31 August 2008

book reviews

Okay. So it's been a while. I could blame it on the obsession with the DNC on television. But the truth is, I have been reading. I hadn't read a book in so long. Months, really. What with the move and all.

But I read The Pillars of the Earth for a Denver book club that is meeting in September. And realized how terribly I have missed the company a good book.

So here are the books I have just read:

The Pillars of the Earth

I was so surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I don't tend to read much fiction written by men. Call me sexist, but most men just have such a different narrative voice than women, and I find that their female characters are a bit unbelievable. And that applies to this book. I felt that the book was definitely a man's book, full of incredibly bad guys, oversexed, mysterious women and lots of unwarranted violence.

And yet. I really enjoyed the story! I must admit I am still a bit surprised that it was an Oprah pick, because like The Da Vinci Code, it's not an overly literary novel, but it is a really fun, engrossing read. Maybe Oprah is lightening up.

Alias Grace

I really enjoyed this book! It's only the second Margaret Atwood I've read, but I am definitely going to read more. It is based on the true story of 2 servants accused of murdering their master and his lover, the housekeeper, in mid-19th century Canada. Sort of the Lizzie Borden of Canada, the book was a fascinating read and leaves you with more questions than answers. Mainly, did she or didn't she?

Innocent Traitor

I have read many of Alison Weir's biographies of the kings and queens of England so I was eager to check out her foray into fiction. Plus, this is sort-of an Other Boleyn Girl (right down to the cover of the book, depicting an elegantly dressed Tudor woman turning her face away) about Lady Jane Grey, who I have always been fascinated by. Probably since I saw the movie Lady Jane when I was like 12. Anyway, this book was pretty bad. Just uber-melodramatic and a lot of the characterizations matched the movie Lady Jane (up until Jane and Guilford are married, where it finally veers from the perspective of the movie) but that bugged me. It's like the author just watched the movie and wrote a book about it. So, no, I do not recommend this book and I will not be reading any more of Alison Weir's fiction, but I do still recommend her biographies.

Daughter of York

Blecch, is all I can say about this. Terrible, horrible writing. It seriously made me think of some sappy, romantic crap I would have written when I was 12 and forever trying to write stories. I think I got about 15 pages into it and tossed it aside. Very, very bad.

Hattie Big Sky

This one is a young adult novel. What? I like young adult. And judging by the craze over the Twilight series, I am not the only one.

I loved this book. It is about an orphaned teenage girl during World War 1 who is bequeathed a claim in Montana by an uncle she's never met. She travels out to Montana, alone, to try and prove up on the claim so it can become her home. This book is beautiful. And unpredictable.

Nineteen Minutes

I like Jodi Picoult but I had been kind of avoiding this one. It's about a kid who shoots a bunch of students in his high school. But it's his story, not the victims'. It shows how this kid has been bullied and terrorized his whole life. I thought, who would want to read something so painful?

But maybe it's living so near Littleton, but I wanted to give this book a try. And I read it--skimming a lot because it was just so sad and predictable. I mean, this kid just could not catch a break his whole life!

I have to say, this is not one of her better novels, in my opinion. Or maybe I'm just getting too familiar with her style. But how ironic that the bullied killer's father studies happiness for a living? And his mother is a midwife--her whole job is about motherhood? And the judge's daughter, who is the key witness that cannot remember anything about the shooting had an abusive boyfriend, an unwanted pregnancy, possible eating issues and contemplates suicide? Are there any teen issues left untapped? I guess she could have been a cutter on top of everything else, but I thought it was a bit of over-kill. (Pardon the pun.)

The River Wife
I am in the middle of this one and so far I'm lovin' it. That's all I'm going to say for now.

25 August 2008


I fear I will be absent this week because I will be watching the Democratic National Convention.

On tv, people. I am nowhere near the action.

20 August 2008

17 August 2008

birthday plans

So, as you may already know, my Bluebird turns four on Wednesday.

It's been a little strange, planning her birthday this year. Every other birthday, our children have been surrounded by family. We were so blessed.

And now...

And now.

No family. No Davenports, even, or any friends for that matter.

So. What to do. What. To. Do.

Jonathan took the day off so he can spend it with us. We told Blue she could decide what she wanted to do for her birthday and then we gave her a ton of options: the zoo, the aquarium, the movies, the park...

She decided we should go to the zoo.

So to the zoo we will go.

She has a doctor's appointment (just her basic 4-year checkup) that morning so we will go after that. But I am glad Jonathan can come with us so he can meet the new pediatrician.

Then we will go to the zoo. I'm thinking of buying some face paint at the party store and painting their little faces. And she'll need a sparkly tiara and a ton of balloons so everyone at the zoo will know it is her big day. And we'll have a blast at the zoo--Blue can ride another pony, we can go on the carousel, feed the giraffes... It'll be a great day.

I bought a ton of Jasmine birthday stuff--which was next to impossible to find, but I managed because I rock. So we have a Jasmine cake topper. And on Tuesday she is going to help me bake her own birthday cake and decorate it and then we will stick Jasmine on top. So we'll have cake after the zoo and I bought Jasmine plates and napkins and two huge Jasmine wall decorations and princessy streamers and stuff to decorate the apartment for the caking and gifting ceremony.

The gifts were a little tricky, since we had planned on getting her a bicycle. But while we were picking out my bicycle, she would not try to ride one. She wanted to, but she kept chickening out as we tried to put her on one. So that was good to know! We will hold off until next year on the bicycle presentation. So, no bicycle this year. Which left us with no major present, but several minor ones. Some Jasmine jammies, a Jasmine and Aladdin doll set, a Jasmine puzzle and two different Jasmine costumes. It doesn't seem like much, seeing it typed out but she really doesn't care, I think. Every time I ask her what she wants for her birthday, she looks a little confused. Like, I want presents for my birthday; what do you mean?

So that is the birthday plan. And then after we stuff them with cake and ice cream and scrub the face paint off of them and put them both to bed (hopefully happy and exhausted) I will probably collapse onto my bed and bawl my eyes out because I miss our family and friends so much.

16 August 2008


It has been raining since yesterday morning. Jonathan and I took the kids to the aquarium again yesterday. Along with every other parent in Denver. We still had a great time, though.The Lion  just loves the aquarium.

I cut his hair yesterday. It is so straight, it was just hanging in his face. Jonathan told me Lion needed a haircut. I think what he actually said was "The Lion looks like a tool" or something to that effect. Now his hair is just supershort all over, ala Russell Crowe in Gladiator, and he looks like such a big boy that it breaks my heart.

After the aquarium, we took the kids to a fun '50s diner for dinner and we ate like complete pigs. Jonny had a "bleu-suede burger" (a burger topped with bleu cheese and fried onions) with a side of "Elvis fries" (they were smothered in gravy and melted cheese). He was disgusted with himself this morning. "I have no self-control," he told me. I said yes, he does, too, have self-control because it's not like he sneaks over there every day for lunch or anything.

I had a moment with the Lion last night that just melted my heart. I am writing it down here so I never, ever forget it. I went into his room late at night to check to see if he needed a new diaper. He did. So as I was changing him, he woke up and was very groggy. "Mommy, I want you to lay with me," he said. So of course I did. I laid down beside him and he held my hand in his little hand and then he pressed his fat little cheek against mine on the pillow and said, "I love you."


That was the first time he has ever said I love you without my saying it first.

I just love that boy so much!

Today it was still raining like crazy. So we took the kids to a local (gorgeous, outdoor) mall and we went to see Wall-E. Again, every other parent had the same idea apparently because there were no extra seats in the theatre and the Lion sat on my lap and Blue sat on Jonathan. It felt like a looooonnng movie, but at least we all got to sit together. The kids were very good, very quiet and they ate a crapload of popcorn. I don't know if they understood anything that happened in the movie, but Jonathan and I did and we liked it. So it wasn't a bad way to spend the afternoon.

I cannot believe Blue is turning four this week. When did that happen?! I can remember being humongously pregnant with her, watching the summer Olympics and wondering if my labor was ever going to start and now here we are watching the Olympics together and she is such a big, beautiful girl...

15 August 2008

out to lunch

I am currently unable to post anything on my blog due to my addiction to the Olympics.

09 August 2008



I am so freakin' excited! We are going to the IHOP tomorrow!!!!!

Oh, yeah, and then after that we are spending the day at a Barbeque Cook-Off!

08 August 2008


Jonathan already crammed 40 hours of work into this week, so he had today off! We took the kids into Downtown Denver to walk up and down the 16th Street Mall and ride the tram. While we were walking, we passed a Claire's Boutique. We asked Blue if she wanted to get her ears pierced. She said, "Yes," so we took her inside and she chose some pretty little blue earrings. (Blue loves the color blue.  Now you see the origin of this nickname!)

She was so amazing. My daughter is much braver than me. She jumped a little when they pierced her ears and that was it. No tears. Nothing.

After it was over, I picked her up out of the chair and held her and she said, quietly, "I don't want my earrings anymore. I want to take them out." I asked if her ears hurt and she nodded. We bought some children's Motrin at a nearby Rite-Aid and gave her a little bit of it but by then she seemed completely fine.

Then we went to McDonalds and got them both a strawberry sundae to celebrate:

Riding the tram:

07 August 2008

funk and soul music

So we went to see this kick-ass band, Funkiphino, play at the Englewood Civic Center tonight. It was so much fun. The weather was gorgeous--cloudy and crisp--and I brought enough food for about ... oh, I don't know ... a billion people.

Blue and Lion danced and jumped and even attempted what looked like break-dancing. They made everyone around us smile. There was a stall behind us selling Chinese food and the dudes working there got such a kick out of the kids' dance moves that they brought them over some fortune cookies.

I hope I never forget the sight of my children dancing, holding hands and laughing hysterically to the song "Lady Marmalade." I hope I never forget it because Jonathan and I forgot to bring a camera.

Good times. Good times.

no school

Well, the answer is "No." No, Blue cannot go to the preschool that is right beside our apartment complex next year because they are not accepting any more students. Grrrrrr...

I tried to contact the school as soon as we moved in but the office had just closed for the summer. They opened again this week and I called twice and left messages without any response and then walked over to the school and was told I needed to contact the school district. So I called them twice and left messages and again got no reply so yesterday Jonathan drove over to the school district office and was told Blue's name will be put on a waiting list. So basically, if someone moves between now and the end of the month ... maybe? I say maybe because we have no idea how long the waiting list even is. She could even conceivably be admitted mid-year if a vacancy comes up, so we'll see...

I am really frustrated by this. I mean, I was afraid this would happen and I am so irritated with myself for not contacting the school while I was still in Virginia. Because I was researching preschools in Aurora, and I saw that this one was near our apartment complex (I didn't realize that it was within walking distance, though, or I would definitely have called) but at the time we weren't sure if we wanted to continue sending her to a Catholic preschool or what.

So today I signed her up for swimming lessons every Tuesday and dance classes every Friday and I'm looking for a third activity for her. Just so she can interact with other children her age and practice following directions and get to do something physical to burn off some of her energy and so she (and I) can make some friends. And, you know, learn to swim and dance, too.

I am planning to take her to storytime at the library, but I don't know if I could count on the same children being there every week, so I want to find just one more activity to enroll her in. Soccer doesn't start until the spring. There's gymnastics, but in my head gymnastics and dance for a 4 year-old are basically the same thing. I mean, how much can a child that age do? Maybe something musical? Or an art class?

I am trying to look at this positively. I mean, some kids don't even go to preschool at all. And this way, she'll make potentially three times as many friends... But I am secretly very frustrated.

So there you have it. The situation.


Tonight there is a free funk and soul music concert in the park. Funk and soul. Awesome. So I went shopping with the kids today to buy Blue some new ballet shoes and a new bathingsuit and a picnic dinner for us to bring to the concert. It is beautiful out today--very cool and breezy--so we may actually get to wear pants and jackets to the concert! YAY! I am just loving the weather here. I just wilt when it is hot out.

04 August 2008


My heart is very heavy tonight. I have been reading the blog, To the Moon, for a while now. It is by a beautiful young woman named Alison, a young military wife. Who found out she has stage 4 cancer. I began reading her husband's (amazingly beautiful and eloquent) blog, Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and he has been writing for both of them lately. His post tonight is not so good. The prognosis sounds grim and I am just so sad.

Sad. What a lame word. I just ...

Here I am, enjoying gorgeous evening breezes, nursing a sore butt from a wonderful bike ride last night with my husband and children, and there they are... Alison and Thomas. In my head and in my heart all the time. Going through this ... this severing from each other. I know I have never met them, but if you've read their blog (and I know some of you have and are as affected by their situation as I am) you understand. They are so young. So beautiful. So nice. So in love.

It's horrible. If you pray, please pray for them. And for her family. Just pray.

03 August 2008


So Jonathan took us all to Super Target this morning and bought me a bicycle!

It is a pink Schwinn, and it is still out in the car because I have had an upset stomach today. I think it is because I have been wearing my glasses all day to see if that will drive my headache away, and (as anyone who has ever worn glasses in the history of the world can testify) glasses make you feel like total crap when you first start wearing them. Walking in them is weird; I feel like the ground beneath my feet is a billion miles away. So I have been lying around all day feeling crummy (what else is new?) and let's just say that trying out the various bikes in Target was ... interesting.

First is the fact that I seriously have not been on a bike (I'm not counting stationary bikes) in about 20 years. Seriously.

Second. Everyone in Colorado (except me, so far) rides bikes. Again, seriously. Every other car out here has a bike rack on the back. And the ones that don't have a bike rack have some sort of water device like a canoe or kayak strapped to their roof instead. No foolin.' And all of these bike-riders were in the bike aisle of Super Target this morning.

Third. I have a feeling my ass looks huge while sitting on a bike.

So I felt like a total jackass, "riding" each bike with one foot firmly on the ground (sort of like a big skateboard with a seat on it) up and down the bike aisle in SuperTarget. Especially since my glasses were making me feel dizzy and there were all of these uberhelpful fellow customers making suggestions. Like that, yes, I was supposed to be so high up off the ground. And that my legs should be fully extended while pedaling (impossible, by the way, with one foot on the ground). And finally, that maybe I did need a smaller bike.

I chose a pink bike. Because "pink is my signature color." But I wasn't even sure if that was a wise decision because I don't necessarily want to be such a focal point while I am out riding. But, then I figured, it's a pink bike. Not exactly the kind of bike a serious biker would be riding, and let's face it, I am not going to be some speed racer or anything.

And I chose a black helmet, so there.

Anyway, isn't it pretty?

01 August 2008

could you keep it down out there?

I have a headache. Of monstrous strength.

I have had a headache since Sunday night. We went up to Rocky Mountain State Park, as you could see any time you checked my blog all week, and I was wondering if I had altitude sickness. Because I had a cup of coffee that morning, some coffee at IHOP (where Jonny took us all for pancakes), and then a humongous Coke for lunch. Bad. I have been drinking water like crazy since we arrived out here. Except for Sunday. And I paid the price.

So for the rest of the week, I have been drinking insane amounts of water to make up for the lapse in judgment. And I still have a headache. But I have been waking up several times each night to pee. So now I am wondering if I need to dust off my old bifocals that I haven't worn in for ever and start actually wearing them...

On a more cheerful note, my gorgeous fabric arrived for my chairs, but now poor Jonny has to try to find the staple-gun that is packed away in one of our storage units! So it may be a while before I can get that little project finished.

Jonathan and I watched Lars and the Real Girl last night and it is now one of my all-time favorite movies. It wasn't at all what I was expecting it to be. It's actually very sweet. I highly recommend it, if you haven't seen it already.

And lastly, I may be getting a bike! I know, right? But Jonathan is getting his old mountain bike fixed up and he bought a trailer off of craigslist to pull the kids around in. So now that just leaves me. And no way do I want to be stuck at home while my whole family is out riding around! This is the bike I like:

What do you think?