Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Finding time to read again...

So while I wrap my head around downloading, sorting, deleting, and editing our trip pictures, I wanted to share something simple but fun that also happened for me on this trip...I got to read!!!

I haven't had a good book/book series to read in a really long time since Hunger Games I think? (Ha!- you probably thought I'd say Shades of Grey, right? Nope! Didn't read it actually) Anyway, its been a really long time, and actually finding the time to read anything is very rare for me, and quite an indulgence when I have soo many other things to do during the day.

So yes, I gave myself the gift of reading as soon as I we were able to take off from LAX. Actually I worked on prepping my travel book first (possible post) and then I started reading. And once we arrived, as busy as we were going from place to place, city to city, we actually had a few good chunks of time that I turned into reading time, and I soo fully enjoyed it.

The best part about this was that I realized how much I miss reading, and how good it feels to find yourself in another world for a little bit, so now I have a new list of books that I'm excited about and wanted to share with you.

The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion
So I borrowed this wonderful book from my sister-n-law as a suggested read because it would relate to me in that it dealt with what could be seen as a sweet, humorous side of Aspergers Syndrome. She had me intrigued when she described the main character as a Sheldon type persona (from the Big Bang Theory) whom I love, and yes, the main character of this story ends up being an Australian version of him but an equally socially-inept genetics professor instead. One way to describe this book is, "on the spectrum" accurate with descriptions of his meticulous thinking, planning and in general how he looks at and lives his life. But its his relationship with Rosie and his personal  journey that totally engages you and keeps you wanting more. I absolutely loved it, and I was able to finish it early into our return flight to LA. Thanks again, Betty!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time- by Mark Haddon
Christian was reading this book on the trip, and he was so excited about it that we actually switched books during the flight to read each other's first chapter, and I got hooked on this one too.  I ended up reading the first 10 chapters (they're short). So as soon as I was finished with The Rosie Project I kept going with this one. Coincidentally, this fictional read is also about, but written in the first person view of a 15 year old boy who also has Aspergers. The look into the mind of a child like Christopher Boone is incredibly insightful. It is hard to not to want to follow this boy, his story (his mom is dead and he lives with his dad), and the revelations that occur as he searches for who killed his neighbors dog, Wellington. Looking forward to seeing what happens.

Its actually a book written for adults, but great for teenagers too. So my hope is to get my Daniel to read this book as well, and be able to have a conversation with him to see if he could relate to the 15 year old in any way or to see if he sees things the same way Christopher does. I hope to know soon.

Me Before You- by JoJo Moyes
This is the second book Betty recommended to me as a must read. She described it as its one of those books that makes you emotional, fuzzy and warm inside because its such a beautiful story. So I found it at Costco this past weekend and I grabbed it right away and I can't wait to read it.

The Fault In Our Stars- by John Green
Well this one doesn't need much explaining as most of you know there is a movie out now based on this book. From what I have heard, its another beautiful story that requires a kleenex box as an accessory for reading.  Christian is actually reading this book as well, and we both hope to get to it first before we get to see the movie. However, at the rate of how many books we've got going on, we might have to catch the movie on DVD in the near future. Either way, I can't wait.

I haven't had a set of books I've wanted to read in a long time, but I'm excited to have one now. I don't know how successful I will be at finishing them all, but I will love having them all stacked up and close by as I plan on making time to read at home as I did on our trip.

I hope I've peaked your curiosity on some of these, and I would love to know if you've read them and what you think of them too.

Thanks for stopping by.

From my corner to yours...Have a great day!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Danny's 15th B-Day...Surprise movie night

We had a great time this weekend celebrating Danny's 15th B-day. Traditionally, if we would have had all girls we possibly would have been planning a big Quinceanera, but Jerry is thanking his stars he didn't have to.  So instead we've somewhat started a family tradition to celebrate the boys 15th b-day with at least an extra special surprise party each that has happened to work out to be themed around something that totally describes who they each are.

For Chris, we surprised him with a music themed party of course, where we rented out a rehearsal room at GC Studios just for him and his friends to jam and hangout. Totally Chris and it totally rocked!

For Danny, we surprised him with an outdoor movie night right in our back yard.  The boys had attended a few parties earlier this summer where they had seen this theme and I loved it. I knew this was the perfect for him. If you know Danny, you know that he absolutely is a huge movie buff.

He can tell you when most movies are coming out, premier dates, who the actors are and if they're his favorites then he can even tell you what other movies they've been in. So of course, we started planning.

And the day arrived. We rented a projector and made a very rudimentary screen out of a plain white bed sheet hung up with clothes hangers- it worked people! That's all that mattered. We also had fun getting all the fixin's you would find at the movie theatres including a popcorn machine (with jalapeños no less), popcorn trays from a local theatre, a candy bar, nachos and individually wrapped hot dogs and soda.

Danny was excited to see his best friends were there along with his cousins. Its been nice to see him wanting to connect a lot more with his peers lately, and having them there to celebrate with him was just the best.

Jerry surprised all of us including myself by taking care of  setting up a few video clip previews as a way to start off the movie just like they did in the good ol' drive-in days. He included some old Fast food commercials, a classic Disney cartoon, and threw in some really fun Brady Bunch song clips that we all most of us remembered the words to. Then he showed a movie he had put together of Danny pictures throughout the years that made me laugh, cry and be amazed at just how much our baby has grown up. It was beautiful! Thank you Babe!
And before we actually put the movie selection on for the night- Spiderman 2 (Andrew Garfield version- his favorite!), we sang Happy Birthday and he blew out his candle on the Popcorn bucket cake I attempted to make for him.

I got the idea from a friend (Thank you Karen Wright!) who used it to make the cutest popcorn cupcakes for her son's movie night so I just expanded the idea to make a larger size cake. Although it turned out very rustic, He loved it!!
  • Baking tip- I used the Pampered Chef batter bowl I've had for years to bake the cake. You can put it in the oven and it gave me a wonderful little dome for the popcorn.
  • Decorating tip- the popcorn is made out of cut up marshmallows and yellow food coloring for the butter effect- so genius right? You spray your kitchen shears with cooking spray to cut through the marshmallows so they don't stick, and you attach them over a layer of frosting. Refrigerate to set the cake.

Anyway, Spiderman 2 turned out to be a pretty good movie and the night turned out to be a success. It was nice to hear our guests express how much fun this had been. This is something that we'll definitely consider doing again next summer just because.

Danny isn't one to say very much, but he was definitely very grateful and thanked everyone individually for coming and celebrating with him. It was an amazing birthday weekend according to him and that's what we were shooting for.  I think we this will be a special one we will all remember.

We love you Danny and hope to share many more memorable birthdays with you baby!

From my little corner to yours...Thanks for stopping by!