A day at the park

Shake Rattle and Roll

So we did manage to make it to King’s Island on Saturday.  Despite it being a Saturday, over Memorial Day weekend, the crowds weren’t to bad.  I don’t think we waited for longer than 40 minutes for any ride we rode.  On the other hand it was hot and the sunscreen didn’t help keep me from getting burned.

The youngest chose to ride by himself

Everyone else it worked fine, but not me!

Everyone having fun




So while the kids had ridden roller coasters before, nothing like the ones at KI (the closest being the rock n roll coaster at Hollywood studios).


They had a blast and really liked the Firehawk and the Diamondback, even though we had to talk the oldest into the Firehawk and now he can’t wait to ride it again.  So it looks like we will be in for a trip to Cedar Point at some times and a county fair (they loved the fair type rides as well.  We also rode the Race, Adventure Express, the Vortex, Congo Falls, the Zypher (one of my favorites), bumper cars, fair type rides, and more.  Also picked up a little Pikachu for the youngest.


The no one can resist me face.

Last but not least, my youngest was on his best behavior at the park.  We were very proud of him. Even more so since his meds wore out mid to late afternoon and he still did very well maintaining control.  The good behaviors even ran over into the next day.  It is hard to tell whether it was the good behavior, or this face that kept talking daddy into extra treats and such.

So spending today recovering from being shaken all over the place (stiff and sore).  I did want to go strawberry picking but the kids decided to go swim at grandma’s instead.  But then I do get to watch the Cardinals spank the Braves.

So how did you spend your Memorial Day Weekend?

Memorial day weekend travel

So we are headed for a small jaunt across the state for some fun this weekend.   Of course we are under a time frame to get there.   But this is my family we are talking about.

Which means it’s not even 8:30 am yet and we are already running behind.   Of course I made the vital mistake of not packing last night,  which is something I never do.   My thinking it is just an overnight jaunt there isn’t much to pack.   Well that was true but in true Erin fashion I couldn’t find my shorts to wear today.   Of course HE found them.   I swear I married that man just to because he can find all the stuff I couldn’t.   Then it was to drag the children off the computer and xbox (at 6:30 in the morning *sigh*)

So only a mere 15 minutes late out the door we head out…. to the gas station.   Because we couldn’t stop on the way home last night that would be planning ahead and I am the only person in my house capable allowed to think more than 10 minutes on the future.

So we finally get on the road,  now about 35 minutes late.   We are driving down the highway and dear man that I love goes this is the right way,  RIGHT?!?  Um don’t you know?  So off to gps it because there are about 50 to many highways/interstates in the greater Cleveland/Akron area for me to have learned them yet.

No dear your heading to the other amusement park we like.   You know the one with the big mouse.  So next exit we get off and turn around and finally heading in the right direction.

So here we are finally on the road,  heading in the right direction,  and only an hour behind.  Looking at the bigger picture this is one of our quicker starts.   Let’s not even talk about the 3 hour fiasco that started our drive to that Mouse’s house last November.   My mother can never figure out why we are always running behind.   Of course she only had to get Dad up and going and he’s not to far off from her and me.   I have 3 of them to move and they all have other things to throw in at the last minute.

Review: Love and Splendor

Love and Splendor by Patricia Hagan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

When Dani Coltrane flees to Paris, she leaves behind heartache and pain, and vows no man will ever control her. But then the proud heiress to the Coltrane dynasty meets the dashing nobleman, Drake, and her determination is rocked. Banished from Imperial Russia to roam the glittering capitals of Europe, he has an eye for beautiful art and beautiful women. Dani Coltrane possesses both a painting he covets and a loveliness he can’t resist. Drake is determined to make these treasures his.

From the sumptuous salons of Europe to the fabulous court of the Russian Empire, from the dark cellars of a chateau in Monaco to a deserted, danger-ridden palace, Drake pursues the headstrong and illusive woman. And as his cold obsession turns to soul-searching love, Dani’s resistance melts…until they are swept toward a stunning confrontation with destiny and the triumph of a love dazzling with splendor.

This book caught my interest due to the Faberge plot line. There is not much historical romance based in Russia or around the Romanovs, but it is a time period that I really enjoy reading about. I didn’t realize when picking up the book that it is one of a series, but that did become readily apparent upon reading.

Dani Coltrane is a spoiled nineteen year old reconnecting with her father and stepmother after her tumultuous past. She is suspicious of anyone trying to manipulate her and wants to exert total independence. The problem being she does not understand what independence actually means and she is constantly making selfish decisions in the name of independence. In fact she’s not far off what I imagine many 18-22 year old girls today can act like.

Drake is a Russian playboy, for lack of a better description. He has spent the last ten years or so in exile from Mother Russia and searching for the key to restoring his family honor (by finding the Faberge Egg). He is a womanizer and his moral code is pretty loose believing that behavior is justified so long as the intentions are good. He’s a snake that you want to like because you think he can change and grow up, but deep down you know it’s not true.

The best way to describe this book is Dynasty meets Jerry Springer. The author spends inordinate amounts of time describing how elegant, cultured, and sophisticated this family and their associates are only to have them open their mouths and act completely opposite. Dani can be shrew, demanding, and bratty. You expect Drake to be extremely refined, and at times he is. While other times he’s a complete ass. Both of them are oblivious to how their actions are seen or the havoc they cause, or they are just to rich to care. While atypically,you do not meet the hero until about 15-20% through the book, which was okay given how she presented the start of the story. But from there until about 75% through the book was horrible, three ring circus mess that seemed to go on forever.

There was no need for the Cole/Lily subplot line at all. It added nothing to the story except making me hate all the characters. Dani for being so wishy washy and such a teen. Lily was just horrendous and I absolutely expected a hair pulling cat fight between the two at some point. But even worse, the author perpetrated the myth that men just can’t control themselves, sexually, around any slightly attractive and willing woman. The only fairly explicit sex scene in the book is Drake’s running dialogue of how much he can’t stand Lily, how much he dislikes her and doesn’t want to do this, how he thinks Dani may be the one, all while he’s pounding away at Lily. Of course, this was a repeat of Colt’s inability to control himself around Lily either, but at least he thought he liked her. If your going to have the hero of the novel be unfaithful, at least let it be for a better reason then he had some slight desire, she was there, and well I just can’t stop myself.

The author gets around to pushing the actual plot of the story in the last 25% of the novel. This entire plot is extremely rushed and ends up being an afterthought in the novel. Also, Dani and Drake finally coming together is so shallow. He tells her his family story and she forgives his lying cheating ways. She does so, in spite of him currently lying to both her and Colt. All in all, the entire romance lacked maturity. It held the flavor that rich and beautiful (or handsome) was all that was needed to make a couple happy. This couple lack any depth and are barely tolerable let alone sympathetic or romantic.

Several times I almost gave up on this book. I started skimming at about 55-60% through just because I did want to know what happened to the egg. I half expected that plot to roll over to another book when it still had not been barely mentioned three quarters through the book. The resulting ending was unsatisfying and I wish I hadn’t bothered reading on. It would have saved me from being disgusted with both couples.

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Review: Skies of Fire

Skies of Fire
Skies of Fire by Zoe Archer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Man made of metal and flesh

Captain Christopher Redmond has just one weakness: the alluring spy who loved and left him years before…when he was still just a man. Now he’s superhuman—a Man O’ War, made as part of the British Navy’s weapons program—and his responsibility is to protect the skies of Europe. If only he could forget Louisa Shaw.

A most inconvenient desire

Louisa, a British Naval Intelligence agent, has never left a job undone. But when her assignment is compromised, the one man who can help her complete her mission is also the only man ever to tempt her body and heart. As burning skies loom and passion ignites, Louisa and Christopher must slip behind enemy lines if they are to deliver a devastating strike against their foe . . . and still get out alive.

I wasn’t sure what to think about this book when I first decided I wanted to try it. I was worried that it would end up being more 1 million dollar man with the girls fainting at the hero’s feat. But I really should have more confidence in Ms. Archer and her stories. Like her previous series (Blades of Rose) she found the perfect balance between the science fictional elements, the time period, and the characters.

If you’ve read her previous books, the character traits found in the hero and heroine are no surprise to you. Louisa (Lulu) reminds me of Astrid from Rebel. She is a completely independent woman, out to prove she needs no one, yet knowing deep down that she’s made the biggest mistake of her life. She is so afraid of giving up her hard fought control that she’s willing to risk her life, her mission, love and happiness to hold onto it.

Christopher (Kit) shouldn’t be described by his implants or special abilities. His ultimate strength is not in these, but rather in his ability to take the risks needed to achieve his goals, even when that goal is the object of his desire.

The story is a classical boy meets girl, girls walks out, boy runs into girl again years later scarred by the loss. But, instead of allowing the pain each feels to control their reactions towards each other, I was glad to see each was able to set it aside and move forward, especially Kit. I git giddy to see adults in romances actually act like adults and understand that people do things for a variety of different reasons and not just to harm the other person.

Beyond the romance, the premise of the book is downright fun. You get a great story choke full of flying ships, bombs, superman type strength and the totally unbelievable presented in a believable manner. Every unbelievable feat shown, whether it be Kit’s super strength or Lulu’s chemistry knowledge, has a specific task in pushing the book forward and avoiding it from bogging down. None of these elements are thrown in just to show off or impress. Which leads to Ms. Archer hitting another home run with this series. For those that liked the Blade of the Rose, this is a must read!

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Just got word

from the National Park service that the snake we saw in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (see my post Sunday with the men in my life ) is not a Copperbelly Water snake like we thought.  Instead it is a Northern Water Snake.  The Lake Erie subspecies of this snake has just come off the Endangered Species list last year.

Thanks to the park ranger and biologist in helping us properly identify the snake.