Sunday, October 4, 2015


So Mat has been working very hard with his new job at Autism Speaks.  Being the new VP of Genomics Discovery has caused him to have to travel away from us quite a bit.  But he is making us proud with the work he is doing to further research for a cure for Autism.

This past week he was in NYC at an event at Tavern on the Green for the Full World Focus Event.  It was held around the UN meeting being in NYC at this time.  The wives of a lot of the presidents around the world were there as well as the founders of Autism Speaks.

Mat got to speak, and here is the link if you want to see what he had to say.  The video is quite long, but if you scroll to the 1 hour mark, you will see Mat talking

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Book Review #36

Next book I read was called

Sarah's Key

This book was under the category "Book Your Mom Loves"

This story is about the holocaust, and a little Jewish girl and her family.  The story takes place in Paris.  Her family is taken away by the French Police and taking to the concentration camps.  The other characters in the story are from the present time who are living in Paris.  The woman character is a writer for a local American newspaper and she is assigned a story of the 60th anniversary of the Jewish roundup at the Vel d'Hiv and she discovers the story of this young girl and her family.  And then their stories intertwine.

The "Key" part comes in because when the family is rounded up, Sarah locks her little brother into a hidden cupboard in the house to keep him safe.  She is sure they won't be gone long and she can come and let him out.  The truth is, that no one - except Sarah and one of her friends - ever returned from that concentration camp.

I really liked this book.  I have read several Holocaust books this year, and I had no idea about this round up in Paris.  Since we were recently there, I recognized several of the places they talked about in the book.  I wish I would have known before we visited so that we could pay our respects to those lives lost (I think it was over 14,000) from that small section of Paris.

I encourage you to read it.  It was the first story I have read this year that was told from a child's perspective (the main character is 10) of what was happening to her and her family.

Stars:  4

Friday, October 2, 2015

Book Review #35

The book I am reviewing today is:

Not What We Were Expecting

This was in the category:  "A Book Based on a True Story"

This was a story of a husband and wife who tried for over a decade to have a family.  Several attempts at in-vitro, child loss, and then finally adoption.  The story is full of one heart break after another as these two people try to have a child of their own.

I liked it okay.  I did feel for this couple.  They tried everything and they buried several children due to being born too early.  You could feel how much they longed for a baby.  The problems I had with it were mostly the writing (again I know this is a story being told by a non-writer, but she should have had some help) and some of the decisions they made.  But that is just my personal issues.  You will feel for these people if you read this book.

So - give it a try.  I really like true story books.

Rating:  3 Stars

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book Review #34

The book review I am doing today is

The Bell Jar

This book was under the category:  "A Book Written By Someone Under 30"

This was a story of a young girl, Esther, in the 1950s who was interning at a junior editor for a NYC magazine.  She does the internship, and then finds out that a story she submitted to get into a special writing class has been rejected and that seems to be the beginning of her downfall.  She slowly has a mental breakdown and has to return to living with her mother after the internship instead of returning to school.  She attempts suicide and lands herself in a mental institution.  She has electroshock therapy while she is there and a friend of hers is also admitted.  Her friend ends up killing herself and this seems to turn something in Esther and help lead her to recovery.

I liked this book well enough.  It was a little confusing at times.  To me it seemed the Esther went from being perfectly fine to attempting suicide rather quickly.  But the overall book was well written.

The notes at the end of the book were the most helpful and understanding the book.  Sylvia Plath, the author, killed herself at a very young age.  Many people speculate that the story of Esther rivals Sylvia's own path with depression.  This is the only book she ever wrote.

Stars:  3 1/2

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blood Moon

We are lucky to live in an area where we could see the moon so brightly the other night.  Arlington stayed up to watch the the eclipse.  Since it won't be back until 2033 - and she will be 30 (30!) years old by then, it was wonderful to watch together.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Picture Day and other happenings

Today was picture day for Finley and Cainan.  I felt that since I haven't posted pictures on the blog for a little while, I should probably do that so the grandparents see that they are still alive.

Things are going pretty well with the start of school.  Activities and homework are in full swing.  We are busy every day now.  Gone are the slow days of summer where we could decide when and where to go and be.  Now we are in the thick of schedules and homework.

Arlington is in the 7th grade and the homework has ramped up.  She has quite a bit each night, but she is managing it just fine.  She is participating in the school musical again this year (it is Suessical the Musical) and even scored a little bit part.  That takes up her Monday and Thursday afternoons and is keeping her busy.  She is enjoying all of her teachers this year and seems to have a nice mix of kids in her classes, so we are off to a good start.

Cainan is in 3rd grade and has been enjoying it so far.  Cainan is all about routine, and he has a terrific teacher this year that is uber organized.  She is a perfect fit.  There is quite a bit more work in 3rd grade, but he is handling it well.  He has gotten used to using a school planner to write his homework in so that he doesn't miss anything each night.  We have a nice system set up and he is thriving.

He recently got a purple belt in Karate and is so excited.  He was quite nervous for this step, but he did the test and passed.  We are very proud of him.  He is in karate class two times a week and is also participating in a sparring class this year.  It will keep him plenty busy.

Finley is our busiest child as usual.  3rd grade is off to a good start this year.  She had a good couple of weeks, with only one hiccup.  She was feeling a little under the weather so she fought me on going to school.  I had visions of all of those days during her first year of 2nd grade where she fought us at least once a week on going to school.  Hopefully she will stay steady and confident and will have a good year.  We are dealing with a new teacher and a new school, so I know that gives her some anxiety.  We are going to meet with the teacher this Friday to see how she feels the first bit of school has gone and answer any questions she may have.  She has braille 4 times a week at school, an orientation and movement class one time a week (cane training) and physical therapy 1 time a week.  Lots of stuff going on during the school day.

Finley is in a dance class (ballet, tap, jazz), an acro class and is taking horse back riding this fall.  So she is very busy.  She has some low tone issues with her diagnosis, so these types of activities really help strengthen her muscles.  She loves the horse back the most, and is enjoying the different dance classes.  The horse back will be year round because they have an indoor rink, so I will be anxious to see what she thinks of it once we get to next summer.

A little catch up!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review #33

The book I am reviewing today is

A Child Called "It"

This was in the category:  A Book that will Make You Cry

This is a true story book about the author, David, who was severely abused as a child from about age 6 to age 11.  It tells the story of a child that spent most days starving, living in a cold basement, working chores until he couldn't stand, and not even being called by his name.  This became the 3rd worst case of child abuse in CA history.

I had a hard time with this book.  I was so angry reading it.  I could not even imagine how this could go on for 5 years and he couldn't get away.  He was in public school.  He was forced to wear basically the same outfit everyday.  He stole food.  He was covered with bruises.  His mother burned him and stabbed him.  And yet, it took 5 years for him to be rescued.

The "happy ending" is - David Pelzer is a full functioning adult with a family and children.  He has spoken all over the country about the abuse and promoting reporting child abuse.  But this book.  I just could not get over how awful it was.  I have been extra kind to my own kiddos because I would never want them to feel anything but love from me.  He didn't deserve what happened to him.  No kid deserves that.

Star rating:  4