Thursday, April 17, 2014

Because Reading is Better Than Cleaning

 In early January Buzzfeed posted an article titled 16 Books To Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year. I glanced through the list and thought

well now, here's something I need to do. You know to stay up to date with things. Because I am all about being trendy and keeping up with the young people.

And also, what with all the reading I have to do, I simply don't have much spare time for household chores.

I mean, I feed the kids and make sure they're bathed.

At least once a week.

(The bathing. Not the feeding. That happens more often. Slightly.)

Sacrifices have to be made in order to strive for greatness.

I think Einstein said that.

So far I have read six of the sixteen books. I said a big no thanks to one of them and I've got one on the maybe list. Which leaves me with eight. I know because I had to count counted twice.

And now a little breakdown:

(Not to be confused with break dancing)

(Because, no)

The NO list:
  The Vampire Diaries.
  Mama doesn't do vampires. I just don't. So don't come at me with all your but twilight is a love story nonsense. I will close my eyes, cover my ears and sing Mmmmbop until you stop. And nobody wants that. Not even the Hanson brothers.

The MAYBE list:
 Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin

I had this in my possession from the library a few months back and my first thought was

whoa, that's heavy.

Not like heavy, deep but like I could potentially develop carpal tunnel.  Many pages of tiny words. Then I heard some not great things about the movie (it had just come out) and I thought about our health insurance deductible which led me to return it to the library without reading the first word.

I pride myself on my thoroughness.

But I may revisit it later.

After I do some push ups.

The already read list:

1) Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
     You all, this story just doesn't stop. It opens with the swoony love story of Nick and Amy Dunne. Real life drama kicks in (wedding, lost jobs, sick parents) and things aren't so grand. Then Amy disappears on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary. The questions just don't stop. Did Nick kill Amy? Did Amy kill Amy? Is Amy even dead? WHERE IS AMY? The book rotates between each of the main characters perspectives and my loyalties switched with every turn of the page. This one will make you crazy and could make you swear*. A little. (What the what?!?!?).  I have heard that the author wrote a new ending for the movie, and that has me very curious.
       The movie stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. It is scheduled to hit theaters this October.

2)Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Vintage) by Cheryl Strayed
  Wild is a memoir of a young woman who's world has completely crumbled. She decides she needs to do something to find meaning in her life. So logically, having never backpacked before, Cheryl sets off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (over 1000 miles) alone. This was a pretty amazing story about a girl who became a fearless survivor because she decided she would. It is a well written book full of grit and determination but I kept wanting to help her find what she was missing. And so I shouted some things about love, grace and Jesus.  But she didn't hear me. Something about the time space continuum, seeing as this all went down in 1996.
  The movie stars Reese Witherspoon.

3) This Is Where I Leave You: A Novel by Jonathan Tropper
  This is the story of a grieving family who comes together to sit Shiva for the father they just lost, and barely knew. No one in the family is practicing really any kind of faith at this point, they ALL put the fun(ky) in dysfunctional and haven't spent this much time together since they were kids. There are some hilarious moments, but I just kept thinking to myself, surely there are not THAT many screwed up people in one family. Is it possible for so many grown-ups to make so many bad decisions in the course of one week? Apparently, if you're in the Foxman family the answer is yes.
   The movie stars Justin Bateman and Tina Fey (which helps!) and will be coming to a theater near you in September. Which is my birth month. Send gifts.

4) The Giver (Readers Circle (Laurel-Leaf))     by Lois Lowry
   It took me a minute to locate this book in the library. Turns out it's a children's book. It follows twelve year old Jonas who lives a pain free perfect society. There are many rules in order to maintain peace, order, serenity and sheer numb sameness. Everyone is polite to the point of annoyance and no one ruffles any feathers. Because they don't know how. Things get real for Jonas when he is selected to be the "receiver of memory", meaning he's going to be the only one who knows what's really going on. How he deals with such crushing information is the crux of this story. It may be that I am right on level with junior department writing, but I really enjoyed this one. It was a quick read, but made me think. And I was cheering Jonas on to find the truth, even if the truth led to heartache. Because real life is full of emotion, good and bad.
 This movie stars Brenton Thwaites, Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and Taylor Swift. August 15th is it's release date.

5) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
 Two teenagers meet in a cancer support group and fall in love. Sounds like a real pick me up, huh? You all need. to. read. this. book. I am not even going to describe it because I would never do it justice. But I couldn't put it down. It's beautiful and snarky and sad and funny. All at the same time.
Hazel and Gus will forever be real people to me. And I'm not even going to try to pretend that's not weird.
The movie stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. It will grace us with it's presence in June. I will be standing in line for tickets in May.

6) Divergent by Veronica Roth
   This is the first of a series of three books telling the tale of Tris. She lives a post war Chicago sometime in the future. Right at the beginning we follow her as she chooses which faction (a life group, there are five to choose from) she will identify with. Everyone takes an aptitude test of sorts to help determine which group would be the best fit for them. Tris is shocked to find out she thinks differently than most, would do well in several of the factions and is therefore divergent. Might as well slap the kid with a death sentence. No one in leadership wants someone who can think for themselves. Much danger ensues.  And I ate it all up. I loved it so much that I went out and bought the next two because we were in the middle of leaving for the season and I knew I wouldn't be able to get it from the library during all the craziness.
  The movie is in theaters now. It also stars the aforementioned Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. This time as brother and sister. I cannot tell you how much that messes with my mind. Clearly the movie people should have checked with me on that one.  Theo James and the lovely Ashley Judd are also in this flick.

So there's the list.

Now you tell me,

what are you reading?



______________________________________________________________

*Mom, no actual swearing was involved in the reading of these books. By me. Really.

Disclaimer: This post is chock full of affiliate links. If you follow said links and make a purchase, this mama gets compensated. A very little amount. Your price does not increase. And now you know.

Disclaimer number dos: All opinions of above mentioned books are mine. Nobody paid me or swayed me in any direction. All information about the above mentioned movies came from IMBD or Wikipedia.

Because research is my thing.

the end


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Unpacking Post

 Most seasons when you come rolling into town, you're in for a few surprises. It can't really be helped when you've rented something by looking at a few pictures and a google map to check the proximity to the nearest Krispy Kreme field. And there are always going to be a few little hiccups while getting settled. For instance, last spring when we got to our summer rental we realized there was no microwave.

This was a serious hindrance to my culinary capabilities.

We weren't really expecting any shockers when we arrived this year because we were actually able to rent the same house.

We call it the Grandma house.

There are so many reasons this house works well for us: it's furnished, it has a garage, it has a great washer and dryer ( baseball life GOLD, I tell you), it's on a cul-de-sac (which the girls rule with their bikes and scooters) and the owners don't mind our old, weak bladdered dog.

But your friendly neighborhood realtor may take a look and say

it needs some TLC or

it's ripe with potential.

This is code for

bring your sledgehammer and goggles.

So the only major differences we noticed when we walked in the first night was that the back room was completely empty. Last year it was full of brown wicker furniture and Asian decor. This year it's where we throw our shoes and dry our laundry. And also, there used to be about 38 lamps in this house. Now there might be 3.

This is unfortunate because I did all my light bulb shopping from those lamps. Didn't have to buy one last summer. Just kept moving them from one hula girl lamp to another.

When we walked further into the house we realized that half the lights were out (dang bulb shortage) and we were not alone.

You know that smell? The one that tells you something has died a possibly horrible death in the walls or the attic?

If you don't, it's just as lovely as you would imagine.

Only not.

My brave husband checked the attic and didn't find anything. Shortly after that I attempted to put a light bulb in the girls bathroom fixture so they stood less of a chance of falling in.

I failed.

I mean, the light came on, but I didn't secure the heavy glass globe well enough and it came crashing down into about 70 million pieces.

I forgot the can opener but I did remember the little scoop broom and garbage bags.

 Steel trap and clairvoyant.

At that point, it was late. We hadn't unpacked anything of consequence. The hallway smelled like something that missed it's own funeral and now it was booby trapped with glass shards.

Welcome to baseball 2014! Go Baybears!

So we did what anyone would do. We went to bed. Pajamas and toothbrushes be slammed.

And do you know what? When we woke the next day  our allergies had kicked in so strongly we couldn't smell Bigfoot's dead cousin anymore the smell was gone.

Hallelujah!

And in the morning light, I could see that we didn't need to get a fresh round of tetanus shots.

Things were looking up.

And now, a tour:

His and her chairs. Be jealous.


The aforementioned bathroom. Minus one globe. Allegedly.

Why yes, that is a half bath with a door that won't close. Privacy schmivacy.


Anybody need a throw pillow? I'm your gal.

This is where we keep Lainey.


This is where we keep the Littles.
This is where we keep 1979.

This is where I would use a sledgehammer..... (also allegedly)

There it is. In all it's forty year old glory.

I have to go now,  to get things going for dinner before the double header tonight.

My new fancy hand-held can opener can't crank itself you know.



______________________________________________________________________

The Mobile BayBears are 6-4.













Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Packing Post

I love our weird life. The traveling, the new experiences for our girls, the kettle corn, the people we meet along the way, the ball games, the kettle corn, the tight baseball pants...all of it. I am just as excited about the start of this season as I have been for the past fourteen before it.

But.

There are two things I hate about being a baseball wife:

packing and unpacking.

As fate would have it we get to move about every 6 months.

Bully for me.

I distinctly remember the night before Andy's AA season in El Paso was ending..okay I can't remember what year is was so maybe distinctly is pushing it, but we were laying in bed discussing travel plans and I rolled over and said

Just so you know, I'm going to be mad at you tomorrow.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering why I would say such a thing to such a great fella.

I'm glad you asked.

My reasons were twofold:

A) I believe in clear communication and

B)  packing sucks stinks.

If I could go back in time, anytime really, I would pick this moment. And I would say to myself

HEY YOU BIG NINNY! You think packing for two whole people is hard? See ya in eight years with your car top carrier covered mini-van complete with little pink potty. For your three children. And your dog.

(Not that the dog has ever used the little pink potty.)

(Despite my best efforts.)

(Back to the yelling at myself.)

I'm looking at you sassafras. Sleep pretty because these are the easy years!

End scene.

Anyway, packing, it's a real gas. And this year was no different. I did manage to hoist the car top carrier on the night before we left. (Which was huge because it was pouring rain the next day.)

But then I forgot such actions and very nearly crashed into the garage a few hours later.

{Insert silent cursing here}

Our friends, the Myers, were in town that afternoon and while the kids were playing Caitlin watched me flit around the kitchen like a drunk hummingbird trying to remember what all I needed to put into my "kitchen stuff" bin. At one point she said

Um, don't you have a list or something?

List? I don't need no stinking list! It's all in my head. Steel trap, baby.

Plus, if I make a list, I have to keep track of said piece of scrap paper and we all know

that's just not gonna happen.

So I just stand in each room with a suitcase, debating what needs to come with us and what we can do without (which is most everything- you'd be amazed). Then I determine if what I've collected will fit into the vehicle and if I can actually lift it. From there, the items that make the cut get stacked in an orderly manner the front hall, where they sit until it's time to load the van. 

It's all very scientific.

But not fool-proof.

Last year I forgot underwear.

My underwear.

Who does that?!?

Someone who refuses to make a check list, that's who.
















Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Turns Out I Don't Control the Weather

Listen, I was pretty sure that I had done all of central Kentucky a favor because when we landed in Phoenix that Saturday afternoon, it was pouring down rain. POURING. This was a welcome sight for most of the locals because they had gone 70 days without any precipitation.

Seventy.

Seven. Zero.

Then the Greens show up and BAM, record rainfall.

You're welcome.

But the next day Arizona did it's thing and turned toasty and gorgeous while back home it snowed so much they had three more snow days.

My apologies to parents all along the east coast.

Mama tried.

Once the flash flooding got under control out in Scottsdale our days fell into a comfortable pattern. Andy left early each morning for the field while we girls would later straggle out of bed and head to the hotel breakfast. Some of us wearing our pajamas. The girls thought the fancy beeping waffle maker was the best. I wondered why all the eggs tasted like they came out of plastic chickens.

Then we would have the mornings to play at a park, go visit some old baseball buddies who call AZ home or hang out at the pool.

It was really rough.

And speaking of friends we got to visit, shout out to my friend Stacy who drove nearly two hours to meet us at a park she had scoped out online. Unfortunately, the inter webs had failed to mention to my dear pal that this park was hosting the Ostrich festival that very weekend.

(Side note: plural for ostrich is ostriches, but plural for cactus is not cactuses. My children are outraged by this, as well they should be.)

So we tried to hoist the children over the giant barricades rolled with the punches and went to another (lamer) park. The kids had a great time and we got to laugh a lot. Which is usually what we do whenever we're together.

Then after all the morning fun was had we got to spend the afternoons with Andy, which was the point of the whole trip. We went to a ballgame, went to the pool and one afternoon the girls painted pottery. It's here I'd like to confess that I may have issues.

I realize this is not new information.

I am not what anyone would call a neat freak, heck you wouldn't even call me neat, but something about gobs of paint being plopped around all willy-nilly nearly had me in the fetal position. I finally looked at Andy and said,

Well, at least we will have a great memory of what our girls were capable of at the ages of 5 and 7.

Which prompted Emily to paint an "E" on one wing of her fairy and a "5" on the other.


                                      

Just what I had envisioned.


As our trip was winding down, the minor league spring games were just starting. We made it out one morning for some baseball action, which was completely ignored by my children once they realized their good buddies Joe and Leila were there. It was like old times for Alysa and I as we have been on this baseball journey together since before there were little baby Bajenarus and Greens. Our hubbies have played against each other, with each other and started out on the coaching journey together.


Photo: Baseball games are better with friends.
photo credit: Alysa Bajenaru Photography
                                                 

So at the end of the day, I am just so thankful we made this trip. Spring training was unusually long this year, and being without Daddy for those eight weeks would have tested our limits for sure. Our goodbyes were easier this time as we flew back to the frozen tundra of Kentucky because we knew we were just weeks away from the start of the real season in Mobile.
                         

                             
                                                                    

On the flight home, I was reflecting on just how gosh darn lovely the trip was. The girls traveled well, the time difference wasn't a huge factor, the only drama we had was when Lainey got stung by a bee and that mostly came from me (We were at the big league field. There were news cameras. She's too tall to carry away quickly. NOTHING TO SEE HERE.)

Even the trek to and from the airport in Kentucky was made easier thanks to Andy's uncle who dropped us off and picked us up in our own minivan so we could just hit the road.

Life was grand.

Or at least it was until I pulled into our garage, fresh off the unicorns and daisies day dream, and noticed that our van was smoking from the engine. A lot.


That, my friends, is when life became a country song........

(too be continued)





Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fly By

There are many of you who have been waiting with bated breath as to whether we survived the great flight across America. Well, not only did the girls do amazing, they really loved it. They loved the free juice, the tiny bathrooms and the bumpiness of the landing.

Five year olds have a much different perspective than their mothers. I had to cut them off at two beverages due to the eleven trips to the minutely small bathroom with the loudest flush ever while enduring turbulence.

It was like a normal day at our house, we just had to walk in a single file line.

Often.

But the getting up early, the drive to the airport and even getting through security was all relatively easy knowing that at the end of it all was our guy.



Please note, the caffeinated beverage in his left hand was for me. Because that Andy is a genius.

Also, this video is not one of my finest captures. But I never saw the spotted yellow lady coming

and I try not to run in public.

For everyone's sake.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Training the Spring



A year in the Green household can be divided into two parts: baseball season and the off season. Now I do realize that there are actually four seasons in our neck of the woods and trust me, we are all fully aware of winter.

We are over the winter.

No more winter.

Please.

As I was saying, two seasons. Andy jumped into the start of baseball a few weeks ago when he left for Phoenix to start spring training. We debated going with him but I wanted the girls to stick to their routines and be in school for as long as possible before we left in April for the start of the regular season.

The four days they've been in class the past three weeks have been very productive.

Do you hear me winter? ENOUGH.

It's at this point that I feel I should take responsibility for something. This past fall my friend Courtney told me that she heard from her neighbor's chiropractor's yoga instructor that all the dark woolly worms we had crawling around were a sign of impending doom bad winter weather to come.

The yogis know, people. The yogis know.

Anyhoo, the dark woolly worms.

I ran over one in our driveway.

And I think it made Elsa very angry.

Theretofore,

woolly warm + large vehicle = crushed pile of black fuzz

which leads us to

hostile Elsa

which then leads us to impending doom

horrific weather.

I know what you're thinking,

it's so weird that I got such poor grades in college algebra.

All I can say is I am the cause to your winter effect.

And I apologize.

Also, I have a plan. It's a very selfless plan, one that I am sure will bring warm weather back to Kentucky.

We're going to Arizona.

You are so welcome.

It's the least I could do.

Now if you wouldn't mind saying a prayer for my little girls. They are extremely excited to see their Daddy but they have never flown before. Lainey has, but she was too young to remember. So be thinking of us, early thirty Saturday morning as we hit the friendly skies in a giant tube of recycled air that's hurdling through the stratosphere at 500 miles per hour.

Someone mentioned to me that if they can handle the car wash then flying should be easy peasy.


I'm gonna need to pack more snacks......