'm hunched over with the diffuser.

Multi-tasking at its best.

So I finished Insurgent by Veronica Roth in my Kindle yesterday morning. Here's my short review:
Book two in the Divergent trilogy, this middle book does its job well. It moves the story along as a pretty fast pace, increases the tension and action, and develops some of the secondary characters further.

Now I have to wait more than a year for the final book in the trilogy that is definitely going to give The Hunger Games a run for its money in the long run. It is equally as good, equally as thought-provoking about the human condition, the role of structured government versus personal liberty, and the instinctual need for independence and survival.
4 out of 5 stars.

I got home from work with only 5 minutes of listening left to finish The End of the Affair by Graham Greene and narrated by Colin Firth. Hello, Darcy! This is an Audible.com exclusive - I don't think you can find it at your library or other bookstore (although Amazon.com is partnered with Audible.)

TEofA is a modern classic that has been on my must read list for years. When I saw that Firth was narrating it for Audible, I moved it to the top of the queue immediately. I am so glad that I did. Here's my super short review:
Sublime. I am sure Firth's wonderful narration contributed to my love of this book. it's a transcendent tale of love and hate, fidelity and adultery, faith and folly, life and death. It is almost unbearably sad and yet there is redemption that lifts it just enough. This book is a new favorite.
5 stars. It is wonderful and made moreso by Firth's fantastic first person narration.

So now I'm currently listening to Crossed by Allie Condie, which is the 2nd in her Matched trilogy. And I'm reading Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson on my Kindle.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Random

The weekend was good. We enjoyed the first birthday party of the youngest cousin in my family. She is a super cute baby and it was good to spend time with family. My 98 year old grandmother was there and while she's slowing down in her old age, she is still feisty as ever.

Mother's Day in our home was just a typical Sunday. Beau took the kids to church with him in the morning so that I could get some alone time, which I spent coloring my hair, reading, and prepping a meal to be delivered today to some church friends who have a new baby.

Then I headed to church myself to practice with the band before the evening service. Turns out the worship leader was suffering from a hacking cough and she asked me to sing lead on one of the songs. It has been a long time since I've sung anything but background vocals. I was incredibly nervous, but prayed that the Lord would be glorified no matter what happened and that helped to relax me.

I got home to find the house empty because Beau and kids were at the 4th birthday party of a little girl on our street. From the happy screaming, it sounded like much fun was being had. I got to our back deck to find kids running around with water pistols. Molly was on their deck playing with the bubble machine and covered in chocolate from the chocolate fountain. I'm told her dinner was basically chocolate dipped marshmallows and strawberries. So at least there was some fruit involved. And that was before the birthday cake.

So with my reading time, I managed to finish another audio book - Matched by Allie Condie. Here's the review I wrote for Audible.com:
Another in the plethora of dystopian YA fiction that is to be found, Matched is actually quite good and different from The Hunger Games and Divergent. It's less death-defying, which is the huge difference. There's no violence.

But there is a controlling Society who manages every single part of a person's life, down to the person whom they are to marry. And this is where this particular dystopian story differs.

This story is told well. Some of the prose is quite lovely. The characters are full people. And as a first in a trilogy, it's a good start. I'm intrigued enough to want to read the second book, Crossed.

The narrator is very good, with the perfect youthful voice for the first person narration.
I did download the next book, but I'm listening to something else in between to sort of cleanse the palate. Matched gets 4 stars.

So the new book I'm listening to is The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, which has been on my list of must reads for a long time. When Audible announced that Colin Firth was narrating, it moved up to the top of the list to listen to next. I'm about 2 hours in and it is very good, Firth is very good. It's a short listen at just a bit over 6 hours, so I'll get it finished this week easily.

I'm also reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth on my Kindle. It is book two of the Divergent trilogy. I'm about 60% in and it is also very good.

The little bit of TV I'm watching is Once Upon a Time, which is pretty much the only current TV that I care to watch. I had several episodes on the DVR to watch and managed to do that last week. I watched the season finale from last night this morning before getting ready for work. I was curious how there could be a second season if the conflict in this first season was resolved. Turns out they did a pretty good cliff-hanger. You know, fairy tales end happily, but there are a lot of them and they left many of them untouched this season. I look forward to seeing who gets featured next season as the primary tale.

My favorite episodes were the ones that featured Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio. Also the hunter. And maybe Beauty and Beast. I thought they were really well done and touching.

We are watching the new season of Sherlock, but did not watch last night's episode live after our long day. I crashed. It totally bums me that there are only 3 episodes. Three. Really? *sigh*

And I guess that's all to share on this Monday.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Colonial Williamsburg

We took a long weekend jaunt to Colonial Williamsburg last weekend. It was a badly needed break and loads of fun. The bonus was that my mother- and sister-in-law came with us (although they stayed at a hotel while we stayed at a timeshare resort).

We drove down Friday afternoon and basically checked into our respective domiciles before getting some dinner and calling it a night.

Saturday we spent exploring Colonial Williamsburg itself. We had a leisurely day that was for the most part enjoyable. The only real negative was the intense crankies at lunch time. I and my male spawn were the culprits - both of us were hangry (hungry and angry). Food helps, though, so our afternoon went better.

Let me say this, I love CW and think it's a great place for kids. But the kids need to be school-age and learning about colonial America to have a true appreciate for the place. My kids, ages 5 and 3, were more than a little bored with all the walking and waiting.

Sunday was our Busch Gardens day.

My hope for Jesse was that he was tall enough to ride one of the bigger rides. He's tall, but not quite tall enough for the super thrilling rides. He was disappointed not to ride any of the big roller coasters that he saw meandering above the park as we walked from place to place. But he did ride enough stuff to be satisfied and considered the day a very fun day.

I love this picture. The expressions on their faces say it all. She's totally into the ride and telling the horsies to giddy-yup. It took some coaxing to get him on a horse because he thought he was too big for this little kid ride. By the time it was over, he was smiling and having fun, though.

I love the above picture. This was her first time riding the log flume (she rode it again with me later). She LOVED it and I am grateful that the camera caught her excited expression as they went down the big hill into the water.

Jesse also loved the log flume and rode it again with Beau later. That's my mother-in-law behind us. She is an amazing lady. She and Beau also rode the Alpengeist roller coaster later in the afternoon.

Some random dude gave this stuffed chili to my sis-in-law. I love that it's in the stroller instead of the tired girl.

Our last full day in Williamsburg was a chill out day. We had brunch with Beau's Mom and sister before they headed to SIL's home so that MIL could spend time with the other grandchildren before heading home to California on Tuesday. Molly and I napped after lunch while Beau and Jesse went to swim in the pool. They returned, changed into clothes, went back out to play mini-golf, and returned before Molly or I woke up.

We came back home on Tuesday afternoon after another chill day. We played more mini-golf and spent some time playing video games in the resort game room. I got the above picture of Molly snoozing in the chair when I took some of our packed stuff into the living room. She slept there while Beau and Jesse loaded the car. She slept while I carried her out to the car. She awakened long enough to get her arms in the straps of her car seat, but then konked back out and slept the entire 2.5 hours drive home. She's a trooper and did very well on our very busy weekend. Jesse, too, did really well. It was a fun family vacation.

Up next: California pre-Christmas in December and then Disney World in February 2013.