Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween- once again it's freezing.

Easily one of the lamest things about living in northern Wisconsin is that Halloween and Easter are so questionable weather wise. You want to wear cute costumes on Halloween and you want to wear nice dress clothes on Easter and both holidays require your outfit to be something you can layer otherwise you will die.

OK, maybe you won't die, but it will certainly suck because it is ridiculously cold. Or by some freak chance, it's abnormally hot so you are sweating to death under your layers, cursing Mother Nature to just get her shit together and be consistent.

This year it happens to be freezing. Thankfully we aren't walking in snow drifts like in years past, but it's still enough that you have to wear a coat, mittens and something on your ears and then it's like, "Oh- I see you dressed up as... um... a regular person? That's nice." You can't even see the damn costumes.

Fortunately, the day we went to Boo at the Zoo it wasn't totally freezing, though Olivia would disagree. (To my credit though, she fought me hard on the jacket and decided that at age 9, surely she knows best and I'm too bossy and she's just going to go dressed as she was. FINE. We all need to learn tough lessons.)

So Olivia has decided to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, complete with ruby red glitter heels that she wore the entire time we were at the zoo. Which, if you've never been to the zoo in Duluth, it's basically in the bowl of a valley and there are tons of hills and it's a bitch if you are pushing a stroller, also a bitch if you are not wearing proper footwear, like Olivia. She took it like a champ though, probably because everyone kept stopping us to tell us how great she looked. You can't tell, but her dress is even sparkly so you could definitely see us coming. 

Jackson opted to be Frankenstein, only because I promised him glow in the dark face paint for Halloween night. (Which I totally came through on, and he now wants to wear it every night to bed and saves it will save us electricity because then he wouldn't need a night light.) 

Overall it was really fun. They got lots of candy, we got tons of coupons to local restaurants (which I admit is my main motivation to going, because that's how we eat out as a family- free kids meals, holla!)
 He obviously insisted that we stopped and got his picture under the giant inflatable Frankenstein.
This was them at the end. You can tell both of them are beyond ready to get the hell out of the zoo. Jackson was angry I wouldn't let him eat all of his candy, and Olivia said her legs were going to fall off, to which I said, "Beauty hurts. Let us remember this when you want to wear heels to school, mmkay?"

So right now, I'm working on some crafty things and Matt is taking the kids around my mom's neighborhood then ours for trick or treating. We stayed up late last night watching movies together, so I'm betting they'll be out before 8:00, which is fine by me.

Tomorrow I have to seriously clean this house. It's becoming kind of obvious that my exhaustion level is really taking a toll on this place. There is a trail of an unidentifiable sticky substance from the garbage can in the kitchen to the first floor bathroom, and I need to deal with that. Mostly because cat fur is now sticking to it.

Yah- things are bad up in here. Matt is being great and not saying anything, but he's also not totally opting to pick a mop up himself, either. So tomorrow I'm going to really clean this place up. Mostly because I can't handle it anymore. And then work on baby room stuff. I have a very cool no sew diaper changing table thing I'm working on, and I'm like half done. Pictures soon!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bird in Hand

If you have not started reading Christina Baker Kline's books, you need to. She's easily in my top ten of favorite authors and her books are just so enjoyable. That and if you are looking for some early Christmas shopping for friends who love a good chick lit novel that doesn't make you puke or irrationally anger (looking at your books, Jodi Picoult), this is a GREAT alternative. Actually, any of her books are.

Bird in Hand - Christina Baker Kline
Bird in Hand
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train comes a novel about the choices we make, how they shape our lives, and how they can change them forever.Four people, two marriages, one lifelong friendship: Everything is about to change.It was dark. It was raining. It was just an accident. On the drive home from a rare evening out, Alison collides with another car running a stop sign, and--just like that--her life turns upside down. When she calls her husband from the police station, his accusatory tone reveals cracks in their relationship she'd never noticed were there. Now she notices everything. And she begins to realize that the life she carefully constructed for herself is as tenuous as a house of cards. Exquisitely written, powerful, and thrilling, Bird in Hand is a novel about love and friendship and betrayal, and about the secrets we tell ourselves and each other.

I love her characters. One thing about Christina is she can craft a really great set of characters, all flawed and some that drive you mad, but what they all have in common is that they feel real. They feel like people you may know in your own life as it is and the drama we read about in any of her books are things that could play out in real life. So I appreciate these stories so much because they almost feel like you are reading some kind of sordid gossip about the neighbors, but it could also be your story and who doesn't love that? 

Ultimately, this feels like a story about a marriage running off the rails long before and it takes a horrific accident (the loss of a child) to bring it to light. Both people probably know it's not what it used to be, but like the rest of us, we get busy in the day to day and just make mediocre work. When Alison hits a child, after drinking a little too much, and that child is killed- it throws her marriage off the edge. She doesn't get support or comfort from her husband, instead she gets the cold shoulder and it's like he doesn't even care her fate at all. So that's how this story starts. 

But then we bring in Claire (who I hate, hate, hate and I can't think of one positive thing to say about her at all), and it turns out she's actually really the main character? I'll be honest, that was kind of confusing for me because I had settled in thinking I was going to be reading about Alison and her crap life but then we shift focus to Claire and how despite loving her husband Ben, she's really attracted to Alison's husband Charlie. And I don't think I have to tell you how that will all end, but it's not pretty and Claire becomes one of those women we see on shows like Dr. Phil who are total home wreckers and play the "it's not my fault I'm so great and attractive" card and you can't find any sympathy for. And you can't by sympathetic to Claire at all, that's just the kind of awful person she is. But what gets me is that while I'm reading the meat of the story, I realize Charlie is just like Claire and I want Alison and Ben to grow some damn balls and stick up for themselves. Then I think- people like Claire and Charlie probably specifically pick the personality types like Alison and Ben as "partners" because it's so easy to do what they want and they know they'll never get resistance, but they get the perks of marriage, but who even knows what that is with these people. 

In the end, I loved it. I just love how the author crafts her stories, I love the writing, I love the characters because you get enough to make the story, but leaves enough room for you to fill in the gaps with how you feel they should be- that makes it feel like you turn this into people you know almost. It's always a treat to pull out one of her books because I know I'm in for a great night curled up on the couch with my favorite blanket. 

If you want to learn more about the author and get a list of all of her titles, definitely check out her website. If you want to see what other blog book reviewers are saying about the book, head over to TLC's book page and click on any of the links

Monday, October 27, 2014

Birthing a baby seven years later is kind of stressful.

I mentioned on Friday that I was going to go to this Birth & Baby Fair thing over in Duluth this weekend. Well I went to that, and as it turns out, things are a lot different than when I had my kids nine and almost seven years ago. What isn't different is the shaming and judging from other moms and thankfully for me, I've been doing this long enough that it doesn't bother me anymore and I can laugh it off with this wisdom that in the long wrong, their kid will be no better or healthier than mine but you do you, booboo. (I'm sorry, but the "breast is best" slogan? Shaming. You are being a passive aggressive shamer when you use that. It might be best, but to keep repeating it means you are being passive aggressive and you are putting down all other options. How about we just agree to feed our babies? Huh? Why can't we just have brochures that say, "Hey- you need to feed your baby. A lot. Here are your options." without including the "breast is best" thing??)

There were a couple of classes I wanted to go to, which happened at the same time so I had to only choose one, so I went to the one on how to have a natural childbirth in the hospital. I know, I sound like a crazy granola munching oddball, I know. I freak myself out when I say it out loud, as well. But here's my thinking, because I've thought about this for almost 13 weeks now, I want to try. I want to try to go natural and not die. I feel like my chances of dying are low, so that's a plus. I had an epidural with Olivia and it was lovely, but it worked too well and I had no idea what the hell I was even doing when it came time to push. I also had postpartum depression with her and I always wondered if it blocked endorphins that made me feel indifferent. Which as it turns out, it never really goes away. I don't feel anywhere like I did that first year with her, not at all, but sometimes I feel a lack of bonding with her and I think it's really because I was so depressed and disconnected during her crucial first year. So then you bring on guilt, and feelings of inadequacy and shame. It's awful, I don't wish that on anyone.

Then with Jackson, I also had an epidural because nobody told me that being induced with Pitocin means your entire body revolts and it's like the worst labor you could have. Those contractions were brutal, and again, anyone who says that want to do that willingly is an idiot. Sorry, but you're an idiot. The problem that time was the epidural wore off completely about an hour after I got it. Which is probably the worst feeling while in labor. First you feel sweet relief and just as you are about to drift off into a lovely nap, you realize that oh hey- those pains are coming back. Wait, what? Only to be told from the super nice nurse that yes, it was wearing off and they weren't sure why but this actually can happen, and lucky me, I was going to be pushing soon anyways and I wasn't going to die. So I pushed out a baby with no medication. I know I can do that.

I don't know that I can handle contractions without medication. I'm scared, folks. And I shouldn't be because I am practically a pro at this point, and I know that I will get through it, those babies come out eventually. The other reality is that this is my third baby, labor will be faster. Olivia was ten hours start to finish, Jackson was five. So this baby could be delivered on the bridge over Lake Superior in the middle of the night at this rate.

So keeping all of this in mind, I want to look into my options. Ideally, I deliver at the same hospital as the other two, even the same room. I had the same room overlooking the lake with Olivia and Jackson, and it was lovely and relaxing. The biggest obstacle I'm running into is that, as it turns out, neither hospital will let me deliver anywhere except a bed. So no bath, no squatting, no weird positions. It's bed only. Which, maybe isn't the worst thing in the world- it obviously works. I kind of wanted to have some other options, but in a hospital setting that's out.

The other option is the next town over has a really great birthing center, not connected to a hospital. It looks like a lovely spa and honestly, I maybe wouldn't mind spending a week there. It's also half the cost of the hospital. Which, let's talk about costs. I feel like we're going to be kind of screwed. Mostly because we are on a high deductible plan and by the time I pay my deductible and the baby's, plus whatever else I owe? I could very well be looking at a $12,000 bill at the end of this. Which I think is really disgusting in general. Now, I could go the less expensive route, but that is not covered by insurance and they are an upfront payment, and I don't have even $100 in savings right now thanks to some expenses that popped up this fall. (The whole "saving all summer and feeling great" thing is basically erased with three bills and that is so depressing.) The other thing is that what if I decide enough is enough, I want an epidural, give me one NOW? I think they transport me, but at what cost? Then add the original hospital costs on top of the birthing center costs and I will have spent enough money to purchase a car.

In the far drastic line of options is a home birth. Which is almost half of what the birthing center costs. They come to you, clean up, pack up, and leave. Which also sounds lovely, but I really would feel more comfortable knowing both me and baby are monitored for awhile. I know people do that all of the time and I know that for the most part, I'll have an easy, healthy pregnancy and even easier labor and delivery. But still, what if??

The good news is that I am only 13 weeks this week and I have until May before I give birth. I have to really start asking tough questions. It's just really stressful. Everything sounds similar, but is so different from when I had kids, yet not totally? Does that make sense? Everything is much more expensive, and that is scaring me.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sometimes you actually need to be financially responsible.

I'll be honest, I'm probably going to get a lack of flack for this post and I'm OK with that. Because I feel like this is something we're all thinking, but nobody wants to be that jerk to say it, so I'll just be that jerk.

Gofundme.com? Is not meant to cover your ass because you are bad at budgeting your money.

In the last three months I have seen over twenty of these accounts show up on my Facebook feed for various reasons. We have people who want to buy a home, can't pay their utilities/rent/etc, wants a more reliable car, wants to bump up the Christmas fund for their kids, wants to have more money because we have a stay at home mom/one income household, etc.

Which, all things it would be so nice to have extra money for. I get it, I really do. Matt and I don't get to do a lot because we have bills and that's a total buzzkill. He works, on average, 80 hours a week, and I'm working part time so I can shuttle kids to/from things and maintain the house while he's gone almost all of the time. It sucks.

You know what else sucks? Having to say no to nice jeans so I can pay my light bill. That sucks a lot. I'd really like to get a pair of jeans that fit me properly, or shoes that don't hurt the arch of my feet. Matt would like new glasses, he hasn't had any in twelve years, but we have a mortgage and utility bill that comes every month and damn if they don't want their money.

Websites like that are meant for tragic, out of your control situations like cancer, your house burned down, someone was in a horrific accident, etc. They are not meant to be your fix all because you can't manage your money. And this is coming from someone who will donate or buy a ticket to a benefit, even if I know I won't be there. You show me a tragedy and I'm there with my checkbook out because that's awful. I try so hard to help everyone I can who genuinely needs it. I always feel like I want confirmation that this really is a necessary last resort. To the people who can't pay their bills- show me that you have made an effort to utilize every financial avenue out there, including financial counseling because you clearly need it. You need someone to teach you how to budget because it's not like bills come up out of nowhere.

And then the people who ask for money to upgrade their lifestyle? How about you get another job? Maybe cut out expenses in your life you don't need like cable/satellite, your cell phone, Internet, whatever. You don't need any of those things. You really don't. Lots of people get by every day just fine without them. It's not convenient or fun, I'll give you that, but if you really want to upgrade in your life, you're willing to sacrifice in other areas.

It's getting to be a bit ridiculous. It's like nobody understands the concept of working hard to go anywhere in life. It's not meant to be easy. I don't think Matt wants to work that much, and I'd certainly love to not work, but we need to because we want to own a home and own our vehicles. We want to pay our bills on time every month and we want to eat things other than Easy Mac for dinner. I think back to when my mom was raising my brother and I on her own. She worked her ass off every single day, she'd pull doubles regularly, sometimes more, and sleep on the couch because she had no bed. We had the only bed in our apartment. I can't tell you in all of the years I've been alive how many times my mom ever went out with friends. I honestly think it's none. I'm not saying you should sacrifice your sanity because I know the value of getting away for a night, but some of these people who want all of these things are also the people out clubbing or having drinks on the regular. You know, I feel like if you have time to go out drinking, you have time to get a second job. It's like priorities are meaningless anymore, we'd rather just have a hand out from someone else.

It's been so long since I blog randomness. Let's do it today.

Seriously, when was the last time I gave you a totally random post of random things bouncing in my head? It's been awhile. Sorry, lambs.

1. I'm going to just come and say I think Iggy Azalea sucks. She sucks, and we need to stop fawning over her. Let her go into obscurity now and save our ears. First of all, anyone who injects god knows what into their butt to gain popularity is an idiot and I can't take you seriously. Never mind that I don't understand how the size of your butt equates to your level of street cred, you'd think I'd have a massive following at this point, but I don't. But let's talk about her most recent song, "Black Widow". Can we talk about how terrible it is? With lyrics like, "I'm going to love you until it hurts", or referencing that the guy should stick with her because she's apparently really great at oral sex?

No, parents. No. I think it's time we teach girls and women that your worth doesn't come from your sexual ability or your body. And it's not OK to love someone until it hurts. You shouldn't essentially have to beg a guy to stay. It's not OK to act like a totally crazy lunatic in the name of love. Have some self respect. It's hard to take any woman, who claims to be this bad ass rapper, seriously when basically it comes down to threatening a guy to stay with you . It's kind of sad and pathetic.

2. Guess who wore her black slacks completely backwards the entire day at work? Yesterday, I did just that. I didn't realize it until I went to take my shower and I realized, "Hey- I didn't know I had front pockets!" and then it was pretty clear that those weren't front pockets. In fact, those were non-functioning back pockets, cleverly located in the front because I cannot dress myself. Probably should also mention my underwear was inside out as well. Frankly, I don't know how I'm allowed to supervise children and leave the house at this point.

3. Speaking of mommy brain? Last week I went to take chicken out of the freezer to thaw. I did not do that. Instead, I put a plate in the freezer. Found it two days later. Matt is scared because not only is this not like me at all, but I was never like this with my other pregnancies. So maybe it's not pregnancy related at all and really, I'm dealing with early onset dementia. Who even knows at this point.

4. I'm going shopping this weekend with a friend and maybe even my new sister in law. That's going to be fun. I'm hoping a day of walking around, getting fresh air, and doing something will help me not feel so awful.

5. Because oh yes, I have a really awful head cold. I feel like my entire face is going to explode and that's a really uncomfortable sensation.

6. I have a bunch of book reviews to wrap up soon. You might get bombarded with them. BUT, that just means you'll get a head start on Christmas shopping, right? Of course that's a yes because you should be gifting people books. Books are the best.

7. Oh guess what else I'm doing this weekend? Tomorrow I am going to this Birth & Baby Fair thing in Duluth. It's going to have a ton of vendors about babies and giving birth and all of that, and then there are workshops you can go to for free. I'm going to one called "How to have a natural childbirth in the hospital locally". I have to bring the kids with me, so this might freak them out, but I'm genuinely interested. I'd really like to try to go all natural this time, but that is terrifying because I know what I'm in for. I never made it past dilating to 5 with either kid before screaming for an epidural, but we'll see. And maybe I won't make it, but I'd like to know my options before I get there!

OK, so that's a good wrap up. Even though I'm ending it with an odd number and that's upsetting, I'm also tired, and that will trump everything.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

12 Weeks

I have hit a landmark, you guys! I am officially 12 weeks along as of yesterday. It was kind of a monumental day all around, so let's talk about it.

My appointment was originally set for 1:30 but it got bumped up to 10:30, which kind of worked out a whole lot better considering how long I ended up being there. I never would have made it to pick my kids up from school on time.

They told me I had to have a full bladder for the ultrasound, which is no big deal. Right before I leave the house though, I did a sneeze/cough combo and peed my pants. So after a quick change of clothes, I filled my water bottle up and proceeded to chug it because of course, I no longer had a full bladder. We get to the clinic 15 minutes early, just like they said.

I proceed to then wait 45 minutes. Normally, I wouldn't care. I'd read a magazine. But I had a full bladder. So full, in fact, that it was becoming painful to even sit there. Cue the secretary coming out to fill her water bottle in the water machine thing and all I hear is chug, chug, chug and honestly? I almost peed the chair. She clearly saw my face, profusely apologized, and said she'd find the ultrasound tech for me.

Another 15 minutes later, I get called back. She asks if I'm full and I say my bladder is going to burst at any moment. The best part is when she asks if I can pee just a little. Who can pee just a little? Nobody, it's all or nothing, lady.

So we do my ultrasound with a painfully full bladder.

And it's still terrifying. Because let me fill you in on a little secret, I was so scared for this appointment. I was convinced something was going to  be wrong, and I was so scared I was shaking. I didn't sleep at all the night before and it was nerve wracking.

As she's doing the ultrasound, I don't see a heartbeat. I see nothing moving. Finally after a few minutes, I had to just ask her to please tell me if there is a heartbeat. I think she was taken aback but then said, "Oh yes, it's right there." but guys? I saw nothing.

Until my sweet babe stretched it's little leg and pointed it's foot.

Clearly shown here. It apparently isn't a fan of waving so much and likes to kick, so there it was. We saw a kick!
Then we got a close up of the face (it's looking up) as it was getting ready to rub it's face, which it did a lot.

The heartbeat was 173 bpm, so old wives tale says that's a girl. The doctor laughed and said who even knows, that's only 50% right at best so we'll wait. The bad news is that the genetic testing we did does not test for gender. Apparently that costs a lot more (at least around here), so we opted to just to wait a few more weeks (8) to see.
12 weeks
But here I am at 12 weeks. I'm up two pounds, which is astonishing to me consider how little I've eaten in the last four weeks but there you go. Oh yes, and I cut 10 inches of hair off since my last update. Mostly because my hair kept dipping into the toilet, and I figured this was at least an issue I could fix. I notice a difference in my tummy from 8 weeks:
8 weeks
It's slight, but it's there. My boobs have also gotten bigger, so that's terrible. I'm having to wear a sports bra all of the time to get any kind of comfort because none of my regular bras will do the trick. Lots of spillage. So I'm hoping in the next couple of paydays I can afford to get actual maternity bras, or at least some front closure sports bras. 

Other than that, I'm feeling OK. It's definitely not great, but it's not as bad as it's been. I had gotten excited yesterday that it had been three or four days since I had thrown up, and then last night I got hit with a massive head cold and this morning I threw up my breakfast. I'm still exhausted basically all of the time, I feel like I have just run a marathon just walking from one end of the house to the other. I'm hoping with not being so sick, I can start walking the neighborhood in the evening because it starts snowing and getting really cold. I also am going to start up my Prenatal Pilates again and see if that'll help. I figure maybe I can tone my arms and legs and worry about the middle later. If I can keep my arms and legs in check, maybe I won't feel so huge and gross by the end. 

So May 6th is still the due date, and I'll find out what I'm having right around Christmas. Next appointment is right before Thanksgiving and that's the second half of a genetic screening and a tummy check. But we made it, lambs! 12 weeks. I feel damn good about that. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Multiplication is going to be the death of me.

For readers who are paying attention, my Olivia is in third grade this year. Olivia is super smart. She always test very well, always in the top ranking of the class, always in the top one or two percentile nationwide in basically everything. I felt like the first three years of school I was going to get by easily because she just picks up everything so effortlessly.

Until third grade.

More specifically, until multiplication.

Now, I fully understand that with the Common Core standards math is taught drastically different than when I was in school. And for the most part, I'm fine with that. Even if I don't understand it, that's not the important part. The important part is that my child understands it and can learn math concepts. And while I haven't understood how to do her math any other year using these new standards, I have always been able to go to the teacher and get some guidance and every year, that's worked out beautifully.

This year we are working on multiplication and division and I swear to you all, I am going to lose it. It's gotten to the point where I am actually telling her to ignore what her teacher is telling her because they way they are doing it makes no sense at all. At conferences, I brought this up and it's like the teacher understood my frustration, but gave us no other alternatives other than to keep trying. Well that's out the window. This week I started working with her on her times table and I thought by god- this kid is going to memorize it, and we'll work out the rationale later. Homework time has been reduced to tears (mine), frustration, then she cries, then we fight, and I know in that scenario she isn't retaining anything at all.

I fully understand the rationale behind explaining a math concept and having them know that 4x3=12, but also being explain what that actually means- that four rows of oranges over here multiplied by the three columns of oranges over here is going to give you twelve oranges. I agree that this is a great method to use, and frankly, maybe if it was explained that way to me as a kid I wouldn't have struggled so hard in math my whole life. But right now, I'm watching a highly intelligent, studious, happy girl dissolve into tears over homework.

I also hate that I am having to take it into my own hands at this point. Because frankly? I'm not a teacher for a reason. I did not go to school to be a teacher, I have no idea what I am doing and that's why I don't home school. I'm not kidding myself, I have no idea what I'm doing. I want her to be able to do well on assignments, without me guiding her along, but also do well on tests to show that she actually can do it.

The nice thing is that it isn't just my kid. I have talked to a lot of other parents with kids in the same boat. What gets me is that of the parents I spoke with, we're all very hands on with our children's education and they are struggling. What about the kids who don't have parents at home who care enough to help with homework? Those kids are getting lost in the shuffle and that's heartbreaking. I don't know what to do about that. But I do know that if multiplication is this hard with Olivia, I'm terrified for when Jackson gets there because he's not nearly as studious as her. He's smart, but he doesn't love school work enough to really put effort into it. And if third grade is this hard? God help me from here on out.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I may be growing a Baby Einstein.

Probably one of the most interesting things about having such a gap between pregnancies are the major differences. For you women who are holding out on having babies until you're older, there are definitely some pros for that list, but here are a list of cons that I am currently dealing with.

And for the record, I'm not even old. I'm only 32. If you're older, you know, god speed and all of that.

Pregnancy brain is real, yo. When I was pregnant the first two times, I was ages 23 and 25. At 25 I felt a bit old but good, you know? I felt like I was still at the top of my game. I was in my reproductive prime. I was still sharp as a whip and I had no idea what anyone was talking about when they complained about pregnancy brain or memory loss. The fact is, this is a very real symptom. Today I was on Facebook when I realized I knew not one person in the feed I was reading. Not one. I got kind of offended, thought someone had hacked into my account, but then? Then I realized I wasn't on my news feed at all. I was in a garage sale page. It didn't even dawn on me that every single post was someone selling something until after the fact. I honestly feel like this baby is sucking every smart thing out of my head.

We're done, bitch. Regards, your bladder. One of my top complaints following two pregnancies was the fact that I felt like my bladder and I had broken up. I wasn't sure what I had done wrong. I drank urine friendly juices, I never held my urine in for too long, I did Kegels several times a day for years, I wore appropriate underwear and not too tight pants. I really felt like I did everything I could to placate my bladder. It's taken years, but I have finally learned that the chances of me peeing my pants is high because my bladder? She's fickle. So I'm always prepared with pads and yes, spare underwear at times. But this go around? Oh my. My bladder? She's angry. She's threatening me with UTI's for no reason, she's giving me zero notice when it's time to go and if you have to cough or sneeze? You best hold it until you are on a toilet because bladder don't play.

Energy might come back. Or not. Probably not. The other down fall this time around is that the level of exhaustion is unreal. Again, I was never tired with my other two. I felt perfectly normal, other than the fact I was huge. This time walking from the couch to the refrigerator warrants a sit down. I walked the dog ten blocks and after block two, I felt like my legs might actually stop working and I'd be totally content to fall asleep for a few minutes in someone's ditch.

Oh wait, it comes back, but only between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. Because yes, what I want to do in the middle of the night is finish the things I needed to get done while everyone else was up. I am literally wide awake in the middle of the night. I pee, I'm tired on the way back to bed and as soon as I lay down- wide awake. By the time I start falling asleep, it's just about time to get up. I get like an hour. Which is nothing, and only makes me more tired.

Pregnancy depression is the worst. I suffer from depression and anxiety already. When I'm not pregnant, I can usually manage these things on my own without medication and I feel like I do an OK job. I might hyper ventilate and have panic attacks in my car before something at my kids' school, but I try to leave enough time so I can do that and then calm myself down so I don't look like a maniac. And depression, I have my own set of ways of handling that and sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. But as of right now? I cry in my car on my way to work, on my way home from work, before bed, when I wake up in the morning, and sometimes I tear up randomly all day. Maybe it's a combination of stress, feeling unwanted/unneeded, overwhelmed, a little scared/nervous, excited, all of the above and more. But a part of me is worried that maybe it isn't these things, and I have a serious issue on my hands, and I'm trying so hard to snap out of it.

We'll see how the rest of this pregnancy goes. I'm worried that these first eleven weeks have been so tough. I have 27 weeks to go, basically. I mean, that's kind of terrifying. The up side is that I did not throw up today! I felt like I was going to twice, but I did not. I was able to just breath through it. My reward was raging heartburn for the next seven hours. Which sounds horrible, but this reminds me of when I was pregnant with Olivia and that? That I can deal with. Though no antacid helps it all, I can at least function feeling like my entire chest is on fire. I'd take that over vomiting several times a day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Monogram Murders

Yes, it's another Agatha Christie novel. No, I'm not joking. Just get with the program already.

The Monogram Murders - Sophie Hannah
The Monogram Murders
I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’

Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered.  She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.

Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim...


Now, full disclosure: I have never, ever read an Agatha Christie novel. No, I am not even kidding. I honestly don't know what my problem is, or why I haven't read any, but from what I gather some high schools have it as required reading. Mine did not. We read Ray Bradbury and other things. Most notable was the play version of The Crucible, and our instructor stood on a desk to read her part and that right there made that one of my favorite books of all time. Anytime you have a teacher waving a broom in the air, yelling at you, and stomping on a desk in the front of the room, you've got yourself a gem of a teacher and a story right there. 

But with that being said, that means I also have not read any other Hercule Poirot stories, and after reading this one, I'm going to change that. Not because this story was so amazing, but because now I want to compare notes on Sophie Hannah's take on this character and Agatha Christie's. The biggest criticism of this book is that it is long, it is tedious, and it is slow. So, that's three things all rolled into one. I was hooked instantly when we meet a lady who basically declares herself a dead person and then rushes out. Then we find out about three murders in London, all very suspicious, and Hercule Poirot is just sure that the mysterious woman and these three bizarre murders are all connected. 

You know the show House, M.D.? Or Vincent D'Onofrio's character in Law & Order: Criminal Intent? Hercule Poirot reminds me exactly of those polarizing characters. Highly intelligent, but also very peculiar in their methods of solving the larger puzzle. So if you like that kind of character, this is going to be a hit for you. 

But the problem is that even 3/4 through the book I was really struggling. Like really struggling with finishing. I felt like the author was trying so hard to achieve a level of easy writing where the plot just unfolds with you like a tide, and no- it wasn't that at all. I'm sure she's a great writer for her own novels where her particular writing style fits, but it just didn't fit here. Then once we finally solve the puzzle, I sat there thinking, "What? No, this can't be at all. This is dumb and makes no sense at all." I was pretty disappointed overall. I think the only reason I held on until the very end was that I was hoping it would have this supreme twist at the end that made all of the rambling and tedious description of things that are meaningless, worth it. Sadly, that's not the case. If you are looking for something to fill your Agatha Christie hole, I'm going to venture that this isn't going to be it. 


Assisted suicide? I'm OK with it.

I'm sure by now most of you, if not all of you, have heard about 29 year old Brittany Maynard's plan to die peacefully in her home, surrounded by family, on November 1. (If not, you can go here to see a quick video that basically explains it.) I had shared an article about this a week or so ago on my own Facebook page once I had read about it because honestly, I think this is such a beautiful thing. What I didn't expect was how many people were blatantly against this.

I'm a pretty level headed person, and I feel like I can weigh things impartially when I need to. But for me, I don't understand the argument against assisted suicide at all.

In a lot of cases like Brittany, when a person is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the person diagnosed (as well as friends and family) start going through the different stages of grief. It's reasonable to be scared, angry, depressed, defeated, all of these things and more. And for awhile some of that encourages you to fight back and refuse to just go quietly into the night.

And that is courageous.

What is equally courageous, is to know when to say enough is enough. To face death head on. A human body can only withstand so many treatments, so much abuse, so many chemicals being pumped into our system, and just feeling terrible day in and day out. It's not reasonable to want a person to just keep trying for the sake of trying. To me, the worst thing in the whole world would be to see someone you love so much and care so deeply for just wither away. To suffer until the end. Sure, you can give them pain relief, but what kind of quality of life do they have? That's not life. That's making a person hang on because we don't want to let go and say goodbye.

It's never easy to say goodbye. I don't know anyone who has said goodbye and felt like it was all OK. No way. You love that person, and you don't want them to leave early. You want to grow old with them and let them experience so much more in life. But that's not the cards on the table. The cards on the table is a death sentence. And instead of letting someone dictate how they want to go, we say no and make them suffer.

To me, that's selfish. It's really the ultimate selfish act, isn't it? To say you'd rather a person suffer and deteriorate until they are a shell of their former selves than say goodbye when you can still have a beautiful last memory with them, is selfish.

Then it got me to thinking about people who struggle with mental illness who often give in and commit suicide. Those are never happy stories, but sometimes I feel OK. I feel like, you know what- if life was that bad for them, if they are at peace now, then I'm at peace. I don't like that they are gone, I miss them a lot, and I wish I could have done more to help. But maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Maybe we should look at it like they are at peace, whatever held them back in life has set them free, and they aren't plagued by demons anymore. Mental illness doesn't go away. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and while I can't say I've ever seriously contemplated suicide, I can understand why a person would. And it isn't about any of the rest of us. We try to make it about us by talking them out of it, and telling them all of the great things in life, as if those things never crossed their mind. But maybe it did. Maybe with all of that good, it's not enough for them. I wouldn't want someone to suffer and struggle their entire lives just so I could have them here.

Again, that's totally selfish.

I think there is a real difference between people who do it as a cry for help and people who do it to get it done. Very different, and I think we can all reasonably separate them out. But maybe if people felt more support in life, during the great times and the darkest hours, humanity would all be a little better for it. Maybe if we didn't project our will and wishes onto others, and let them go out the way the want to go out, people wouldn't be so scared to die. And for those with a religious belief on suicide, who is to say God isn't telling them their purpose on Earth is done and it's OK to come home? We don't know that, that would be a very personal thing between that person and God, wouldn't it?

So the moral of the post is that I applaud you, Brittany. I applaud your husband, your family, your friends, and everyone backing you up. You deserve to not suffer, knowing full well what your future with your debilitating condition is going to be and knowing you fought the good fight. You deserve to have everything you want all the way to the end. To be able to really say goodbye to people in a meaningful way is the greatest gift you can give to everyone that will mourn your loss for years to come. And that right there? That's the most selfless thing anyone could ever do. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How To Build A Girl

The first time I read this title, I thought this was going to be a really cool book I could read and then be a super awesome parent to a young girl, and maybe she'd read it and feel all inspired and empowered.

And then I read the first page and holy hell- do not let a young girl read this. HA!

How To Build A Girl - Caitlin Moran
How to Build a Girl
What do you do in your teenage years when you realize what your parents taught you wasn't enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes—and build yourself.

It's 1990. Johanna Morrigan, fourteen, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there's no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde—fast-talking, hard-drinking gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer—like Jo in Little Women, or the Bront√ęs—but without the dying-young bit.

By sixteen, she's smoking cigarettes, getting drunk, and working for a music paper. She's writing pornographic letters to rock stars, having all the kinds of sex with all the kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.

But what happens when Johanna realizes she's built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters, and a head full of paperbacks enough to build a girl after all?

Imagine The Bell Jar—written by Rizzo from GreaseHow to Build a Girlis a funny, poignant, and heartbreakingly evocative story of self-discovery and invention, as only Caitlin Moran could tell it.


Page one starts with her masturbating. No, I know, it's OK to spit out whatever was in your mouth, because I did that as well and got Pepsi all over the first page of my book. The general consensus of the few friends who read Caitlin's first book (I haven't, so I can't really compare the two) and who have read this one is that this one isn't nearly as good as the first one. Which I think is OK because the follies of being a teenage girl are many, but the follies and tragedies of being a young woman? Oy vey. We've all be there. What I will say is that I thought this book was funny, and I generally don't find things that are supposed to be funny, funny at all. This is why I avoid comedy shows because if your intent is to make me laugh? I probably won't. I hate jokes and funny stories in general. But this? This book had me chuckling, and laughing in a few parts. 

The only thing that I felt was kind of... strange, was how hard the feminism horse was beaten. I mean, that horse was dead by the end of the book. And while I would consider myself a feminist just based on the basic principles, this kind of thing is kind of a turn off for me. It feels a little bra burning to me in some parts so that made me groan a bit and roll my eyes. 

But let's talk about how completely filthy and inappropriate this book was, because honestly, it's one of the best qualities of this book. I consider myself to be a bit brash at times and I can definitely be a dirty bird when needed, but parts of this book made even me blush and think not a chance in hell even I would say that! 

Overall? I thought it was funny. I thought it was different, I thought it was catchy and the funny parts made it hard to put down. Do I think it's something I'd let my (future) teenage daughter read? Not a chance in hell. But I can appreciate the teenage frustrations in this book as an adult because it's in the past and not my present day. Now, if I were a teenager reading this, I think maybe I'd feel a bit differently about the book. So I think if you have someone on your holiday list (shut up, don't be in denial, it's coming whether you are ready or not) that likes funny, brash, and kind of filthy humor? They need this in their life. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 11

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was determined to be one of those obnoxiously cute pregnant women who are over the moon and eager to share every single detail, and document what is most likely my last pregnancy. Which, as an aside, I'm working on a future post about that as well. But as it turns out, I'm super tired. So here's a quick recap of what it's like to be eleven weeks pregnant, age 32, with my third baby.


  • I am tired. Like super tired. All of the time. I understand that this is a common pregnancy symptom, but what you should know is that with my pregnancies with Olivia and Jackson, I had zero of this crap. None. The worst I have ever had was nonstop heartburn with Olivia, and Jackson just stopped moving around 8 months and it turns out he was just lazy. So this being exhausted is awful. 
  • So is feeling sick at everything. Almost every smell makes me sick, eating is a chore, and I go from not hungry to Ethiopian starving in one second flat with no warning. I hate it. I can't plan for it at all. 
  • I feel huge. I feel a lot larger than I should be. I didn't show until about 18 weeks with Olivia, and about 15 or 16 weeks with Jackson. I'm 11 weeks right now and I feel like I look five months along. Good lord. 
  • Other than all of that? I don't even feel pregnant at all. Like not at all.
  • I'm still split down the middle between being excited and being terrified and unsure. 
  • But I'm still a planner no matter what- I have the nursery about half done, and between some really good garage sale finds and really great friends getting rid of their used baby stuff, I'm kind of set with the big things. I'll find out what I'm going to have so I can get some cute gender theme clothing. 
  • I have a great friend, Amy, who is throwing a shower for me. I'm pretty excited about it and it'll be fun to celebrate with close friends. 
  • Matt is pretty excited. He's working a lot right now, so I haven't been able to spend a lot of time with him, but he's been as helpful and supportive as he can be with his schedule. He doesn't even blink an eye when I ask for pizza at 9 p.m.! 

Next week I have my 12 week ultrasound and genetic testing. I'm not putting a whole lot of thought into it, but what's weird is that again, I'm terrified for the ultrasound. I know I've already seen a heartbeat and I'm probably just fine. I also can't help but feel nervous for it. I hope the feeling of being scared for my appointments goes away soon. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction

Woah. So I knew going into this that it was going to be heavy, and emotional but I wasn't totally prepared.

31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction - Marcia Gloster
31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction
Marcia Gloster was a college student traveling through Europe in the summer of 1963. When she arrived in Salzburg, Austria to study at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision, she envisioned a month of intensive painting, never expecting to find herself swept into a passionate affair. Nor did she imagine her lover to be a married instructor with a long history of indiscretions. Even at a young age, Marcia knew how to protect her heart. But it had never been taken by a man as overwhelming and sensual as Bill Thomson.

31 Days is the story of Marcia and Bill in Salzburg. 31 days that would redefine love, sex, passion, and permanence for a woman of twenty; and a month that would resonate in her life forever.

Deeply sensual, intensely vivid, and achingly beautiful 31 Days is a memoir that lives in all of us.


So right away, the art teacher and student immediately brought me back to one of my favorite books of all time, The Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman. Except it wasn't like that at all, so I was kind of let down in that regard, but this book became special in its own way. 

We have two young friends who are going to do a semester abroad for school over in Austria. They'll be attending a prestigious art school and immediately, Marcia feels an unnatural attraction to her much older professor, Bill. Bill is widely known as a playboy, he's married but has several mistresses and is known to sleep with students. Several other students try to warn her, and being young, she ignores their pleas, knowing full well she'll be left devastated in the end. 

But instead of it being a one semester thing, she develops feelings for Bill, and while Bill does as well, it's not going to be on the same level as her. Instead, this lasts years. I honestly felt terrible for Marcia because it's like she knows this is basically a waste of time yet you know she's hoping it'll somehow change him and become more. I'm going to be honest, the ending? I teared up. I just felt so.... sad for her. The great thing about this book is that it doesn't sugar coat or romanticize what this relationship was- it was straight infidelity. Yet what makes this amazing is that you hold hope for the mistress, and you feel wrong about it. You find yourself rooting for Marcia even when she wonders about Bill's wife, even his other lovers, and yet you know there is something about her that Bill needs. Except Bill doesn't appear to ever acknowledge that, or if he does, he doesn't think he deserves it. It was just really interesting. A bit slow in parts, but I didn't have any trouble finishing this one up quickly. 

You can pick this book up at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. You'll love it. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Betrayed

Man alive, I have been on a run of books as of late. I have even more reviews coming. Maybe this weekend I'll get extra productive and type up all of my reviews and be set for like... a week. HA!

The Betrayed - Heather Graham
The Betrayed (Krewe of Hunters, #14)
One night, New York FBI agent Aiden Mahoney receives a visitor in a dream--an old friend named Richard Highsmith. The very next day he's sent to Sleepy Hollow because Richard's gone missing there.

Maureen--Mo--Deauville now lives in the historic town and works with her dog, Rollo, to search for missing people. She's actually the one to find Richard?or more precisely his head, stuck on a statue of the legendary Headless Horseman.

Mo and Aiden, a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI's unit of paranormal investigators, explore both past and present events to figure out who betrayed Richard, who killed him and now wants to kill them, too. As they work together, they discover that they share an unusual trait?the ability to communicate with the dead. They also share an attraction that's as intense as it is unexpected?if they live long enough to enjoy it!


I am going to have to bite the bullet and just start ordering all of the books in this Krewe of Hunters series, because I am really liking it. This is only the second one I've read, I previously read #13, and I really enjoyed that one, too. The nice thing about these are that although they are part of a larger series, they are also stand alone, so it's OK if you come into them in the middle of things. 

Here's what else I appreciate about these books- lots of information. Not unnecessary fluff, but just weird tidbits that are interesting to say that you know. I also appreciate that the story takes place in Sleepy Hollow and we start off with a head, not connected to it's original body, but rather on the statue of the Headless Horseman. I will tell you though, that I kind of wanted more romance. It's romantic suspense, but I felt like though Mo clearly was smitten with Aiden, it wasn't totally reciprocated? It's not like he ignored her, but I felt like I couldn't relate to them being a couple, and that was kind of hard. I do like their chemistry as an investigative team though. What is also cool is that each of the Krewe members have a "gift" and while sometimes it's obvious, other times it's not and that's kind of the case here. Except Mo discovers hers differently, which was a cool blip in the plot, and Aiden kind of thinks he either doesn't have one or it's come and gone.

I will say the benefit to reading the entire series is that I would have a better feel of the rest of the stories. I really enjoyed the last book, The Hexed, and though I liked this one a lot too, it wasn't as good. It certainly wasn't bad, but I guess I hoped these stories would build and build. But take that with a grain of salt because admittedly, these are the only two I have read in the series and after I read more, I might feel completely differently. 

But we have lots of murders, lots of suspense, I felt satisfied when it's revealed who was responsible, and overall I really enjoyed this book. These would be really great fall/winter reads, because you want to curl up under a blanket with some hot chocolate and just enjoy. AND they are relatively quick reads, so even better! 

Connect with Heather on her website, Facebook and Twitter as well. 

Oh yes, and school started. Like a month ago. Yikes.

Good grief. I'm going through pictures on my computer and I'm realizing how much I have not caught you up on!

So, school started for the kids over a month ago. Olivia is now in third grade and Jackson is in first. Both were actually very eager to start a new school year, and that's always nice. What I didn't expect was how fast they both ditched me on the first day. Usually I expect (and hope) for that nervous hug before they go to class and nope. I had to beg Jackson to come back and hug me, Olivia was long gone.

 So they picked out their own outfits for picture day. Olivia saw this dress at TJ Maxx and said she had to have it because as she said, "It's very Jackie O" and she loves Jackie O. Jackson loves button up shirts and the color blue, so he couldn't have been more thrilled.
On day two, we went flashy. Olivia is wearing a solid sequin sleeved shirt that says "famous" on it. Jackson looks like a safety cone with his bright, neon yellow.
 He was also very excited that he is almost too tall for the cubby area. As a short little kid, he's dying to grow up. And I hate it.


So adorable. :)

So far though, this year has been a bit rough. Jackson is struggling on sight words that start with the letter "w" for some reason. But, he's reading so much better! We did practice over summer but I think his teacher does such a great job at encouraging him so he's eager to keep going. So long as you turn everything into a game, you'll have his attention.

Third grade is hard. Olivia, who has always naturally just understood math concepts so easily and always the head of her class, is really struggling with multiplication. And not just struggling, but I am talking flat out tears over homework. It's so hard to watch her struggle. We help her as best as we can but there comes a point where her little brain has to just click and get it. I know we'll get there but it's making for some tough nights as of late. It's really startling to me too, how much she's matured over the summer. She's like a mini teenager right now. It's adorable and scary all at the same time.

So that's how it's going so far. We had conferences last week and of course they were glowing. I have well behaved, smart little kiddos who are a joy to have in class. I couldn't be any more proud of these two.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Garden themed baby shower? Check.

Oh yes, I have completely forgotten to tell you about the baby shower I threw my brother and sister in law! I had been teasing it, but then I forgot to post pictures and stuff.

Whoops!

But never fear, I have pictures and details here.

Travis and Krystle are expecting their first little girl towards the end of November, and this  might be my only shot at being an auntie and I could not be any more excited! I offered to throw a shower early on and I love girly showers, and was thrilled she wanted to do a garden theme. Right away I knew I was going to host it at the Fairlawn Mansion in our town. It's a gorgeous mansion, and I had my wedding rehearsal dinner there and it's just really gorgeous. I can't say that enough. Totally beautiful space. Anyways. So the details:

Each table had a floral centerpiece (that I made), and a frame (I painted) and a cute girl related quote. 




I always love making a diaper cake, but I didn't want hers to be the typical baby stuff. Instead of regular ribbon, I used a burlap ribbon  that had a doily overlay on it, then accented the cake with flowers and greenery. I figured if nothing else, it would be cute in the nursery, at least until you need diapers at 2 a.m.!
 For favors I had little tea lights in organza bags with a quote telling you to light the candle and say a prayer for a safe delivery. It was kind of cute, and as soon as I stumbled across that, it felt perfect.
We didn't do a typical meal, we did sweet treats. So I made chocolate cupcakes with pink cream cheese buttercream frosting, lemon bars, and chocolate truffles. My mom brought a super good fruit tray, chocolate dipped strawberries and these cute pink cookies.
I always forget how much I hate frosting things until the minute I start and it's like, "Oh yes, I remember- I hate doing this."
 This was the little sign for the food table in a cute vase of flowers.
Oh yes, and my ugly thrift store mirror turned chalkboard sign? Turned out adorable. We're actually going to thank Matt for this because though I painted the frame pink, he did the chalkboard part one day when I wasn't home. Nice surprise! But Krystle and Travis have that so someday their little girl can color on it.
And because I am terrible at remembering to take pictures, I have not one of the couple looking at the camera. Seriously. But here's a cute one of them opening gifts. They got so many cute things. Travis looked excited, she looked gorgeous, and it was a nice way to spend an afternoon. So now we just wait for baby to arrive. I call dibs on babysitting!

Whiny, Whiny Rhino - children's book review!

It's not often that I get to review children's books, but considering I have two eager readers in my house we have a lot of them! So as soon as I saw an opportunity to review one, I signed right up!

Whiny, Whiny Rhino - McBoop
Whiny Whiny Rhino by McBoop
Can Tiny Tiny Rhino have a fun day?
Or will all of his whining get in the way?

If you've ever been worried to try something new,
then Whiny Whiny Rhino is the book for you!

The story’s message is like the Mark Twain quote, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” We all get apprehensive when encountering new experiences and this often leads us to avoid ever trying anything new. Just having a little courage to try new things can often lead to a much more exciting and enriching life.


So, we loved this book. Hands down. Not only is the book attractive looking, and the pages a really nice glossy texture, but the illustrations are bright, colorful, and inviting. The story (as outlined by my nine and six year old) is about: 

"A rhino with mean brothers who is scared of doing anything fun. But he wants to do fun things, so he tries. But he's not good at any of it, so he gets upset. But THEN, he decides he's going to try again because he wants to have friends. Then he makes friends and does something fun, even if he didn't mean to fall down the hill. It was still super fun." 

They had a great time reading it, and we had a good time talking about the story and what it means to be adventurous, but also being safe. (Let us not throw ourselves down a hill, mommy's health insurance isn't that great. HA!) 

If you are interested in purchasing the book, you can do that HERE. About the author: McBoop is the creative team of Carmin Iadonisi & Amanda Iadonisi-Word. This father-daughter duo co-wrote and illustrated Whiny Whiny Rhino. They currently live in New England where they enjoy making art, reading comics, playing board games, eating fancy chocolate and whining about the weather. You can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and their website.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Black Ice

YOU GUYS. So in case you had no idea, I am a huge Becca Fitzpatrick fan. I was that person who grabbed up her first book, Hush, Hush on a whim and then was a fanatical fan girl who drove her local book store NUTS leading up to the release of the other three books in that series. And I loved that series. I've read it quite a few times and I love the lead character, Patch.

But then she had this weird break with nothing and it's frustrating because when you find an author you love, you want them to stop eating and just write. Write all of the time and pump out books like a maniac. Unfortunately, Becca does not do this. A little over a year ago I started hearing about her latest book, Black Ice, and again I got excited. I have waited so long for this book. And wouldn't you know it, I don't have the funds to pre-order it.

It was a dark day in the Strand household when that realization hit.

BUT THEN!!!

Out of the blue, I got a review copy in the mail and I'm like, "Jeebus, is that you??" and I stopped feeding my family for a whole day. I won't even tell you the hideous outfit I not only wore on Friday but that I picked my kids up from school in. You guys, it was bad. The kids were grateful I did not get out of the car. But good god, it was so worth it.

Black Ice - Becca Fitzpatrick
Black Ice
Sometimes danger is hard to see... until it’s too late. 

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage. 

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there... and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target. 

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally? 

BLACK ICE is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…


Full disclosure, this is a YA novel. With that being said, you're not pulling anything on me, Becca Fitzpatrick, I knew who the killer was from the word go. You know why? Because I read a lot and you're not fooling me. But I don't even care because I finished this baby on Friday. I also started it around lunch time and that baby was done by the time I went to bed. I took this book with me to pee, which happens a lot now that I'm growing a tiny human again, so this book and I have fully bonded. But do you know what else I love? I love Mason. I can't even help it. I want to eat him up, that's how much I love him. 

Can we talk about Britt being stupid? Because she is really stupid. 

But you have no idea what I'm talking about, so let's recap the book. Britt is a teenager who has a snobby best friend, and the best friend's brother is her ex. He's a douchebag, but Britt is still pining for him like an idiot. Instead of getting all fun in the sun for spring break, Britt and friend decide to take off to teh mountains and go hiking. Which turns out to be a terrible plan because there are girls being murdered up there and wouldn't you know it, her car gets stuck and they hike to cabin and surprise- two super cute guys are there! Seemingly unprepared for a winter blizzard in the mountains! But then it turns out that's all bad and it's downhill from there. Britt decides she's going to get them off the mountain, and then develops a little Stockholm Syndrome but THEN, ex boyfriend shows up to save her! Or does he? It all comes to a really violent ending and then we have an epilogue (THANK YOU) and it's so good. 

You guys? It's so good. If you are a fan of YA romance, just do yourself a favor and get this baby when it goes on sale tomorrow. It's so good. And kind of cheesy and I don't even care. It reminds me of a couple of Linda Howard books I love (because we all know if I ever saw her in real life I would honestly pee my pants, that's how out of control fan girl I am of hers), and maybe that's why I loved this book even more. 

I will say though, for as many bad reviews Becca Fitzpatrick gets, it begs the question: why do these people continue reading? I think some people have really high expectations on what the books should be and forget that this is YA, let's be honest, the majority of the audience are kind of dumb high school girls that would think Britt was just right on. I'll admit- Britt's an idiot, but so are a lot of high school girls. Honestly, calm down.

But I'm a Becca Fitzpatrick fan. I don't care. I'm a fan, I loved her first series and I loved this book.