Friday Photography

Going Up - Taking the escalator up from the dark depths of the Washington DC metro station and emerging into the light.
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lately - injury edition

Remember my little tumble on the stairs.. well as you know I didn't get to rest a lot and while I tried to sneak in a little rest here and there why ankle still hurts.. and now the pain has started to radiate throughout my leg.. there should be a rule against mom's being sick/hurt! So three weeks after the initial injury I limped on over to meet with an orthopedic doctor.. meet my latest stylish accessory

and thanks to Mr. AirCast I can not fit into any of my boots or cute shoes..! Four more weeks the doctor said :( 

Don't start to feel bad for me just yet.. it gets better! While M was picking D up from somewhere he spotted a friend and while waving to him he managed to poke himself in the eye.. Now try waving and see how hard it is to poke yourself in the eye..not easy. I just have a really talented husband. :)
Eye drops and a little drops seemed like the solution.. but when he woke up the next morning he was still in pain. So off to the ER... again

This was before we bought the eye patch.. putting that scarf to good use. So now since my man's depth perception was all wonky my sprained ankle drove him to the ER and did all the things I was not supposed to do while resting! A few days his eye got better phew and I could go back to putting my leg up on the weekend and resting.. 

But how dare I?  M decided his ankle now too hurt.. and I'm not saying he's lying or pretending.. why would he right? Right? But a phantom pain arrived and while he powered on and continued to let me take it easy.. weekends only since on the weekdays M of course has to go to work and involve me shuttling D around to his classes and then some.. and let's not even get started on H.. terrible two's have officially arrived!

And while all this is going down our master bedroom and bath are still under renovations, we had moved into the guest bedroom with all our belongings and disassembled furniture placed in various rooms.. then while the master bedroom was 70% complete the contractor wanted to start working on the guest bedroom simultaneously.. so we moved more furniture and more of our belongings into D and H's rooms and moved into D's room for what felt like indoor camping..? A glimpse of the chaos we call life right now..

and then our house was hit with the flu! sick babies anyone? and then bit and pieces of their flu ended up in M and I..

just in time for Storm Jonas to strike.. 30 inches of snow.. unbelievable. And not a single able body in the house to play in all that snow.. 2016 has been off to a rocky start. 

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Friday Photography


Glass Paved - A mosaic of rectangular blue glass and mirror pieces arranged in a row, such beauty in it's simplicity. The photograph was taken in Baltimore.

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Cancun Getaway

The week before Christmas we flew off to Mexico for a little getaway.. but before I get into the details a little backstory - that particular week M and I celebrated our 8th anniversary.. we planned it so that he and I could go away, just the two of us for a few days.. get some alone time.. it was something we were planning since H turned one. Weeks before our trip M's grandfather passed away and his parents our would have been babysitters left the country and so by default the boys were added to the trip.. and while we had a wonderful time we often caught ourselves imagining what it would have been like if it had been just the two of us.. oh well.. we shall plan again for another time.

Now as if all this wasn't enough I manged to trip on the steps and sprain my ankle days before the trip.. and while thank god it was a minor sprain I did not get a lot of time to rest it which is why weeks later I still sit with my leg propped up on pillows trying to squeeze in a little rest while the little munchkin naps.. and with an appointment to an orthopedic doctor scheduled :(. 

Enough back story.. now lets get to Cancun. We stayed along the hotel strip in the CasaMagna Marriott. we are reward members so got an upgrade to ocean view and their usually paid wifi was free. The view from our room

Day one was spent gorging ourselves on the delicious snack bar offerings and than a delicious Thai dinner also on the hotel premises.. and when we weren't eating we were on the beach.. H's first!

My ankle and I lounged on a chair while M and the boys played in the water.. a few things to note. The water in Cancun was very rough.. M had to be very attentive.. more than once the waves pulled the boys down.. the water was also very sandy.. with every wave the boys ended up more sandy than they would have if they were playing with the sand.. which in the end we preferred they do with the water being so rough and M tiring of playing lifeguard. Another thing about the water.. tons of seaweed.. and while the hotel cleaned the beach every morning.. more just kept washing up.. very unlike our trip to Aruba with it's serene waters.

Day 2 we got to an early start and binged on the hotels breakfast buffet included in our package. Then with a rent a car we headed down to Xcaret about an hour away in Playa del Carmen. While with little kids and now my ankle we were less able to swim in cenotes and be more adventurous so we thought that with an eco park we may be able to do it in a more safe environment. It was a nice park.. tons to do but H was too young to do most activities..And I had to sit out the underground river because it frightened the little guy. D on the other hand had a brilliant time. 

If you look close you may spot a few iguana's.. we encountered more than a few just chilling.. while the boys stared at them in awe a local stopped and informed us of what a delicious soup that iguana would make..!!

We caught a few cultural shows.. the night show especially spectacular though we left during the first intermission.. both boys had fallen asleep, my ankle was throbbing and we had a long drive back to the hotel.

D even stepped out of his comfort zone and held a parrot. Note: A lot of the activities didn't allow you to take your own pictures and if you wanted memories like the one below you had no choice but to buy a print.

Day 3 was another early start.. not that we had a choice with early riser H.. another quick buffet breakfast.. yum. No better way to start it than a clay pot of hot coco :) and the view of the beautiful pool and ocean while we ate

The itinerary for the day was a trip to Isla Mujeres and a dolphin swim courtesy of M's company. It began with a 40 minute ferry ride on a very windy rainy day.. by the time we finally got to the Dolphin Discovery Center we all felt a bit queasy.. and the cold rain was putting a damper on our day. Soon we were headed into the cold water with the boys clinging to us to meet Valariya and Sinbad.


Next we grabbed a quick bite to eat and grabbed a taxi to downtown Isla Mujeres to rent ourselves a golf cart.. the preferred mode of travel.. the best mode of travel. The weather had started to get a bit better.. the sun came out. 

The island is very small.. and quick to drive through.. we made a stop here and there but out main destination was Punta Sur, the southern most point of the island. 

This was the highlight of our trip.. it was otherworldly.. the wind was too strong and we had to really work hard to keep firm on our feet.. and that was part of the fun I suppose. It was making us giddy.. is there such a thing? getting high on nature.. lol.. I sound insane. There was a small sculpture park, a temple, a restaurant and an amazing staircase that winds down the cliff.. with the winds and my ankle and the boys we didn't venture donwn the cliff.. but the sculptures and the views and the park itself was intoxicating..

We headed back to downtown to return our golf cart.. drank some coconuts and made our way back to Dolphin Discovery to catch out ferry.. the last leaves at 5:30 pm

Our last day was spent in the pool.. before we headed out to catch our flight back home.. 

 This may not have been the way we had envisioned this trip but it still turned out pretty great.. 

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Friday Photography - Valentine's Day

Earlier I shared with you that I was starting to sell throw pillow covers in my Etsy shop.. I started with a Christmas Collection and now here is my Valentine Collection :)

They are all available in three different sizes, inserts not included. 
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Reading in 2015

1. Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - Barcelona, 1945: Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son discovered a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. It started out bit slow and I wondered where it was going.. but once it picked up momentum this book was amazing.. it was crazy dramatic, lost loves, incest, teenage pregnancies and more crazy stuff but so much fun. This book was quite a surprise and highly recommended!

2. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin - This is the second installment of the Game of Thrones series. At a certain time each year I start to yearn for my GOT fix. 10 episodes a year is just not enough! I like reading the books after the episodes especially since the show is no longer following the books.. I like digging a bit deeper, things I missed while watching or things the show skipped. I skip parts and reread others.. and bug M with tidbits and fun facts. :)

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this one, seemed so depressing but the reviews were so amazing that I thought I'd give it a chance.. and I am so glad I did. It was depressing yes, but also so hopeful, made you feel so grateful for all that you were blessed with, made you laugh and cry and realize the importance of hard work and determination.. It goes onto my must read list..

4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows - January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends. I am a bit on the fence about this one.. it has a good concept and started out interestingly.. the entire book is told in letters.. but then 3/4 in it got to a point where I just wanted it to end.. what was initially cute and unique just started to become annoying and repetitive... argh!

5. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery. Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairy tales written by Eliza Makepeace - the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century - Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past. This tale was told in three different times.. there was the story of Eliza, Nell and Cassandra and I found myself most intrigued and interested in the story of Eliza. I found myself skimming through some of Cassandra's chapters so that I could read more about Eliza.. While I won't call this one a must read I'd still recommend it.. Eliza was such an amazing character and her story so interesting and heartbreaking that it makes the book worth it.. 

6. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick - Pat Peoples has a theory that his life is actually a movie produced by God, and that his God-given mission in life is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending – which, for Pat, means the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as any surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) I watched the movie and enjoyed it, very much. I read the book and enjoyed it.. I may have enjoyed the book very much if I hadn't seen the movie first.. The problem is the same with all book based movies.. when you read the book you come with a set of exceptions which the movie rarely lives up to.. the characters don't look how you imagined them.. there are changes made to the story and so on.. well I had the same problem with the the book.. I had come with a story in mind and the book is so so very greatly different from the movie.. and while reading I kept thinking.. well this isn't what happened in the movie! argh!

7. Iron House by John Hart - Michael and his brother, Julian, were raised in a home for boys. Iron House provided shelter and discipline. Julian was constantly abused and bullied by the other boys. Michael wanted to protect his brother and was forced to fight for both of them. As a result, he became a ferocious combatant. When Julian finally struck back at his main tormentor, Michael took the blame. Julian was adopted and Michael left the home and lived on the streets, constantly having to defend himself. If you like a good thriller this is your book.. with all the blood and gore comes a great story, a mystery, family and love. I was staying up way past my bedtime to read this one and it was one helluva ride! 

8. Touch and Go by Lisa Gardner - Ten minutes after walking the elite Back Bay townhouse and investigator Tessa Leoni already doesn’t like what she sees. Signs of an abduction. Clearly the work of professionals. The more Tessa learns about the Denbe family, the less she likes their chances. What might have looked like the perfect existence—a powerful CEO, his adoring wife, their angelic child—is not what it appears. Husband, wife, daughter—magazine perfect, but each hiding dark secrets… Another thriller.. pretty good.. but nowhere near as good as Iron House. Most of the story had me intrigued and interested it was the end that pissed me off a bit.. 

9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - A story about a blind French girl Marie and a German boy Werner whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. This was a very long, very slow, very beautifully written book. It had a lovely story and some parts were very interesting, some pages held me captive but over all it was a slow long book.. a hundred or so pages too long. I have decided after this particular book that I am no longer interested in WWII books.. I think I may have read enough on the subject matter. 

10. Mean Streak by Sandra Brown - Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her. While police suspect Jeff of "instant divorce," Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won't even tell her his name. She's determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive. Boy was this a boring story, minus a few thrills here and there this was a fairly predictable tale with almost  no thrill level. 

11. Wolf by Mo Hayder - When a vagrant—the Walking Man—finds a dog wandering alone with the words "HELP US” written on its collar, he’s sure it’s a desperate plea from someone in trouble and calls on Detective Inspector Jack Caffery to investigate. Caffery has no idea who or what he is searching for, but one thing he is sure of: it's a race against time. Meanwhile, the Anchor-Ferrers, a wealthy local family, are fighting for their lives in their remote home ten miles away. Two men have tricked their way into the house and are holding the family for ransom. Yet as the captors’ demands become increasingly bizarre and humiliating, it becomes clear that this is more than a random crime it’s a personal vendetta. Another great thriller.. this really has been the year of thrillers for me.. Wolf was intriguing, disturbing and unpredictable.. and the twist at the end was a devastating realization..

12. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See - In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart. After reading this one I am just very very glad that I was born in this century.. and it is also amazing to see just how far we have come.. the oppression, the injustices women have faced and endured throughout the centuries.. and here we are now, stronger than ever before.. makes me proud to be a woman. 

See what I have read in the past 2014 2013 2012 2011
What have you been reading? Anything I should add to my ever growing list?

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