Vacation Books

Our road trip to Maine, with overnight stops in New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts was a huge success. I posted in Instagram daily so you can click on over if you want to see more, but these were my top 5 favorite moments…


With my guys on my birthday in Hampton, NH
and by myself in Wells, Maine

Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts

Rachel Carson Refuge, Kennybunkport, Maine

So many beaches, so little time

I considered putting my book-a-day challenge on hiatus when we went on our 9 day road trip, but decided to honor the challenge with books I had on our homeschool reading shelf.

My favorite was the picture book A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thu Bui. It’s a touching story of a boy who accompanies his Vietnamese father fishing early in the morning so that the family can be fed for the day. I absolutely loved it!

I also read another picture book, Miep and the Most Famous Diary: The Woman Who Rescued Anne Frank’s Diary by Meeg Pincus, illustrated by Jordi Solano.

I liked How Wolves Came From Dogs by Jack Myers, illustrated by John Rice. There were 12 articles about different animals, all taken and updated from past Highlights Magazine articles. Fun to read and discuss with Gage. We were most interested in how they populated two islands in Maine with Puffins.

We listened to two Big Nate books in the car, Big Nate Flips Out and Big Nate In a Class By Himself. These were quick funny stories that gave all three us smiles and laughs.

The Story of Chocolate by Caryn Polin was interesting. DK always does a good job of sharing facts in a fun layout.

Not so successful (for me and Jason, Gage like them) was the audio of Nate the Great Collected Stories, Volume 4 and Pup Detectives .

On my actual birthday I read the little book that Jason got me that tells me all about the year I was born. It was fun!

I’ll have to catch up with the rest of my reading another day, still playing catch up!

This week’s Columbus roadtrip

Favorite pic of the week

IMG_0325 (2) This guy is a 2nd grader no more!  Today was his last day of school.  Where does the time go?  So proud of him and am looking forward to summer.

Best Part of the Week  We managed to string together some pretty perfect days this week and I appreciated every moment.  Gage sees an integrative doctor in Columbus who we love. And so does everyone else.  So, when  you make your appointment you take what you can get.  At our visit this week the next open appointment was January!  Jason decided to take an extra vacation day so we decided to go down on Monday and come back Wednesday after our appointment.  We had so much fun.  We took our time stopping 3 times on the way down (It’s about 2 hours 15-30 minutes straight).  We went putt putting, and played laser tag together.  Gage got to drive his first go cart.  The next day we went to the Columbus Zoo and had a great time.  I had forgotten what a fabulous zoo it is.


Worst Part of the Week My mouth pain almost all gone, but the stitches have not dissolved like they were supposed to and they are driving me nuts.  All in all if that’s the worst thing I’ve got going on I’m a lucky gal.

Reading  Image result for a ladder to the sky book image I finished A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne and I loved it.  The guy was a twisted character, but I loved the way the story unfolded.  It was written through the eyes of the major people in his life until the last section, when the only one left was him.

Listening  Image result for how it happened book cover korytaI finished listening to How It Happened by Michael Koryta and really liked it.  A good thriller that kept me guessing and interested.

Watching on the small screen We’re still watching season 2 of Game of Thrones.  I managed to watch a few episodes of Project Runway too 🙂

Watching on the big screen 


Last Sunday we had an Aladdin double feature.  We ate at Aladdin’s Eatery (one of our faves) and watched the newest movie version with Will Smith as the genie.  We all liked it.

Plans for the weekend We have a 3 day trip scheduled next week with friends so I’m hoping that this can be a quieter weekend.  Gage’s school has their end of year picnic tomorrow and we need to start looking for carpet for our family room.  Yes, we are still renovating this house 😦

A Quick Trip to Asheville

Jason and I took a 4 day weekend and turned it into a road trip to Asheville, North Carolina.  It’s a little over 8 hours from southeast Cleveland according to Google, but we managed to turn it into over 11 on the way down after a speeding ticket and a stop at the wrong hotel.  That’s what makes road trips so much fun!  We listened to Origin by Dan Brown on the way there and back and still didn’t manage to finish yet.

Asheville was lovely and I was most impressed by the two bookstores they had downtown that were within a mile of each other.

First we hit Malaprop’s and I loved it.  I spent some money.  When I went to find Jason in the café he was playing an online game with an exchange student from Chile.  They were trying to get themselves on the same team, lol.  Let me just say that I complain more often than I should that the game he plays on his phone is antisocial and now I can’t.  He’s making international friends!  So, I left them playing, or whatever nonsense was going on, and went back to shopping.  If I couldn’t complain about the game I could at least spend more money on the bookstore.


Immediately after Malaprop’s we went to Battery Park Book Exchange Champagne Bar.  


This space was so cool.  Not only did it have a full bar, but the furniture, décor and the way each room of books led you to the next was a place I could have spent hours exploring.  Alas, we did not have that kind of time.  The mimosa and food were excellent.

I posted some pics on Facebook and the one that got the most attention was the mirror selfie I took of Jason and I at Biltmore.  This made me smile since I took it because of one of my favorite pics that I took of Jason and me when we visited Versailles in France in 2010.  Two audacious homes.  Here are the two pics

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I could crop and blow up the one from Biltmore but I kind of like it the way it is.

I missed seeing Kathy this trip, but hopefully next time!  We’ve known each other online since 2008, but have never met in person.

A look back, June 2010

In January I began a Kay inspired Bookish Nostalgia feature that I call A look back. I’m revisiting my 2010 blogging life and see what was going on. So far, this has been a lot of fun!  If you care to revisit your own blog in June 2010 and want to share your favorite post, I’ll add it here.

I posted a respectable 22 times. I wrote a half-year round up where I lamented only having read 44 books, lol (I’m currently at 23). I posted 3 quizzes (one of which I reposted yesterday), 3 Monday Movie Memes, listed 9 giveaway winners, wrote about my favorite film #12 Four Weddings and a Funeral, and reviewed 7 books!  I posted a Baby-to-Be Update that on any other month would have been my favorite post, but not this month. Why?  Well, Jason and I took a trip to France to visit friends 🙂

My favorite BookBlack Water by T Jefferson Parker

Merci is a homicide detective with her eyes on the sheriff’s office someday.  This will be hard since decisions made a year ago (in Red Light) have alienated her from half of the police force of Los Angeles.  When a case comes in about a probable murder-attempted suicide involving a fellow officer Merci is reluctant to believe the officer guilty, even though evidence points in his direction.  When the officer survives, but with bullet parts littering his brain, the case becomes more complicated since he remembers little to nothing about the crime and what he does remember may or may not be true.

My favorite post and my favorite pics will combine.  Read all about our France trip. We visited friends in Lyon here and went on to Paris here.  In a fun self challenge, I chose 6 favorite photos from the ones I posted.

France 262Since it’s French open time this one is fitting! Being there was a thrill.

France 137Pere-Lachaise Cemetery was perfection and a who’s who of famously deceased. We only had an hour or two but I could have easily spent a whole day there.

I still remember the breathtaking thrill of standing in the Sainte-Chapelle, built in the 1200’s.

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Lyon from above.

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Gorgeous French countyside.

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Have you been to France? Share your pics! Looking at these posts has made me want to make another trip!


Sundays with Gage – 2010 Travels

2010 opened quietly with Jason and I enjoying dinner out, going to the movies and planning trips but is closing a  bit differently, with quick dinners in, Netflix, and no trips on the horizon.  At the end of February, the evening before we left for San Francisco, we found out I was pregnant.  It was a fun and scary trip.  My mood went from excited to scared to happy and around again.  Here I am in San Fran 6 weeks preggers with Gage .

Here’s my post about our trip.

Once back in  Ohio we still weren’t telling anyone, not even parents, and we had to plan our trip to France.  I’m so glad we started planning before we knew I was pregnant or we may not have done it.  The trip was wonderful but Gage did make his presence known in the form of morning sickness and lots of it.

Here’s Gage in France and my two posts about our trip (post 1)(post 2).  You can see that he is already showing himself 🙂  I was a little nervous about being in a foreign country during pregnancy, but no major problems and the trip was a huge success.

After France we had a relatively quiet summer and fall until he officially made an appearance. 

I don’t know what our travel plans will be in 2011, but I’m sure traveling with an infant will be a bit more complicated!

Gage and Jason and I hope you had a very happy Christmas.

Our French Vacation, part 2

Jason and I both loved Paris.  We were there from Tuesday-Sunday and Jason was a rock star in getting us around on the subway. 

Our first stop was one of the most visited cemeteries in the world, Pere-Lachaise Cemetery.  I don’t want to sound too terribly weird, but this was such a cool place and it is a who’s who of famous people. Loved it.


And we made the requisite trip to the Eiffel Tower, but we did not wait in line to go to the top.

We took a wonderful boat ride down the Seine River.  We were able to see much of the beautiful architecture of the city.

We both love museums, so on Wednesday we headed to the Louvre and saw the famous Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo. etc.  My favorite part of any art museum are the sculptures.

We took a short break from the Louvre and walked to Sainte-Chapelle, a church built in the 1240’s.  It has the most gorgeous windows I’ve ever seen.  Each panel tells a story of the Bible and the whole Bible is in there.

The next morning we headed to Versailles.

And Notre Dame, which was more impressive than I imagined.

We spent Friday at the French Open, where Eric and Virginie met up with us.  This is Jason and me after we had been baking in the sun all day.

On Saturday the four of us went to Centre Pompidou, a modern art museum.  It was hit or miss.  They have a fabulous exhibit there right now, Dreamlands, but it’s permanent collection was more disturbing than anything.  But hey, we were with friends 🙂

We headed to a great place to view the city, Sacre-Coeur Basilica and the Montmartre area.

We spent Friday and Saturday nights in the Latin Quarter which was an area full of restaurants, bars, and life!  Loved it. 

Thanks for travelling along with us to Paris.  Here’s one last picture of us in Versailles hall of mirrors.

Our French Vacation, part 1

We chose to visit France this year because friends of ours moved there almost two years ago and we thought it would be a great opportunity to spend time with them and have a personal tour guide (Eric’s French and Virginie’s Belgian).  We also had the pleasure of meeting the newest addition to their family, Solene, who turned one year old the day we arrived.  Camille was 10 months old when they left so it was like meeting her all over again too.  If you want to see how cute they are you should check out their blog.

Eric and Virginie live is a small village outside of Lyon, so we flew in to Paris and took the two-hour train ride to their home.  I love the ease of traveling by train in Europe.  Our first full day we went to see the third largest city in France, Lyon.   A view from the top…

This awesome fountain is by City Hall and the art museum. There was steam coming from the horse nostrils.  Oh, and that’s me and Jason.

We really enjoyed Lyon and our day there.  The next day was a hard one because I was sick pretty much the whole day.  It was my worst day there, but we still managed to visit Perouges, a village developed in the 14-15th centuries.  I loved the rocky streets and medieval charm…

On Monday we headed to Beajolais country and it was one of my favorite French excursions.  Here’s one reason why…

How beautiful is that?  The hillsides are dotted with vineyards and small villages.  We visited a few of the villages and I loved the quaint beauty.

Virginie and Eric were so very kind to let us stay with them, cook for us, and to show us around the region.  And the girls were so much fun!  Here’s a pic of Jason getting a little advance training…

I think he’s got it figured out 🙂  It was great to visit with friends and to ask all kinds of fun questions.  Did you know they still don’t use garbage disposals over there?  And did you know it is MANDATORY to vote in Belgium?  I could go on, but I’ll leave you with a cute picture of our friends.  Stop by tomorrow for the time we spent in Paris.

Thanks guys!  And Jif peanut butter is on the way 🙂

Walking San Francisco

We arrived home this morning at about 1 am after almost a week in San Francisco.  First, I have to mention our flights out and back.  Last Saturday morning we’re in the plane on the runway for takeoff and the pilot drives back to where we boarded and tells us that on the way to the runway he accidentally drove through a snow pile and just wants to make sure everything is okay.  And then 10 minutes later comes back and tells us he’s completely ruined the engine and they’ll have to find us another plane.  Seriously, shouldn’t a 737 be able to handle a little snow?  We switched planes and it was all good.  Then on the way back we were in the plane and a light came on, didn’t come on, whatever, and we had to get off the plane and wait.  And wait.  Four hours later we were good to go.  During that time we were able to meet a wonderful family Noel and Maura and their two kids Will and Ellie.  They made the wait easier to take.  So my advice?  If you need to get someplace on time don’t fly with us!

We stayed at The Palace downtown…

Jason’s conference was being held here and it is beautiful hotel.  Our taxi driver from the airport told us that we came just in time for the Chinese New Year parade that evening.  This is second only to the one in China (so the local news told us) and lasted a long time.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a parade…

We took the required trip to Alcatraz and learned so much about it’s history.  I didn’t know (or remember) that it had only been in use as a prison for 30 years. 

The ferry ride there was only 10 minutes and provided some lovely views of the city.

I had my fish ‘n chips at Fisherman’s Wharf, hiked up the hill to Coit Tower, overworked my short legs through the hills od Nob Hill & Russian Hill, saw the famous painted houses and spent quite a bit of time in Chinatown.  I went to the Fortune Cookie Factory where I saw the women making the fortune cookies and had some fresh off the line.  I love fortune cookies so I brought a big bag home.

I spent Monday at Golden Gate Park and my favorite place on this trip was there.  I loved the  Japanese Tea Garden.  It is peaceful and beautiful and I could have spent all day there with my camera and book.

There was a wonderful tea house near the entrance where I stopped on my way out for a nice cup of jasmine tea.

So, there you have it.  A wonderful week in beautiful San Francisco.  I was unconnected all week long.  Not one email or blog or website.  I’m feeling refreshed.  Even if I am looking outside my window at huge mounds of snow.