Welcome Back to School

August is a crazy month in a teacher’s world! It feels good to be back at school, but it’s so hard to get the routine going again. I absolutely love my new school! The staff and students are incredible! And in the plus side, I have gone two weeks without filling my gas tank and I don’t have to leave my house until 6:45.

Since I’m also coaching volleyball, I have had some LONG days. My average day is close to 11 hours (I leave around 6:45 and get home around 5:45). On game days it’s later. Plus I will be spending every Sunday at school through October to stay on top of things. It will all be worth it though, Travis and I just booked our spring break cruise! All my coaching money is going to the cruise.

Probably he worst part about heading back to school is leaving his little guy at home all day.

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We had have some time for fun though. Travis and I got to go to the Katy Perry concert last week! Probably didn’t help the exhaustion we were both feeling from the start of school, but still totally worth it.

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We also went to Parkville Days last weekend. We watched the parade and walked around the carnival.

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Tomorrow we are headed to the Kansas City Irish Fest downtown! Three day weekend are the best ūüôā

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2014 Summer Books

Since my summer officially ends tomorrow, I thought I would update you all on the books I read this summer. I read a lot of good ones! Since this was not the summer for movies or TV, books were my go-to.

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1. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

This is about an athlete training for the Olympics who becomes a World War II pilot. He ends up spending a great deal of time in a POW camp in Japan. Very inspirational and probably my favorite of the summer! This will make a great movie directed by Angela Jolie.

2. Serena by Ron Rash

This is about a ruthless couple in the 1930’s trying to make their way in the timber business. George Pemberton has been in the camp longer than his wife Serena, and he ends up fathering an illegitimate child. Once Serena moves in, you learn that there is no man that can challenge her. This movie will star Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

3. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

This book is about a girl named Alice who wakes up after a gym accident to learn she has forgotten ten years of her life. She doesn’t remember her three children and believes her and her husband will live happily ever after. She needs to put the pieces of her live back together.

4. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

If you liked Gone Girl this might be the book for you. It has a dark and somewhat twisted storyline. An overworked mother tries to figure out the pieces of her daughter’s supposed suicide. She does what she can to prove her daughter was murdered and learns things she never expected she would about her daughter’s hidden life.

5. I was Told There’d be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Author, Sloane Crosley, writes a series of short essays about her life and they are hilarious! If you liked Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (another one I would highly recommend) this one might be for you. It’s a quick read and very funny.

6. The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure by Jack Handley

Don’t waste your time. It’s weird. I have a strange sense of humor and even I couldn’t get into this one.

7. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

I haven’t actually finished this one yet. I read most of it, then saw the movie, and now I don’t have much motivation to finish it since I know how it ends. However, it’s still a very good, but very long, love story. A burglar, Peter Lake, falls in love with Beverly Penn, a young girl who is dying. This is a story of how love transcends across time. Reminder: it’s long and wordy. Not an easy breezy beach read.

8. Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, both part of the Lunar Chronicles

I mentioned Cinder in my cruise posts, and I just finished Scarlet, the second book in the series. This is a young adult series that retells some classic fairy tales with a sci-fi twist. There’s humans, androids, plagues, moon people, a prince, a wolf and a whole lot of drama! It’s the new thing among middle schoolers. I also like that the heroes are mostly female.

9. Maze Runner by James Dashner

This is the next Hunger Games. I also mentioned this in the cruise posts. A group of boys are dropped off in the middle of a maze with their memories gone. They must find out what the maze means and how to get out of it. This is a series and I have heard the second book gets a lot more gory than the first. This is being made into a movie, but I don’t know much about it.

10. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, 2nd book in the Miss Peregrine’s series

The Miss Peregrine’s series in another young adult series that is basically X-Men for kids. The story is about kids called peculiars that have special powers. These kids live in loops that keep them the same age and in the same time period. Guess what?! Also being made into a movie.

11. Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord

This is the one I’m currently reading and I’m about half way through. It’s a very quick read about a man who decides to travel the world to learn about what makes people happy. It’s almost like a self-help book in disguise. It’s a movie coming out in September starring Simon Pegg.

Lately, I’ve been on the books-getting-turned-into-movies kick. Overall, it’s been a good reading summer (minus number 6 on this list). Here’s what I’ve got on the stack for fall:

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The One and Only by Emily Giffin (author of Something Borrowed)

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (it’s a movie that’s already out starring Pierce Brosnan, it was a limited release movie)

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (a movie out right now!)

Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman (a movie shown at some film festivals but hasn’t made its public appearance yet, Dakota Fanning is back!)

Horns by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son is the author, a movie coming out soon starring Daniel Radcliffe)

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (2nd book in the Maze Runner series)

Happy reading! What are your recommendations?

La Seyne, France

Our last day was in La Seyne, France. The port of call on our itinerary was technically Toulon, but we were actually within walking distance of La Seyne, and¬†a 20 minute boat drive away from Toulon.¬†We originally were going to go to a beach; however, we ended up canceling our excursion because we thought we were going to have bad weather. Our captain decided we needed to leave France an hour early to make it to Barcelona in time. We figured this wouldn’t be the best time to go to the beach.

The day actually ended up being pretty nice, we would have been fine at the beach. It was VERY windy though. The locals told us its about that windy 100 days out of the year. We ended up just walking around the small town of La Seyne. We took next to no pictures, so not the most colorful blog post.

We walked to the town square and then around a really interesting market. It was a very different experience from anything else we had done on our cruise.

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We then walked around the port some and got some good pictures of the ship.

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After that, we board back on the ship to pack up our things. We watched an interesting aerial show in the centrum.

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We then spent some time out on deck as we pulled away from our final destination. Even though we left an hour early, we had to turn back for a medical evacuation, so we actually left 15 minutes late. We walked around the deck, took a few silly pictures, had some good drinks, and made a couple new friends!
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We then had our final dinner with our amazing tablemates and wait staff!

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Charlie, the assistant waiter

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Neftali, our head waiter

The final show for the cruise was a Russian aerialist duo and they were amazing! It was very poor planning on Royal Caribbean’s part to have these two preform the same day as the dancers on board did their aerial show. The Russian duo blew the Royal Caribbean dancers out of the water. They also had a farewell portion of the show were at least one person from each department came on stage. The crew really did do a wonderful job!

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As you can guess, the water was very rough that night. I think the captain was trying to make up time so he was going very fast. I went to bed early. Sorry I’m so boring. We needed to wake up early the next morning to disembark anyway.

Royal Caribbean assigned us an 8:30 check out time. However, we needed to get off the boat earlier than that due to our flight time, which meant our only option was to carry our own luggage off at 6:30. We were a little upset about this at the beginning, but it was a major blessing in disguise. It really was so much easier and quicker¬†getting off the boat with our own luggage in hand (Normal cruise check out process is as follows: You set your bags outside our room the night before, excluding your carry-on. In the morning, you wait on the ship until your group is called to leave. You dash out in a mad rush with everyone else in your group. You wait at a¬†baggage claim roundabout thingy¬†like you do in the airport to pick up your luggage. You find your way to the airport and begin the check in process there.) Opting to carry your own luggage off meant we didn’t have to set our bags out the night before and at 6:30 we carried our bags up one flight of stairs (we were on the 4th floor and the exit was on the 5th floor) and walked off the ship with about 50 other people and very easily got into a cab to the airport. SO EASY. Consider it.

The most exciting thing after that was seeing a beagle drug dog. Seriously the cutest, most non-intimidating drug dog ever! And he busted someone! I also finally got to watch Silver Linings Playbook on the way home. Very cute movie! And the plane food really sucked on the way back, but I had my first coke in well over 1 year.

Now we are home, and¬†sad/depressed to not be in Europe. Sorry America, Europe is way¬†better. Can’t wait to go back!¬†Where in the world should we¬†travel to next? Our thoughts are Northern Europe, Africa, Australia, Alaska, or Eastern Mediterranean.¬†What do you think? Disney is always an option too ūüôā¬†¬†