Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer's Coming!!

Now if only Wisconsin can get its act together in the weather department, that'd be great.

As always, I have a "dream" list of alllllll the millions of things I want to do this summer. Of course we know they all won't happen. But it's fun to dream right? What's on my list you ask?  All the below:

I want to go camping next weekend with our new family camper. My ILs bought it and we are storing it on our property. Anyone of us kids can use it at any time. BIL goes to college in WI, SIL and her FI love coming to WI and being outdoors and the camper was waaay too cheap to pass up for MIL so it's a free-for-all. I'm wicked excited to try it out! I'll probably just be camping in the backyard next weekend but hey - I can still make it an adventure! ;-)

In two weeks I have the Color Run! I can not believe how quickly the date approaced. I'm so nervous for this. I know I won't be able to run it completely and have made my peace with that. The point is that I signed up for it and I have worked hard at jump-starting my fitness goals. As of this morning I am down 15 lbs! I have many, many more to go but I'm very happy I have stuck to this. Some days are harder than others but I'm making it happen!

In four weeks we have Country USA here in town. Last week on the radio I won 5 day passes!! I'm so excited. I don't plan on taking the days off work so we won't buy a camping pass and I won't be a drunk like last year (omg what possessed me to drink like that?!) so we will only have to pay for parking. I had already won single day tickets for the first night to see Eric Church so now I can turn around and sell those to off-set parking. I'm thrilled to not have to pay the easy $300-400 for all that this year!

The next week, I am flying to Dallas to meet my dad, stepmom, and grandparents. I found a super cheap airfare deal and booked it. It's only going to be a short trip, spanning the 2nd-4th but the important thing is that I will get to see my grandparents. K won't be able to make this trip unfortunately but the plus side is my dad is letting me stay in their room so I don't have hotel rooms to pay (of course I'll take them out for dinner and pay for other things but still, it's a very budget friendly trip.)

Then I fly back into Chicago midday on the 4th just in time to hop the train to Milwaukee where K will pick me up and we'll head to Summerfest for another concert :-)

That Sunday is our 6th wedding anniversary and I'm sure we'll just take it easy and relax.

The following weekend I plan on going somewhere with my BFF. She works for an airline and is adding me to her flying benefits so from the 12th on, my flights will be ridiculously cheap. She has a great deal picked out for us that should only be around $200 for 4-5 days of all-inclusive beach time.

Then we get to the week of July17-20th. That's Rock USA week! We bought our 4 day passes and camping lot months ago so we're all ready to rock! I don't plan on being very coherent that half of the week, lol.

The weekend of July 26th-28th my SIL and her FI will be up visiting us. K's new company has an awesome perk - you get to rent some of their boats for free. So we have the 27th reserved for us. Boating on the lake will be fabulous. We weren't sure we'd boat at all this year since we sold ours over the winter when we thought we were moving.

The first weekend in August my mom will be up and we'll be hitting EAA for the premiere screening of Disney's "Planes." EAA is the world's biggest aviation festival and it runs for a week. The airshows go on all day and all week so it's fun to see everyone flying in on their own aircraft.

Then August is mostly open for some camping - possibly up at Door County or the Dells or Devil's Lake since all these are within 1-2 hours from us. August will be the comedown from all the insanity of June & July.

So that's my dream plan...hopefully we make it out alive, hahaha.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Royal Pain

A Royal PainA Royal Pain by Megan Mulry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story of Bronte Talbott centers on a plot that is hardly new. It is a classic girl meets boy,  relationship is disastrous and then when she meets perfect boy, she has a hard time coming to grips with the reality of being in an adult relationship. Throw in some other clichĂ©s, some colorful language (which I happened to enjoy), a royal pedigree, and unresolved father issues, you have A Royal Pain.

Bronte and Max both tell this love story. It’s odd to see the main male character so ready to commit and start a family from the get-go instead of the female but I guess since it’s a book designed to portray the almost perfect man, it’s hardly a stretch for the genre. Although the book spans a few years of their lives, I feel as though too much was left unsaid during those unwritten time periods. There needed to be more “meat” here. Max possibly doing battle with his mother or Bronte opening up to her father’s perception of her would have been great fillers at those spots in the book. Instead, we never truly see Max exhibit the cold and angry relationship with his mother, the Duchess. There was all this talk leading up to Bronte meeting her but then after one small exhibition of this behavior, she accepts the relationship? Bronte dealing with her relationship with her father was left until the end of the book and it felt rushed and forced.

I felt the book should have dealt with these two key issues about ¾ of the way through the story and then left the ending to Bronte and Max getting married, starting their family, continuing their careers and aspirations. I mean, considering this is a somewhat fairy tale premise “girl meets perfect male specimen who also happens to be a British Duke,” give us the fairy tale ending. Not the abrupt one it was. I was left wanting more….but not necessarily in the way I wanted to feel.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Skipping Mother's Day, sort of

My mom and I love just looking up trips and pretending we were going to go spur of the moment. About 10 days ago I showed her a trip I found online. 2 days later she booked it. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico here we come...and went! It was a short 4 day trip to the RIU Vallarta, located just north of Puerto Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta. She was really wanting some time for the two of us to spend together, as was I. I am so thankful for both her and for the opportunity to spend a few days just catching up and laughing together. This trip was her treat and I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to be able to get away with my mom and forget about the sadness mother's day can bring to an infertile. Instead we filled our days with fun, sun, and laughs. Oh the laughs...the laughs were numerous.

So here's all the trip details: We booked an Apple Vacations square deal all-inclusive trip. We have no problem being flexible with travel so giving up the control of what hotel we would stay at was not a biggie for us. As long as there was a beach, plenty of sun, food and drinks, we're golden. We were lucky enough to be placed in the RIU Vallarta. We've stayed at other RIU properties and have had a great time at those.

On Saturday we arrived at the hotel around 2 pm and after having our breath taken away by our spectacular view, we immediately changed into our bathing suits and hit the ocean, well, Banderas Bay to be exact. This bay is where the humpback whales migrate to in the winter. By this time of the year the whales have moved out of the bay so we didn't get to see any unfortunately. We did get to see a sea turtle come out of the water, lay her eggs in the sand and then retun to the water that day though. She was only a few feet from us and it was way cool to see.

On Sunday I treated my mom to an all day excursion to the Marieta Islands to go snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking &swimming in and around the "Hidden Beach." Las Marietas are an old volcanic formation that are about 22 nautical miles off the shore of Puerto Vallarta, near Punta de Mita. If you google or Pinterest these islands, the pictures are spectacular. We brought a disposable camera with us but it somehow got into my mom's luggage so I don't have any pictures of the grottos or hidden beach to share today. I'll have to edit this when I actually have them.

Monday we spent about 5 hours exploring in actual downtown PV with some new friends from our resort (that also spent the previous day on the islands with us.) The architecture was beautiful. Walking the Malecon (the boardwalk) and seeing the statues was a fun experience. The sandcastles that the locals build on the beach are amazing! I'm so glad we ventured into town. I know that tourism is down in PV right now and their economy is heavily dependent on tourist money. After buying some gifts and souvenirs we headed back to the resort to hit the water.

Tuesday we had to say our goodbyes to our new friends and to a new favorite place to visit. It was really sad to leave. I seem to leave a little piece of myself everywhere I travel. If only we never had to come back to the reality of the rat race we live in!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Evidence of Murder

Evidence of Murder (Theresa MacLean #2)Evidence of Murder by Lisa Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Evidence of Murder is the second book in the Theresa MacLean forensic investigator series. The book picks up 8 months after the death of her fiancé, Paul, from a bank robbery/hostage situation gone wrong. Still reeling from the loss, Theresa is struggling to make her way back to a place of normalcy in her life.

When her cousin Frank, a Cleveland police officer, asks her to assist him in gathering some information on a missing former escort, she reluctantly agrees. While at first it seems as though Jillian has simply abandoned her husband and newborn baby daughter, her dead body is found 3 days later. In addition, two more dead bodies turn up and the whole city is spinning their own connections between the cases.

Theresa finds herself caught between trying to salvage her professional and personal lives and prove that Jillian didn’t commit suicide. With Jillian’s cause of death unable to be determined, an obsessed friend of Jillian’s creating new obstacles, and a daughter getting ready for college, Theresa can only hope and pray that she can emerge unscathed from this latest ordeal.

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