Friday, October 18, 2019

Book Review: In An Instant

Of course I can't find it because old Sara never labeled posts super well because she didn't anticipate having a traumatic brain injury and memory loss so I can't find it, but, a long time ago I read the book If I Stay by Gayle Forman and I really loved it. Thought the follow up was absolutely terrible and don't get me started. But the concept of someone being dead, or between worlds is fascinating to me particularly I think that's where I was and I just wish I could remember it.

In An Instant - Suzanne Redfearn

Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive.

Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives. Jack, her father, who seeks vengeance against the one person he can blame other than himself; her best friend, Mo, who bravely searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten; her sister Chloe, who knows Finn lingers and yearns to join her; and her mother, Ann, who saved them all but is haunted by her decisions. Finn needs to move on, but how can she with her family still in pieces?

Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.

I have to tell you I heard about this book online as a "coming soon" quickie thing (it goes on sale January 21, 2020- it's absolutely WORTH IT to pre-order it) and though it's a YA, it is absolutely beautiful and amazing and any adult will love this. With that said, I'm telling you this is 5 stars, it might be very close to the top of my list of favorite books of the year, and if you have been patiently waiting for this, it will be well worth the wait.

In this book we are with Finn and her family (mostly) but also her best friend Mo, and her close-enough-friend-to-be-family Aunt Karen, Uncle Bob, and their daughter Natalie. We have a couple of other characters but this is who we're really following. It's pretty clear that Finn's family is silently fractured but nobody is really coming out to say it so in an attempt to make family memories there is a ski trip planned and all of them are going to ride in this kind of rickety vehicle (there's 10 people, so it's fairly large and enough to move around in a bit). They get there just fine and decide they'll go out to eat and instead of dressing for weather some of them dress to impress, which turns out to be the worst decision because as they leave they realize they are in the middle of a blizzard. One wrong move on the road sends them careening off the side of a mountain and THAT is where the story really starts.

One character dies early on and that's the "voice" we are reading and the story is told from their point of view from the empty space between here and... heaven, I guess. Not only do we see how each character handles the stress and fear of being trapped in a blizzard with little to no resources, but we see how humans make desperate decisions to save ourselves sometimes. We see the true colors of people in stressful situations. (And I have to just add, there is one part where a character goes out into the blizzard and you just know it isn't a good idea and my mama heart absolutely broke, and I fully cried. There were a few parts of this that I cried which only makes me love this more.)

My favorite part of the book was not the accident and survival piece, which I thought it would be, it was how everyone handled it after the accident. Once we learn who made it and who didn't, each character handles it differently and nobody really knows the full story because we all remember things a bit differently and we all look at the actions of a person differently depending on what our recollection of the situation is.

I loved this for a few reasons, as an adult I understood the positions of each adult and I can understand the way they handled it the way they did. I can understand how, as a child, that could all be confusing for you and come off as callous. Sometimes we don't really know the thoughts/feelings of someone, but our narrator does. I absolutely loved having a dead narrator because oddly, it gives me some comfort to think maybe we really do get to see what's going on long after we go. Maybe we don't, but wouldn't it be nice to not really be gone?

I loved all of the moral and ethical questions this book raises and challenges. I love how the author shows us that forgiveness isn't about them, it's about us, that forgiving someone doesn't mean what they did was OK or just, but it means you can move on and its explained in a way that I don't think we're teaching kids. I feel like teens are going to grab onto this book and hold on until the very last page.

Not only would this been an amazing book club pick, but I know some teachers have a book club in their classrooms and I think this would be such a dynamic book choice. The even better part? The author includes an Author's Note at the end that describes why she wrote this book and how some similar events/characters inspired her to write this from her past. (It also has discussion questions to get your book club going.)

Overall?  I have to give this 5 stars. I have to. This book had me staying up WAY past my bedtime and reading at every given minute I had. Such an incredibly harrowing, emotional, and powerful read. If I could buy 100 copies of this and just give them out to every person I saw, I would. Such a great book.
An incredibly HUGE thanks to Suzanne Redfearn for finding me on Facebook and then sending me a copy of this- if I could hug you in person and bring you cookies as thanks, I absolutely would. <3 nbsp="" p="">

(This post contains affiliate links)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Book Review: If Only I Could Tell You

When this book came in the mail I fell in love with it immediately because this cover is gorgeous, but I didn't remember what it was about. Once I read the blurb I remembered exactly why I wanted this book and I am so glad I was able to be on this tour because this book had me hooked from page one.

If Only I Could Tell You - Hannah Beckerman

Audrey knows that life is filled with ups and downs, but she can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years. Her dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Even more upsetting is the fact that Audrey has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again.

If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, but ironically, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing once and for all Audrey and those she loves.

Is it too late for one broken family to heal and find their way back to each other…?

A beautiful novel of mothers and daughters, the bonds of family, and the secrets that can sometimes divide us yet also bring us together, If Only I Could Tell You will remain on your mind long after the last page is turned.

The quick and dirty of this book is Audrey (Lily and Jess's mom) has cancer. She's very clearly dying, she's refusing treatment and her daughters don't know why and she is gone to live with Jess and her daughter, Mia. Jess hasn't spoke with her sister Lily in years and it isn't just a "I don't like her" thing, it is very clearly an intense hate towards her sister except only Jess knows why and this book is the quest of Audrey putting the past, and whatever issues they have, behind them so when she passes she knows her family, what's left of it, are together.

Have you ever read a book where your heart breaks in every chapter? No? Well you're about to. I know half of you are saying, "I don't like reading books that make me sad!" and I get that, but this book is so important. Little story- when I was 20 I got my first job post college working a program assistant for a senior volunteer program. I knew right away I was going to love it. Within five months my boss came to my desk and told me to come on, grab my jacket and purse, we're going to a funeral.

Taken aback, I didn't know who had passed away and to be honest, I had never been to a funeral before so I wasn't sure what to do. So I grabbed my things and my boss drove us straight to a cemetery and there were two people standing over a patch of dirt. One was a non denominational pastor and one was an older woman who was the across the hall neighbor of the woman in the ground, who was previously a volunteer of ours before I had started. Not one family member was there and I thought it was so strange- who dies alone? Well this woman did. Apparently years ago (like 30+) she had a falling out with her daughter and they stopped talking. She never got to see her grandchildren grow up, or know that she had great grandchildren. After the rather short service we all left and it really bothered me. I felt like we should have called her daughter, or someone, surely someone would have wanted to come, and my boss just looked at me and said, "You're young, but this is a lesson that nothing is worth it." It has stuck with me all of this time and no matter how angry or hurt I am at a family member, I think of that volunteer.

But back to this book. It's really what happens here- an event happens and one daughter isn't sure what she saw but given the events of the rest of the day she puts two and two together and the anger she feels is unprecedented. Because not only are the events that day bad enough, but a few weeks later, there is a second event that she is SURE is tied to the first one so now she's REALLY mad. The book alternates between Jess, Audrey, and Lily's point of view and also has flash backs from the past as the story unravels and you get the big secret and everything starts clicking in place.

If I have to give a critique? I wish the secret came out a lot sooner. I understand why it came when it did but I felt like it could have been bumped up a little so we could get an epilogue. If ever there was a book that should have an epilogue, it's this one. I want a year later. Something. There are like three things that are minor but I would have liked to see them have some kind of conclusion or an idea of how it might end.

You also need to go into this knowing that Jess and Lily aren't great characters. I didn't like Jess off the bat and I felt like she was probably exaggerating the entire thing (and I can't tell you if that's true or not), and Lily was cold but I started liking her and feeling sorry for her a lot sooner than I did Jess. It wasn't until damn near the very end where I was like, "OK- Jess is alright", I don't know what it was necessarily about her I didn't like. Audrey... I really felt bad for Audrey. I liked her straight away and I feel like she was probably like so many women in the 50's and 60's. They grow up with goals only to end up pregnant, getting married, and quickly your life becomes about raising this family- all of your aspirations fade away. It's only until the end of her life that she takes the time to regret some choices. There is a passage on page 141 that really resonated with me personally:
"I had it all worked out: I'd get someone to look after the baby while I was at lectures and I'd study in the evenings and at weekends when Edward wasn't at work. The plan was so clear and simple in my head, yet whenever I thought about actually writing the letter, I felt completely paralyzed. When I look back now, all I can is, What on earth stopped me? Why didn't I at least try? And however many times I ask myself that question, there's only ever one answer I can offer in response. Because I was scared. It's as simple as that."
That hit home. Of all the reasons I never went to a four year college to become a teacher or get an English degree, it was always fear. Getting a four year degree was always the plan, always the dream and I just never did it because I was scared to fail. I didn't think I could do it. It's out of reach now and I'm moved past it, and my new goal is to finish my book and get it published but I feel that same fear creeping up my neck. So when I read that passage I felt like, FINALLY!!! It's an explanation that makes sense and is communicated how I mean it.

I also have to tell you that while my heart broke in different ways, for different characters, the entire way.... the ending. Oh my god the ending. I was at Olivia's dance class reading this and full on sobbing in my car. Sobbing, you guys. It was equal parts happiness and sadness, which makes no sense unless you read this. This book is so great. 5 stars.

You can find this book in the HarperCollins store, which always has deals and coupons. You can also find it at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

A gigantic thank you to William Morrow, Hannah Beckerman, and TLC Book Tours for sending me my copy! This post contains affiliate links. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The best mail, art, cuties, and referrals.

I can't remember if I ever shared with you what I got in my October book boxes, so I'm going to show you again because book mail is the BEST MAIL.

Also, do you get book boxes? If you do, leave a comment telling me which ones because I feel like it's time to switch something up here. And I know I said that last month but I for real mean it this time.
The Bookworm Box is still my favorite and I likely won't get rid of this one. 90% of the time I really love the book and discover new authors I end up obsessed with, and that's been really great. This month I got F*ck Marriage by Tarryn Fisher and I'm meh. I read one other book by this author and I gave that one 5 stars and had a gushing review, which is the only reason I put this on my shelf and not in the donate pile. We also got a very cool water bottle, pens (STOP IT WITH THE DAMN PENS), and a Pin Mate, which I now have like five of these in a drawer because I don't know what to do with them. Do I keep them in their package? Do I take them out and just have these wooden people on my shelves? I don't know so they are in a drawer.
I also got my Unplugged Box and this is  the one I want to switch out. Normally our swag is super weird stuff, and we got whipped soap (that green container... what the hell is whipped soap?!), a candle (that smells like men's cologne so I'm down for this), a weird lip balm, two skeleton hand hair clips (which broke almost immediately), this tote bag (which I'll use for library books since my other one broke) and a weird little red cutting board (not pictured because I threw it away). Our book this month is Tinfoil Butterfly by Rachel Eve Moulton. I don't know why this box picks the most bizarre books of all time. I haven't liked one book they've sent and that alone makes me want to cancel it. I'm convinced they send out the books that are overstock somewhere, I'm not kidding.
So let's talk about school. Lucy is doing really well. I'm not sure if this is a ladybug or a fish and I can't understand what she tells me so I don't know... what do you think it is? 
Also, she's learning to write her name! I was so impressed when Penelope came home at the end of 3K writing her name but Lucy is already starting. She's apparently not Lucy, but Lufly, but we're close! 
Penelope is doing really well in school and while the first few weeks were rocky I think she's finding her groove. She plays with kids (well... she chases them) on the playground and one of the boys in her class says she's beautiful. I volunteer at small group time on Wednesdays (which is me helping kids cut stuff out or something) and I get to see her participating, so I know she's alright. 
This past Friday she had no school for teacher training or something so her and I went on a date all morning. We got donuts, went to Target and Hobby Lobby, and then got lunch. It was a pretty fun day and when we got home she said "I like going on dates with you" and it was really sweet.
The other cool thing is getting a call from the middle school telling me Jackson was getting a positive referral. I spoke with one of the assistant principal's who said the referral she got had some of the nicest compliments of a student she has ever seen. His math teachers said he's the most responsible, kind, helpful, respectful, diligent student they have and he is an exemplary example of work-respect-belong  and they blown away at how great of a student he is.

You guys, I cried. I spoke with her on my cell phone and she said she had left a message on my home machine and I haven't deleted it yet because I'm just so proud. I know he's been working his butt off at school and he's doing every extra assignment he can because he just wants good grades. I know I doubt myself as a mom a lot, but my kids are really great. They are at the age now where I'm relying on having given them a good foundation, and I hope it was enough as they get further from the nest.

Also, I'm glad they got their Dad's math smarts because if they had gotten mine they'd be in a world of hurt. HA!

Monday, October 14, 2019

We don't even have Fendi coats.

So waaaaaay back this spring I heard that 5 Seconds of Summer were going on tour with The Chainsmokers. I'm not real familiar with either (I mean, if a song comes on the radio I know it's them and can sing along but tell me to name five songs of theirs and I can't.), but I know Olivia liked them, and I knew she had a friend that really liked them. These girls are the best and when I say they work hard and are good people? I'm not kidding. I thought it would be a cool reward to buy tickets for them to see it, and I would take them. I got the OK from her friend's parents and they had to wait months before we could go but when school started this year they had a little countdown going.

The day of was super rainy and I was happy it was on a Saturday because I figured they could kind of rest up on Sunday so they wouldn't be slugs at school. The drive down was fine until we were maybe 40 miles away. The patch of construction wasn't even a city block long but the hold up was everyone's inability to zipper merge.
They absolutely could not do it. If you don't understand the whole zipper merge concept, alright. But if for 30 miles you see cars in one lane moving over, wouldn't you move over? If you knew you were scared to zipper merge, why would you not just get over when there is a gap? Instead they panic and start to come over, get scared and go back, realize the merge is coming, and they just FREEZE and suddenly we're all at a dead stop because you can't drive.

Needless to say we didn't get dinner. Instead, we ate concession food which is so unreasonably expensive. 
Also, it appears none of us brought jackets and I'm just grateful the rain had let up because I also had no umbrella, not that you could even bring on in anyways. 
I also got them shirts and they wore them to school on Monday because they are the cutest girls in the whole world. 
The opening act was Lennon Stella (??) and I don't know who that is but she sounded like every pop star that doesn't quit get a one hit wonder and you never hear of again. 5 Seconds of Summer were actually really good.
I was really surprised how empty the floor was though. I've never been to a concert with that huge of a space. They played all of their hits that I recognized, a few that I didn't but I liked, and they were really entertaining guys in general. I would see them again live. 
The Chainsmokers were next and I didn't really understand why they were the headliner because I thought they actually sucked. Of course 5 Seconds of Summer came out to do the song they collaborated on (hence my post title... which makes sense if you've heard that song)
My first thought was this was a couple of brothers from college who sleep with different women every day, do drugs because they can "handle it", throw parties, and are general douchebags. Honestly, nothing in their set made me change my mind but I left there thinking these guys are so full of themselves and are absolute douchebags. If  my daughter brought a guy like this home I would be so incredibly disappointed. I'm not kidding.

That's how I know I'm a mom, now.

I think the girls had a good time at the concert anyways, and we had a pretty good drive back. I don't remember on what part of Hwy 35 we were that we started seeing a LOT of emergency lights and started passing several police and state patrol, ambulances, a fire truck, and traffic heading south was stopped for miles. They had to have been stopped for a really long time and we couldn't see what happened but I assumed it was a bad car accident. Well, it was, but a man who was struck after walking in the middle of the road died. I just feel awful not just for the victim, but the two drivers that hit him but also all of those people who (eventually) had to drive by the area. Just sad all the way around.

I'm hoping to do another concert with the girls soon, I had a good time with them. I really love Olivia's friends and I love hearing their perspective on things at school and getting to know them as people. It seems like all of her friends come from different family backgrounds and I really love it because I think we benefit the most when the people we spend time with aren't all the same. I'm also thrilled she makes great choices in friends and that she has a good group, it makes me worry less, that's for sure!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Book Review: The Price of Grace

Are you at all impressed at the reading streak I'm on??? For the first time this ENTIRE YEAR, I am caught up on my Goodreads challenge! I'm on track to finishing 150 books this year and that's pretty great because for a good couple of months I didn't think that was going to happen at all. HA!

The Price of Grace - Diana Munoz Stewart

Gracie Parish knows the true cost of trust. Rescued as a child by the infamous Parish family, she became a member of their covert sisterhood of vigilantes. Gracie saw her most precious relationships destroyed by secrecy. She learned long ago to protect her heart as well as her family's secrets.

Special Agent Leif "Dusty" McAllister will do anything to uncover the truth about the Parish family's covert operations. Dusty knows Gracie is his ticket in. He'll use everything he's got—fair, unfair, and just plain wrong—to break through her defenses. But the more he gets to know Gracie and her family's mission, the harder he starts to fall. Neither one is sure they'll get out of this with their lives—or their hearts—intact.

I always forget how much I love romantic suspense novels until I'm reading one and I ask myself why don't I read more of these?? I always enjoy them and this one is no exception. In fact, I have this sitting next to my books by Lora Leigh and Lisa Marie Rice because Diana Muñoz Stewart is on par with them. 
The great thing about this book is while it is book two in the Black Ops Confidential series, it works as a stand alone, too. That ended up being perfect because I read the first one, I Am Justice, last year and I really couldn't remember it. I know I liked it but the details were fuzzy. It's completely OK because the author gives you the highlights in this one so even if you aren't one to go back and read the first, you'll be just fine, pick this one up and have a good read. 
What impressed me in the first book was how the author gave us a really bad ass female lead who isn't a damsel in distress, and that carries over into this book. While these are different characters than in book one (which is why this is a fabulous stand alone), they are no less interesting and they keep you hooked. At first I wasn't actually sure that I liked Dusty because he came off as kind of an ass who would trample on anyone for his own agenda, and while that's what his plan is here, it spectacularly backfires and I kind of love it because someone needed to reel him in a bit. In book one I didn't love Justice because I felt like she was too alpha, but in this book I really did like Gracie. Gracie is exactly what I'd expect from a female character in a romantic suspense and, sue me, that's what I like. 
While this book comes in at 350ish pages, it is a FAST read. I'm not kidding. So much happens in this book all at once, you feel like you can't put the book down. I mean, a lot. It's also a little bit of a strange story, so it feels like you're trying to wrap your head around what's actually happening but at the same time saying, "Wait.... WHAT??" but more and more stuff is happening. Gracie's real identity is murky, at best, her family are all kind of off, and the idea that fighting oppression in women is best combated with... an army of vigilante women who commit violence is kind of odd and I don't really think that makes sense, but in a way... I get it? So even though this is a fictional book, it's a romantic suspense and you get all of that goodness, you also get to thinking about the current state of affairs in the world and what if this was real? Could you even imagine it? What if you were Gracie, how would you even handle all of this when your life is a really weird onion with bizarre layers you didn't know where there? 
Needless to say, I really enjoyed this. I'd say I liked this one more than I am Justice. There is a third book coming called The Cost of Honor, and I get to read that one too and I'm pretty dang excited. If you are looking for a book to shove in your purse to read between picking up kids or on your lunch break, definitely check this one out because you'll be completely entertained and absorbed into it. 

THANK YOU to Sourcebooks Casablanca and TLC  Book Tours for having me on this tour and sending a copy to me. This post contains affiliate links. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Book Review: Invisible As Air

Invisible As Air - Zoe Fishman

Sylvie Snow knows the pressures of expectations: a woman is supposed to work hard, but never be tired; age gracefully, but always be beautiful; fix the family problems, but always be carefree. Sylvie does the grocery shopping, the laundry, the scheduling, the schlepping and the PTA-ing, while planning her son’s Bar Mitzvah and cheerfully tending her husband, Paul, who’s been lying on the sofa with a broken ankle. She’s also secretly addicted to the Oxycontin intended for her husband.

For three years, Sylvie has repressed her grief about the heartbreaking stillbirth of her newborn daughter, Delilah. On the morning of the anniversary of her death, when she just can’t face doing one…more…thing: she takes one—just one—of her husband’s discarded pain pills. And suddenly she feels patient, kinder, and miraculously relaxed. She tells herself that the pills are temporary, just a gift, and that when the supply runs out she’ll go back to her regularly scheduled programming.

But days turn into weeks, and Sylvie slips slowly into a nightmare. At first, Paul and Teddy are completely unaware, but this changes quickly as her desperate choices reveal her desperate state. As the Bar Mitzvah nears, all three of them must face the void within themselves, both alone and together.

I struggled through this one mostly because I really, really, really didn't like Sylvie. Paul was alright and, don't get me wrong, he had some pretty terrible tendencies and secrets in the aftermath of Delilah's death, but Sylvie... whoa boy, baby.

Now, I have never had a baby who was stillborn. I haven't. I've suffered a pretty awful miscarriage, I have died in childbirth and been irrevocably changed, but I've never handled a stillborn baby. Sylvie internalized her grief, and Paul kind of does too, and their then 9 year old son Teddy was kind of left in the wind, so to speak. Sylvie lashes out when people try to talk to her about Delilah because she believes SHE is the only one entitled to grieve as she is, and then gets mad that they aren't grieving enough and showing it. Sylvie and Paul's marriage is in a rut, Teddy is in middle school and completely awkward and trying to find his way and it all kind of begins imploding the day Sylvie takes one of the pain pills Paul was prescribed for his ankle.

At first Paul and Teddy don't notice anything other than she's happier and not lashing out at them as often. Once the prescription runs out Sylvie, fully addicted and in complete denial, starts making desperate choices, which leads to everything coming to a head.

Out of all the characters, I felt the most for Teddy. Maybe because he's my son's age and I know how confusing life is for a boy with puberty and all of these social changes but add on to that your mom basically being an addict and feeling like you have no control of anything, and I just wanted to give him a hug the entire time.

I also have to mention that in a way, I could relate to Sylvie in the beginning. The rage of knowing who didn't reach out at all, the ones who dropped off a meal and really quietly disappear from your life, the ones who don't really want to know when they ask how you're doing, or the ones who just awkwardly ignore the fact anything happened in the first place. Don't get me wrong, for as much as I didn't like Sylvie, I absolutely understood the desire to just be numb and slip away for awhile, to be able to turn off all the noise.

Overall? I'm going to give this one 4 stars. It has a few hiccups in it but I flew through this one because you constantly want to know what's going to happen. It flips from Sylvie, Paul, and Teddy's point of view so you can see all sides of this train wreck before it happen. An absolutely appropriately timed book given the crisis to prescription medication addiction and how the everyday addict is now becoming the PTA mom, the mom who leads the playgroup, your coworker, etc. I highly recommend this one.

A good option is to head over to the HarperCollins website to pick this one up- it would make for a really great book club read.

A huge thank you to William Morrow Books, Harper Collins, and TLC Book Tours for having me on this review tour. This post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Bring on fall festivities. And stuff.

It's literally the second week of October and I feel like we've done so much already this fall. We have tons more to do and I'm trying to remember to take more pictures. I have a couple of months in here that I don't have much and I forget that I forget. HA. So if you ever see me with my kids out and about- offer to take a picture of us because I most likely forgot. Even if we're wandering Target. That stuff matters, too.

So here's some of our fall so far:
Matt and I took Penelope and Lucy to the local PBS channel's birthday party at the library. They got to see Curious George and listen to some stories and have a piece of cake. A cute little event that was REALLY crowded, so I was doing every calm down technique I could remember because I was not handling it well. We didn't stay until the end but the girls were happy to see what we saw. 
One weekend we decided to out for a lunch date to Pizza Hut and head over to Chilly Billy's for some froyo. Fun fact: pizza and froyo for six people is a little over $100. I'm not even joking. Do you see why we don't go out much? It was OK because it was a splurge and we don't do it often, and the kids had a really fun time. 
Our fall tradition is to pick pumpkins out at Grandma Renae and Grandpa Fred's house. This year we didn't get out there earlier so they had to pick them all before we got there, BUT! Grandpa is pretty great so he put one for each kid back out into the garden so they could "pick" them. He grows a LOT of pumpkins and we never know how big (or little) our pumpkin will be. 
You can tell Lucy was absolutely THRILLED to find one with her name on it. (He actually carves everyone's name on it months before they are ready so when it grows the name is just on there- it's pretty cool.)
Penelope found hers with Grandma's help and this is the second year in a row hers is the biggest!
Olivia found hers pretty quickly. 
Oh, and Lucy decided she was going to try to carry hers back to the car. She didn't make it far and dad had to help her.
Jackson is actually holding my pumpkin because he broke tradition and put his in the car before I could get a good photo. Mine is actually really heavy so he had a great time carrying it. Ha! 
School is going really well for everyone. Lucy brings me a backpack full of brush, grass, sticks, you name it almost every day. She's convinced I really love it. I absolutely do not love it but she's clearly proud of herself. 
On one of my recent trips to Target I found these containers for $1. I bought a bunch because it's never too early to think about Christmas! These are going to be the teacher gift containers, and they are just really cute. 
Both Penelope and Lucy are big into books and I find myself reading a LOT of them each day. Some evenings Lucy will bring a stack to me but on this night she dragged our entire basket from my office to me. Do you know how long it takes to read all of these? Well over an hour, people. 
I haven't been feeling so well lately and it's because I keep forgetting to take my medication. My memory is getting worse and I don't know what is going on. It's frustrating, and scary, and I'm finding myself forgetting more and more stuff. I've had a couple of scary incidents and it's just exhausting to not be getting better. But, when I forget my medicine I feel like I have the worst flu of my life. I don't, but I definitely feel like it. Lucy always comes up to cuddle with me though and sometimes she'll rub my face and tell me she loves me. She's a pretty great kid.

So that's what our first week of October looked like. Seriously- that's one week.

Once I get my pictures together I have a concert I took Olivia and her friend to, I have a Halloween show the girls are in, maybe Boo at the Zoo, maybe our trip to Burch Barn. Olivia has a dance performance at a football game coming up. The rest of this month is BUSY. Like busy, busy so I just need to keep it together.