Friday, July 29, 2011

Let's play that game where I make you guess what I am grinning about!

Hey friends!

Guess what!

C'mon, guess!

No, you have to make a guess.

Oh, come on. Be a good sport.

Did you guess yet?

Well, did you?

Are you annoyed yet?

Cause, I am.

And, I'm writing this.

Well, anyway. If you guessed "AmberIsDoneWithSummerClasses!" You would be RIGHT!

Yesterday I finally wrapped up the fourth class and it felt SO good.

I still have a few papers to write, but they're so minuscule and more along the line of a reflection, I am not even counting them.

I am done! WOOOO HOOOOO!

This semester was rough. I cannot believe how much information was crammed into two months. It is insane to me when I sit down and really think about it. It is not like the degree I am working for is necessarily hard. The content isn't difficult, it's more along the lines of reflections and opinions and experience. Lots of reading. Lots of analyzing. Lots of ... thinking? Thinking about thinking. The research articles got a little tedious. For awhile there I was talking about p-values and confounding variables during everyday conversation with my friends. Thank goodness that has passed.

Now I have a three week break until fall semester starts. It will likely be filled up with lots of hours working with the clients at the non-profit (which I am LOVING) and lots of hours perfecting my tan (which is more like a freckled burn) and lots of hours reading (for fun!). There is also one quick trip to the lake in those three weeks that I am looking forward to, annnnd a blogger meet up that I am really, really, really looking forward to!

I will be back to my regularly scheduled blogging this week and I couldn't be happier! Up this week will be posts about the July meeting of Books and Bars, book reviews (omg, book reviews) and an update on life living with an extra roommate and the animal kingdom (how I haven't gone crazy yet with three dogs is beyond me). Oh, and maaaybe a dating story. Maybe. You'll have to come back to see. ;) Muwahahahaha!

Tell me, what are your plans for the dog days of summer?

Monday, July 18, 2011

It all ends here...

Like Jennifer over at Crazy Shenanigans my weekend started at 12:01 am with the last Harry Potter movie! It was definitely bittersweet. I was just as sad as I was excited to see this movie and seeing it end was a little heartbreaking.
Back in 2008 was when I first read the books. I always had the books on my list to read and in high school was when my dad first started reading them. He always said how I should read them, but between graduating high school, starting college, moving out of the house... etc., reading Harry Potter was not on my list of priorities. ;)

In summer 2008 I was looking for something good to read and I thought I would give the series a try. I headed over to my parents house, put all 7 of my dad's HP books in a paper bag and headed home. In the span of about 2 months I had my nose in a Harry Potter book and it was all I could think about. It kept me up at night reading, I spent countless hours at the pool reading and I was constantly calling my dad to discuss the books with him (I think he enjoyed it as much as I did!).

By book 7, I was sad to finish because I knew J.K. Rowling was done. My dad kept reminding me that she wasn't writing more and that I should take my time. I didn't listen. I plowed through the books and was crying by the end of the 7th. Between that ending that everyone holds so dear and the fact that it was over, I was a mess!

In the 7th movie I was most looking forward to seeing the end. I think we all were. I don't want to give anything away, but the fact that it was there (even if it was a little cheesy on screen) made my Harry Potter movie experience complete. I'm so glad it was there!

Loving these books might make me a nerd, but I don't care. I will always recommend these books to kids and adults alike. For kids I think it is wonderful, because it is a TON of pages that they can add to their list of pages read. For a child the number of pages is HUGE. If they can say they have read even one of the books, it adds a lot to their total for the year/quarter/grade level/whatever. For children it also helps them with their reading skills (obviously), but taking it a step further, it helps with how the English language is put together. If they can decipher these crazy words that Rowling has made up, they can decipher just about anything.

For adults I suggest these books because all adults need to escape from the real world and dive into a make believe fantasy world like this. It is so easy to get lost in this story and I think it would be good for almost anyone's mental health to get lost in something like this for a little while.

Now that it is over I am most looking forward to the Pottermore website. It launches on July 31st for the first one million people that register. After that it is open in October for everyone. Of course I'm going to try and be one of the first one million! There will be e-books for sale of material that J.K. Rowling has been hoarding for years. Apparently, she has stories, spells, all kinds of stuff that have to do with Hogwarts and these characters kept under lock and key. I am so excited that she is releasing them and I cannot wait to get my hands on them!

My sister and I have held the tradition of seeing the movie at midnight (since 2008) and we always go see the movie again with our dad the weekend after. We are going next week with him and I hope we can see it in 3D! Thursday night we didn't see it in 3D, but we did score some Harry Potter 3D glasses. Here we are with our glass on (we just popped out the lenses).

Harry Potter is definitely not over! It is a classic series that I know will be around for years. I will definitely continue to suggest reading them and encourage kids to finish the series.

Are you a fan of the books, the movies or both? If you're not a Harry Potter fan, why not? What deters you away from them?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This is what good friends are for...

***EDIT*** I realized later that day it wasn't Friday (actually, around 9am), but I am leaving this because I think it's funny. ;) I have had "day ahead" syndrome all week!! Don't ya hate that??

Happy Friday!!!

Tonight marks the return of my friends and I's favorite weekly tradition... The Friday afternoon happy hour! We haven't been meeting on Fridays because we've all been busy, out of town or had a wedding to attend. Luckily, most of us are here this weekend and we are getting together at a newly discovered (awesome) patio in West Des Moines.

So, I had a really great conversation through text message with one of my best friends yesterday that I just have to share with you all. (for the most part, this is exactly what was said, but I am adding some details so it makes sense to you guys).

ME: I worked in my first group home today!

How was it?? Any good stories?

ME: Not yet. It was really good though! The women were really high functioning. We went to a huge flea market! Ha!

Which flea market? I'm jealous!

ME: Ugh. It was not good. All junk! Collectomania on the east side.

Still jealous

ME: I saw _____ today! The home was by his work. Fingers crossed he didn't see me!

Ew! Hope he didn't. There's nothing worse than seeing an ex.

ME: He looked like such a douche. WTF was wrong with me?!

I can't believe you told me about the flea market before seeing ________.

ME: HAHAHAHAHA! Trust me, the flea market was more exciting.

This made me laugh so hard! I just had to share. :) Have a wonderful Friday afternoon and weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

Sarah's Key is a book I haven't been able to stop thinking about since the moment I picked it up. Since I was a kid and first learned about the World War 2 and the Holocaust I was fascinated and saddened. Mostly saddened. How could something so horrible happen? It's hard to turn away and not continue to keep learning about what happened, but it is still hard. Sarah's Key is extremely sad, but I learned even more while reading this book.

I had no idea about the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup in Paris. It actually hadn't occurred to me what had happened to the Jewish people in France. Or, actually it hadn't occurred to me that it wasn't the Nazi's that was in charge. It's frightening and so sad that it was the French. It further reinforces the insane and disgusting power the German had over so many nations.

As I write this I am embarrassed at how little I know about European history. I know the basics. That is about it.

Anyway, back to the book. It was amazing. Such a great story. I do not read much historical fiction, but I might have to start. I love that I learned so much during my favorite past time.

If you have not read this book you totally should. Especially before the movie comes out. Hopefully the movie does not ruin the book, but we all know how likely that is.

Do you read historical fiction? Do you have any suggestions of historical fiction for me to read?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's a heart bullet kind of day...

Hey guys!

I have not done a heart bullet post for awhile, so I figured although it is Tuesday and I usually do Ten on Tuesday why not give you all something different?

♥ Things are still busy as hell for me. I started my "summer" job this week. Yep, you read right. Starting a little late, eh? I did not take anyone's word for it that summer classes were going to suck be so intense and I figured I could just do it all. Ummm, nope. Not the case. I had to push back my start date to this week, which is working out fine, besides the fact that I haven't had a paycheck coming in since school let out (eeeek!). Anyway, June is over. I am down to just one class at Drake and one starting this week at our Area Education Agency, so it's a bit easier course load to handle. My new part-time job is at a non profit here in Des Moines that serves adults with mental disabilities. I will be working on call with about 7 different homes and about 15 different clients. The training is a bit intense, almost 30 hours of classes, but luckily it is all so relevant to what I am studying at Drake for special education. The hours are super flexible and there are usually shifts available 24 hours a day. I hope I like it once I get done with training!

♥ This past weekend I went river tubing for the first time. Ohmygoodness! It was so much fun! We tubed about 4 miles down the Iowa River and it took us about 5 hours. It took a little longer for us because we stopped at sandbars for a long time. I hope we make it an annual event, because I had a total blast!

♥ Is anyone else excited for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 this week?! I am! I bought our tickets last week and we are seeing the 12:07 am showing early Friday morning! I am so pumped, but I have a feeling I am going to bawl my eyes out. If it is anything like the very end of the book, it is guaranteed I will cry. Tissues, anyone?

♥ My sister's boyfriend has officially moved in with us. So far I am loving it. Rent is cheaper, bills are cheaper and he brought his enormous big screen tv for the living room. What's not to love about that? It's also nice that we have a third person to help with the dogs.

♥ I finally found a desk that I like so that I have a place to study. Before I was using the dining room table and there was just too much going on in that area for me to be able to focus. Now I have a huge desk in my bedroom and I am loving it. It's quiet and gives me the space I need to focus. The only downside is my bedroom looks like a dorm room with my bookshelves, queen sized bed, and huge desk in it. I don't care though, I really need the desk.
Here's a picture of it. I really have no other place to put my tv, unless I mount it on the wall. So far I don't mind it being on top of the hutch and I kind of like it. My only fear is Libby knocking it over. So far she hasn't bothered it, but I don't put much passed her. She loves to hang out on the right side of the hutch. It's kind of cute. So, maybe I can somehow secure the tv to the top.

That's really all for me! What's going on in your life this week?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Books and Bars (2)

Combine two of my favorite things and you get ...


Last week we had our second Books and Bars meeting, and it went great! We had six members in attendance and I finally got to meet one of my favorite local bloggers, Emily, and one of my best friend's mom even decided to join us! We talked for about two hours at Saints Pub and Bar in Beaverdale! Despite it being too humid to sit outside, it was great!

This location of Saints is a new one for us. Usually we're in West Des Moines, so it's nice to switch things up and head to an older part of my hometown! Plus, they get bonus points for having my favorite summer brew, Leinenkugals Summer Shandy!

In June we decided to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett and to say everyone was raving would be an understatement. Everyone loved the book and we had some great discussion. We followed this guide and, besides the bar being a bit loud, it went very smoothly.
We talked quite a bit about what it would be like to live in the South in the 60s, what it was like here in the Midwest and what (if any) racism still occurs here and other places. It was a great discussion!

For July we decided to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, suggested by my best friend's mom! I have noticed this book several times, but honestly, have been deterred by the funky title and ignorance as to what it is about. Now that I have a copy it sounds incredible and I love that it is an epistolary novel! Stories told through people's letters have always intrigued me.

I'm so excited that the first two months have gone so well and cannot wait to meet up again later this month on the 28th! We already have seven members RSVP'd on Facebook! If you're in the area, please join us!! :D

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

4th of July shenanigans!

July is like a marathon of events for me, that started with the holiday weekend!

Friday got started with a bachelorette party that was out of control! The girl that organized the event went totally over the top and got us a bus and ..... a stripper! She let us all in on the secret once we got there, but let the bride be surprised. She had a plan to have us being "pulled over" and the stripper would get on and start getting busy. It sort of worked out. It was hilarious to watch the girls and how they acted around him!

Saturday we got a bit of a late start, but we got up and packed for a few days at the lake then hit the road! As soon we got there we had to high tail it to the lake because our friends were already out, tied up with a bunch of other boats and partying. You didn't have to tell us twice! We threw our stuff down in one of the rooms and jumped on the ATV bound for the lake. We knew we had some catching up to do once we got there.

That night we headed back out to the lake at dusk to see the fireworks show. I think we the closest boat to where they were going off because there were literally right above our heads! It was beautiful and completely awesome.

Sunday was a bit of a bummer, as it was cloudy and sprinkling a tad almost all day. We took the boat out for a little bit, but it was sort of miserable. It was pretty pointless, so we headed back to the cabins and found everyone partying. What does one do at the lake when it's cloudy? Why we play Wizard Sticks!

What is Wizard Sticks, you ask? Well, it's a game where being short works to your advantage, but being a lightweight girl does not. Each beer you finish gets duct taped to your next one and the person that gets to a beer stick as tall as they are wins! I put up a mean fight, but I did not win.

Here is the winner, drinking from his winning Wizard Stick.
This went on for the better part of the day, as well as several games of flippy cup (which, I suck at).

That night we headed to one of the bars that had a live band that night. On the way there our friends stopped by to see some friends of theirs so we hung out on their deck and I got some pictures of the gorgeous sunset!
I don't know how we all kept going, but we did. After the band we headed back to the cabin to hop in the hot tub.

Despite the clouds, it was an awesome day!

Monday we got up to a cloudless, perfect sky. We all decided to take advantage before heading home and decided to have lunch at the lake. We put some wings on the smoker then headed out to the lake for a couple hours. In this time I got the worst boat burn. The tops of my thighs and arms were sunburned pretty bad! (It's much better today, so don't worry). I still can't believe I got sunburned so quickly!

Next up on my marathon is a tubing trip on Saturday. Same group of people that I spent this past weekend with. I have never been river tubing and I cannot wait! I know I am going to love it!

What is your favorite way to spend the 4th of July?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

Well, hello there! Anyone got a nice 4th of July sunburn? I know I did.

Life has gotten incredibly easier for me since Friday at about 8pm. My two classes are done. I have secured A's in both (patting myself on the back) and my third has started (and is kiiiiicking my aaasssss) but, I am feeling much more calm and ready to participate in SUMMER! Participate, I did. I have secured a lovely "boat burn" (you know, where the top of your thighs are burnt, the tip of your nose, and the tops of your arms and shoulders). I participated in some marathon binge drinking at the lake and a glorious game of Wizard Sticks (I'll explain).
It's Tuesday though, so I will have to explain on Wednesday. :)

1. What do you traditionally do for 4th of July?
We don't really have regular traditions for the 4th... now that I am living in the same place consistently, I have been going to the lake with friends - this year we spent the holiday weekend at Lake Ponderosa, which is about an hour east of Des Moines.

I'm planning a nice long, picture heavy post detailing the entire weekend (which includes a bachelorette party with a hot stripper), so look for that soon! :)

2. Did you follow your tradition this year? How did you celebrate yesterday?
I followed my new tradition! Ha! I didn't do anything last night, though. Which was fine, because we celebrated hardcore Saturday and Sunday nights. I needed to recuperate... this girl was pooped!

3. What’s the best fireworks show you’ve ever seen?
The best fireworks show I saw was at Disneyland in California. My dad was born in Long Beach, CA, so he would always talk about the fireworks at Disneyland that he could see from his house (or something like that. I don't know if you could really see them from his house) and he always said they were so awesome. It was fun to finally see what he was talking about - and they really were awesome! (awesome is my new word, btw)

4. Have you ever been injured by a firecracker?
Nope! Technically, they're illegal in Iowa. They're not in Missouri, so a lot of people drive to the border (about an hour away) and pick up some fireworks for a nice at-home show. :)

5. Burger, Brat, or Hot Dog?
Usually a burger... unless there is a bonfire and then I'm hot dog all the way. I love roasting marshmallows, making s'mores and charring hot dogs!

6. Do you sport red, white and blue on our Independence Day?
I didn't! I love it when other people are dressed in themes, but I always forget to do so myself. I should check out the sales on some cute 4th of July gear and save it for next year.

7. If you had to be from any country other than the USA, what country would it be?
I would have to say Canadian! I haven't met anyone from Canada I didn't like, and it sounds like a wonderful and beautiful place to live!

8. Charcoal or gas?
We have a gas grill - charcoal is fun and makes the food taste better, but I am too impatient!

9. What’s your favorite thing about this fair country of ours?
Probably how ambitious American people are. Not to say that people in other countries aren't, I know they are. It just seems like in America we have a very strong "You can do anything you want do" mindset, and I like that.

10. God Bless the USA, My Country Tis of Thee, or the Star Spangled Banner?
Star Spangled Banner! (even if I don't know all the words and would probably butcher the song if I had to sing it without help).

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! Tell me what you did!