The year has just begun and I feel like it's already passing by in a blur. Early in the month H had his birthday party.. we had requested no boxed gifts, thankfully most people complied and with those gift cards we got H a gift we thought he'd love.. and he did love it.. for about a week!

and then one Saturday morning he asked me to sell it. They have understood the fact that mommy likes to sell the things no one is using and or things we do not need.. and so now he quite often asks me to sell his broken toys, used crayons and so on so forth. After double and triple checking with him M packed it up and off it went to another child's house who will hopefully love and play with it for longer than a few days.

What H does love are his Lego's and Magformers. 

What we have here is a Booger Cleaner.. it's for the kids who like to eat their boogers.. when the stomach becomes full of boogers you put this in your mouth and it'll suck out all the boogers! Ew. 

We also just recently discovered these brick tapes.. you can stick them anywhere and build on them. And they remove easily without peeling paint or leaving behind residue. I even find myself playing with them.

Towards the middle of January my in laws arrived and the boys were ecstatic.. by the end of this month they will be gone again.. off to visit their daughter and her kiddo's. While they are here we hosted two events at our home.. both of a religious nature.. so while not exactly fun but they did require a lot of preparation, cooking, cleaning and the god awful job of getting people to RSVP. I used Paperless Post to send out the invites and it made tracking RSVP's so very easy but I still had to remind most people more than two times via email and then once via text and some even got a phone call asking them to please for the love of God RSVP!!! aRGH. I am so over hosting for the next few months.. 

D has been complaining about not being able to see things from afar so we scheduled an eye appointment. Thankfully everything checked out. But the doctor did warn that if he is not careful he will most likely end up with glasses sooner rather than later, especially considering the fact that both M and I have had glasses. Thank God for Lasik!

February is a big month for us.. M and I both celebrate our birthday.. back to back, only a day apart. Our birthdays came and went by in a blur last week. M was working from home but he was so busy. I bought myself a cake, ate at home and by the end of the day almost forgot it was our birthday. Don't worry.. it's not all depressing.. we have some plans of a belated celebration.. :D The last two years we have been going away.. even if it's somewhere local.. even if it's just a day.. but we go somewhere. Last year we went to Vegas.. part 1 and part 2. The year before we stayed local. This year we'll be staying local again but we are excited and counting down the days! 

We did manage to sneak out with some friends on Friday night.. it wasn't supposed to be a birthday dinner.. just a catch up but someone tipped them off that it had been my birthday a few days earlier.. though conveniently forgot to mention that he had one too.. so I got all the attention!

Sometimes the gray winter days and the craziness of life make me feel a little blue. What do you do when you find yourself feeling blue.. me? I like to plan a vacation. Looking at wanderlust pictures isn't enough.. I need to actually plan it.. it gives me something to look forward too

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Friday Photography


Stairway to Heaven - Inside the opulent Vatican Museum on the majestic and ornate spiral staircase. The photograph is black and white, the people a beautiful blur.

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4th Ninja Birthday Party

We threw D his first birthday party excluding his actual first birthday party when he turned 4 and so when H's fourth birthday came around it was time to throw him one too.

My first time dealing with a winter birthday party we decided to play it safe and host it at a party venue and this martial arts center turned out to be the perfect find! 

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Friday Photography

Stacked - Standing at the Montreal waterfront looking across the St. Lawrence River at these compact stacked claustrophobic apartments. The architectural landmark Habitat 67 was an experimental housing project designed by Moshe Safdie.

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20 Question with H

1. What is your favorite color? Red
2. What is your favorite toy? Magformers
3. What is your favorite fruit? All of them.
4. What is your favorite food? Cheddar Bunnies and Jello
5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Vanilla
7. What is your favorite tv show? Animal Mechanimals
8. What is your favorite animal? Lions, Tigers and Giraffes
9. What is your favorite song? Lakari ki kathi (old hindi song I used to sing to him at bedtime)
10. What is your favorite book? The Bath Monster by Colin Boyd
11. Who is your best friend? Isha
12. What is your favorite game? Busytown
13. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Snow tubing in our backyard
14. What do you want to be when you grow up? Whatever my dad does.
15. What is your favorite thing to do with mummy? cook
16. What is your favorite thing to do with baba? Make things with the magformers
17. What is your favorite thing to do with Daanyal? play with him in the basement
18. What makes you feel sad? When someone hits me or I fall
19. What makes you feel happy? When somebody says ‘cheer up’
20. What was your favorite thing about your birthday? Eating pizza and cake.  
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Friday Photography

Squared In - The beautifully adorned ceiling of St. Peter's Cathedral in the Vatican City.
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Reading in 2017

This was a pretty decent year of reading.. not my best

I read and finished 10 books.. only -_-
1. The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey - He meets women. He gains their trust. He kills them. That's all London police detective Maeve Kerrigan knows about the man she is hunting. Three women have been strangled in their homes, and it appears to be the work of the same sadistic killer. Then the evidence starts to point to a shocking suspect: DCI Josh Derwent, Maeve's partner on the police force.  A good thriller.. not a must read but kept me interested till the the end

2. Fallen by Karin Slaughter - There's no police training stronger than a cop's instinct. Faith Mitchell's mother isn't answering her phone. Her front door is open. There's a bloodstain above the knob. Her infant daughter is hidden in a shed behind the house. All that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations taught Faith Mitchell goes out the window when she charges into her mother's house, gun drawn. She sees a man dead in the laundry room. She sees a hostage situation in the bedroom. What she doesn't see is her mother. I am really liking Karin Slaughters work.. especially her Will Trent series. I have not been reading them in order but I read a few last year and two this year and her books are edge of your seat thrillers. I have another book or so of hers on my bookshelf waiting to be read this year.. I'm trying not to binge and brace myself.. 

3. Fractured by Karin Slaughter - With its gracious homes and tree-lined streets, Ansley Park is one of Atlanta's most desirable neighborhoods. But in one gleaming mansion, in a teenager's lavish bedroom, a girl has been savagely murdered. And in the hallway, her horrified mother stands amid shattered glass, having killed her daughter's attacker with her bare hands. Detective Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is here only to do a political favor; the murder site belongs to the Atlanta police. But Trent soon sees something that the cops are missing, something in the trail of blood, in a matrix of forensic evidence, and in the eyes of the shell-shocked mother. Within minutes, Trent is taking over the case -- and adding another one to it. He is sure that another teenage girl is missing, and that a killer is on the loose. I'll say it again.. I really really like Karin Slaughter!!

4. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year but Vasilisa doesn't mind--she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed--this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales. This is a magnificent tale.. it took me a while to get into it.. there are a lot of Russian terms and initially I found my self rereading paragraphs.. so I will say do not read this when you are in the mood for something light and quick.. this is a deep and all consuming sort of tale and so worth it.. this may just be my favorite of the year. 

5. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kruger - Set in New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961,  it was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a summer in which death assumed many forms. When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal. This was a slow beautifully written tale of small town America in the 1960's. Beautifully tragic.. something to read on a long cold night. Though I often feel not quite ready for these slower books.. life is so busy that when I don't find a book immediately pulling me in I find myself very quickly getting distracted away from reading it and doing other things instead. 

6. The Beauty of the Fall by Rich Marcello - Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss, Olivia Whitmore, fires Dan from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, he crashes and isolates himself. Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Fortune 500 companies to flesh out a software start-up idea. When Dan returns home with a fully formed vision, he recruits the help of three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change. This was a different sort of book for me.. it was about corporate America, the creation of a company from ground up. But also about a man who lost his son in an accident he blames himself for.. it was an interesting read about overcoming the loss of a child and self growth and reflection. My issue with the book was that there was no goal.. I don't know how to explain.. usually you solve a murder.. find love, uncover a mystery.. here there was no such purpose.. it could have ended at any point and it would have been fine.. that for me makes the process of finishing a story less satisfying. 

7. Letter to the Lost by Iona Grey - 1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London… Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. But the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five. Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan's words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late? This was a sweet love story.. not a must read.. but a sweet tale nonetheless.

8. Grit by Gillian French - It’s summer in rural Maine; when seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss isn’t raking berries with her sister, Mags, and cousin, Nell, during the day, she’s drinking and swimming with the boys in the quarry by night. She knows how to have a good time, just like anyone else, but when you’ve been designated the town slut, every move you make seems to further solidify your “trashy girl” reputation. But the fun is what’s been keeping Darcy’s mind off the things she can’t forget: a disturbing secret she shares with Nell, the mysterious disappearance of her ex-best friend, and that hazy Fourth of July party that ended with Darcy drunk, on her back, wondering how she let it get this far. This was a very forgettable book.. I can only remember bits and pieces of it.. can't even remember how it ended.. I know I finished it so it probably wasn't that bad but certainly left no impressions on me. 

9. Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin - Malcolm Fox, in what will be his last case as an internal affairs cop, is tasked with finding out the truth. Past and present are about to collide in shocking and murderous fashion. What does Rebus have to hide? And whose side is he really on? His colleagues back then called themselves "The Saints," and swore a bond on something called the Shadow Bible. But times have changed and the crimes of the past may not stay hidden much longer. This was the second police book I read based in a city across the pond.. so it takes a while to get accustomed to the terminology. It also took we a while to get hooked but by the end it was definitely enjoyable. Still not a must read but a good read nonetheless. 

10. The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by - George Foss never thought he'd see her again, but on a late-August night in Boston, there she is, in his local bar, Jack's Tavern. When George first met her, she was an eighteen-year-old college freshman from Sweetgum, Florida. She and George became inseparable in their first fall semester, so George was devastated when he got the news that she had committed suicide over Christmas break. But, as he stood in the living room of the girl's grieving parents, he realized the girl in the photo on their mantelpiece - the one who had committed suicide - was not his girlfriend. Later, he discovered the true identity of the girl he had loved - and of the things she may have done to escape her past. Now, twenty years later, she's back, and she's telling George that he's the only one who can help her. Another book I can barely remember.. I guess I didn't have the best year in reading.. But I did finish it so it couldn't have been that bad.. I think.

These two are the ones I could even finish.. I couldn't even make it to the first 100 pages. The Boy who Lived with Ghosts was too messed up to even continue and Under the Knife which had a very interesting premise was just so ridiculous and absurd it felt like a daytime soap.. so it too was left unfinished. :(

I am currently reading America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray - The fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy. I am a quarter in and so far I am enjoying it.. I have never really read anything about the presidents.. it is almost autobiographical.. though it is listed as historical fiction.. it's a new genre for me and I am finding it interesting.. learning more about one of our founding fathers.

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