Thursday, July 28, 2016

Summertime Baseball

We all recognize the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowds, the smell of popcorn and hot dogs, the vivid green of the field - is there anything more quintessentially summer than baseball? I remember going down to old Tiger Stadium at the corner of Michigan Ave. and Trumbull as a kid- it was getting rough, and old but it was majestic and seemed so huge! I was sad when it was torn down- where it used to stand is now an empty lot, just grass but the bases remain. 

We recently took my son to his very first baseball game, and all three of us had a blast with my cousin, his wife, and son. We headed south to Toledo, to see the Mud Hens play. My cousin works for the Mud Hens as head of their events department, and it was awesome to spend time with them. We don't get to see them very often, so this was a real treat.  If you ever have the opportunity to go to a Mud Hens game, I recommend it. The stadium itself is so clean and sparkly and bright, and is very easily maneuverable for a family, especially one with small children. Not too big, but not too small, you get all the best of the game minus a lot of headache. 



We had great seats along the first base line, and most important in my opinion, in the shade. Wyatt loved when the crowds clapped and cheered, when the music played - he didn't really watch any of the game which was to be expected; I took him for the experience. He was one happy kid! 



We also did a little pre-gaming - parents of a toddler style. The day we went was Muddy's birthday, so there was a birthday celebration being held at Hensville, the entertainment complex across the street from the stadium. Hensville is my cousin's other baby, and he should be proud: It contains a full bar/restaurant, two rooftop seating bars that have a clear view of the game (you actually need tickets to sit there during a game!), and a concert venue. The space used to be a parking lot and an old warehouse; now it is a fully functional green space with ample places to hang out and have fun with friends and family. We ate at the Fleetwood Tap Room, which was gorgeous. For beer lovers they have over 75 craft beers, 48 on tap! The menu had many options, all reasonably priced. We had such a good time, we want to go back for an "adult night" on the town - maybe take in a game from the roof, enjoy a few cold beers from the Tap room; or if not a game, a show! Regardless, we are definitely trying to get this in the works.



We had such a great time, we can't wait to do it again!! 

And summer just isn't summer without a little baseball.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date 

Woo this heat!! It looks like a lot of the United States is experiencing this heat wave - I am not a fan! I know some people who are ok with high temps, but I am a girl who values temps that don't rise above 85. Lol. We have been pretty much taking refuge in the air conditioning, and not venturing out until evening, like nocturnal creatures.

Read Last Week:


The Weekenders: I am so so close to the end of this book, and I just haven't had the time to finish it, which is making me crazy!! I very much enjoyed it.

Reading This Week:

  

I am really excited to start both of these!

Posted Last Week:



Watching:

Wayward Pines, The Tour de France (over today!). We are about to start Stranger Things, I have heard some good stuff about it!



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book Reviews: An Age of License and Displacement by Lucy Knisley



I don't read too many graphic novels generally. I have read some good ones - I love Craig Thompson's Blankets for one. However, faced with a reading slump I couldn't get over, I tried a suggestion from Rita at View From My Books, and switched things up. I had spotted this author on one of  my friend's Facebook page, so here I am. And I am glad I listened to these two people!

I love this author/illustrator. Knisley bases her writing off of journals that she keeps of her travels and adventures, and it makes the writing for these books so much more personal. I think part of my problem with graphic novels sometimes is the removal of myself from the story, or an inability to feel like I know the characters well. Knisley's books are more memoir, travelogue, and she is honest about her life and adventures. The illustrations are not overwhelming, glaring from every page in a maze of boxes, but calm and meaningful. 

It was an odd experience to read these two back to back. I read An Age of License first. License is about Lucy's adventure through Europe, meeting up with friends, family, and her Swedish love interest, while young and unfettered. She was carefree, enjoying life, food, midnight picnics under the Eiffel tower. She was struggling a bit with the angst that happens in your twenties with thoughts of the future, marriage, career, etc, but she realizes that this is just a phase of her life, where she has "license" to have fun and try new things.

In contrast, where An Age of License is about beginnings, Displacement is a story about endings. This book straight up made me teary in many places. Lucy's elderly grandparents, both in their 90s, sign up for a cruise through their nursing home. When their family hears about it, none of the have the heart to tell them they can't go, but know in their hearts that they can't do it, at least alone. So Lucy, being young and unencumbered, volunteers to travel with her grandparents and assist them. Her grandmother has dementia, pretty advanced, and her grandfather is losing his memory as well, and is also incontinent. The love that Lucy feels for her grandparents is evident in every page, everything that she does, from making sure they make all their connecting flights, to washing her grandfather's pants every night before bed. By the end of the trip she is exhausted- for someone who is not used to being a caregiver, taking care of two elderly people on a cruise would be a huge change. Lucy's eyes are opened to how some of the people in this world treat the elderly - like they are invisible people who don't matter.  Lucy deals with this, as well as her own personal feelings of sadness, frustration, that go hand in hand with caregiving, even for a loved one. She remembers her grands as they were when they were healthy - to see them decline is heartbreaking. 

It was a long two weeks for Lucy, but one that was also made easy - everything she did, she did with love for her grandparents. You do for family, to quote "The Middle" and isn't that the truth? Her grandfather thanked Lucy for making the trip possible and memorable for them, and told her that he loved her. I cried. 

The book is also interspersed with passages from the memoir that Lucy's grandfather wrote about his time in the war, so we the reader see Lucy's grandfather through two lenses, the one of his youth at the prime of his life, and the way that he is now, in his 90s. 

I very much enjoyed both of these books. It was unintentional, reading these two back to back, but it gave me such a different perspective on age and on the stories themselves. I hope to read her other work soon!


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Title: Since You've Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um... 

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?

My thoughts:

I loved this fun YA book! Emily thinks she has her summer locked up - working and hanging out with her BFF Sloane. However, she wakes up one summer morning to find Sloane has disappeared, along with all her plans and fun for the summer. She is not worried, since Sloane and her parents take off at whim all the time. Emily just assumes Sloane will come back home soon. And when she doesn't..well it is all solved by a letter that arrives, that is just a list of things Emily is supposed to do over the summer. Things like, "Kiss a stranger". and "Go skinny-dipping". Basically, all things Emily would never do in a million years, at least without her comfort zone of Sloane, who drags her into things Emily would never have the confidence to do herself.

As the summer rolls along and Emily is working on her list, she finds herself surrounded with a new small group of friends- and feeling more independent, alive, confident. The change is slow but steady, and I loved reading about her evolution into becoming more her own person and not just Sloane's shadow. Don't get me wrong - Sloane is not a bad friend, not at all. She leads where Emily follows, through no real fault of Sloane's. It's just Emily's nature. By the end of the book though, Emily finds she doesn't need the false courage she gets from being with Sloane, she has her own.

I loved this book. I loved reading the list of things she had to do, and about how she checked them off, one by one. Reading this as an adult far past the age of these characters, I was reminded of my own goofy youth, the crazy things we did, the friends I had back then, the fun we had. I think whether you are a young adult or just young at heart, you will enjoy this book. Maybe you will even come up with your own list! If you do, come back and let me know what's on it - I'm curious. Maybe I will even make my own list..

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  

Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date 

It was a crazy week last week in our household. On Wednesday, my mom, Wyatt and I met my sister-in-law, niece, and my SIL's mom at the street art fair in our city. It was such a hot and humid day, and Wyatt began to flag early. I was concerned about him and decided we had to leave. I am glad we did, because he actually was fine once I got him somewhere cool, but my mother practically collapsed from heat exhaustion. She is doing fine now, but she had me very worried! We will not be venturing out into such a hot day again - too much for my heart to take between my mom and son! In better news, we had book club woohoo!! None of us were able to read the book. I know that sounds crazy, but there was only one copy available in the library system and to be honest, I checked it out but it was just too much for me to handle, theme wise. It was intense and violent, and with the world the way it is right now, I couldn't do it. We still had fun hanging out - it was a beautiful night, and we sat on my friend's deck enjoying wine in the cool night breeze, chatting away. Reality intruded quickly though, when we realized we could while away the time too easily, and we all had babies to get home too. It was a nice time, and a nice few hours out.

My goal this week on the blog is to try to catch up on reviews! It is supposed to be another hot week here in the mitten. In fact one weather report I saw described the heat as torrid. Yuck.

Read Last Week:


A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: I had heard there are conflicting opinions on this book, and after reading it, I could see why. However, I am firmly in the camp of LOVING this book!!! It is over 600 pages and I was sad when it ended. Now I have to wait for the next one. Noooo!

Reading This Week:

Feast or famine, I think I said in another post- and all of my library holds are in now. Lol. I need to decide what I am reading. I have so many good choices!!! I think I am going to start with these two.

  



Watching:

The Tour de France - I love this race! My husband and I watch most of it seperately during the day, and save the last 30 km to watch with each other at night. It is a fun way to watch, and we get to watch the exciting stuff together. Is anyone else watching? What did you think of the run Froome did? So crazy!

We are also watching Alone, Wayward Pines, Penny Dreadful, Outlander, although we are falling behind on Alone and Pines, due to the Tour. 


How about you all? What's going on in your corner of the world?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong: Giveaway!!

I love this series! All the folklore, superstition, spookiness, magic ~ what is not to love, really? So when I was asked by Penguin Random House if I wanted to giveaway a paperback copy, I of course said yes!


My Review (posted last October):

I love when a series just gets better and better. When I first started reading the Cainsville series, I was unimpressed.  Then I read the second book in the series, and thought wow this is so much better than the first! Now, after reading the third installment, I am in love. 
Things are picking up speed, and more is being revealed about Olivia, Gabriel, Ricky, and especially her parents! I don't want to get spoilery so this will be a very vague review, I apologize. I just hate when I read a review then feel like I don't need to bother reading the book. So let me just say, this book has action, secrets are revealed, and best of all, there is Gabriel. I am Team Gabriel all the way and in this book the reader is treated to more of his innermost thoughts. We learn more about him, his vulnerabilities, and his character shows real growth. 

Aside from the inevitable love triangle stuff, we learn more about the murders, which had me a bit lost. I am still a bit lost, but feel like I do know slightly more than I did. Also, the fae. Always a favorite of mine in the supernatural/paranormal genre, and in this book we get treated to more fae. 

Overall:

I really enjoyed this book, and was sad when it ended! I can't wait for the next in the series.

GIVEAWAY:

To enter: Simply leave me a comment below before midnight (Eastern time) on Friday, July 15th! Please include your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you are the winner.  I will old fashioned name draw on Saturday morning!


Update: Winner!!!

I held an old fashioned drawing in my home, and had my husband pick a name from a hat. And the winner is Greg! Yay congrats Greg!! I think you will really enjoy this book! And since only three people entered, I am actually going to give runner up prizes of $5.00 Amazon Gift Cards to the two Marys who entered! So congrats to you as well!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date 


It's been a while since I have really blogged, but summer has overtaken this family! Today we took Wyatt to his first big sporting event, a baseball game. We had a great time, even though we didn't make it all the way to the end. He's just little, with many more games in his future. We all had such a great time. We have also been wrapped up in watching the Tour de France - we are big fans.


Read Last Week:

The drought has been broken! Rita from View from my Books suggested switching it up, and that is what did the trick. I read two graphic novels and am mostly through a nonfiction book. Woot!

 


I am in love with these Lucy Knisley graphic novels. I have the rest of her books on hold at the library, I can't wait for them to come in!

Meadowland is a completely different read altogether. I am loving it just as much however, as I did the graphic novels. I am not quite done with it, but I will be soon.

Reading This Week:

Speaking of holds..


A Court of Mist and Fury finally came in!!! Yay!

Watching:

The Tour de France, Penny Dreadful, Outlander, Wayward Pines (which has gotten so much better!!), Alone

Posted:


I am looking forward to returning to blogging and visiting other blogs this week! I need some downtime! Lol.