Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Let The Devil Sleep

Raise your hand if you're sick of reading chick lit erotica novels this summer? (Haha! Just kidding about the erotica- how can you possibly get sick of those?) But if you are, I have a really fantastic, stay on the edge of your seat suspense thriller for you.

Let The Devil Sleep by John Verdon

Dave Gurney, the most decorated homicide detective in the history of the NYPD, is still trying to adjust to life in upstate New York when a young woman who is producing a documentary on serial killers asks for his input.  Soon after this conversation, odd events begin occurring in Dave’s life: There is a strange problem with his tractor, a razor-sharp hunting arrow lands in his yard, and he narrowly escapes serious injury in a booby-trapped basement.  As things grow more bizarre, Dave finds himself reexamining the case of “The Good Shepherd”–which, 10 years before, involved a series of roadway shootings and a “Unabomber-like” manifesto expressing rage at society.  The killings ceased, and a cult of analysis grew up around the case with a consensus opinion that no one would dream of challenging–no one, that is, except Dave Gurney.  Mocked even by some who’d  been his allies in previous investigative outings, Dave is only heeded when the reawakened Good Shepherd proves by his actions that his agenda is more complex than previously thought.

To be perfectly upfront, this is the third book in the series but you don't have to read the previous two to get into this one. Truly. I have read the other two so I knew already that John Verdon is an excellent writer who can weave a very captivating story.

Basically we have a serial killer who essentially gets away with his murder spree ten years ago, but the spotlight is back on the crime when Kim the young reporter is on the scene. She's doing a documentary on the families of the victims of the Good Shepard and how they've coped and what life has been like for them knowing the murder has never been caught. Reporting aspirations turn into absolute fear once strange things start happening to seemingly scare both her and Dave Gurney away from doing the documentary. Then once the people who are participating in the documentary start being murdered, it ups the ante. Throw in competing police departments and a pissing contest with the FBI and more "facts" that don't make any sense, and you have a very well written crime novel. I basically couldn't fall asleep until I finished it. I pretty much thought I had the killer figured out but I was so completely wrong and I actually forgot about the character and the ending was as screwed up as every good crime novel ending should be.

The only thing I will say is that some parts were a little overwhelming with crime facts and it just solidified that no matter how much Law & Order I have seen, I would not make a very good detective because I wouldn't think of half of the stuff Dave was questioning about the original murders. And Kim's character was a little too dtizy, damsel in distress for me in some parts but her role playing at the end won her over as not a total flake for me.

I so highly recommend that you read this one AND John's other novels- you won't be disappointed at all. But what's really great is that one of you will be able to win a copy of your own!

*Be a follower via GFC and leave a comment below with your email address. 

*Tweet, FB, or blog about this post. Leave a separate comment for each and leave links, please!

A winner will be drawn during my blog post on Monday, August 6. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Objects of my Affection

So, a few months ago I got an email invitation to read Jill Smolinski's new book Objects of my Affection and without even knowing what it was about, I agreed. Partly because it has a cool name but more so because another one of her books The Next Thing On My List was so good that it prompted me to come up with the 30/30 list that you all heard me bitch about for two years. So to this day when people ask me how I even came up with the 30/30 list, I have to credit Jill. So that right there is my little unknown connection to Jill.

Lucy Bloom’s life is in disarray.  Freshly dumped by her boyfriend and suddenly rootless after selling her house to send her teenage son to rehab, she is reduced to sharing a bedroom with her best friend’s pre-schooler daughter.  Although Lucy has lost it all, she’s determined to start over and build a solid foundation for her son’s recovery.  Armed only with her decidedly NON-bestselling book, Things Are Not People, and a possibly bogus online degree in professional organizing, she snags a high-paying job clearing clutter from the home of renowned artist turned reclusive hoarder, Marva Meier Rios.

As Lucy rolls up her sleeves to tackle the “stuff” that fills every room of Marva’s huge Chicago home, she soon learns that the real challenge may be taking on Marva herself.  However, when Lucy accidentally discovers that Marva is clinging to a big secret more tenaciously than to any mere household object, the two women form an unlikely bond.  Each soon learns that there are those things in life we keep and those we need to let go—though it’s not always easy to know the difference. 

Right off the bat I am going to tell you I cannot stand Lucy Bloom only because I've seen enough Dr. Phil and Intervention episodes to know that she is doing absolutely everything wrong with her son. And it drives me NUTS through the entire book. But I will say that despite me wanting to smack Lucy up constantly, I eventually came around to liking her at the end because she finally gets it. 

I loved the story line with Marva- she seems like a really fun crazy person you'd like to get drunk and chat with. You can tell she has a lot of history in her own past even though she's reluctant to share it and it obviously is connected to how she lives her present day life. I really loved everything you learn about Marva and honestly, at some points in the book it feels like we shift from Lucy to a more Marva driven novel, but then we come back around. And it's great. I also love that not only are we pulling things out of the Intervention show, we're also pulling some stuff from Hoarders. Clearly, Jill Smolinski is a fan of A&E programming, as am I. 

I love so much how Jill can weave a story with serious plot lines and yet make it funny in a "it's so bad you can't help but laugh otherwise you'll cry" kind of way. And you really enjoy it. She's light-hearted, she's funny, she's realistic, and she's a good writer. Basically this book ends up being that creeper book you don't realize you really like until it's over. 

I suggest you check out Jill's website and then buy her book. Buy all of her books because as someone who has read them all, I will tell you they are all good. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Simple Thing

Are you looking for a chick lit book that is a fast read and you'll finish it before you even know it? Then this one is for you. I got this one done in just under four hours.

A Simple Thing - Kathleen McCleary

When Susannah Delaney discovers her young son is being bullied and her adolescent daughter is spinning out of control, she moves them to remote, rustic Sounder Island to live for a year. A simple island existence—with no computers or electricity and only a one-room schoolhouse—is just what her over scheduled East Coast kids need to learn what’s really important in life. But the move threatens her marriage to the man she’s loved since childhood, and her very sense of self.
For Betty Pavalak, who moved to Sounder to save her own troubled marriage, the island has been a haven for fifty years. But Betty also knows the guilt of living with choices made long ago and actions that cannot be undone. The unlikely friendship between Susannah and Betty ignites a journey of self-discovery for both women and brings them both home to what they love most. A Simple Thing moves beyond friendship, children, and marriages to look deeply into what it means to love and forgive—yourself.
First off, you can tell a lot of heart went into this book. I really love reading a book that obviously had a lot of love, care, and thought put into it because it just makes it that much better. 
The book bounces back and forth between Susannah who is pretty much having a mid life crisis once her daughter hits a rough teenage rebellion patch and her son turns out to be kind of an oddball, bully target. Instead of coming together with her husband Matt to figure out a plan for them to move forward as a family, Susannah packs up her and her kids and moves them to Sounder Island temporarily and leaves Matt at home. Then we have Betty who is a really complicated yet simple character (yes, she's both) and we learn about her past and early years of her marriage and how that morphed into her present day widow status. The two women come together and they both learn something about each other, about love, about family, and what's really important. 
The book also touches on when a tragic loss or event can shape a person's life and the decisions they make with their own children. Admittedly, I don't understand how people can't put things into perspective and move on from them. I've had some pretty crap things happen to me my whole life but I've always been able to look at them, know my role, and make future decisions trying to improve on things. But Susannah effectively ignores her children and puts blinders on to everything except for the worst of the worst. A lot of her family issues wouldn't be issues if she stopped trying to control everything and be the perfect mom to everyone else... and focused on her children and what they need from her. 
I will have to say- I really loved the ending. I felt like every character got the closure that they needed, story lines were wrapped up nicely and everything comes full circle. I have to say though that my favorite part of the book is Betty's story and Barefoot, another islander. What a great story with an ending that I have my own take on. But it's a really good book that is a fast read and it might make you think about what would you do if you were in Susannah's shoes. 
Kathleen has a website, Twitter and Facebook that you can check out. Another cool thing is that Kathleen will be talking about A Simple Thing on Book Club Girl on Air on August 21 at 7pm Eastern. So hurry up and read the book so you can call in and ask her questions about her book and listen to the discussion!

Night Watch (and GIVEAWAY)

It's time for a book review AND a giveaway! I haven't had one of these in awhile so this will be fun.

Night Watch- Linda Fairstein

Forty-eight hours after Alexandra Cooper arrives in France to visit her boyfriend and famed restaurateur, Luc Rouget, her vacation in paradise is cut short when a young woman from the village is found murdered. The only evidence discovered on the body is one of Luc’s matchboxes promoting his new restaurant in Manhattan. But before the investigation begins, Alex is summoned back to New York to handle a high profile case. Mohammed Gil-Darsin, the distinguished and wealthy Head of the World Economic Bureau, has been arrested and accused of attacking a maid in his hotel.  As the world watches in fascination to see how the scandal will unfold, Alex finds her attention torn between preparing the alleged victim to testify and a murder case with ties too close to home. When a second body is found with Luc’s matchbox—this time in Brooklyn—Alex begins to fear that the two cases may not be as unrelated as she thought, and that uncovering the sordid secrets of the city’s most wealthy and powerful could cost her and her loved ones everything they hold dear.
At 400-some pages in length, this was a meaty book. Although at times the book was slow going, you can't help but want to finish it to figure out how all of the pieces of the puzzle come together and find out who is really doing what and why. 
I really loved the very intricate story line of the book because the author gives you all these bits of information and you don't know if they all fit together as one large crime story or if there are in fact, two separate crime stories happening at the same time with overlapping characters. When two characters are introduced towards the end I knew immediately what was going on and I was totally right. (Thank you, Law & Order: Criminal Intent!) It basically read exactly like a Law & Order episode and that was very cool. 
One thing I kind of hated was Alexandra. I like how initially she's this intelligent, independent woman with a career. Loved that. But within a few chapters that unravels to her becoming this whiny worrier that overshadows her judgement and decision making. She makes terrible decisions and she's the epitome of the argument that women are too emotional to be in high level, high stress careers. So that was kind of annoying but I liked how towards the end she pulled her crap together and got her game face on. And let me just say, I think her and one of the detectives should just start dating because there is clearly some chemistry there, they are just both too stubborn to do anything about it. *just saying* 
Overall I really liked the book and it was a very good suspense/thriller book with enough in it to keep you going even through some of the slow points. Linda has a website that you should check out HERE. But you all have the opportunity to win your own copy of this book! 
*Must be a follower via GFC
*Must leave a comment on this post with your email address 
*Optional: Share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog (leave me a link in the comments below) 
Giveaway will end on FRIDAY, JULY 27

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thank You For Flying Air Zoe

I can't even tell you how excited I am about this book but if you listening carefully, that's not a pig you hear, that's me squealing! (Terrible image, isn't it? But if it helps I am eating brownie bites so it could very well be a pig.)

Thank You For Flying Air Zoe- Erik Atwell

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fasten Seat Belt sign has been turned on, but feel free to ignore it, because sometimes life is best lived on its dizzy edges. Your cruising altitude today will be sky high, and you will be flying at staggering speeds as you travel alongside Zoe Tisdale, former Valley Girl and rock star turned bored butter saleswoman.
On the heels of a brush with mortality, Zoe concludes that she’s been letting time pass her by. Realizing she needs to awaken her life’s tired refrains, Zoe vows to recapture the one chapter of her life that truly mattered to her – her days as drummer for The Flip-Flops, a spirited, sassy all-girl garage band that almost hit the big time back in 1987. But reuniting the band won’t be easy. The girls who were once the whiz kid guitarist, the prom queen bass player, and the hippie lead singer grew up and became women who are now a reclusive dog trainer, a wealthy socialite, and a sociopathic environmentalist. Will Zoe bring the band back together and give The Flip-Flops a second chance at stardom? Is it possible to fully reclaim the urgent energy of youth?
As you follow this wild flight path, please know that your destination could be anywhere at all, complimentary oxygen is provided upon request, and baggage flies free. We hope you enjoy the ride, and Thank You For Flying Air Zoe.
I have to say, I love when a woman has a mid life crisis because it hits close to home. Any woman who tells you that she has not hit a low point in her life while crying on the floor of a Target bathroom because the plastic stick you just peed on says you're pregnant and your almost two year old daughter is screaming because of the automatic flushing toilets are spraying her, is quite frankly- a liar. Every woman has a moment like this and it may not be that dramatic and it might not be used as a "crazy customer story" at a Target training to which you'll have confirmed to you when you meet a mom at a toddler class who laughs about it as you cringe. 
But let's talk about Zoe. 
I loved her. I loved her in every way you could love a fictional character that could very well have been you if you started selling butter. She's your 20something friend who isn't married, doesn't have kids, doesn't have a real purpose in life and is basically treading water while everyone else is moving up in the world. She's the perfect example of how one life choice can send you in a tailspin for the rest of your life because you don't quite know how to most past it. 
The book starts off with a near death experience of an almost plane crash. And I have to be honest, I laughed. I kept laughing through the first chapter because it was funny. There is nothing funny about a plane crash where everyone dies but it is funny to see people around you freak the hell out and then it turns out OK. Right? That's funny, right? Well, I think it is. Mostly because I'm that girl laughing during difficult and stressful situations. You don't want me to help you put your oxygen mask on, I won't be of any help. 
The other part I loved about this book is how true to life it actually is. If there was ever a person who would have one bad thing after another happen, it would be Zoe. And me. (See? We're like the same person.) And I admittedly said, "AMEN" when I came a line in the book I reserve for the lowest moments of my life, 
"Sometimes when you think you've finally reached the very depths of hell, you discover that hell actually has a basement."
Right??? My closest friends have heard me say this for years every time a crisis hits me at the worst possible time because honestly, it's just the way life goes for me. And as it goes for Zoe. If Zoe were a real person I would have tried to learn to play an instrument to help her fulfill her dream of playing at the Whisky A Go-Go club in California. I've always been a big believer in going out and trying something new and exciting in your life and marking off the goals on your bucket list. What's life if you aren't going to actively pursue and do the things you most want to in the world? What's the point of having goals and dreams if you never try to go after them? Even if you fail, at least you can say you put forth the effort and maybe it wasn't meant to be. And in like Zoe's case, maybe it isn't so much the fact that she plays there, but more importantly, picking up the friends that were left behind as she moved forward in life. 
So. In all? LOVED THE BOOK. I can't tell you how much I think you need to go out and read this book. This is the book that I will be buying friends for Christmas or for friends who are on baby daddy #6 and maybe need some guidance and condoms. It's a fast read, it's entertaining and you'll get sucked in. And secretly wish you had been in an all girl band in the 80s. 
See what other tour stops are saying HERE too. Erik also has a funny blog and you should check that out HERE and not to mention his Facebook page HERE.  And for those of you who missed Erik's guest post on my blog last night, you absolutely need to do this. Even if you are at work. It's worth it. Go HERE to read it and laugh, but don't pee in your office chair. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Laundry Sink Project. Or, what happens when you nag a person to death.

I've been all talk and no bark for seven years on this laundry sink project. Some people asked me if it would ever happen. Some people asked me why don't I just do it? To that I say yes, and not on your life. I barely passed shop class two years in a row and that was only because I stole someone else's project and passed it off as my own.

And I don't feel bad because I have never once needed to make a wooden car or a metal box in my life so suck it.

But one thing I'm known for is getting shit done. In this case, I think I drove Matt to the brink of crazy and he started the project that (of course) has turned out to be much larger than anticipated.
It started with a good stare down with old sink. As it turns out, a concrete sink is heavy as fuck and I could not lift said bitch with Matt's help. Within seconds we knew we needed help. Thankfully, my brother came over to help and the sink is now sitting upright in my backyard in true white trash fashion. It's a long haul to the side of the garage, folks.
 Before Travis got here, Matt decided that the wall needed to go. Considering one wall is already gone as it the ceiling, I figure why the hell not?
 It's a hot fucking mess up in here. At this point, Matt took out the old water hookups, replaced the copper that was in the wall because (shocker) it was not done right and it was old and yeah. It was just easier to replace. So Matt replaced EVERYTHING in the house.
 Do you see those water hooker uppers? They are new, they are shiny, the hot and cold are now on the right sides, and they are ready to be put to use!
 Matt put the new sheet rock in, we had a heated discussion on the cabinet placement and we've decided to do this but there's trouble brewing on that (another post) already and he was busy hooking shit up. He also then went under the house where two hours of swears and alternating banging and sawing was happening. The kids and I left because it obviously was not going well under there and I didn't want to be here when a sewage pipe was ruptured.

As it turns out, it took Matt two hours and four tool batteries to cut through a cast iron something or another that water flows into so he could then replace all of the deteriorating plumbing. Keep in mind, Matt was in a crawl space with only enough room to hold his power tool thing and having to wear a jumpsuit... in 104 degree weather with 100% humidity.

Obviously, my decision to leave and go shopping was really smart on my part.

But it worth it because folks?
My washing machine will no longer dump its water into my sink! NO! It has its own little pipe that will now take water wherever water goes when it goes down this pipe. The other bonus is that all of Matt's plumbing worked on the first try. Sure, I had no water for almost eight hours and his method of shoving a dish cloth down the pipe so the house doesn't smell like sewage didn't work, and we now need more drywall, flooring, and an upper cabinet not to mention a new door so he can finish the walls to complete this project, but I have this fancy water sucker downer tube. I also have a new sink! Which is not attached to the counter top, functioning, or has a faucet but god dammit- my future is ghetto sink sludge free!

In other words, the project has been started, indefinitely stalled because of everything we still needed but Matt forgot about, and my house is a fucking mess. But, I can at least do laundry and not scoop out sludge. I'm still marking it as a win.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What You Wish For

I have to be honest, when I started this book I was stabby within the first three chapters because this is one of those books with a crap ton of characters and every chapter rotates between characters and their story lines... which don't wholly intersect but in some parts they do. Does that make sense? 

Having a baby is . . . complicated.Dimple knows. She’s a successful actress who is turning forty—though her agent and her resume insist she’s only thirty-six—and she figures it’s now or never. Certainly it’s not a good time for an intriguing director to show up at her door with a great script.Eva, fabulous agent to the stars, doesn’t want kids—and never wanted kids. Why is her decision so damned hard for everyone else to accept? When Maryn was undergoing treatment for cancer, she and her husband both agreed to have embryos frozen. But that was way before their divorce and her remission—and now she’s single and childless, and caught in the middle of a controversy she never saw coming.The traditional and nontraditional couples desperate for a baby . . . the adoptive parents . . . the single mom . . . the two who want nothing to do with parenthood. . . . This is a thoroughly modern story of the pursuit of family in all its forms—and of five very different ways of getting there.
Even though I was incredibly stabby and frustrated that yet again I somehow pick a book in this type of format and it's hands down the most annoying format for a book because it's so hard to end it. Really. It's very difficult to round up every character's story well enough to feel like it's finished. And this book didn't end every story line the way it really should, but I was able to get through it. The book started perking up half way through (I know.. it takes awhile) and by that point I had already invested this much time.. I may as well keep going. So I did and it was OK. I think if you are someone who wants a baby, this is probably a good read for you because it basically covers all kinds of ways you can end up with a baby. 
But here's my gripe. And I'm a woman so I can say it: I really hate it when women put off having babies because of their career. There, I said it. I'm not anti-woman, I'm not anti-having-a-good-career either. I'm a common sense, use your brain and don't be stupid. Quite frankly, it's reckless to wait until you are in your forties because think of the unnecessary risks you have now just put on your child. Is it fair to put them at risk because you want a career? I mean really.. that's kind of selfish. On the flip side, I think you should at least wait and not pop out children as tax breaks when you're 19 or 20 either. Granted, I did that... and I regret it. In no way shape or form was I ready for what was coming. But nonetheless, there was one character (Dimple) that I just couldn't stand for this reason. I cried HARD with Maryn's story line because you knew that wouldn't end well. 
In the end, it's a really good take on different introductions to parenthood and Wyatt's story line especially will have you asking yourself what your take on it is. 
Kerry has a website, Facebook and Twitter you can check out as well! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nebraska, day three. Also known as the coolest fucking zoo day ever.

When the Nebraska trip was first discussed I told Matt I would go if A) I could meet my two blogger friends and he wouldn't embarrass me, B) if we could go to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha and C) if we could go to Jones Bros. Cupcakes. And like every good wife who has done her job, he agreed with gusto because he knows what's good for him. So on Sunday, our last day of the trip, we got to go to the zoo and it was fucking amazing.

 Obligatory mom shot of kids in front of a sign.

Can I say something? You know I love my kids to death, I really do. Olivia is very calm and she likes to learn about stuff and she is patient and will take her time looking at things. Jackson on the other hand, instantly gets ADHD when we go anywhere and just runs everywhere. You laugh at me when I had him on a leash as a younger kid but god dammit, I may be *that mom* who makes her 15 year old wear a leash some day and I'm not even kidding. And while he did that a lot at the zoo and I'm constantly trying to get him to at least absorb something on this trip, most of the time it was a lost cause. Until... he realized that they have a lot of interactive exhibits that he can play with.
 Jackson stood on this crate for TEN MINUTES opening and shutting the little box on the wall. TEN MINUTES, people. That is huge for him.

One of the other things I was most pumped up about was the Lied Jungle. Folks, the pictures you see online are amazing, but they are nothing like walking through it. I seriously could have wandered through there the entire day and not have gotten bored.
 The kids thought we were in a legit jungle, and who am I to correct them?
 I mean, they had a bridge.
 And tree branch swings.

 Waterfalls and trees. That's good enough to qualify as a real jungle to me.
 Never mind the fact I look like a fucking heffer here. I fucking love that dress though, so freaking comfortable. But guess what isn't awesome? My super cute Target sandals that Shannon told me were amazing, and they are. But they are not meant for walking around a zoo for 10 hours.
 Matt was exhausted by 11 am but dammit, he kind of smiled for a picture with his hot, yet heffer like wife. HA!
 Then we saw a sloth and both kids started screaming that we had to take a picture of it for Uncle Travis because it is his favorite animal and so I did. This one is for you, Travis. We also love the sloth because we have this super cute bedtime book called If Animals Kissed Goodnight (seriously, parents? Get it. So adorable) and it has a sloth and her baby being adorable. So then Jackson naturally asked if we could get one and I had to explain that it's not really a house animal, and he insisted we could get fake trees for the house. Bless his damn heart.
 So after the jungle we ended up going to the Desert Dome. Which, not going to lie, I think is where that terrible Pauly Shore movie "BioDome" was filmed? It seriously looked like it. But I don't know if a lot of the animals were hiding, or just have awesome camouflage and I really need glasses, but I seriously only saw *maybe* five animals. I'm assuming there are a lot more because I kept seeing signs for them, but no animal. But what I did see?
 A crazy Russian lady with an umbrella hat. See? People really do wear them!
 This weird little animal. But it was cute and I would like it as a pet.
 This asshole with a rolling cooler. Like, I get that drinks at parks and zoos can be spendy, but is an entire cooler necessary? No.

We also saw a lot of Asians. Like, Asians EVERY WHERE. Matt and I agreed that walking into the Dome was like walking into China and I'm not even kidding. They were losing their shit over some pig or something, and then the road runner. (Which, how fucking disappointing to find out that A) they are not purple in real life and B) they are super small. Childhood cartoons have ruined me.) I couldn't even look at the animals because the one guy started yelling at me in Chinese or something and flailing. Like shit, dude. I'm trying to see what the fucking fuss about this pig that looks dead is, chill the fuck out, homie. So we left the desert.

And went to the aquarium.
 Obviously, by this point blood sugar was getting low and this is what Jackson thought of my attempt at getting a cute picture.
 Through the entire aquarium he demanded that we see a shark or leave. So I'm dragging him through. We stop at the penguins which they ended up loving because they were very spastic penguins and flipping around everywhere. Finally, we get to the little underground tunnel thing where the fish are all around you and we see a shark.
 Which we cannot even fully appreciate because in this tunnel are a TON of breastfeeding women. And before you get on me for being a bitch about breastfeeding, shut the fuck up. I'm pro breastfeeding in public so settle the fuck down. But what I do think is that just because you can do it anywhere, doesn't mean you should. Both of my kids are demanding food at this point, but you don't see me letting them eat right there, blocking every one's view of the exhibit. No. I take them off to the side, so we're out of every one's way and let them munch on their snack. Same goes for breastfeeding. It's great you chose to go that route but don't be a douchebag and block every one's view of a very cool exhibit. *rant end*

After the aquarium, we went and had lunch overlooking the Lied Jungle and we had awhile before our 2pm movie about the Arctic in the air conditioned theatre (totally strategic), so we went on the SkyFari. Which I could have ridden all day as well.
 What we didn't know was that 4 people couldn't be in one bench, so Olivia and I went in one...
 ... while I tricked Jackson into going with dad. Which he was thoroughly pissed off about. Whoops. He is very much a mama's boy and wasn't having it sitting with dad.
 After our SkyFari, we went and watched the Arctic movie only after getting the kids their Omaha Zoo hats which they went to bed wearing, by the way. The movie was good even though I was very worried that a mean rogue polar bear was going to eat a baby polar bear and it was that moment as a mom you silently curse yourself for bringing your kids to something there might be death in and cause hysteria and ruin an entire day. Thankfully, no polar bears died and crisis was averted.

Then we walked over to the Dino Dig site thinking that would be the shit. Which, it would probably be if it wasn't 100+ degrees out. Why? Because instead of sand, it's like rubber pellets that look, feel, and smell like cat litter. It was too fucking weird and smelling really warm rubber cat litter is a disgusting thing for anyone and I thought I was going to throw up.
 So the dig was short lived.

After being at the zoo for over 10 hours walking around, Gini told us there was this great little restaurant called the Pizza Shoppe in the Benson neighborhood that we should go to because it was good and cheap. And it totally was.
 Olivia loved it.
 And Jackson did too. And it was SUPER reasonable (under $25 for all four of us), air conditioned, and we had a really cool waitress. So it was a total win.

My last request for Omaha was to go to Jones Bros. Cupcakes. The guy who owns it, Bill Jones, used to be a radio DJ in Duluth, MN and I loved his morning show. It was SO good. Well, he moved back to Omaha after taking some cake classes at which he got really good. He opened up his little shop:
 And then was on the show Cupcake Wars twice. He ended up winning the second time, and his display for the Country Music Awards was in the shop and that was cool. But we obviously all got cupcakes.
 Jackson got a "Blue Slushie"
 Olivia chose the "Black and White"
 I obviously got the "Sweet and Salty", which was SO FUCKING GOOD.
And Matt got some Dark Chocolate thing which he also said was amazing.

So that was it. We ate our cupcakes, got to the hotel, showered and packed, went to bed and bid adieu to Omaha the next morning. It was a really great trip and I already want to go back. I feel like we didn't even touch the tip of the iceberg of fun and cool stuff in Omaha, so another trip is definitely in our future.