Tuesday, January 16, 2018


I'm steadily reading this series and fortunately this counts as part of my Beat the Backlist challenge, so that's a bonus!

Beck - Harper Sloan

I’ve always been good at wearing masks. Not letting anyone see the real me. I’m content being the happy-go-lucky best friend. The strong willed boss. The independent woman who doesn’t need a man. 

But the truth is I’m just as broken as the rest of you. I’m terrified that all it will take is one person to make all my carefully constructed walls crumble into fine dust. So I guard my heart with everything I have. Determined to never let anyone get close enough to hurt me again. 

All is perfect until HE walks into my life. No… he doesn’t just walk. He struts his good-looking, sex-oozing self right into my space and demands that I see HIM. Making me want what I know I can’t have. 

So I did the only thing I know how to do. 
I run. 
But he just won’t let me go. 

The second I see her, I know she will be mine. I see past the gorgeous smiles and heart-stopping laughter. I see HER. She doesn’t want me to know her secrets or the past that haunts her, but I make it my mission to find out. 

To make her mine. 

She can run all she wants, but it will never be far enough to stop me from coming after her. 
She’s it for me and she knows it. 
She’s just too scared to admit it. 

Alright, so this is book 3 in the Corps Security series, but it's fully a stand alone. Each book connects with the others and some story line overlaps, but if you didn't read book 1 and 2 you won't be lost. Secondly, if you like romance but don't want to hear details so much, this book is not for you, nor is the series.

In this book we have Dee and Beck, two characters I'm on the fence about. Well, I don't like Dee so I guess I'm not on the fence with her. But Dee has clear mental health issues that extend all the way into her childhood, so as an adult she is a fake adult. She's as fake as they come, she acts like a bitch for no reason, pretends to be the mothering type with her friends, a man slayer, bad ass, independent woman. When REALLY she's insecure, unhappy, has PTSD, completely unable to tell the truth about how she feels, and has a bizarre obsession with not getting close to anyone and being pissed off with herself for not doing it. The majority of the book is all around that, and how Beck just takes her crap and sticks with it until (no shocker) he gets the girl!

Then all hell breaks loose with a drug addict/gunman, a master criminal, someone dies, and someone gets engaged. If you're following along you get little updates on previous characters, one of them are pregnant with twins! But what makes the whole thing crazy is the fact that Dee is crazy for book 1 and 2, and 3/4 of this one but faced with a gunman? Calm and totally OK. Not freaking out. She doesn't even panic when she meets the master criminal. Nope, calm and collected. Which is so bizarre and implausible I almost threw the book right there.

Overall? I can only give this book 3/5 stars and that's being really generous. I liked book 1 and 2, but book 3 was a dud and I think it's all because Dee is nuts and I don't like her. I don't think those type of characters are endearing and you can't redeem that. The only thing saving this book is Beck being such a great guy and Dee's right- she doesn't deserve him.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sometimes when you think you're helpful, you're being lazy.

I'll start this by saying that my feelings about this are no way indicative of every person who is or has been in my position. I'll also put out there that I used to do all of these things, be that person, but I genuinely thought I was doing good.

I used to be one of those people who heard about suicide and immediately thought, "That is incredibly selfish. You're surrounded by people who want to help you and you don't even care enough to let them help." I was that person, no question. Full stop.

Then I became suicidal and I realize what an asshole I was. I wasn't helping by pointing any of this out, but what I was doing was trying to guilt the person into staying here. Guilt is not a reason to stay on Earth. Nobody should stay here because of what they can do for you, whether that's supporting you or just being the person under a title in your life (mother, father, friend, spouse, etc), or because you have fond memories and you like that person: that is not a good enough reason for them to stay alive because what that is is YOU being selfish. You're thinking about what you would be feeling with them gone instead of what it feels like for them to be alive every single day.

Sure, some depression is passing. We all have days where we think, "fuck it all, I'm done" and we have them in varying degrees. Some of us say it, don't mean it, and that's that. Some say it and maybe think about it in passing but it's enough to convince them it's just a bad day. Some people think about it hard, really weigh it out, but ultimately it passes and they are able to move on and be OK. Then there are some people where it is like a continuous loop of negative in our head. It's a cassette tape that never ends, it's on repeat, and you never shut it off. At best you can turn the volume down a bit but out of nowhere it gets cranked up and you suddenly feel like you have no control over it. If you hear something enough times, you agree with it. It's making valid point and it starts sounding like a better idea every day.

One of the resources available to all of us are suicide hotlines. I have called it one time in the last year and it was the worst 12 minutes of my life. I got a young sounding guy, sounded like a young boy, and he was reading of a terribly written script and when I detailed why I felt the way I do, he gave me silence. He had no answers for me, didn't have any information about where I should go for help, and I hung up that phone feeling worse than ever. I don't remember how I got through that night but it was hard. While I laid in my bed, with tears streaming down my face and my husband asleep next to me, I remember countless friends telling me to "reach out" if I need help.

So I did.

I made a lot of phone calls. Maybe because it was the middle of the night, but I got no answers. No returned texts. Nobody even returned the missed call they had to have seen on their phones. I can't fault them because we're all busy with our lives and I get it. I hate talking on the phone, so I understand about anxiety. I also know that nobody wants to be the last person someone talks to, it's a lot of pressure. What if they kill themselves, is it because of something you said? Did you motivate them to jump off the bridge?

I get it.

I could go on and on, but I won't. I will say this though, if you know someone who needs help, who is maybe on the fringe, do something. If they matter to you, do something. Call around and find the mental health resources in the area, sit with them, bring them food and hugs, let them cry no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, listen to them, don't tell them to be grateful or think of everyone who has it worse because in those moments? This is worse than cancer. It's worse than babies with cancer. I'm not kidding. In those dark moments the tape is so loud and it says every negative thing. It overpowers everything good in your life and you just want it to stop. If ending your life makes it stop, it is worth it, in those moments.

I won't pretend to tell you I've beaten it because I very much haven't. While my medications quiet the noise, I still hear it. The medication numbs my ability to plan but I still want to die each and every day. The medication slows me down and makes me tired, and I don't think I'd have the energy to do anything even if I had a solid plan. I'm also not begrudging anyone around me. I think you all genuinely think you've done everything you could or are comfortable doing. I get it. I'm with you, I don't know what I would do if the tables were turned. But I ask you, I beg you, please don't tell me to call a hotline, to reach out, to be grateful, to look at all of the good around me, because none of it helps and none of it matters. Give me an actual solution.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Crafty Saturday : kind of a thing

I haven't done a Crafty Saturday post in well over a year, possibly closer to two years. To be honest, I don't craft very much anymore. I've lost interest, my brain doesn't function great so trying to think about what to do and how to do it is really tough, and I feel very overwhelmed. But in recent months I've started feeling guilty because the kids love the scrapbooks, they spend a lot of time looking through them and talking about what we've done, and they subtly (or not so much) remind me that Penelope and Lucy will like it too.... if only I'd keep up with it. So I'm trying. 

This week I did two pages and finished putting together the Michigan trip album (from 2010). I forgot how good it feels to get things off of my desk and scrapbooking has always been a great way to get that feeling. 
They aren't great, but I guess it's a start? 
I'm so behind in photos so I've been trying to do the ones that are easiest thinking I'd gain momentum. And I was but now I'm out of adhesive and the thought of going to the store is overwhelming. 

Also this week I went to a painting class with my friend Tammy. The instructor was kind of rushed and it felt like a complete frenzy because there were multiple projects being done at once... it was just a lot. So our paintings were.. kind of interesting.  
In case you can't find up, we're in the lower left hand corner, front row. We're going to a string art class next for one of my friends, that should be fun, too. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

You Don't Look Adopted

Calm down, I am not adopted! But this is a very cool book about someone who is and what that can be like for someone.

You Don't Look Adopted - Anne Heffron

Adoption can be tricky. It's a wonderful thing to be chosen, to be brought up by loving parents, but in order for this to happen, there has to be an initial abandonment, and this loss can settle like a seed of unease in the adopted person, quite possibly affecting the entirety of his or her life. 
Anne Heffron, who'd been adopted at ten weeks old, embarked on a three-month journey she called "Write or Die", leaving California for her birth place, New York City, in order to do the one thing she'd been unable to do her entire adult life: tell her own story, and not the one she'd heard all her life that began, "The day we got you." 
You Don't Look Adopted is an intimate look at what it means for an adopted person to live in the world as someone who was both chosen and given away. 

I'm giving this one a solid 4 stars, right out the gate. I'm not adopted but I was able to finally "get it". I never used to get it when people had a disconnect and never felt part of something because of their adoption, or maybe they just don't know one of their parents, because I have few memories of my dad. He didn't want us, he couldn't contribute,  he was an alcoholic and that was more important. I eventually gained a step dad but I never felt like I was missing out, like a part of me is unfulfilled. But after reading Anne's book I get it.

I've not been shy about my struggles this last year and being suicidal but I never had a good statement to wave and say, THIS! This is how I feel. In Anne's book early on there is a line,

"What does valuable even mean? It means worth protecting, worth keeping alive. It means that sometimes I cross the street without looking both ways because I don't care if someone hits me."


Another line that just called to me was on the next page, I think, and its in relation to her writing this book. She says,

"If you think your voice is dangerous in its ability to hurt the ones you love, you learn to keep it quiet. And then the real trouble starts."

I'm writing a book now and I struggle with writing my truth how I see it versus sparing feelings. I shouldn't spare feelings if it's my personal truth, right?

The entire story, from her childhood to adulthood, the author is able to show us why hers was different, what mistakes she made, what points of her life were maybe impacted by being adopted. It's written honestly and beautifully, your heart strings will be tugged hard. As a mom, I can't imagine what it is like to hand my baby over. I think when we look at certain issues we only see one facet of it, we don't look at the full circle. People often say that love can fix anything but that's not really true. This book highlights how that can be the case. Even the best of parents can't fix all of the broken pieces, fill all of the holes. I have no connection to adoption myself but I really felt the impact as if this was written for me. I love this author's voice so much, it makes it an easy read.

If you, or someone you know, is adopted this would be an excellent book for them. Maybe a great read for a newly adoptive parent, so you avoid the pitfalls of screwing your kid up more? HA! But truly, this book is so well written, it's going to be one I hold near and dear for a long while.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

17 Months

It feels so strange that Lucy is 17 months old but she definitely is. When I say 17 months in reference to her age it feels like such a long time, but when I think of 17 months in terms of my trauma? It's nothing at all. 
 Miss Lucy at 17 months is a copy cat. Whatever Penelope does, she can do better. Such as coloring on the walls. She's big into coloring now and prefers markers but will take all of the crayons as a substitute. 
 Lucy absolutely loves food. This girl enjoys food, she might end up being the foodie in the family. She gets excited when you tell her it's time to eat and she frantically runs to her chair to push it out. 
 Which is maybe why she loves the play kitchen so much. She particularly enjoys her tea set but she's just now getting into the "washing dishes" part of her kitchen. 
 Lucy and Penelope fight over these stupid Water Wow pens. We have four books, four pens, but it doesn't matter because they always want the one they don't have. It's frustrating. 
But at least these she can't draw on her face, or the walls, so that's a bonus. 

She isn't talking yet but every once in awhile we hear beginnings of: yes, no, dadda. Her hair is almost a reddish tint, which means every kid has a different color of hair! She remains a total sweetheart, loves to give hugs and kisses, really likes The Wiggles, dancing, music, her soft purple blanket, socks, and wearing shoes. She's the shoe fanatic. She loves to throw Twinky's toy, and she's starting to get vocal/angry/scream because Penelope does it over everything. Terrible two's are horrific and I hate that Lucy is picking up tips. 

We'll see what this month brings. My hope is it gets "warmer" so we can play in the snow. I hate winter but I'll take one for the team if it means they'll nap. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Maybe not a beach body but better than current?

If you are a long time reader of the blog you know that I have struggled on and off with my weight all my life. You might even remember me doing my walk/run thing on the fuckmill (treadmill) and successfully completing a bunch of 5k's. I was never fast, or skinny, but I was actually enjoying what I was doing and looking forward to races. 

Which sounds down right CRAZY TOWN to me now. 

I do know that I have some stumbling blocks to overcome. Things like my actual health, how I'm not supposed to exert myself too much and I will dehydrate alarmingly fast. I have an auto immune disorder so if I do anything too strenuous I will pay for it for several days, I'll have limited mobility and high pain. I also have diastasis recti, which just means my abdominal muscles never moved back into place after my last baby. Well, I don't think they ever went back after any of the babies, but I'm just now learning about it. I always look to be pregnant and I've had people ask me how far along I am. 

It's embarrassing. 

Right now, I vary between 3-6 months pregnant looking depending on how I feel, how much I hydrated the day before, etc. 

I decided that I would join Beachbody, try out a few programs to see if I can at least get some kind of jump start on feeling better. I have very low goals, 5 pounds lost this year, but that's going to be an uphill battle. I might lose 10 right away but my weight fluctuates wildly from day to day but the weight on file is 203.8. My heaviest ever was 212, so I'm right back where I started my first weight loss challenge. 
 So here is my obligatory "before" shot so you can kind of see where I'm at. 

I'm starting with the YouV2 program because it's low impact and really the most ideal for people who are grossly out of shape. Each session is like 30 minutes long and on day one I made it 17 minutes before almost passing out. 
 Lucy was proud anyways and kept giving me encouraging pats to my butt and then gave me total slobber kisses as I lay on the floor wondering if a tummy tuck would just be easier. 

I've legitimately thought about surgery but seeing people's drains and scars... I get the willies thinking about it. I just truly don't think I can do it. 
Here is the photo of me the day after that top one is taken, just so you can get an idea of how much I fluctuate. My pants, I never know what size I need that day so I have three sizes in rotation right now. Thank god I never got rid of any of them! 

So here we are, I'm trying. I'm expecting all of you to properly shame me if I fall off the wagon and/or drag my ass back onto it. 

(I got my shirt from Meowingtons, but you can also get them on Amazon)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The flamingo lives!

I was really glad that we were able to pay some things off so that Olivia could continue with dance this year. It's her favorite thing and I really enjoy watching her every year. Last year was the first year for our new coach and I'm not going to lie, the girls were terrible. I think it was just a new thing and it takes awhile to find a teaching style that matches up with the kids you have. You wouldn't know any of that this year at our first recital in December- these girls were GREAT. 

 Olivia was front and center. Her kicks were straight (not this one), high, and on sync with the counts. 
 She also gets the award for best smile because my girl had a smile on her face the entire time. She is totally ready for competition this year. 
 Look at her pose!! This one was my favorite because her legs are so long and thin, they remind me of a flamingo. I call her my little flamingo and it's our little thing. Sometimes I'll find a flamingo thing and hide it in her backpack or in her bed- she gets a kick out of it. 
 She was so proud of herself after the recital and she should be, that was a tremendous performance. We also got to see the high school dance team (a goal for Olivia) and she really enjoyed watching them. They did two dances but the Harry Potter dance was my favorite. 
We start hip hop this month and both of those teams will be going to competition this year. I'm always nervous for her and them but after seeing their routine in December? These girls are on point.