Welcome to One Busy Momma! The Blog for Busy Moms by one Busy Mom.....

Welcome to my blog. One Busy Momma is my space to rant about my life and the things that happen in it. I have a crazy life - and instead of focusing on the crazy - I like to focus on the funny. Because if I focused on the craziness - well, I'd have been shipped off to an institution long, long ago. And while, I'll admit, there are some days when being institutionalized sounds PRETTY GOOD compared to making ANOTHER diorama at 1am - I'd rather be right where I am - in my messy house with my not so perfect kids making crooked dioramas in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summer Reading 2013 Edition!

Hello my Peeps! Who is ready for Summer? Busy Momma and crew are MORE than ready! We have 9 more days of school and then WOOT WOOT! School's out, summer is here and the livin' is easy.....

And you know me - I love nothing more than laying on my beach chair and getting lost in a good book. And I intend to do that - A LOT this summer. I have downloaded waaay too many books already for my summer reading pleasure - and it seems like every day I see a review of one more that I just HAVE to read before Labor Day! So - with that being said - here she is:

Busy Momma's Summer Reading List - 2013 Edition.
If you read NOTHING ELSE this summer - you MUST, MUST, MUST read Amor Towles completely amazing book Rules of Civility. This was my absolute favorite book of the year so far. It is kind of Great Gatsby-esque in its setting - think greed, excess and gilt. But the characters are very different than Jay Gatsby and crew. It is the story of 2 girls who meet a man who intrigues them both...and the inevitable chaos that ensues. It makes you really think about responsibility, duty and loyalty - and the implications of one's behavior and choices.The plot moves quickly, the characters are beautifully written and it is the type of story that leaves you thinking - really thinking about the decisions made and if they were the right decisions. Again - a MUST read. 

OK, OK - I know that some people do not like Dan Brown. I, however, am not one of those people! Inferno is sitting on my Kindle, waiting to be read. I loved all of Brown's earlier works - The DaVinci Code;  Angels and Demons; and The Lost Symbol.  I have very high hopes for Inferno.  
I like easy, light reading over the summer. If it lives up to its predecessors, this one promises to be a page turner and a fantastic ride! 

Now - those of you who read my blog faithfully - all 4 of you - might recognize Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead as one of lAST Year's books. I am NOTHING if not ambitious with my summer reading lists. I did NOT get to this one last summer, and since it takes place in my favorite summer destination - Cape Cod - I decided to wait until THIS summer to read it! So, as my children are diving into Gull Pond or boogie boarding themselves to exhaustion at Marconi Beach, I will be digging into what promises to be a GREAT read. This is the story of a very WASPY family throwing a Cape Cod wedding for their daughter. The plot promises to revolve around horrible behavior, seduction, family secrets, betrayal, and adultery. What else do you need in a summer read? 

There is NOTHING I like better than a multi-generational tale that spans decades and takes place on many continents. That is why I am really excited that my book club: The Dewey Decimal Divas - chose Khaled Hosseini's newest tome: And the Mountains Echoed as our next pick. If you had the pleasure of reading The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns, you know that Hosseini is a master at his craft. He can tell a story like no other. His newest work explores family - how we love, hurt, betray, take care of and nurture one another. I've learned to read his books with a few tissues nearby. Consider yourself warned....
I LOVED this book! Yes - I already read it, and it is WONDERFUL! The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout tells the story of one very dysfunctional family. Their lives are marked very early on by a tragedy that affects them all very differently and shapes the course of their lives. The story revolves around three siblings who have no choice but to come together when a member of the next generation of Burgess kids gets himself in a HEAP of trouble. This story will have you thinking about your own family, how, when the chips are down - all we've really got is one another - and forgiveness. I don't want to say too much and give the big plot  twist away - so all I will say is - if you like surprise endings - you'll like this one. 

The next few picks intrigue me. I'm not making any promises - but I decided to take my chances on them! The Woman Upstairs  by Claire Messud is the story of a woman who lives a life that she doesn't particularly want or love. She is a school teacher in Cambridge, Mass. and by all accounts, is living a life without passion. She compromised her dreams long ago and has become - the woman upstairs - a nobody, living on the fringes of other people's lives. Until she meets a glamorous and mysterious family and becomes attached to their young daughter, who also happens to be her student. Her interactions with each member of the family promise to change her and reawaken a passion within her. Looking forward to this one. 
This one has intrigued me for some time. In The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, we meet a group of friends who have been together since their teen years. They all meet a a summer camp for the arts and the book follows the course of their lives as some become shining starts and others become - well - not so shiny. It looks like it is a story of success, failure and something in-between - and how we, as adults handle the fact that some of the dreams we had for ourselves and our futures didn't and will not ever come true. 
I am on the fence about this one because it looks kind of weird. I think I am going to download a SAMPLE on the old Kindle before I commit. Life After Life  by Kate Atkinson explores what would happen if we are born again and again and again - living your life over and over again until you got it right. Interesting - n'est pas? It has gotten STELLAR reviews and looks like it could be fantastic. I'm going to give it a try. 
I am NOT a big fan of non-fiction or memoirs. That being said - I am going to give Wild by Cheryl Strayed a try. I am trying this one because I like the concept - the author sets off on a hike of over 1100 miles ALL ALONE, without previous hiking experience. She does this because she is so broken by her circumstances that she needs to do something big, something amazing, to start her healing process. I like books about broken people picking up their pieces and parts and putting themselves back together again. So, I am going to try this one out. 
In the category of good books I read this year - we find Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins. This one is a great beach read. It is the story of long lost love, misunderstanding and ultimate redemption. It spans decades and takes place between a seaside village in Italy and the Hollywood of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. I think it's out in paperback - so if you find it, throw it in the pool bag and enjoy getting lost in this gem of a story. 
If you're looking for a spooky mystery that is full of magic and spine chilling events - you've found your book! The Night Circus is a GREAT story about a troupe of travelling performers who entertain in a circus...that only performs at night. Every character is cloaked in mystery and intrigue. You'll find yourself staying up late to read on and see how it all turns out at the end....and I promise - you WON'T be disappointed! 
If you're looking for a spectacularly fun and funny read - here's your book! Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is a joy. If you've ever had your kid in private school and looked around at the pick up line and said to yourself: "What the HELL am I doing here with these people?"  you will love Bernadette. The title character is a brilliant architect who mysteriously gave up what promised to be an absolutely white hot career to be a wife and mother in suburban Seattle. I promise - you will laugh while she fights to maintain some shred of her true, authentic, off beat self in the land of Microsoft Stepford wives who are uber concerned with the private and oh so snobby middle and high schools their children are destined to attend.  I laughed out loud several times as I read the book. When Bernadette disappears - you will wonder, along with her family where the heck she went! What happened to her? How does a housewife in Seattle suddenly disappear of the face of the earth? And what will it take for her to come back?

Have a newly minted tween or teenager on your hands? Negotiating some rocky terrain? Asking yourself how different IS it being a teenager today than it was when YOU were reading Tiger Beat, crushing on Ricky Schroeder, Jason Bateman and listening to the Thriller album on your record player? OK - if you know what a record player IS because you had one before you got a boom box with a tape deck in it - you REALLY need to read this book. Because, even though many of us were tween and teenagers a mere 25 years ago...and I'm being generous there - MUCH has changed. Today's tweens and teens live in a very different world. A world that we didn't have to negotiate when we were growing up. We didn't have social media and all of the joys and dangers that come with it. We didn't have the internet - I didn't even have a COMPUTER in my home until I got my second professional job. When I was a teenager - social media was what was written on the bathroom stall doors in the River Edge diner! Our kids have so much to contend with - yet they are still children. Children who are thrust into a VERY grown-up world, exposed to some very grown-up concepts while they are still looking at the world through the eyes of a child and with a mind that is not fully developed. A very good friend of mine mentioned that this was her and her sister's GUIDEBOOK as their kids navigated their teen years - and they turned out ok. So I picked it up. It is GREAT. It talks about how teenagers develop - how their minds develop and how they think. It gives great strategies and suggestions for talking to your teens, getting them to WANT to talk to you and to trust you. The author is a parent and therapist and he has definitely walked the walk. The book deals with every situation under the sun - many of which I hope we NEVER have to deal with. It is definitely worth a read - especially if you're looking at a creature that LOOKS like the kid you've been raising yet behaves like a complete and total stranger and FORBIDS you from doing ANYTHING NORMAL like kissing her goodbye at the bus stop or singing in the car if anyone who might be "cool" is within earshot or wearing anything that might "totally humiliate" them. Like any or all of your clothing - then this book is for you.

Other Reader's Picks:

I am looking forward to reading Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers. This one was HIGHLY recommended by a pal. This story revolves around  a former foster care kid who has had it rough. Flowers are her only way of connecting - truly connecting - with others. Anytime a review says; "but an encounter with a mysterious stranger forces her to question what's been missing in her life." I'm all in! 
This one looks like a winner! My friend Denise highly recommends BirdSong by Sebastian Faulks. Denise and I have very similar taste when it comes to books - so I am really looking forward to this one. Again - one of those sweeping novels that takes us from the first World War up to present day! Denise says that it is "so sad and so tragic but oh so good!"  

This is QUITE an ambitious list for what - a 12 week span of time? But that's what is SO great about books - they're not going anywhere. I'm sure I won't get to all of these - but I will get to SOME. Let me know if YOU get to any of them and what you think! I love to get good reading suggestions. 
Happy Summer Reading everyone!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Went to Grad School for THIS????

Hi My Peeps! How is everybody doing? Hanging in there? It's a CRAZY time of year, isn't it? Busy Momma and crew are on the run 4 nights a week - and weekends are getting pretty busy as well. This Momma is looking forward to the end of the school year, the end of baseball season and the beginning of the summer. Summer can't come fast enough for me! I love the lazy pace of the summer. No lunches to make;  no alarm clocks for the kids; NO HOMEWORK TO CHECK - just lazy days at the pool. Bring it on!Or not.....

Yes - that is not a misprint. I am a bit concerned about how my 2 little people will weather the coming summer. You see - they will be spending the majority of the summer together. Except for a few weeks of camp - I try not to over schedule them. They like having nothing to do and long days of playing ahead of them. So, I let them do exactly that all summer long. And thus far - it has worked out quite well. But tonight I walked in on a conversation that made me take a step back and wonder:

  Have I made a HUGE mistake this year? Should I have scheduled them in separate camps for the entire summer and given them a break from one another? 

I should have known when I heard the hand slamming on the table that there was going to be BIG trouble. BIG trouble. Here is the conversation I walked into:

Her: (Red faced and completely freaking out) How dare you say that. She would be amazing at WHATEVER she tried, whatever she wanted to do!
Him: (Looking at her like she has 3 heads) She wouldn't try it. No one would try it! AND she wouldn't try it EVER because she would know that she would HATE it.
Her: She would try it because she is not afraid of ANYTHING and she would rock at it. How DARE you say she'd be a bad one.
Him: She'd be a TERRIBLE, Terrible one. She'd be HORRIBLE and she would HATE IT! And we should call her right now at work and she would tell you that you are CRAZY and that I am RIGHT!!!!
Her: (Reaching for her phone) Fine, I will call her right now and we will just SEE who is right here and who is WRONG.

Me: (The voice of reason) OK, OK - put the phone down. What on earth are you guys fighting about? Who are you calling?
Her: Aunt _____ (I am keeping the name a secret to protect the innocent.)
Voice of Reason: Oh no you are not. First of all, Aunt ___ is at work. We do not call people at work during the day to settle a dispute! Second of all - what is going on????
Her:  How DARE you say this is about NOTHING. How DARE you!!!! MOM - he said that Aunt ____ would make a TERRIBLE .............

Wait for it...wait for it..... What word will that sentence end with? What could cause such consternation, righteous indignation, SCREAMING, yelling and indeed - almost cause these 2 people to come to fisticuffs???

Peeps - I shit you not. This screaming match was entirely about whether Aunt ____ would make a good FROG. 

(BTW - she would be a terrible frog. My boy is 100% correct. She would hate being a frog SO much that if she was in the game Frogger she'd dive into on- coming traffic to end her days of bug-eating misery.)

So - here are my big concerns:
1. WHO fights about this stuff? Seriously - who?

2. HOW on EARTH did this conversation even begin?

3. Do I even want to KNOW how this conversation began? (and now that I DO know how it began - I can answer this question with a RESOUNDING NO!)

4. If this is what they are arguing about NOW...what on EARTH will they be arguing about in the middle of July when they are sick of looking at one another???????????

Seriously my Peeps - WTF? What is wrong with my kids? Who fights over whether or not someone would make a good frog? What am I in for this summer?

Is it too late to enroll them in sleep away camp...for the entire summer? It probably is. Besides - with my luck - they'd probably come home with a more in-depth understanding of the world of amphibians and have more ammunition to prove their respective points and pick up this argument exactly where they left off.

God help me...only 14 days of school left.....