Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Club: Abandon

I have no idea how I stumbled across this little gem!

I think it may have been a middle-of-the-night impulse purchase. In any event, this book was absolutely fantastic! A total page-turner, I think I finished it in less than 48 hours. 

Abandon, by Blake Crouch, tells the haunting story of a tiny backwoods town in Colorado. On Christmas Day in 1893, every man woman and child in the remote gold mining town disappeared — belongings forsaken, meals left to freeze in vacant cabins... and not a single bone was ever found. One hundred thirteen years later, two back country guides, a history professor, a journalist, a psychic and a paranormal photographer hike up to the abandoned town to learn what happened. Twenty miles from civilization and in the midst of a blizzard, the group soon learns that they are not alone, and that the past is very much alive.

I don't typically choose thriller-type books, but I'm so glad that I picked this one up! Abandon tells two parallel stories, moving seamlessly between 1893 and present day using alternating chapters. Crouch's amazing characterization really brought each person, as well as the town itself, to life. Both narratives have plenty of action — chasing, shooting, stabbing, and double-crossing, and most of the adventures take place while trudging through the snow in blizzard conditions.

The story truly doesn't stop — page after page is filled with constant action, obstacles, pressure and plot twists. I actually had no idea it was such a long book (more than 500 pages) until after it was all over. Abandon is creepy, horrific, and filled with intensity. It left my mind spinning about what I had read for weeks to come.

I highly recommend it!

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ryder's Big Boy Room

After we found out that we were going to have a little girl, it was time to start on some home organization and decoration.

I knew I would never, ever be willing to paint over those dang chevron stripes in the nursery, so we decided to keep that as the baby's room, which meant it was time for...

Ryder's Big Boy Room!

We've had two guest rooms ever since we moved into this house, mainly because we really didn't have anything else in particular to do with the extra space. Therefore, we picked the larger of the two, cleared it out, and began creating a fun, personal space for Ryder to grow up in.

Since we actually have, on occasion, used both of our guest rooms at the same time, we decided on a bunk bed set for Ryder's room that has a full sized bed on the bottom. That way we can still utilize the room for guests in the future if we need to. And for now we've opted to remove the ladder to the top bunk... just to be on the safe side until he's a bit older!

I certainly wasn't willing to tackle stripes again, but I did decide to paint one accent wall in a dark navy blue color to make the room more cozy.

After that it was simply a matter of choosing some new bedding and transferring all of Ryder's stuff out of the nursery and into his new room!

Also, a huge shout out to my mom, who spent the day with me painting and assembling furniture.

We moved quite a few of Ryder's toys into his room that were previously located all over the house. Now our living areas feel super de-cluttered, and Ryder absolutely loves his new play room with all his favorite things in the same place.

So far he hasn't actually been willing to sleep in his new room (yes, we're still co-sleeping), but we're content to take things one step at time. 

And as for the nursery, we're putting on the final touches as we wait anxiously for Baby Sister to arrive.

It won't be long now, and Big Brother Ryder can hardly wait!

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Monday, January 9, 2017

A Little Sprinkle for Baby Sister

This isn't my first pregnancy, so I didn't expect another lavish baby shower, but my best friend Tara still wanted to celebrate Baby Sister with a little "sprinkle" at her house. 

Of course she couldn't help herself and went completely overboard, hosting what I would really call a monsoon or a deluge! I was absolutely blown away by the thoughtfulness and generosity of my amazing friends who showed up to celebrate me and Baby Girl Alway. 

The decorations, food, games, gifts and company were all absolutely fabulous!

12th (Wo)Man cupcakes for the newest Baby Seahawk!

It's important to get yourself a buddy (or two!) when doing the important things in life...

I seriously couldn't ask for better friends.

Thank you to everyone, near and far, who has been so supportive of us as we continue down this crazy rabbit hole of parenting.

We couldn't do it without you!

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Club: Bright Shiny Morning

What an amazing book!

I think that regardless of how you feel about the whole James Frey / A Million Little Pieces controversy, Frey is an absolutely brilliant story teller.

Bright Shiny Morning definitely lived up to my expectations, which were very high, especially after reading The Final Testament of the Holy Bible a couple years ago. 

My main take-away from Bright Shiny Morning was that I never, ever, ever want to live in or anywhere near Los Angeles, California. In fact, I think I want to avoid that entire state altogether... yuck. 

Set in L.A., the book follows the lives of several characters: a married celebrity couple, a young couple following their dreams from the Midwest, a Mexican-American maid, and a homeless man. It also includes mini-profiles of other minor characters, as well as intertwining historical facts and figures about the county of Los Angeles.

It was a total page turner.

I have always loved Frey's writing style, although I can see why it might get on some peoples nerves. In Bright Shiny Morning, all of the main stories were extremely well developed and showcased a vast variety of people, cultures, socioeconomic statuses, etc. I did sometimes find myself rushing anxiously through some of the "mini-profiles," because I was so anxious to get back to my favorite characters, but overall I thought all of the stories brought something to the table.

I can't think of a book that better describes a city, to the point that L.A. actually becomes its own character.

And Los Angeles is, in a word, hideous.

My only complaint would be that although some of the Trivia Facts / Historical Knowledge about Los Angeles were interesting and informative, I usually ended up skimming through those chapters and could have done without a lot of them.

I always love a novel that leaves me with strong feelings and opinions, and Bright Shiny Morning definitely did not disappoint. I'd rank it all the way up there with Frey's other novels, which I loved and highly recommend.

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