Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I'm a-gonna knock you out!

A quick re-cap of our week and weekend (for my mom :) 
The boys went to a Tae Kwon Do party on Saturday and broke boards with their feet. 

 Sunday was a very special day as we celebrated the Canonization (declaring) of 2 Saints, Divine Mercy Sunday, and RKZ coached Buck in his first flag football game of the spring season.
 football ready
 snack ready (we're obviously the Patriots)
 The games are played at the local High School on their turf field and the crowd sits in the stands. It was really fun. In the above shot, Buck is pulling a flag!! 
 after the game, we checked out progress on our house! Coming along. 
 Today, Buck's class took another field trip to the local arts center (I love both our school and little town). The kids acted out Alice in Wonderland and Buck was the Mad Hatter! So excited!
The cast. I don't think I can express how happy I was to see this. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Orphan Train

I know I'm a bit slow with the book reviews. I have a few on the go right now but I wanted to get my  Bourge take out on this short read. I would actually characterize it a bit more as a "novella" as it read like a young adult novel and I finished it in two nights. I'd recommend it if you're looking for something to speed through while waiting at the dentist or soccer/baseball practice without much to do. 

But would I recommend it otherwise? Hesitant, yes, because of the original historical element. 

Here's the background: 
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by luck or chance. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?
This is a two-character narrative, though. It shuttles between a foster teen living in present day and a young Irish girl (8 yrs old) who rode the Orphan train in the late eighteen/early nineteen hundreds.

Now, when I read this brief background, I think, "Wow, I think this book will be interesting! I will pick it up for sure." But after actually reading the book, I don't feel as enthusiastic somehow. I did enjoy exploring a part of US history which I hadn't known about before. I'm guessing that the subject matter was the reason the author was given a fellowship to write the book in the first place - it's a fascinating backstory of immigrants when immigrants were still considered "cool" (i.e.: the Irish, Italians, scrappy street children of indeterminate origin).  As a ten-or-so-times removed Irish American, it was fun to read about a little girl whose family had come over similarly to my own ancestors (I'm guessing but not sure, of course). I liked this little girl and continued to root for her character throughout the book.

The problem is, and I say this in all humility as a woman who has not published a NYT listed (or any) novel and published it, the writing is just. not. good. It's not terrible, of course. It's just loaded with the author's politics (which I HATE regardless of what the politics are). It's also simplistic, stereotypical to a fault: Multiple Spoiler Alert - the Irish main character's father is an …wait for it…Alcoholic; The Evangelical Christian foster mom is judgmental, hates everyone, is a bigot and won't let her foster daughter be a vegetarian; The boyfriend's mom never married his father  and he was from the Dominican Republic (insert any quasi-Hispanic man here), so obviously he's never been in the picture. Honestly, I could make a stereotype drinking game out of this book.

But, because I am bourgeois to a fault, I still cried at the ending. I still found myself rooting for everyone. I still wanted to adopt that stupid foster teenager and let her eat tofu and soy forever. I still want to research the other Orphan train kids.

Sadly, there is an entire awkward "semi-rape" scene in the book that would keep me from recommending it for anyone younger than 12. I mean, it's just yucky (the perfect word) and bad writing plus aggressive sexual encounters is just a train wreck as far as I'm concerned.  So, homeschooling friends, don't use this for a history/lit unit.

That's it - read it if you have one or two nights. But, I'd read The Giver or Farewell to Manzanaar first. There are so many lovely early-young-adult novels for a bit more compare/contrast.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fashion-ish Friday: What to Wear to sign loan documents :)

Another "What to Wear" that's never covered - Moms going to meetings in actual businesses while still dealing with potty-training toddlers and sticky-fingered preschoolers (too long for the blog title). It's warmer here and I love dressing like spring is a real thing. We're sputtering into spring in Colorado (snow forecasted for Sunday or Monday), so I'm wearing all the open toed shoes I can get. 
I love long white jeans if I think I'll have help with the kids during the day (RKZ will be at the meeting). The pink tunic is Old Navy. That store is really upping it's game this year, I think.

The lovely background is our apartment in it's rough stages. We'll be hanging pictures any minute! OK, maybe in August.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Renovation Thursday #1 - Sledghammer

Will I ever be able to keep count of my renovation posts? Doubtful. It will help that I'm going to try and keep our Re-no posts to Thursdays. If you're interested in the transformation of our house, Thursday is your day. I'm thinking I'll start with the front door and how our entry way has changed in the last few weeks. 
Our front door from the left side (looking in)

Our front door/entryway and upper powder room from the right side 

The "view" from our front door. Amazing, I know. 

Behind that white wall and console with my purse, used to be this - our dining room. 
They have taken down the walls the surrounded that dining room and now the view from the front door is...

…this as of two days ago. The plywood is covering a hole that will be stairs to our basement. The table  previously stood where the plywood is now.  

RKZ showing the boys the "drop"

Keep on Slammin' - I'll probably add a bit more tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter 2014

Here's what happened at Easter. The boys and I after Mass.

Probably our closest Colorado friends - OL and Coors and their kids. 

Yes, it is always this crazy with them. 

After Mass, we headed to the Duke and Duchess' house (Gma and Gpa) for Easter with the cousins! 

Fab Egg hunt orchestrated by Uncle and Aunt S

This was our first Easter with the Grady/Bussone cousins! 

"Found it"

Uncle and Aunt S had a master list so nothing was lost! 

Pahina with her Princess eggs

My sister-in-law Hebber and I enjoy the hot weather! 

The Duchess shows off Marky-Mark's deviled eggs

Hebber and Marky-Mark

I was SO GRATEFUL that the Duchess made such a wonderful Easter Meal


By far the most popular meal. The kids even ate this up with it's fresh Basil from the garden! 

Jesus and chocolate. Is there anything better? 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Delivery Man (2013) - Movie

I'm conscious of the fact that my family (a new readership by far) will not be very (read: at all) interested in my movie reviews, but that (as they know just by being in relationship with me) will not keep me from spouting my opinion all over the place ;) 

I watched Delivery Man on the plane as we began our Spring Break trip and I had to make a few comments because I really liked it (caveat: I don't mind 17 year old boy humor). 

First, I have a love affair with Vince Vaughn from way back. 

For some reason, this man can do no (or very little) wrong for me. I think he reminds me of someone I knew in college -- his humor is quite often vulgar and nominally stupid. None of the characters he plays in movies are "good" guys or witty or even endearing. And yet, I am endeared (can that be a verb)? 

I think it's because he always plays a Man. A guy. He is so "over the top" filled with testosterone and authenticity that I give him about 100 chances and always assume nothing but the best about him. Maybe I married him :) (jk, honey).

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the movie. Here's a synopsis that I stole from IMBd:
An affable underachiever finds out he's fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them file a lawsuit to reveal his identity.
I read this synopsis and ask myself, "Why would you even choose this movie?" My only answer can be the Vaughn classic, Couples Retreat, which was roundly panned by critics but loved by me. There is a poignant ending to Couples Retreat where Vaughn's character and his wife realize that the problems of love allow marriages to work because being together is what makes everything ok - not the lack of issues or problems. I figured that if Vaughn was heading up Delivery Man, there would be some redeeming lessons along the way if only to get me past the masturbation jokes (of which there are many).

Here is where my "Bourge-ness" kicks in. I watched the movie two weeks ago and don't remember Vaughn's character's name but I do remember the moments where his character was confronted with the fatherhood of the 533 children. These people just want to know where they came from and they ask very little from their biological father. It's Vaughn and the moments where he relates to the young adult "kids" that made the movie for me. Especially when one of his "kids" turns out to be a young man with very special needs. I loved the exploration of the idea of fatherhood. I loved the questions that the movie raises about the human need to know the man who helped create us. It is a movie almost entirely without mothers, which was interesting and different. I was only disappointed with the movie's take on Vaughn's father who escaped from Poland and made a fortune for his family. I was disappointed because his father wanted to pray Grace and his sons said, "Let's drink!" instead. Because drinking will help a person through moral dilemmas…she says with irony…see? Bourgeois. Proud of it.

I'm sure this film is happily on Netflix or in a Redbox by now. It's not at all funny like Old School or even Wedding Crashers. I think Vaughn might be stuck in his growing up phase where he can't decide if he wants to make funny movies or movies with real messages. So, he'll make kind-of-funny movies with sort-of messages and I get that - it's how I live my life. I liked this movie. But I know why it got a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

It's like Mr. Miagi said in Karate Kid: "Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later get squish just like grape." 

But I love you, Vince, and I'll pay my $3.99 on a plane to watch you anytime ;) 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Simply Eggstactular!

I will swear until the end that dying Easter Eggs on Holy Saturday is a tradition - not the fact that we are so swamped that it's the first time we could do it. 
But it sure was fun for everyone (except maybe C, who was mad I wouldn't let him do bunny ears on everyone) 
Only a few cracks! 

I think I have a picture of eggs soaking in dye every Easter for 8 years. 

More tomorrow as we travel to Colorado Springs!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday movin' (2014 edition)

Our family moves more than any family I know personally. What's funny (strange, not ha ha) is that I was adamant that I would not be the kind of family that moved all over the place after living a childhood of that very thing. God laughs at my plans. He also know that moving to the places we have has been life-changing for me and all of my boys. But, this current move is totally just basic materialism and a need for me to love my "space" (still from California in my heart). 

We flew home from Spring Break and immediately started moving. Thanks for RKZ's brother, Uncle, and a new good friend, Coors, I only had to finish packing 100's of boxes while the men did the heavy lifting. 
We rented a Uhaul for the furniture going to our apartment

Wrapped up like professionals

We rented 2 pods for the remainder of our house (and hired professional movers to carry 80% of our stuff into them). 

A fleet of trucks to take the odds and ends

Coors and RKZ piled in most of the furniture and boxes. Young Uncle had to do a lot of the physical side :)

Our new "home sweet home" - a 2 bedroom apartment near the elementary school. 

Our Master (aka: "where the magic happens" according to RKZ). Note the walk-in (but still small) closet 

My new kitchen and office area. This compact organization makes me so happy, it's ridiculous. I am an OCD psycho. To the left (the doors with the arm on them) is our laundry closet. Moms of young (or now older) kids will appreciate that my entire life will be lived in this room until August - and I'm ok with that because it means less mess!! 

The view from our patio. The apartment is on a large park with chirping crickets and frogs. It's really lovely and makes the home seem much more open. The boys play back here a lot already by hopping our fence. 

And lastly, a bit of a video on the Pope's activities last night. Love. Also, I'm happy I learned to imbed videos!