Thursday, June 28, 2012

Moving On *sniff*

I am so very sad.  Our two big boys have become best friends with this set of brothers.  And their family is moving to Tennessee.  Today.  In fact, I'm currently watching the kids while thier parents are closing on the house and they will leave straight from our home on their way East in just an hour or so.

They moved into our neighborhood about the same time we did - five years ago.  The boys have been in each others classes and over time the little brothers became best friends.  Before long the big brothers became best friends as well.  The lines between the sets of kids is blurry. If one of the four can't hang out, the other three will still get together. Earlier this week, the little brothers were off at another house and the big kids were at our house. The big kids got bored and kept asking to have the little brothers come over to the house so they could all play ball together.  And they are always so great about letting the Caboose tag along in their games of hide and seek, hallway tag, basketball,  baseball, etc.  Its been an ideal situation. 


Not only to the boys all get along so well, but these are super high quality people.  They are kind, funny, smart, and fun.  They come from a great family - I trust their parents implicitly and they are good church going, morally grounded people. Unfortunately, their extended family is back in Tennessee and since the dad is a pilot who recently-ish changed airlines, there is no real reason to stay in Colorado. 


Although there will certainly be a big hole, I'm not so worried about Big Boy #2.  He seems to have a pretty solid network of friends that will remain.  Big Boy #1, however, is losing not just his best friend, but another of his close buddies is also moving, taking two of the three boys he hangs out with.  The remaining boy lives a solid 30 minutes away.  It will likely be a bit harder for BB#1 to find his footing without his friend around.

As I sit here writing this, I can see the boys playing baseball in the backyard.  I have a feeling the house will be a bit quieter without the regular presence of these kids - yuck.  I ache at the thought that this is the last time.  I wish I could just freeze the moment.  There is something about childhood friends.

Monday, June 25, 2012

11 years

Big Boy #2 turned 11 this summer and decided to celebrate with his best buddies. 
They were excited to play mini golf at this funky, glow in the dark place.
Then back to the house for a water balloon fight. 
Big Boy #2 loves:  Baseball, basketball, and pretty much any other sport.  He likes playing the trombone, hanging with his friends and playing games.  He loves roast beef, chocolate and caramel.
BB#2's favorite subjects:  Language Arts and Social Studies
Happy birthday kiddo!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


This Christmas I entered the wonderful world of kindle reading.  I LOVE my kindle!  But, I am also too cheap to purchase books from amazon, so I discovered Overdrive, the free eloan system through my local library.  They don't have all the books I would like to read, but if I can get the kindle copy, I always opt for that. And since I know that several of you also have your own electronic readers, I thought that after my review, I would let you know if I was able to get ecopies of the book.  Hope it helps!

My nursing friends are gonna LOVE The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. In fact, I think most people would. Who is Henrietta Lacks anyway?  Back in the 1950s a young black mother contracted ovarian cancer.  The doctor who treated her took a sample of her cells which were strong and stable enough to be reproduced in mass.  Those cells served to be foundational for much of modern medical research.  The author of Henrietta Lacks combines the human story of the Lacks family with an easy to understand and fascinating history of the development of biomedical ethics. It was a excellent book leaving me thinking about things I had never before considered. (I love it when books do that to me!) *ecopy available through Overdrive*

This book was incredible! David Cullen researched what happened that terrible day at Columbine High School to answer the question:  How could two teenage boys do such a thing?  It's gut wrenching, fascinating and upsetting.  Cullen did a great job of getting into the killers heads - sympathizing with them in an effort to understand their behaviors.  (As fair warning:  He quotes extensively from the boys journals - which as you can imagine, are liberal in their language).  Cullen also examines the victims, their families, the community and the media in the aftermath of the tragedy.  It was well researched, well written and really gets you thinking.  I highly recommend this one.  *ecopy available through Overdrive*

I so loved OK For Now by Gary Schmidt, that I decided to read The Wednesday WarsWednesday Wars is juvenile fiction that tells the challenges and victories of Holling, a young boy during the heart of the Vietnam War who lives in the same neighborhood as Doug, the main character from OK for Now.  Holling's story shares the same humor, insight and inspiration as its companion novel.  It was a great, easy and well written book.  I admit that I preferred OK for Now, but I'm guessing I'd enjoy anything this guy wrote.  He's an excellent author.  *ecopy available through Overdrive*

My sister recommended Divergent, saying it was even better than Hunger Games.  While I can't give quite that good of an endorsement, I did really, really like it.  In a dystopic future society (yea, one of those again) young people have to choose which of several factions they will join.  Each faction focuses on one specific trait: strength, truth, knowledge, etc.  The book follows Tris as she struggles through the initiation process of her new faction and learns that things are quite what she thought.  It's certainly a  page turner and would make a great vacation type of read.

The second book in the Divergent series just came out.  (There will eventually be three in the series).  The factions are now at war with each other and Divergent personalities are being targeted.  Tris struggles to figure out how to defend herself, other Divergents, as well as those who are being targeted by the power hungry leaders.  It ends on a cliff hanger (which kinda bugs me) but otherwise, it's some nice mind candy.

This historical fiction follows Crispin, a young boy who is forced to navigate the Medieval world after being orphaned. It's youth fiction, so it's a quick and easy read. There are lots of good moral lessons and the reader does get a good taste of life during that time. I didn't love it, but I liked it enough.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
examines life for a poor Irish family living in Brooklyn in the early 19th century.  Telling the story of both the parents and the children in this family, Smith has a smooth and lovely writing style.  The book struck me as non-fiction (it's not) and I loved how both the tender and the harsh aspects of life were portrayed.  It's a classic novel and I enjoyed it.  *ecopy available through Overdrive*

Martha recommended this one on her blog, and I'm glad she did.  This historical fiction takes a close look at the horrendous choices people are forced to make in wartime, and how those decisions shape and haunt the people once war is over.  The story flashes back and forth between a newly reunited family living in post WWII England, and the separate war stories of the young Polish mother and the her solider husband.  *ecopy available on Overdrive*

While most of these recent reads were really pretty great, I did NOT like The Power of Six.  It's the second in the Lorien series, and I enjoyed the NYT Bestselling first book, I Am Number Four - which is why I picked up Six in the first place.  Power of Six follows our hero and he hides out from both the law and the extraterrestrials set out to destroy him.  It also introduces another of his fellow Loriens and her experiences fighting the bad guys in Spain.  It was slow, it was waaaaayyyy too heavy on the science fiction (I'm not big on that genre), and I ended up skimming the book by the end - just to finish it.  I should know better than to take book recommendations from my thirteen year old nephew who is obsessed with swords.  Skip it.

is the second book in another historical fiction trilogy that takes place during the Revolutionary War.  This book follows Curzon, the young solder boy from Chains as he enlists in Washington's army the winter of Valley Forge.  As an African American solider, things got complicated for Curzon, and to see this part of history through his eyes was really interesting.  I liked Chains a lot more - Forge kinda dragged in the middle.  But, I still liked it. 

Favorites of this group?  Columbine, Henrietta Lacks, and Divergent. (In that order).  But truly, there were a lot of good ones.  I've just started Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and am LOVING it so far.  I'll let you know how it turns out!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Best Birthday EVER!!!

Part II of my Fabulous Birthday Extravaganza happened the weekend after my birthday.  These wonderful girls surprised me with an overnight in Vail.  SOOO much fun!!!

It all started when my BFF, Vern took me out to Smashburger on my actual birthday.  After lunch I opened her gift - a series of clues that told me we would be going zip lining together.  The two of us would be leaving the very next day!

Once Vern and I were up in our gorgeous hotel in the mountains, (while I was sitting on the balcony enjoying the view) up drives my sister and my lovely friend Laura.  Yea!  What was going to be just me and Vern was actually an overnight with some of my all time favorite women.

The four of us walked around Vail, and they all treated me to dinner.

By total coincidence, we ended up in Vail the same weekend as the Teva games.  There were BMX, slack lining and rafting competitions.  So totally cool!  Plus there were other entertainments in conjunction with the games.  Here we are enjoying the after game party with DJ Juggy!  We got on the BMX jump track and danced and felt so YOUNG!

We spent a fair amount of time just hanging out in the hotel, talking and laughing and catching up with each other.

The next day Vern and I went zip lining!  Something I have wanted to do for years!

The course Vern picked out was over this beautiful little ravine in the mountains.  There were six different lines that criss crossed over the mountain stream.

Here is Vern coming in.  Pop quiz:  Where do Vern's white shoes end and her skin begin?  Yea, I can't tell either. 

Here I am coming in.  I love this picture! So fun!!!

There were a couple lines that we were able to ride tandem. 

Now that I'm forty, I suppose I'm officially old.  But spending the weekend dancing with my girls and jumping off of platforms - I certainly feel young!
Truly, the BEST birthday I have ever had my entire life!

End of School

This little boy is mighty proud of himself for graduating from kindergarten.  Look at that grin!  He was simply delicious in his kindie graduation program.

Here is the future Mrs. Caboose.  At least that's what he is thinking.  She is not so convinced.  Apparently she is saving herself for Justin Beiber, but the Caboose took hope when her mom told her that Beiber is too old for her.  (A couple weeks ago he was trying to decide whether to ask her to marry him now, or to wait a few more years.  I encouraged the waiting, but we'll see what he decides...)

Me and my little boy.  Love that kid!

After the program his class had a little party.  It doesn't seem like that long ago when Big Boy #1 was wearing his little cap for kindie graduation, and here he is getting so tall!
Here is the Caboose's kindergarten teacher Mrs. Brown.  She was the perfect balance of firm and friendly - exactly what this rambunctious little guy needed.

We have  an end of the school year tradition, in which we let the boys bring home their friends and have a little backyard celebration. Here is Big Boy #1 with some of his friends roasting hot dogs around the fire pit.

Big Boy #2 was enjoying the end of year traditions himself.  Here he is enjoying his last field day of elementary school with his best buddies.

The school did a little elementary school graduation for the fifth graders, complete with picnic in the park and a slide show for the parents.

This teacher is one of the best my kids have ever had.  Mrs. Barta is an exceptional teacher.  She's very deliberate in her teaching, making the most of every minute, stretching and tugging on the minds of her students.  Both Big Boy #1 and #2 have both had her, and I feel so very blessed she has been a force in the lives of my children. 

Enjoying the s'mores. 

The last day of elementary school landed on my 40th birthday, and also corresponded to a baseball game for BB#1.  Therefore the End of Year celebration for BB#2 wasn't until the next week.  But the boys didn't seem to mind.
Now... SUMMER!!!