Monday, December 29, 2014

Book Review: Champion

And we have an ending to our trilogy. It always makes me a little sad when I finish a series.  I feel like there is so  much of the world that I missed out on and want to explore some more.

Champion by Marie Lu did not disappoint as a follow up to Legend and Prodigy.

June is now second in command of the entire Republic.  She is helping lead the country by the side of Anden the Elector Primo.  She has gotten mixed in the politics of governing the nation and has remained in the capital in Denver.

Day on the other hand has left Denver and returned to California with his brother, Eden, who he just found again.  But there is one more thing.  Day is dying.  He's been sick for awhile but it has now reached the breaking point.  Best case scenario, Day lives a few more months.

June and Day's lives are brought back together when the Colonies wage war on the Republic.  The plague that had affected Eden has now spread into the Colonies and they will attack until a cure can be found.  June must ask Day for his help and the help of Eden if they ever hope to find a cure.

June knows nothing about the secret that Day carries around.  How long can he keep it from her?  Will they survive the war?  Will they find the cure that they desperately seek?

Champion delivers action and emotion.  Lu is an excellent story teller with an awesome story to tell.  If you enjoy dystopian novels this should be on your read list.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Book Review: Prodigy

Prodigy is the second novel in the Legend Trilogy.  If you would like to read my review of Legend, you can see that here.

Prodigy by Marie Lu picks up right from where Legend left off.  Day is hurt and June is with them. They are trying to make it to Las Vegas to find the rebellious group known as the Patriots. It's their only chance of receiving the help the desperately need.

Once they finally come in contact with the Patriots they had a very fast decision to make, receive the help they need (healing Day) and agree to the extreme terms or go on on their own.

And what is it that Day and June have to agree to do? Assassinate the new Elector. To do this June must get close to the Elector and Day must prepare to be the one that to do the killing.

But things don't always turn out how you expect.

I again loved this book. Marie Lu knows how to bring you in to a wonderful story. I am now moving on to the last installment, Champion.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Stop that Thumb Sucker!

I have the cutest little thumb sucker.  I mean, look at that face!  It's super cute!

But as much as I love this little girl and everything about her I really hated when I popped her thumb out of her mouth one day and found a HUGE blister on the tip and tiny little blisters on the knuckle of  her thumb.

Anya had been teething like crazy!  Her thumb sucking was getting out of control and it seemed like every time I looked at her that little thumb was in her mouth.

I was now getting concerned.  She's 18 months old and has blisters on her thumb that she is constantly putting in her mouth.  How was I going to keep it out?  How was I going to get her to stop?

I guess we were pretty lucky in a sense.  Anya only sucks on her left thumb.  That's it. 

So what I did first was I showed her her thumb.  I pointed to her blister and said "Anya, you have an owie."

And Anya is talking and understanding so she said back, "Owie."

And then I have her one of these bad boys

Yup, you heard it right.  I wrapped her tiny little thumb in a band aid.  I didn't even try to cover the blister on the top.  I just put it on and told her not to put her thumb in her mouth.

I think the biggest thing that helped was having the band aid on.  She would try to stick her thumb in her mouth and would feel the band aid and would pull her thumb out.  She didn't like the taste or how it felt.  If I saw her trying to put her thumb in her mouth I would pull it out and tell her "No, we don't suck our thumbs."

She wore band aids for 3 days.  She would show everyone her "owie."  But after those three days she was able to take it off.  But there was a change.  She was no longer sucking her thumb!

I honestly could not believe it!  A band aid and three days was all it took.  

I has now been three weeks since she has stopped.  In the first week I only caught her twice sucking her thumb.  Other than those 2 times she hasn't done it.

I was nervous about trying this out and I was so happy that it worked.  Out of 3 kids she was my only thumb sucker.  And I don't have to worry about it anymore.  What a relief!

So, try it.  It may work!

It makes everyone happy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Book Review: Artistic License

While perusing my local library last week I picked up a copy of Artistic License by Katie Fforde.  This is the first book that I have ever read by this author and I really enjoyed it.

It did start out slowly but by the middle I really wanted to know what was going to happen so I pressed on and really loved it.

Thea is 35 years old and really just going through the motions of life.  She runs student housing out of her home and though she doesn't mind it, she really wants something more.

Things change quickly when her friend Molly invites her on an artists tour in France.  Thea meets Rory, an aspiring painter, and runs off to Ireland with him.  She sees his painting and decides that she will open an art gallery to show the world Rory's work.
Of course, not everything is as it seems and is not a simple as you make think it should be.  There is confusion and misunderstandings and falling in love.

This novel was more than I expected.  I was fast and fun and I'm glad I got a hold of it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: The One and Only

I don't even know where to start with this book.  What happened to Emily Giffin? What happened to the wonderful storyteller that wrote Something Borrowed and The Heart of the Matter?

The last two books I have forced myself to continue reading in hopes that the story would just get better.  And it just didn't.

In The One and Only we meet Shea.  Shea loves all things football, but particularly Walker University football.   Her life revolves around it since she was a young girl.

The head coach, Coach Carr, wife has recently passed away and Shea has always maintained a crush on him since she was small.  But now her feelings are deepening and she wants more.

There are many things that stand in the way of them being together, including Coach Carr's daughter Lucy who is also Shea's life long best friend.

I was so disappointed in this book.  The story was boring and there was no character development.  Shea did not change or grow from the beginning of the book to the end.  Even with the many times that she told herself that she changed.  Maybe it was an effort to convince the reader that there was something different about her after 400 pages.

If you're looking for something to read, I'd say pass on this one.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Anya: 15 Months

Wow the time just seems to fly by!

Anya is now 15 months old.

At her check up she weighed 24.5 lbs and is now 31 inches long.  She has gained almost 5 lbs and grew 3 inches in the last 3 months.

Anya is a very happy yet stubborn baby. She is talking more and more each day.  The most clear word she says is "no" and she says it regularly.

She also says yes, this, please, and even though she has been able to make the sounds for mama for a very long time she has now started calling me "Mama" which is very exciting for me.

Her walking has developed into running and she has now discovered climbing.  All day long I am pulling her out of precarious situations.

Right now I have stopped from climbing on the kitchen table and she is not happy with me.  I guess it's hard being 1.

Anya has discovered biting which, well, it sucks.  Anya time she doesn't get her way her first reaction is to bite.  And that gets old fast.  We are doing our best not to allow it or to stop it before it happens. I'm just praying that she will be over the phase soon. None of us want to be bit.

Anya absolutely loves Frozen!  She tries to sing the songs and loves to watch it.  If anyone says anything that reminds her of the movie she will point to the tv and say "please."

She is just growing too fast.

Here is Anya waiting for her check up.

Trying out her new summer flip flops.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Happy Ninth Anniversary!

 It was actually about a month ago now... but you know, I'm still playing catch up.  Michael and I have now been married for nine years.  I can't believe how fast time just flies by.

We celebrated by heading out to Gordon Ramsey Steak.  After watching all the seasons of Hell's Kitchen Michael had decided that he had to try the famous Beef Wellington so we figured this would be the best opportunity to make this happen.

We are fancy.

This is a sculpture that hung from the ceiling of the restaurant that was supposed to represent Ramsey's movements when making his beef wellington.  For reals... this is not a joke.

The menu cover.

Slider appetizer.  My water glass was about 6 inches tall.  They were tiny but delicious.

I ordered a fish plate.  It said seasonal fish.  I'm not even sure what I ate.  There was lobster and mussels but I don't remember what the rest was. I was glad that I tried something different.  I was good.

This was my baked potato on the side.  This thing was huge and covered in thick cuts of bacon and cheese.  It was warm and gooey. It was a perfect potato.

Here is THE BEEF WELLINGTON.  It's kind of a big deal.  Michael gave me a bite and it was probably the best thing ever.  Michael loved every single bite of it.

It was a great night and a different experience.  We are not as fancy of people as you feel like you need to be in places like this.  While the food was fabulous we just felt physically out of place.  We will likely never go back but we were excited for the chance to go.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Review: Promises to Keep

I had no idea what I was getting in to when I picked up Promises to Keep by Jane Green.

I was walking around the library and grabbed this book off the shelf.  It was on a complete whim.  I've enjoyed novels by Jane Green in the past that I figured I would give it a go.

I opened this book about a week ago.  I love how Green wrote her characters in this story.  They were simple yet complicated.  Their feeling were raw and emotions were real.

In this novel we meet a large cast of characters but the main ones are Callie, Steffi and Lila.

Callie and Steffi are sisters born about a decade apart and Lila is a lifetime friend.  Each one has a big change coming on in her life.  Steffi, a vegan chef, is tired of life in New York City and jumps at the opportunity to live in the small village of Sleepy Hollow and be closer to her sister.

Lila has finally met the man of her dreams and he is everything she ever wanted.

Callie has the perfect life.  A husband that was perfect for her, two children's that she absolutely adores.  But something is not quite right anymore.  She isn't feeling as she normally does.  Something is just off.

Here is a SPOILER ALERT....

Callie is sick.  And it has rocked the world of all the people around her.  She fought and won the battle against breast cancer five years ago and it is back a vengeance.

Callie is getting weaker by the day and each of her friends and family are doing their best to take care of her and each other.

As I read through this I would feel the tears just pour down my face.  I had no idea what this book was about but it really hit home as we said good-bye to grandpa two weeks ago.  It may have been too much too soon.  But it was still beautifully written.

Friday, May 2, 2014

What's for Dinner?- Salmon, Garlic Pasta and Green Beans

 In an attempt to try new things WE ATE SALMON!  Woot!

We don't really consume a lot of fish around here.  I've only had salmon once or twice in my entire life.  So we gave it a shot.

I found a recipe through Pinterest at Running a Ragnar.

I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out great!  It was flaky and delicious.  Even Sidda liked it; she is my picky eater.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place salmon skin side down.

Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
Place in a cold oven set at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

MJ is checking it out. 

The results were great!  The fish flaked easily and tasted great along with the garlic pasta.

Anya will eat just about anything.

Sidda loved it!

We finished dinner off with Popsicles.  Anya stole mine.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Grandpa Las Vegas

There are no words to express the sadness that is sweeping through the Abell family over the last few weeks.  Michael's grandfather, Mike, went home to be with the Lord on April 23rd.  He went home into the open arms of Jesus.

And while I am incredibly joyous that he is no longer in pain and with God  I am still deeply saddened that I will no longer see him.

It's so easy to take for granted the time you have with the people you love.  You never, ever think that they will no longer be with you, not even if they are 79 years old.  I honestly thought that he would live forever.  Even after he got sick I thought he would live on.

Grandpa Las Vegas... he was called that from when Michael was a little boy.  When he lived in Florida and his grandparent lived in Nevada and they would send him gifts his mom would tell him "It's from your Grandma and Grandpa in Las Vegas."  Which eventually led to the nickname Grandpa Las Vegas.

This name has stuck ever since.  This is what his grandchildren and great grandchildren would call him.  He was even known by some people at our church by this name.  After Sidda and MJ and their cousins would come running to him and yelling his name.

I loved seeing the relationship that my kids had with him.  Each and every Sunday morning before service they would sit together and have a doughnut.  They would chat while they ate.  Every Sunday MJ would ask me if it was doughnut day with Grandma and Grandpa Las Vegas.  They looked forward to it each week.

This year Grandpa came to watch Sidda and MJ's basketball games.  Even though he was sick and getting weak he did not miss a single game for either of them.  Even if the game were two or three hours apart he would watch one and come back again for the second.

He was truly amazing.  And he loved and took care of his family.  He loved his kids, grandkids and great grandkids.

And he is loved by every single on of us.

And we miss him.
This is one of the last pictures we have.  This is MJ with Grandma and Grandpa Las Vegas.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Abells on the Farm

A very nice family that we attend church with has a small farm and they invited some of us to visit.  It was a beautiful day and tons of fun!

They had chickens and goats.

Sidda and MJ liked petting and feeding the goats.

Anya did not like the goats very much.

There were 6 goats.

Michael was there too!

Goats, goats, goats!

Some of the goats were just a few months old and had baby faces. 

And then we saw the chickens!

MJ was able to hold a chicken!

He said that the chicken was heavy.

Anya loved the chickens!

There were also some ducks that would wonder around.

Here is the rooster.

Anya loved to try to chase the chickens, so we has to keep her on the other side of the fence. 

Then we took a hayride!

It was a wonderful day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Core Run

Do you know how awesome my church is?

I think that they are pretty amazing!

You should like them on Facebook.  <---  Yup just click there.

About a month ago they hosted a 5k/1 mile fun run.  Followed by a BBQ.  The turn out was great.  People had a wonderful time and who can resist an 80s theme?

Here are pictures of what was going on.

It was a super early morning, as we went to go help set up for the day.  Michael is in his 80s gear.  MJ is showing off his guns.

Sidda and Anya weren't really sure about being awake this early.

That is one great family.

We are ready to run/walk.  The kids rode scooters and Anya was strapped in her stroller.

Michael's parents came to walk.

MJ is very awake!

Here is the before race warm up

Sidda and her friend working it out with a couple of pastors.

My parents came along!  

Sidda got her face painted at the BBQ

MJ did as well!

I'm hoping that this is something that we will do every year!