May 2023 month in review

I’m starting this on May 10, it already feels like I’ve experience a whole month’s worth of stuff, but that is how these things go. I am tired. Now I’m finishing it on June 6, because that’s how this month has gone. It has just been insane. I don’t expect June to be any less crazy.

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Week 1

This was a week of many many board games. The boys opted to play Touch of Evil one night, I forget why I wasn’t able to, maybe that was the night I had monthly meeting? That sounds right, I had some sort of schedule conflict.

Then Wednesday was Game Club and the boys were able to successfully redirect the massive number of very young kids that “We are not playing Don’t Wake Granny and we are not playing with Nerf or going outside to play. We are here to play games.” They tried many different games, it was quite fun for me to watch since they had like 14 kids to play, it was challenging to find games they could split up into groups for.

Okay, let’s see….. Jeff is working late twice a week because he has calls with China, it’s a bunch of stupid corporate nonsense that greatly annoys me because it is adding to his stress a lot, but that top middle picture is us taking dinner to him one night and “cheering him up.” If a lot of mass chaos is cheering you up, which I guess in some ways it is.

Afterwards he recommended we go to the Ice Cream Museum which is near his business and we looked forever to find a parking spot, got out and started walking over to it, only for me to discover when we were halfway there it closed at 5. You know, over 2 hours earlier. The kids had fun endlessly mocking my ability to navigate back to the car, and getting the car out of that ridiculously huge shopping center.

That bottom right picture is Batman’s D&D group for our homeschool co-op, technically it is his second group, because the first is all older teens, this group is primarily tweens and a few teens.

The diagonal top corner picture is Superman laying down on Leezard. That dog really does put up with so much and it amazes me how genuinely patient she is with the kids with all they do to torment her. And it’s not just limited to the kids, I’ll admit I might torment her a little.

They’ve asked all of the youth leaders to write letters to the graduating seniors at church, they were offering cards that she had, but I thought this was a great opportunity for me to go through my stash of cards I’d made years ago when I was part of a cardmaking craft group. It was something I enjoyed doing because I enjoy crafts like that, BUT I don’t really give cards, so they’ve sat in my stash of craft supplies unused for over a decade. I pulled them out and realized it is heavily skewed towards girly cards, and the vast majority of people graduating are guys. So, I guess a few of the guys will be getting flower cards. I did for amusement sake choose to give each of my boys the Father’s Day cards, but that’s more of an inside joke in our family.

We had two cooking around-the-world meals: Saint Lucia chicken roti, which everyone hated the chicken flavor, but the roti was a huge hit, and a Tunisian recipe, which everyone hated. It was not a good week for geography recipes. In other news, we have about 6 countries left to study and 2 states. I guess we’ll be finishing that off after their graduation.

Games played:

I feel like the boys might have played more games but I don’t know.

Books I read:

  • How I magically messed up my life in 4 freaking days– This was a middle grade book I’d picked up when it was free, and I finished it more so I could finish it than because I really enjoyed it
  • Twelve Dancing Princesses– I bought this book 3 years ago, and I don’t remember why I did, but I’m trying to be good and actually read all the books I’ve squirreled away, and then I loved it but it’s book 10 in a loosely connected series, so I bought…
  • Beauty and the Beast– which if this book had been the first I found, I wouldn’t have bought because the cover is a prom dress, the character is wearing a prom dress and I find that annoying, but I love the characterization and the twists she has on each book
  • Wild Swans– a rare retelling of the Seven Swan Brothers, and this takes a twist I generally am indifferent to but it more or less worked in this book, but I disliked one aspect of the ending
  • Cinderella and the Colonel– ACK the covers get worse, I bought these three as an omnibus, and I despise the covers. I liked this twist on Cinderella especially because it wasn’t a love at first sight story, all of these have been changed to not love at first sight
  • Rumplestiltskin– I really liked this twist on the story, because it’s always bothered me that the miller’s daughter (whose name I don’t remember in the original tale) marries the king who threatened to kill her if she doesn’t spin straw into gold, I am annoy at a review I read that gave away part of the twist of the story without warning about spoilers
  • The Little Selkie– an odd combination of selkie stories and Disney’s Little Mermaid, overall I liked the story, but it’s not one of my favorites from this series, though I did thoroughly enjoy the supporting characters
  • Puss in Boots– this book actually takes place before any of the other books in the series but was written as book 6, it takes place before Beauty and the Beast, and certainly before Wild Swans because it’s the story of how two of the characters from Wild Swans met and fell in love

So, I’m enjoying this new author, but I don’t think she’s a great author, quite the opposite, I’m occasionally rereading paragraphs because I felt I missed something or there’s a confusion with word choice, but the storylines are fun.

The author has two other book series set in this world: The Snow Queen (set hundreds of years earlier), and the Apprentice Enchantress (or something, which is something of a prequel to this series). I’ve also heard she writes litRPG under another penname, which I might look into.

Week 2

This week was insanely busy. INSANELY busy.

We ate three cooking around the world meals, Saint Kitts and Nevis coconut dumplings which had very mixed opinions. Then we had some Tanzanian steak, which everyone thought was okay, but they wouldn’t necessarily seek it out. Finally, we had Togo chicken, which was lots and lots of garlic and ginger, which never goes wrong in our family, but my kids have recently grown to be less fond of chicken legs so they just kind of shrugged their shoulders at it.

The top left picture is Batman and Artist with one of the kids from the Bible study they lead.

Then the top right is from The Artist’s Court of Awards, she received the Silver Presidential Service Award and her level award for Patriots, next she gets to go for her Stars and Stripes award. She is both excited and nervous about this.

But, what really had us so busy was the kids’ graduation on Saturday. We had quite a fun graduation party with around 30-40 people there, and I made way too much food for the event, but everyone had a great time, which is that bottom two pictures. The left is a picture with one of the boys’ friends and the right is a picture with their cousins and their Mimi. Most of the other pictures from the graduation are just nowhere near as photogenic. Seriously, one of my pictures is a bunch of The Artist’s friends with their hands in the baby pool of ice and drinks, seeing who would keep their hands in there the longest. Kids are weird.

Games played:

No clue, I’m writing this June 6

Books read:

  • I’m going to assume I read the rest of the Timeless Tales books.
  • Swan Lake– Looking at the cover, I’m reminded again of why the saying don’t judge a book by its cover exists, because I am hard-core judging that wedding dress outfit on the cover, it’s horrid for the story.
  • Sleeping Beauty– I like the twist she did so that Sleeping Beauty isn’t marrying a complete stranger when she wakes up OR not some random guy she met in the woods.
  • Frog Prince– This made me laugh because the frog prince is a minor character in other books
  • Snow White– this was my least favorite of the entire series, I didn’t really like the “dwarf” characters or the love interest really

Week 3

Honestly, some of those books might have been in week 3. I read the entire series in this frenzied reading and probably as a way to deny everything going on.

The boys have decided they want to have friends over once a week to play Shadows of Brimstone, so this was the first week and I joined them for that week because I was not feeling like I was overly busy (foolish past Ticia). It was fun to play the game with different people and introducing the game to new people.

That night The Artist and I went to go see her friend’s concert, it reminded me how much I enjoyed classical music.

The next day, we went to the hand doctor for Superman, and he got his cast cut off, so we went to Dairy Queen to celebrate the event. Then we got home, loaded up The Artist as well and drove off for a college visit. They really enjoyed the visit and the school is still on their list of colleges to possibly go to. I’m hoping to get them both to another college in July, June is just way too busy, and honestly, I don’t want to give up any time with Batman before he leaves. So the visits will wait until after he heads off.

The bottom left picture is the boys’ demo team show, they had a portion where the black belts were paired up and had these red masks on. It was both super cool looking and also a little creepy to see how the red masks were very dehumanizing in ways I did not expect. My brother and his kids made it to see the show, but sadly this was Batman’s last show before heading off to the army.

The middle right is the kids sitting there for our last time of serving on parking ministry. I’ve got very mixed feelings on the whole thing, because on the one hand, I really enjoyed the ministry and helping greet people as they came in, but on the other hand the people ultimately in charge of the ministry didn’t value our service, and weren’t helping us to get more people to replace those who left.

And the final picture on the bottom right was from the senior recognition. I was able to gather several of the kids’ friends, but not all of them for a picture together. We had a special senior recognition dinner, and I was doing just fine, wasn’t crying, until after, when they were having a prayer time for the parents and one of the ladies brought up a request for siblings left behind, and the lady leading this time brought it up and then talked about it some more as she looked at me with her heart in her eyes and I just lost it. I started bawling.

It was hard.

There are days where I am completely fine, and then there are days like this morning where I wake up and I am not okay with Batman being about to leave. Not okay at all.

And changing the topic before I start crying.

Week 4

I’m putting this into a couple of parts because so much happened.

The boys played Shadows of Brimstone with more friends, and between the fact that there would be six players if I joined and six players Shadows is not as much fun, so I opted not to join, and I also had realized I did not have anywhere near as much time as I needed to get stuff done. So I did all sorts of super boring stuff as my kids had fun playing board games.

Batman has been spending time painting figures from Cthulhu Death May Die, and they look super cool.

I attempted some new form of empanada, and I don’t remember what country this was from, and I’m just feeling too busy to look it up, mainly I remember being rather meh about this recipe. It had a weird dough recipe and I really hated that part of it.

I finished up the applique on the baby quilt I’ve been working on, and then as we drove up to Branson, I finished the embroidery.

And then the final picture is from the end of the year party, we got a picture of all the Nerf kids together, or I should say all of the kids who were there that day.

Branson was so much fun, and busy. We met Tara and her family up there for an almost week-long vacation together. I was wildly amused to see how many mini golf courses the city had. We picked two mini-golf courses to try, a pirate theme and a dinosaur theme. They were both so much fun. We did figure out we liked the dino course more, the theme was well done and the holes were a little better, and there were a few holes that were “indoors” in a cave, which made it cooler. You can see a couple of the pictures from our dino mini-golf.

The Artist picked going to the Butterfly Palace, and I liked that the admission ticket let you go back for a couple of days, so we went back a few days later and happily just sat there watching the butterflies fly around in the butterfly room. It is amazing how relaxing that was. I’m not quite sure why that was. Tara’s family also went to the Branson aquarium, but it was clearly aimed for younger kids, and I couldn’t justify spending almost $300 on it when I knew my kids wouldn’t enjoy it that much, so we split ways and that’s when we went on our second mini-golf, but they reported fish were so insanely popular with their kids.

We went to Fritz’s Adventure Park, and it’s so much fun, and I would have happily spent most of the day there, but I banged up my knee something awful in the first 10 minutes, and while the adrenaline of the morning and the constant moving meant I could ignore the pain and the problem, but by lunchtime, I pretty much couldn’t walk, so my kids and Tara’s oldest went back to spend the rest of the afternoon crawling all over. I cannot begin to tell you how very very jealous of that I am. We did however have fun eating at a very cool Italian restaurant with a giant meatball out front, and I got a silly picture there of it. So I was at least somewhat happy with that.

Technically, I think the last few pictures are in June, but I’m going to include them here, because it’s just odd to split up a vacation in the middle of it because it crossed over into a new month, so yeah.

Superman loves mirror mazes and while the Butterfly Palace had a really fun one, it was rather small and he saw a couple of places had mazes and I leaned on him to pick the SUPER FUN ZONE rather than Hannah’s Mirror Maze because I thought everyone would enjoy it a bit more, and I was right.

First, the maze combined a scavenger hunt with it, so as you went through the maze you were looking for these different interactive elements. It was also a HUGE maze, so it was a lot of fun to go through, BUT it was also really hot because it was outside, and it’s summer on concrete. Either way I thoroughly enjoyed it. The other parts that came with the pass were a laser tag game, which is the giant group picture in there, and we enjoyed playing that several times, even if I’m terrible at it.

No, like half of my playing consisted of screaming as someone shot me. It was still fun.

Then, they had some sort of button mash thing, which essentially was how fast can you hit the shiny buttons to help save the ship. I discovered the more I did it, the worse I got. It also was insanely fun.

There was a shooting gallery which everyone else in my family enjoyed, but I was rather indifferent to, probably because I am terrible at it, and there isn’t even the fun of trying to save a spaceship as you’re crashing but doing terrible to redeem it.

And then there was the laser maze.

Completely unrelated, but do you spell it laser or lazer? Apparently, my spellcheck is quite convinced laser should have an S.

There were two different versions of it. The first was laser burst where you try to hit as many lasers as you can in 30 seconds. This basically means run around like a crazy person as fast as you can for 30 seconds. It was insanely fun, but also at the same time insanely tiring.

The other version is the spy movie, try to get through the laser room and disarm something. I discovered these are not really made for 40 something women who have giant bruises on their leg and hip so that it hurts to bend your knee too much or put it on the ground.

This did not stop me from doing it several times and every single time say, “Ow, I shouldn’t have done that.”

I shouldn’t have done that five times, that may have made recovery worse, but it was still lots of fun.

I regret nothing.

We finished the trip with lunch, and grabbed a picture together, which I need to get Wendy to photoshop Jeff into the picture, since he took it, so I took a separate picture with him there, so she can play with it and make it look like he was always there.

She has crazy good photoshopping skills, a skill which greatly amuses me.

Games played:

Cthulhu Death May Die

Books read (some of which I read last week, but forgot to write them down then):

  • Apprentice of Magic– Angelique is a minor character throughout the Timeless Tales book, she shows up in one, maybe two scenes in each book hinting at an overarching story, and this is the first book in the series where we get to see that story, these books were double the length of each Timeless Tale book
  • Curse of Magic– Sigh, she really likes the prom dress cover look and I really really super hate it, especially when it’s supposed to be a fantasy series, also she doesn’t really understand what some of the pieces of clothing she is describing look like, but the story is really good, and I like it, these first two books in the series take place mostly before the Timeless Tales, but have a few fun fairy tale nods, Aesop’s Fables, or Nursery Rhymes
  • Reign of Magic– this book probably covers most of the fairy tales in the previous series as side notes, but it was about halfway through this book that I realized she had not finished the series, and there was no way she was going to finish the story in book 4
  • Trial of Magic– The majority of this series takes place in the last few books of the Timeless Tales series, and then continues the story further, and I really liked it and how it ended, but I want the rest of the story. Sadly reading the author’s website she’s not planning on writing the books for this series this year, she has different series planned. I don’t know if she’s planning to write it in 2024 either. I WANT MY NEXT BOOK!

I also went back and reread some of the books while we were on vacation because I just wanted something easy to read while I was hurting and it was fun to see the hints of things I know about from later books in the series in the earlier books. There was another book or two I read, but I don’t remember exactly what they were.

And now I’m all the way through May and part of June! YAY!!!!!!! Let’s get this post scheduled!

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