Saturday, February 17, 2018

Scrappy Saturday: Almost finished a book!

It's pretty neat to think I've almost finished a scrapbook already. 
 I forgot all about these Fourth of July photos, they were not long after I had Penelope. I looked so great, I had lost baby weight and looked so happy. It's strange to see that person and realize it's me. I've talked often about feeling like I'm in someone else's body and it's things like this that confirm it for me. 
 These were from the summer of 2016, right before Lucy was born. 
 That picture of Matt and I is the last memory I have. It's the strangest feeling to scrapbook things pre-Lucy because the memories aren't there. It's hard to write about things you can't remember. 
And one of the oldest set of dance photos I had yet to scrapbook for Olivia. My little flamingo. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Photowall and Bedroom Makeover

Since moving into our house four years ago, almost five, we have updated and painted every single room. Except our bedroom. I've been at a loss because I didn't know what I wanted to do, the room is kind of small so I didn't know where to put things. It's a god awful shade of dirty blue right now with the ugliest wallpaper on the lower half of the wall.

It's just bad.

So a few weeks ago I was approached about Photowall prints and I was immediately intrigued because I had been looking for some kind of art to put on the closet wall, and I wanted it beachy but not cheesy. I already had a lot of moody black and white stuff downstairs and in our room I really want it to be calming and relaxing. So I went through and decided that instead of uploading my own photo (I had one from our recent trip to Florida), I found one of their stock photos that I really loved more. The bonus? The colors in it matched a pallet sign I had made months ago and my comforter.

Win.

So I ordered it and it arrived within a week. I was pretty impressed at how quickly it came. I ordered a canvas (you choose the size you want) wrapped onto a wooden frame. To keep shipping costs low the frame comes for you to assemble, with really easy to follow instructions. To say easy? Means even I could do it.
 Our first step was to lay the canvas down, add your frame pieces...
 ... have your husband do it so you can take photos....
... and voila! Your frame is assembled within five minutes!

You guys, the end result? STUNNING.
Photos do not do this picture justice. It came with the wall mount hardware too, which made it easy to get up onto your wall .
I tried to take some side photos so you can see how the canvas wraps around the frame beautifully,
but also so you can see the detail. From afar the water almost looks 3D. It's so pretty and it looks so great up on my wall.
The best part is its on my side of the room so it's the first thing I see, but it's also the first thing someone would see coming into our room. Those are the colors I want around my room, this picture is going to be my makeover inspiration!

But let's talk ugly- this wallpaper!
There is just so much of it and I know I don't have the time or patience to remove it, which is why I haven't done anything yet. It's even got a slight shimmer to it. *shudder* Can I just paint over it? I don't care if the wall ends up textured as I'm painting it a sand color so it would be kind of cool to have the texture but... do I get brave and just paint over it? What do I do??

If you're interested in doing your own art print, or choosing something out of their extensive catalog, you can get a 20% discount using code StrandUpdateCampaign2018 during the next 30 days. It's such a great deal and a pretty great company with fantastic customer service should the need arise. You can upload a photo you've taken of some great scenery, your kids, whatever and have it printed on canvas to whatever size you need. OR you can be like me and decide to leave it to the professionals because they clearly know what they are doing. There are SO many amazing images to choose from, I had it narrowed down to 21 and then kept trimming it down until I decided on this one.

Have you redone your bedroom? Any advice for me? Should I go with a blue blue or a sea blue/green for the top half of my walls?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

F*ck Love

This one was something I first saw on a Facebook ad, but then someone was raving about it. I already have another book by this author in my to-read pile so I bought this one impulsively, and I'm sure glad I did.

F*ck Love - Tarryn Fisher
Helena Conway has fallen in love.

Unwillingly. Unwittingly.
But not unprovoked.
Kit Isley is everything she’s not—unstructured, untethered,
and not even a little bit careful.
It could all be so beautiful … if he wasn’t dating her best friend.
Helena must defy her heart, do the right thing, and think of others.
Until she doesn’t.

The first chapter of this book does not do the rest of the book justice which is odd because the entire book is based on the dream she had, which is the first chapter. I wanted so much more out of that dream, but I guess we get what we get so let's not throw a fit. Helena finds herself having a dream of her life in the future and she has a Pottery Barn-esque home, she has two kids, and she has a husband... who happens to be her best friend's current boyfriend. Which is weird, because that's definitely against all girl code, right?

Well since the dream Helena starts seeing Kit differently. She changes up her life because her dream said she'd be really great at art so she starts taking art classes, trying to push her life towards the dream. Nothing is ever that easy though, so when she waffles, Kit is angry and wants her to pursue him, make her love known. Then when he waffles, that's what Helena wants Kit to do. It's a constant push and pull through the whole book and you almost get annoyed like, shit or get off the pot, folks! But a baby gets involved and everything has bigger consequences, so do they make it? Does true love really win out?

Here's what I loved, the humor. My god, this is my kind of author. Helena's character takes selfies for everything and on page 45 we read:

"I groan. Suddenly, I need to throw up again. Instead, I take a selfie. My hair is globbed up on one side of my head, and there is mascara streaking down my face. I put the photo in an album called Mortifying Emotional Moments, and I title it Soggy Napkin Note."

HA!

Another excerpt I liked and I think I texted it to at least 4 friends telling them they need this book is on page 59:

"There are definite, solid lines in life that should never be crossed. Developing a crush on your best friend's boyfriend is one of them. Showing up to his job frequently and drinking his fruity cocktails is another. I don't like him as much as Kentucky Fried Chicken, but hell if that boy didn't look at me and tell me I was pretty...excellent."

I also would rate guys based on food. Are they worth sharing my nachos or pizza? No? Keep it moving, fella.

Another reason I love this book? One of the characters suffers from an Amniotic Fluid Embolism during the birth of her baby, and SO DID I. I just about peed myself from excitement because it's a real thing and I'm thrilled to pieces to see if mentioned in a book.

Things I didn't love about the book is hands down Della. She was the WORST and I hated her more and more by the end. I almost wish there was some kind of epic show down between the three of them at the very end, and epilogue even. Something. Muslim's character was oddly thrown in here and I guess he's a character from another book who just happens to make an appearance but I hadn't read that book so him as a character was odd and confusing. I almost want a book just on him because he's kind of bizarre and scary.

Overall? I'm giving this one 5 stars. I know, I don't do it often, but it's warranted because this made me want to buy everything from Tarryn Fisher, and I couldn't put it down. It's a fun read.
   

A Shade of Blood

I'm not even kind of ashamed to say I bought through book seven of this series because that's how much I'm loving this.

A Shade of Blood - Bella Forrest
Edward doesn't appreciate me cheating on him with Derek. 

Having been delighted by the bestselling debut, A Shade Of Vampire, readers are begging for more. In A Shade Of Blood, Bella Forrest transports you deeper into a unique, enthralling and beautifully sensitive story. Prepare to be lost in its pages...


When Sofia Claremont was kidnapped to a sunless island, uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet, she believed she'd forever be a captive of its dark ruler, Derek Novak.

Now, after months of surviving an endless night, the morning sun may soon rise again for Sofia. Something has possessed Derek's heart and he offers her a gift no human slave has ever been given in the history of his cursed island: escape. 

High school, prom and a chance to move on with her life now await her. 

But will she be able to forget the horrors that steal her sleep away at night? ... or the feelings that haunt her for that tormented prince of darkness?

Let's just get to it. So at the end of book one, Derek decides to let Sofia and Ben go back to the human world. They leave, Sofia has regrets, Ben is angry, Derek is sad. Sofia and Ben try out a relationship but blah, Ben SUCKS, and Sofia doesn't have anything with Ben like she did Derek. Ben knows it, so before he knows it, Vivienne has come to convince Sofia to go back to The Shade and chase away the darkness from Derek and she goes. Vivienne is captured by Hunters but Sofia goes because she told her friend she would. Ben decides he's sick of waiting around, he is going to get revenge, so he joins the Hunters. 

But wait, what? The leader of the Hunters is WHO? (Actually I kind of saw that coming). By the way? This book makes me hate Ben even more. You ignore Sofia for years knowing that you were keeping her on the back burner so you can slut around and then call her up when you're ready? No it doesn't work that way, jerk. #teamDerek

Meanwhile, Derek is dark y'all, and Sofia came just in time! Derek decides he has to court Sofia all over again and base it on trust so he brings her to his sanctuary, which ends up being an old lighthouse. Inside is the entire history of The Shade and Sofia learns just how dark things once were and how evil Derek can be. Still, she's convinced he can be better. She decides to visit the area that holds the humans of The Shade and she realizes that though Derek is a vampire, humans are his responsibility too and the conditions and fear they live in are unacceptable. My guess is that the key for The Shade's survival is going to be to get humans on the vampire's side, that's what Sofia's role is going to be. I don't know for sure, but that's my guess.

Don't forget about Lucas-gone-rogue. He's discovering that word is out about him and he's on the run. He decides his only way to survive is to join another Coven, The Oasis, which is the enemy of The Shade. The families have been at war all of this time, though subdued, but when we find out who Ingrid Maslen is? WHOA.

GAME CHANGER, LAMBS.

I'm fully in for book three, I can't get enough of this series.
   

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Cruel Prince

I'm trying really hard to read books as they come into the house, but if you saw the state of my organized, but chaotic, bookshelves, you would roll your eyes at me and ask what part of that is actually true. But this book is one that I have read nothing but over the top, amazing, unbelievable reviews for and when it went on sale on Amazon I splurged (on a hardcover!!) and man.. I need to be a little more discerning to glowing reviews.

The Cruel Prince - Holly Black 

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.


Alright, lambs. It's been awhile since I have put something in the DID NOT FINISH category but I'm doing it. I got to page 204 out of 370 and decided I have wasted enough of my life on this book. This book is easily the lamest faerie book I have ever read. Let this be a lesson to us all to not buy into the hype of a book. Just because a bunch of 16 year olds' are raving about it doesn't make it great, it (at best) makes it mediocre.

The magical elements of this book aren't even thought through well enough (A faerie can only glamour a mortal, but not each other, how lame is that? Totally a useless tool.), the cruel prince himself (Cardan) and then mortal (Jude) supposed "romance"? No. No, absolutely not, not even by a tiny long shot.

Also? I don't picture Cardan like everyone else, my first vision of him resembles King Joffrey from Game of Thrones, he certainly behaves like it. I also don't like Jude whatsoever. Honestly, if I was a faerie, I'd probably try to murder her as well. She's got this cocky attitude and doesn't respect that she is, in fact, lesser than a faerie when you're in their world. All of the things that make us human make us completely useless and powerless against them in every way. You can fight all you want but they have more tools in their arsenal than you do. The kicker for me is that even by half way through the book I expected to read about this supposed romance, have more of a plot aside from Jude wanting to best Prince Cardan the most, but nothing. At what point in the book do you decide you're done with world building and you're going to give us a reason to continue reading? I know it's the first in a series so there's some buildup that needs to happen but this was just too much. I felt like the author was going off on tangents but wasn't confident enough to let one of them be the main plot of this book so she'd back track and start somewhere else.

Let's put it this way, I've been more excited about self published books with terrible editing than I am for this one. This also marks one of the incredibly few times where I won't pick up book two because I feel guilty. In fact, this book is worthy of a donate pile or even (I know, it's harsh) a trash pile. That's how much I didn't like the first 200 pages of this book.

   


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sensory play when it's too cold for your eyeballs.

If you are anything like me, the worst part of winter for someone who hates nature and outdoors, is that it is too cold to go outside. I know there are really great moms who put on winter gear and play in the snow with their toddlers. They take them for walks, get them used to the elements, and they don't hate their life while doing it. 

I am not that mom. 

I strongly dislike the cold, the wind, the snow. I am not meant to live in northern Wisconsin, yet here I am. I'm stuck here because my husband loves his job and I have this goal of all of my kids having a home town, graduating from a school system they've been apart of since preschool. Having friends that they know into adulthood, and all of that. 

I parent by guilt and by making up for what I didn't have, basically. So far that's worked pretty well. But there are times like now, when I'm basically stuck at my house and I feel guilty because Penelope and Lucy are getting a "lesser quality mom" than Olivia and Jackson had and I feel terrible. Some days it isn't so bad, some days it feels like it eats me alive. 

On this day, the natives were restless so I did what any mom ready to go insane would do. 
 She brings snow into the house and puts it in a little container to play in. Break out the mittens girls, because we're going to build a snowman. In the dining room. 
 It was a super fun idea for a full ten minutes and then all hell broke loose over a tablespoon and a bowl. 
 I couldn't just produce a second of these items, it had to be THAT blue bowl and THAT purple tablespoon. 
 I tried hard with a pink shovel. 
 While we were supervising the "sharing" I realized that Penelope was scooping snow into the kinetic sand container so that got ruined. My yard had a bunch of pink kinetic sand waiting to be cleaned up in the spring. 

Who am I kidding? That stuff will probably blow away or disintegrate right there, I have never swept my patio. 
Lucy just wanted to eat it which brought more concern because I did not check the snow quality and we have a dog. You do the math. It worked out because as I said, hell broke loose and the snow fun was over within ten minutes anyways. 

Where the Wild Cherries Grow

Sometime I get books in the mail by surprise, this was one of them. It's always a mixed bag, sometimes they aren't something I'd normally pick (like this one) but end up being unexpectedly good.

Where The Wild Cherries Grow - Laura Madeleine

I closed my eyes as I tried to pick apart every flavour, because nothing had ever tasted so good before. It was like tasting for the first time. Like discovering colour . . .

It is 1919 and the war is over, but for Emeline Vane the cold Norfolk fens only are haunted by memories of those she has lost. In a moment of grief, she recklessly boards a train and runs from it all.

Her journey leads her far away, to a tiny seaside village in the South of France. Taken in by cafe owner Maman and her twenty-year-old son, Emeline discovers a world completely new to her: of oranges, olives and wild herbs, the raw, rich tastes of the land.

But when a love affair develops, as passionate as the flavours of the village, secrets from home begin blowing in on the sea wides. Fifty years later, a young solictor on his first case finds Emeline's diary, and begins to trace a story of betrayal, love and bittersweet secrets that will send him on a journey to discover the truth...


Alright, this book reminds me of Little Women, kind of. That's what I kept picturing as I read this. We have Emeline, who picks up and leaves her life at just 19, and her family assumes she's died. It's post war, it's chaos, anything could have happened to her. In an effort to find out, they hire solicitors to figure out what happened to her so that they can take care of present day estate issues. The story flip flops between Emeline and the man charged with finding out her fate, Bill. The more that bill digs into history, and Emeline's diary, the more he's convinced she is still alive despite her story. Secrets are uncovered, history isn't what it seems, and despite what he's hired to do, Bill continues on. I can't really give you more without revealing Emeline's fate, but I will tell you if you love the history flip flop, if you love secret love stories and root for the women to change the course of their life, this book is for you. Absolutely.

My only complaints? Some of the story is a bit slow, the descriptions of the lands of France are time consuming and cumbersome. We get it, it's gorgeous, does it warrant repeating often? I don't think so. It's a slow moving mystery and my favorites are the ones that are fast paced and have you gripping the book in suspense. This definitely isn't that, it's a slow burn. Overall I'm giving this one a 3 1/2 stars. It was beautiful, I loved the fate of Emeline and how we discovered it, my only quips are the slowness of the pace and some of the redundant descriptions. I almost chose to not finish it but my curiosity won out.

   

Monday, February 12, 2018

In Every Moment We Are Still Alive

This book was so hard for me to read. I had a lot of break down moments.

In Every Moment We Are Still Alive - Tom Malmquist
When Tom’s heavily pregnant girlfriend Karin is rushed to the hospital, doctors are able to save the baby. But they are helpless to save Karin from what turns out to be acute Leukemia. And in a cruel, fleeting moment Tom gains a daughter but loses his soul-mate. In Every Moment We Are Alive is the story of the year that changes everything, as Tom must reconcile the fury and pain of loss with the overwhelming responsibility of raising his daughter, Livia, alone.


By turns tragic and redemptive, meditative and breathless, achingly poignant and darkly funny, this autobiographical novel has been described as ’hypnotic’, ’impossible to resist’ and ’one of the most powerful books about grief ever written’. 

If you are a long time reader of this blog you can probably imagine why this book hits close to home. Long story short, during the birth of my fourth child, I died on the table during an emergency c-section from an Amniotic Fluid Embolism. Matt and my mother were just down the hall, oblivious that I was fighting for my life and that a team of doctors were doing the impossible during an event so rare most who practice medicine never see it. Nobody knew if I would be walking out of that hospital. When Matt learned what was going on, I can't even imagine what he was thinking and feeling. But this book? This book gives me a pretty good feel for the helplessness he must have felt.

In this book, written in a prose style so the dialogue isn't separated from the text. It's very similar to James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, except there is the occasional punctuation throughout. I really hope that isn't corrected in finished copies (I have an unedited ARC) because it adds to the desperation of the story, it makes it feel like this man was jotting this all down in a journal, almost. It's an autobiographical novel which, for me, takes it to another level. This is the story of a man, who should be nervous about impending fatherhood but is instead thrust into the unknown world of leukemia when he learns that his wife has the illness while pregnant and they learn of it while in full crisis mode. She's forced to deliver her baby via emergency c-section early, and Tom is managing his wife and illness and fatherhood to a very premature baby. Add on the stress of their families and being the only go-to person for questions, it's a LOT to take in and handle. We know that Karin (his wife) dies almost immediately and Tom is left to care for this child on his own, without his support system there but also while trying to grieve through his substantial loss. This should be the happiest times of their lives but instead it's the lowest point of his.

The book is powerful, it's gut wrenching, it's beautifully written. At first I had some issues reading it just because it isn't written in a traditional manner but after awhile I found my legs and was able to continue on and I am so glad I did. It gives me a new perspective of what my husband handled when I was in my situation. I cannot recommend this book enough, it's an amazing highlight on the human plight of suffering but also of persevering. Five stars, no question.


   



Toddlers Gone Wild

Being a stay at home mom sucks so much more than I assumed it would. Penelope and Lucy are such a handful. Independently? They are manageable. Lucy especially, she's a sweet little soul. Penelope.... she's going to be the one that drives me right to the edge. 
 Here you'll notice Penelope's artwork. 
 Here you'll notice Lucy's... self portrait? Artwork? 
I don't think I have to tell you it was an uncle who bought them markers. Or that Penelope climbed up on a toy to reach them. You go to the bathroom for just a minute to cry and this is what happens.  
 Most days for napping I have to have Penelope in my bed and I'll nap with her. Otherwise she wakes this one up and you can tell by  her hair she sleeps hard and if you wake her up before she's ready she is a BEAR. 
 They fight over almost everything. It doesn't matter what it is, but if it can be fought over they will do it. 
Penelope's new thing is to put on princess dresses and she demands that you dance with her. Right now. She will point to where you have to stand and you do it. Or ELSE.  
 Some days they start crying in unison. For hours. For no reason, simply just because they can do it. It's literally the worst sound in the world. I have a headache almost every day and almost every late afternoon until bedtime I'm searching for quiet. Ear plugs, dark closet, whatever I have to do. 
 Then there are times they are just super adorable and cute. Here Lucy was playing with her baby doll, rocking it back and forth, giving it kisses. It was so cute I could hardly stand it. 
 Or when Penelope insists on wearing the high heels on the wrong feet. How can you not think that's adorable? Even with her grouchy face. 
Oh! Or Super Lucy! Super Lucy loves this blanket more than anything in the world and she carries it around in a big ball usually, or drags it along, but sometimes she wants you to tie it on her like a cape/robe. It's really so endearing it makes me want to squeeze her guts. 

I know people say they wouldn't trade these days for anything but I don't feel that way. I'm counting down until Kindergarten. 

Kindergarten = FREEDOM

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Scrappy Saturday: Pages & Cards

Once upon a time, I used to make cards for every thing. Every holiday. For every one. I still feel shame that I sent a photo card for the holidays this year, I don't know if I'll ever get back to making 100+ cards at a time again, but I recently made a few for Valentine's Day. 
I'm not sure who is getting them yet, and maybe I'll make some more.. I don't know yet. 

I also worked on some scrapbook pages. I'm trying to do small batches at a time because my attention span isn't great.  
 As it turns out, I have a lot of dance photos I hadn't gotten to. 
 But it's pretty fun to see how much Olivia has progressed from year to year. 
 She still looks so little, though. 
 It'll be interesting to compare these from last year to the ones they are taking soon for this year. 

It was also fun to see pictures from a few Christmases ago. 

 And I forgot to share with you my projects from a recent string art party I went to. 
 I did that top one with the arrows at the party, LOTS of nailing. 
Then I made a teal survivor ribbon for AFE at home. I still have the stuff to make a pineapple, I just don't know when I'll do it or where I will put it. I wish I had more string to make it stand out more but doing it with string versus something on an actual spool is 1000 times harder! 

Pretty soon I am going to a painting party where I'll make some glasses and then another string art party. I might go to a pallet party too, we'll see! 

Friday, February 9, 2018

And then Jesus gave us charcoal?

Every once in awhile I see ads on Facebook for some bizarre fad and I think it's because I sometimes end up in a wormhole of weird when I'm bored, so the Internet believes I'm into this kind of thing. But lately I've had some serious insomnia and so I often find myself on Amazon. 

The Amazon app is worst than Alexa could ever be. Because I find one thing I like and suddenly I'm clicking through the "You might also like..." and all of a sudden I have a cart full of crap. I'm adding things to my Wish List. I'm debating whether or not I really need this and then I see it. 

Activated Charcoal Toothpaste. 

I remember my Facebook ads. The twenty something babies (Yes, if you are under 30 you are a baby to me. You don't even know what life is, darling.) smiling with their freshly brushed teeth, blindingly white, I remember these ads and I think yes. Yes, I do need activated charcoal toothpaste with additional teeth flossers and bamboo toothbrush. 
 I sure do. 

Then I start researching it and I start to second guess my logic on this because where the hell am I going to warrant white teeth? Like freakishly white? 

Nowhere. 

But it comes and I was scared of it for a solid two days. On day three Matt tells me I need to use it or return it. So I try it. 
 Here's what I know: it has no flavor. It's a weird texture and I think that's what gets people. But a little bit goes a long way, don't go loading up the brush.  
The stuff makes a damn mess. I have to wash my sink with cleaner every single time I use it so my bathroom always smells like bleach, which isn't a bad thing. I'm alright with that. You do need to brush your teeth following it, which makes me wonder if its really the charcoal whitening your teeth or the vigorous brushing you have do to get it off your teeth? I have no idea. 

I've used it once a day for a week now and I notice no difference. Some people say I need to do it twice a day and give it more time but I don't know, I feel like some progress should be happening. 

I think I'll stick to toxic white strips. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sisters Like Us

If anyone knows about sisters, it's me. I myself have none, just one brother, but I'm raising three girls and a boy but every single one of those girls are as different as the next. The only thing similar are looks (kind of), their feet, and the fact they all have two middle names. Everything else about them is different and though I'm a long ways away from their teenage years (the younger two, anyways) I know that they are going to give me the run for my money. Literally.

Sisters Like Us (Mischief Bay #4) - Susan Mallery

Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgeling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.

Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.

Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.

The great thing about a Susan Mallery book is that you know going in that it's going to be something you can relate to in real life and it's going to be funny. You'll find yourself smiling and nodding your head because you get it, and she's telling it like it is in the nicest way possible. I didn't realize how much I was going to connect with this book but when I started the first chapters detailing Harper's excessive need to be over the top, do more than expected, juggle every plate, keep in touch with all the family (even the ones who aren't her own), do it all because that's what you do. Early on in the book there was this:

"Harper did her best not to scream. Of course she needed help! She was working sixty hours a week in a desperate attempt to stay afloat financially, taking care of her house, dealing with a sixteen-year-old, decorating for the holiday and getting ready to cook a fancy meal. Help would be nice. Help would be grand. But, in Bunny's world, the woman of the house did not ask for help. No, she did it all herself, seemingly effortlessly. Family came first. The measure of a woman was how well she looked after her family and so on."

I can relate to this. Bunny is Harper's mother, but unlike Harper, it isn't my mother putting this pressure on me. It's all me. How screwed up is that?! I don't have a standard to live up to, no that isn't true. I suppose I do, but my circumstances are wholly different than my mother's. But in my head I have this ideal of what a mom should be, I have things I do simply because I wish at some point they were done for me, and it's completely selfish the reasons I do these things but I cannot help it. So when I try to level those expectations with my limitations now, it's upsetting. I feel like I am sub par, I'm not fulfilling my duty as a wife and mother. I fully understand Harper in this book.

Her sister Stacey, not so much. She's terrified of being a disappointment but more so the reaction from their mother, she's never ready for it. But she's 40 now, with an exemplary career, the problem is that she's pregnant. Six months pregnant, to be exact, and she's just not told her mom for fear of the reaction. Her husband. Kit, plans to be a stay at home dad, leaving his teaching career behind, and that just is NOT done so Stacey isn't sure if she can handle everything bound to come her way.

We have a lot of twists and turns, some you see coming and some you don't. But I just... I just really have a special spot for Harper in my heart. I wonder if this is me in a few years? We're not far off in age but I imagine if Matt up and left me for a much younger woman, I don't know how I would stay afloat, I just haven't planned on that. I don't have that side fun because I won't need it, divorce just is not an option, so I imagine I would feel much like Harper does.

Overall? I'm giving this 4.5 stars. I can only knock it down because it was just a little longer than I like normally, but it makes up for it in humor. It's a funny book and while you could wait to read this on the beach, as the cover invites you to do, it's worth snuggling in a warm spot thinking of beach days and reading it now. If you're a fan of Dorothea Benton Frank, you'll love Susan Mallery!

   

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Workout Wednesday: So maybe my lungs AREN'T so hot.

I can't remember when I talked about maybe needing an inhaler because I didn't do so hot with my pulmonary function test. As it turns out there is something to that. I tried to do a walk/run on my treadmill after a particularly stressful afternoon and I could not stop coughing afterwards. Not just that but the cough felt wet, like I had fluid in my lungs. 

I can only assume that's not normal. 

So back to doing minimal working out until I can figure out how to deal with that. I've been trying to do the Beachbody YouV2 program and man... that guy is so annoying. Ugh. 
 On this particular day I finished day one but I could only do it by muting him and playing my own playlist. Infinitely better. 
I continue with my recumbent bike and as you can see I do it among the chaos of toys. Sometimes I read while I'm doing it and that helps make the time pass without me counting down the time miserably. Sometimes I'll text someone or peruse Facebook and Instagram and catch up on what my friends with lives are doing. I really can't wait until spring and I can walk outside. 

We filled out an application for a scholarship for a YMCA membership and I'm kind of scared but I think it would be good for me. It would give  me an excuse to leave the house, and I know enough people who take classes that I could buddy up and not be alone should I pass out or something crazy.