Bumblebee

I had a date night with this handsome kid last night, and we went and saw Bumblebee. He’s been a huge Transformers fan since he was three years old, but somehow this one is the first we’ve seen in theaters! After a yummy meal at Subway, his favorite place to eat, it was off to the theater.

The movie opens on Cybertron, in the middle of the war. Arthur especially loved watching that battle rage, seeing the fall of Cybertron happen instead of the brief flashbacks we’ve seen in past movies. Bumblebee is sent to Earth by Optimus, as a sort of scout, to pave the way for the rest of the Autobots.

His arrival on Earth is not a peaceful one, but we do see how he loses his voice and it was a sad scene for me. He is my favorite Transformer after all. Things get better when Charlie comes along, and there are some very funny moments, with only a little heartbreak thrown in.

I won’t spoil the movie, but I did tear up a few times. Apparently I’m a soft touch and a bit of a sap with books and movies, but I am standing by my emotional rating!

There was a scene during the credits that makes me question if they will be doing at least one more of these prequel movies. Otherwise the timeline will be a little skewed and that will bother me forever!

Have you seen the movie? What did you think of it?

2018 in Retrospect

This has been another crazy year. It never sounds like it until you sit down to post about it, but wow.

In typical fashion of a combined family as large as Tony and I’s, we had a wedding. We were invited to two, but were only able to attend one, my cousin’s. Don’t we look spiffy?

In what is becoming a sad tradition, we attended a funeral as well. It seems for every wedding we attend there is a funeral to pair with it. An amazing woman, who has been deeply involved in Tony and I’s lives since we were teens passed away unexpectedly over the summer and it is still hard to process that grief.

At the beginning of the year, we built our beautiful new kitchen, still not complete, even though we’ve been using it since March.

It has been just over a year since my brother, Josh, moved in with us and he has been an amazing addition to our home. Tony and I have been able to enjoy more nights out together, the kids have enjoyed him immensely, so there is really no downside to having him here as he attends school.

Half way through the year I adopted a habit tracker system to help keep me organized, which worked brilliantly until November rolled around. I’ve been taking the dog for more routine walks, which has been good for both of us. Getting out in to the air, spending quiet time with the silly Zuko, has been great for me personally.

I completed my first reading challenge on Goodreads, 120 books this year, with no rereading. I have found so many amazing series, Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses, some embarrassingly delightful smut novels, etc. I’m looking forward to next year where I can continue my “no rereading” policy.

I was able to attend a Halloween book signing at Turn the Page bookstore, Nora Roberts, obviously, and the amazing Karen Marie Moning, another author I discovered this year. One more signing off that particular bucket list!

The family and I took a fall trip to New Jersey to visit Tony’s grandmother and had an amazing time. The boardwalk, the ocean, and time with family are always a fabulous addition to the year.

This year promises to be just as amazing. Italy coming this summer. Meet and greets with more authors I’ve fallen for. Putting the finishing touches on the kitchen, and who knows what else!

I hope your year was meaningful. Just remember that a year doesn’t have to be about checking off boxes on your bucket list, or visiting exotic locales. It can be about time spent with family, achieving a personal goal, or even something as small as how many books you read. Perhaps you survived another year at a job putting you through college. Whatever it is, celebrate the year that has past, and embrace whatever is coming. It’s going to be good, I know it!

Bohemian Rhapsody

I went in to this movie knowing nothing about Queen, other than the most popular songs. I couldn’t have even told you the name Freddy Mercury!

My husband is a big fan of classic music, I love Rami Malek, so it was a perfect date night choice. It felt even more perfect as we watched the movie!

The movie starts with how Freddy met his band mates, met the “love of his life”. It bounces quickly to their success and how Freddy Mercury is apparently out of his mind, but you love every minute of it.

As with any of these movies, you know the bad has to come, and it does. I learned things about Freddy and the band that I had no idea about. Even my husband, who knows a lot of music trivia was surprised by some of it. The movie pulls through! For those of you that know what happened to Freddy, you still leave the theater feeling happy and mostly optimistic.

I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone that has ever happily stomped along with “we will, we will, rock you” or screamed the lyrics to “we are the champions”. You will absolutely enjoy it!

Brunswick 4th Annual 5K Pumpkin Run

My first marathon medal

I may have sucked, but I competed in my first ever marathon! This marathon, where you can run either a 5K or walk 1M, raises money to support the Brunswick, OH area food bank. I was planning to do the mile walk with my husband and kids, but my kids talked me in to attempting the 5K. Poor choice….

Justice League of America

Costumes aren’t required, but any excuse to dress up is a good time in my mind. Our family theme this year was Justice League. We pulled my brother in to be our Superman too!

My brother, the former Marine, ran the 5K in 23 minutes. Not bad for someone that hasn’t done any running since last November when he separated!

Third fastest in his age range

My husband walked the mile, joined by our son when he gave up on the 5K. Our daughter finished around 35 minutes. There is a reason she wanted to be the Flash! My sad excuse for a Wonder Woman self completed it in 55 minutes. I feel I would have done better if I had started out walking to warm up. Shin splints are real and they suck!

Best Female Costume

I did win for having the best female costume. I will never be the fastest, but I can certainly own the best costume category!

Really looking forward to next year. I will actually prepare for the 5K, you know, practice running, stretch. Smart stuff!

Have you ever run a marathon? Are you one of those people that live for the runner high?

Throne of Glass series

Aren’t they beautiful?

Sara J Maas. Have you heard the name yet? If not, you need to know that shes a brilliant author! She’s written the Court of Thorn of Roses trilogy and the Throne of Glass series. It’s the latter that I want to talk about today, since the last book of the series comes out in October! Kingdom of Ash has so many storylines to wrap up and it will have to be the most epic thing she’s written!

Throne of Glass, technically, starts with the book Assassin’s Blade. It is not one long story, but rather five short novellas that are a kind of prequel. You are introduced to characters who become important later on. I really recommend this as your starting point!

The first real book is Throne of Glass. It stars Celaena Sardothian, an amazingly efficient and smart alec assassin, the very best of Adarlan, who is released from the salt mines, where she was a slave. Her freedom comes at a price though, she must enter a competition to become the king’s champion (assassin). Prince Dorian and his friend Chaol, the captain of the guard, bring her back to the kingdom. The competition reveals many of the kingdom’s secrets, which sets up the rest of the series.

Crown of Midnight, book two, still follows Celaena through new adventures and devastating heartbreak. Characters we love leave us, causing Celaena to start down a new path, or a very old one, depending on how you look at it.

Heir of Fire brings Celaena to a new kingdom, new characters, and secrets revealed. Rowan, a fae warrior, comes on to the scene and he is a very harsh male. I will ask you to be gentle with him, he has reasons to be the way he is.

Queen of Shadows brings even more new characters, new problems to be solved. Celaena, or Aelin, is trying to do the right thing, for both her friends, and the kingdom, but her means are unbelievably crazy. The plans work out though, so stay with her to the end!

Empire of Storms will break your heart. It is amazing, and we get to know some older characters much better. Elide and Lorcan are my personal favorite as far as unlikely allies. There are many of them in this book. Enemies work together to try and stop a greater evil and ot makes for a great deal of reader entertainment! Remember, heart break, but worth it!

Tower of Dawn made a lot of readers angry. It’s just as brilliantly written as everything else, but at the end of Empire of Storms you have beloved characters in dire straights, only to skip back in time. We join Chaol on the southern continent and meet a whole new cast of characters. Chaol and Nesryn, another character from Adarlan, are in Antica to heal Chaol’s injury, and to hopefully raise an army to fight the evil trying to take over. Give this book a chance and, if nothing else, tell yourself that you need to know these characters before Kingdom of Ash!

Enjoy the books! They are beautiful and the although the stories can pull at your heart, they will also lift you up. My two favorite quotes from this entire series are

“The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.”

and

“You could rattle the stars. You could do anything, if only you dared.”

Those two quotes can see you through almost anything, and there are many more inspiring quotes to be had. Along with funny and quippy ones. Have you read these books? What did you think?

Pagan Pride Festival

Today the family, friend, and I hit the 9th annual Pagan Pride Festival and we had a blast. I am a Christian, born and raised, and I still hold those beliefs. I will say that we had a ton of fun though and plan to go back next year.

Goodies from the Festival

My son collects rocks, and they had a large selection of stones, rocks, and crystals for him to choose from. My husband, brother, and son like sharp things, so they purchased assorted knives. My daughter is a fairy freak, so she got a tiny pewter fairy statue and a star shaped jar of pixie dust. I got myself a Pagan Pride tank top and have a beautiful new paper towel holder made by a local blacksmith.

Needless to say the artisans, vendors, and local shops represented were amazing!

They had food trucks there that had an amazing selection and I had myself an early dinner.

We waited till Sunday to go because I wanted to see Tuatha Dea perform and was not disappointed. They had a wide selection of songs, from Irish choices to Rhiannon, a personal favorite.

We’re definitely planning to go back next year! I do want to add that these are happy people. No one was rude, or snide. There was no judgement for anyone, no matter who they were there with, what they were wearing, or how they looked in general. Don’t be quick to judge someone based on their beliefs. Not every pagan is a satanist, not every Christian is judgmental, and everyone deserves to be weighed (not judged) by their own merits.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite Disney movie growing up. As soon as I found out they were making a live action version, I was over the moon about it! Then March 17 finally came, and now it’s time!

Emma Watson as Belle is fabulous! Little Hermione has grown up and is perfect for the role. The music is perfect, as I remember from childhood, with just enough of a change to make it new. There were parts, when Belle was singing about wanting more on the hillside, where the animation/graphics is a little questionable, but as the rest of the movie has fabulous animation, I let it go.

More was added to the storyline to explain the curse, the town’s lack of knowledge, and to make the timing a little more believable. The enchantress was a little more vicious than she came across in the cartoon!

Most powerful scene for me was the ballroom scene. I was smiling like a lunatic through the whole scene. Don’t judge me, but happy tears for the sheer beauty of it may have happened….

I know there was a lot of anger/confusion/weirdness over Lefou being the first “openly” gay character. It’s not a spoiler, but other than one scene at the end where Lefou dances with another guy, he’s no more “openly” gay than he was in the cartoon. We watched the cartoon the following day to verify.

There were several songs I wasn’t familiar with, but I was informed that the musical had several songs that weren’t in the cartoon. The actors and actresses they had for this film did great with the songs. Emma Watson of course was great. Dan Stevens as Beast was also great. The biggest surprise for me was how amazing Luke Evans was as Gaston! His singing in the tavern was spot on. His character was a little more evil than cartoon Gaston was, but most live action Disney movies add a little more violence.

Disney magic continues, I can’t wait for this to be released to own and watch again. The theaters were crowded, I know many were sold out, but when you get the chance, be sure to see it. Whether you loved or liked the original, even if you never saw it, you’re sure to love it.