Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Book 87

When I take a vacation from the computer and live life among my people, I fall behind, lose track etc.  So when I wrote the last post about books, it was originally 87 & 88.  However, then I remembered that I had read another book, so I went back and re-titled the last post and I am now going to chat about Book 87.  Still wondering in the back of my mind if I've missed one... if so, it will go down in incorrect order as 90.

Bygones... (Ah, Ally McBeal, how I miss thee)

I read Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones which also came from that 3x5 card I found in my desk from 2010 books.  However, in spite of the fact I am reading it well past all of the attention it garnered as a novel and a movie, it is a compelling book.  Supernatural, not really my thing, however I enjoyed it more than I thought.  I will admit that I thought it got bogged down in the middle, but I persevered because I wanted the SOB brought to justice!!!  If you haven't read this book, give it a shot.  If you're giving it a shot and want to have a movie night together, message me cause I'm gonna get the movie from the library.  Eventually.

Books 88 & 89

I have started a new series.  Last month, I believe, I learned that Hallmark Channel would be starting a new series in January, based on Janette Oke's series Canadian West, "When Calls the Heart".  I knew then that I would want to read the books prior to watching the 2 hour premiere movie (on my DVR) and the watching the series.  

Of course, other books got in the way and these books have a nasty habit of disappearing from my Nook before I've had a chance to read them.  Nevertheless, I have finished the first two books in the series, When Calls the Heart and When Comes the Spring and I am now again waiting for the next book.  Sigh.  Of course, I doubt that they will get through the first and second books in the first season, so I am not too worried about it.

I like the books.  I will say they are Hallmark, "G-rated", which comes as no surprise having read Janette's bio: "...pioneered inspirational fiction..." and "has been honored... and the Christy Award" the latter is given for excellence in Christian Fiction.  That aside, the series isn't an ongoing romance series as many of the other series that I read, which is what I expected.  The series continues to tell the story of our heroine, Elizabeth, and her life in the Canadian West.  In fact, I would recommend this series to teen girls looking for books to read because they are compelling yet clean.  

I thought perhaps that I would reach the loft goal of 100 books this year, however, I'm not even going to reach 90 even though with two weeks left in the year I had only 4 books to go.  I've enjoyed the books I've read, the characters I've met and earnestly cheer the fact that my 2011 resolution to begin reading again has blossomed to such lofty achievements as 89 books!  With 8 hours left in the year, I could certainly finish another.  However, I will spend it watching football, cooking and playing games with my people.  Happiness is...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book 86

I just finished reading The Orphan Train by Kristina Baker Kline and it is an amazing book!  I really thought that I would finish it last night, but I finally fell asleep around 1 am only to wake early, sneak out and finish it first thing this morning before the hustle and bustle of a Sunday during the Christmas season begins.

It took a little bit to get into the groove of it... it takes place in different times with many different people with a lot of changes in the beginning before settling into a groove that takes you through the rest of the story.  It is fiction, historical fiction, about the Orphan Trains that ran from the mid-1850's through the 1930's.  These trains took east coast orphans to the Midwest and placed them with families.  As I often feel after reading a fictional book about a time in history, I think I might want to read a factual book.  However, this book runs the emotional scale and I'm again not up to that so soon.  (think Molokai ).

I highly recommend this book!   

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Books 80-85

Why did I fight it so hard?  I mean, everyone said the Hunger Games Trilogy was amazing.  Teen Boy loved the series and even College Boy read them!  Finally, I am on the train and leaving the station.  I have now finished Catching Fire the second book in Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games series.  And I've seen the movie.  I am actually pretty impressed with how true the movies stay to the books.  I loved it!  Of course, I didn't pick up the final book.  I think I will wait til next fall and read it before the movie comes out.  Maybe.  (UGH, I just discovered they are making the final book into two movies... why do they do this to me?!)

The next book I read on vacation was Hasty Wedding by Debbie Macomber.  This must have been one of her earlier books.  I mean, I enjoyed it and it was a quick read, but I had to go back and look at it to remember what it was about.  

I hesitate to call book 82 a real book.  I only read one story in a book of Christmas romance stories.  And I didn't enjoy it.  I tried to quit and move on, but I am generally not quitter.  I've decided I just don't care for this author as I believe I've tried her before.  Anyway, I read Making Spirits Bright by Fern Michaels and I loved the premise.  It just seemed a bit contrived and rushed.  

The final three books I read on vacation were a series by Margaret Brownley, A Rocky Creek Romance.  These books are historical fiction and that is where the similarity starts and ends.  Each story was unique and delightful.  We didn't visit with all of the characters from book 2 in book 3 like you get in some series, but the characters from book 1 were prevalent in both sequels.  The books, A Lady Like Sarah, A Suitor for Jenny and A Vision of Lucy are detailed and twisty and I found myself disappointed when I read that the last book was indeed the last of the series.  In the future, I will try other books by this author.

Catching up! 47-49

Oh I have a LOT of catching up to do.  See, I've been on vacation.  I spent 12 days visiting with family.  A week at the beach with my family followed by 5 days with my in-laws and that side of the family.  There were some really great times.  I thought I'd read the 23 books I downloaded onto my Nook... LOL!  It was time best spent connecting with people.  I am so blessed.  Some of it was stressful, I won't lie.  But at 12:30 am after being delayed 3 hours and landing in bitter cold and snow, we got on the wrong shuttle bus to take us to our car and I just started laughing cause what else can you do?!  Just a 30 minute detour.  But the car started and we arrived home safe and sound at 4 am to the blessed news that we had a school delay (later to become a snow day!).

Where do I start?

47 - Throw Out Old Make-Up:  So make-up is supposed to be used within a year and then tossed.  I don't wear much make-up, mostly mascara and eyeliner.  And I mostly wear it around the holidays and for family pictures which we had taken last week.  So I opened the drawer where the make-up was hibernating and looked the entire situation over.  I was glad to see that it was NOT the Clinque make-up I bought when I got married over 2 decades ago.  However, I thought and thought and thought and couldn't come up with a time that I'd bought the Mary Kay that was in my drawer.  Perhaps when my lifelong friend was a MK person which was before she started teaching and before she went back to school for her teaching license.  Read that a very long time ago.  So, I tossed.  Half-used make-up sponges, tossed.  Used up lipstick, tossed.  I had recently purchased new lipstick and then I purchased new mascara and eyeliner to the tune of $11.  But to not get an eye infection, it is worth it.  And I didn't use the rest of that stuff, so I didn't replace it.  I am asking you, think about what you have, what you use and what could be tossed in the interest of good health and less clutter.

48 - Prepare for the Holidays:  Now some folks may take exception to the fact I didn't say "Prepare for Christmas", but honestly I needed to prep for Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Nicholas Day and the New Year as well as two birthdays.  I needed to prep for the entire season.  I caved and let my husband choose our son's gift this year (he'll love it).  I bought St Nick's Day gifts for my College Boy and Teen Boy and wrapped them so I could give them to them when we were on vacation to take back to school with them.  I purchased the rest of the birthday gifts to pass out at our Thanksgiving Beach Reunion to the nieces and nephews, but still not sure what to do about Christmas gifts.  I had to rewrite the recipe I needed to make for Thanksgiving Dinner.  I gathered with my girls and prepped a gazillion meals so we can enjoy the season instead of worrying about dinner.  Everyone needs to step back and picture what they want their season to look like... from decorating to baking to present buying.

49 - Celebrate a Feast Day:  I've been wanting to celebrate Feast Days all year long (it was supposed to be the focus of our Lenten Journey, however...) and we finally did!  We actually started celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas years ago after the big boys learned about it in school (see, public schools do cover all kinds of stuff!).  However, apparently LRHB doesn't remember us celebrating it (and since I'd started working last November, it is possible that I missed last year).  He and I got on the computer and "learned" about St. Nicholas together.  This was a great site for that: http://www.loyolapress.com/assets/saints/saint-nicolas.swf.  I can tell you that if you aren't Catholic, it is still interesting to read about St. Nicholas as the secular Santa Claus is based upon him.  There are also Feast Days every day in December if you want to try this resolution out yourself.  LRHB found an ornament in his shoes from St. Nicholas.  I told him that in our family, traditionally St. Nicholas gifts are preparing us for Christmas.  He then remembered getting his Santa hat one year.  The big boys got holiday boxers and matching stocking caps!  Other things St. Nick has brought are books about the Christmas season.

It seems as if the year is quickly winding up, but don't worry... I am going to try to complete the missing resolutions from the summer (I have 4 more!).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I have been wracking my brain to remember the book I read prior to 29 Gifts by Cami Walker.  Then I noticed that I posted 1 week ago about two books and realize that I didn't misplace a book in my mind.  This WAS the next book I read.  And it took a whole week.  Not because it wasn't good or well written or anything like that.  More to do with Resolutions 47/48 than anything else.

I found a card when cleaning out the desk drawers (remember that?  Resolution 6, 2013) that had some books that I had written down back in 2010.  That may have been what led to the New Year's Resolution of 2011 which was to read books again.  So, I've read none of those books and I added them to my books to read list that I keep in a spreadsheet along with the books I want to read.  And a few weeks ago, I realized that I would need some books to keep me occupied over the upcoming break and got them from the library.  Of course, this one is already due and cannot be renewed so I hopped right on it.

At first, I'll be honest, I didn't know if I could stick with it and finish it.  It is non-fiction so the author is truly honest and not that likable in the beginning of the book.  But the growth displayed through the book and the power that she gains is addicting!  Definitely a recommended read!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

77, 78

I FINALLY read the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Of course, Teen Boy has his set at school so I am borrowing them from the library.  All those months they just sat and sat in his room waiting for me to come get them.  But in the moment that he requested we bring them to him, I remembered that the next movie is coming out.  I NEED TO FINALLY READ THESE BOOKS was my only thought.  So I got the first from the library and plowed through it.  I could picture it from the movie as I was reading it.  Now, if I recall correctly, the book and movie are quite similar.  I think I need to see the movie again.  However, in the meantime, I got the E-book of the next one from the library.  Or so I thought.  It was the audio version so I returned it and put my name down for the real book.  Which I am hoping to have by this jam-packed weekend so I can ignore all of the things I need to do and read it!

I read another of Debbie's nonfiction books, One Upon a Time.  She really is an inspiration, what she overcame to become a writer.  This book talks about the story of our life and how our life is truly a story.  She shares more of herself in this book and then gives the reader prompts to begin to share more about their lives.  I am wondering if these are good jumping off points for a family reunion to come in the future.  I cannot see myself writing in a journal about these topics, as I know she hopes that her readers do.  I would rather pick up another book and get lost in it.  But it did give me pause.  And it is written to be quite an easy read.  Those of you looking for a new take on New Year's Resolutions might just enjoy taking her prompts out for a spin.  And there are more than 12 so you could pick and choose one a month to tackle/explore.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Resolution 46 - Take Care of Someone

A friend recently found my blog.  Well, in reality, I directed it to her, but mostly cause it was the easiest way to give her information about a book we'd been discussing.  Inevitably, why do I blog comes up.  I think in many ways I was lost and needed direction.  I was lonely and needed an outlet.  I was overwhelmed with dissatisfaction and wanted to make a change.  Once I started blogging, I began reading blogs.  I found some I love.  Some are written by women that inspire me and some that just make me feel small.  Several that make me feel blessed.  But, it seemed to be growing out of control so I stopped.  I went cold turkey.  I stopped reading.  And I was okay because I was living life in the real moment with my family.

Today, I discovered that a young cancer survivor is back in the hospital fighting the cancer fight.  I thought, OH NO!  MY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN NEGLECTED BY ME AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENS!  Boy, I think a lot of myself sometimes.  I missed good and bad.  I have to own that truth.  I missed good and bad.  I have not been neglecting; I am living for people that are here with me in life, not online.  It was a panic that spiraled into an afternoon of ferocious blog reading, accomplishing nothing in my world.  I needed to talk this out here and figure out how to make a resolution from it...

Living life in the moment... yes.  Taking care of those around me?  Perhaps, that is what that blog was saying to me.  Reach out and care for someone.  Someone in my world can use my help.  I am opening my heart (and probably my kitchen) to someone that needs me.  Let me know if you touch the lives of others this week and how.  It can be this simple...


Book 76

The Finest Hours is "The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue" and is by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman.  Now if you like slow moving, extremely detailed books that actually retell several sea rescues, many which are not successful, than this is the book for you.  I appreciate that it was detailed in the story they were telling.  However, just when it would get moving, the author would create a flashback moment of another time at sea that this particular person was involved in creating a distraction from the real story and derailing the reader. If it happened just once, well that would have been one thing.  But many such flashbacks occurred which didn't really add to the already complicated tale of the day.  When you've got two ships in trouble that both split in half, essentially creating 4 groups of people needing to be rescued and easily 4 ships of people being sent to help, you've got 8 ships of people that you are now not just telling the current tale, but adding back story as well, whew, it was work reading this book.

A side note... you know I sometimes find books in the most creative fashion.  That would be true for this book.  While searching for another story, I found this one and gave it a try.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not.  The story is incredible, but I won't be reading this author again.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Post 300 - All about Blogging

At the beginning of 2012, I had so many things I wanted to "fix" that I decided to do a blog about making a new resolution each week.  Many of these resolutions I have to make over and over, while others stay for awhile and become something permanent.  I'm okay with making the same resolution over again and again, because I am only trying to become the person God wants me to be, not perfection.  In His eyes, I am perfection.  As I discovered a latent passion for writing, I also decided to share my love of books that I am reading.  And other topics come up now and again.  When I see folks win awards for blogging, I think that I am less than I could be, that if I put more into it that I too could be a "winner".  Then I remind myself that this is for me, my journey; not for awards and accolades.  

In the spirit of cleaning out, I have gone through a folder on my computer called "blogs".  Some of them, I honestly haven't the faintest idea why I kept them because when I click on the link it goes to their most recent post (one was about girls dresses) and not always to the post that initially "hooked" me.  However, some I read and thought, that was good reading.  I should share that.  Now, some are about getting life organized, some are reflections on our world today, and some are about my faith, Catholicism.  Below, are some good reads for me, I'll know I can come back here and reread them.  So my blogs folder has gone from about 60 to under 10; some of which belong in another folder, I just haven't figured out where.

Happy 300th post to me!

Resolution 45 - Clean Out (fill in the blank)

We all have it... a bag, box, pile of magazines or letters or articles that we've bookmarked that we need to go through and clean out.  For me, I found a basket of magazines.  Some from 2011.  That's right, two years old.  One would think that after almost 2 years of resolving things, I wouldn't still have so much crap to clean out.  Yet, apparently I do.  They are cooking magazines.  So I've been watching football on Sundays and going through them.  When it is done, I'll be left with a pile of ripped out pages for a future project...

Books 74 & 75

I have actually not been watching as much TV this fall as I thought I would.  First of call, the books help me to fall asleep better.  Next, I have so many books I want to read and that desire is stronger than my desire to watch some of my shows.  Now, let's not get carried away, I have had to sit at the computer to watch TV when my dish company temporarily didn't carry one network with shows I love.  But I have three series that I haven't watched any of the new shows.  I keep taping them cause one day I might be sick and need some distraction.  But, I just realized I am supposed to be recapping the latest two books...

The Butler, A Witness to History caught my attention because of my fascination with history and the fact that they made the book into a movie.  Or so I thought.  In reality, the book came AFTER the movie.  And isn't really about the movie.  Confusing, right?  Let me try again... the movie was based (loosely) on the life of a man who was featured in a newspaper article.  That's right, the newspaper article led to a movie script.  Then, led to a book by the man who wrote the article, Wil Haygood.  The book does tell the story behind the article and the movie as well as gives some history of the times.  Because I am a history buff, I did enjoy the book. And I still want to watch the movie.

Christmas on 4th Street is the latest Fools Gold Romance novel from Susan Mallery.  I was actually trying to save it for closer to the holidays.  However, I was reading a VERY detailed nonfiction book when I found myself in a blue mood.  So I put aside the other book and dove into this book.  Just what the doctor ordered... I was back among "friends" and enjoying the town of Fools Gold during the holidays.  Perked me right up.  So if you are wanting to read a holiday romance and you haven't tried any of the books in the series, I do recommend this one.  Put a smile on my face, a Christmas tune in my head and restored my spirits.

Resolution 44 - Strengthening Exercises

Another exercise challenge is going around FB, it is the Plank Challenge.  Since I abandoned the 30 day back challenge when life got busy, I am now going to undertake the Plank Challenge and the Back Challenge.  Together.  Followed by my 10 deep breaths and some formal prayer.  It will require setting the alarm a little earlier, but since I gained an entire hour of extra sleep last night, I figure I can handle it.  I'm back walking almost daily, so I am feeling pretty confident.  That and motivated by family pictures at the end of the month.  No crash dieting.  Just implementing fitness challenges.  To firm up the loose parts (and the Lord knows I have plenty of those).

Book 73

The Next Thing on My List  by Jill Smolinski is one of those books that someone on FB read and rated on Goodreads.  I really liked the premise.  I found it to be a quick read.  However, two and a half books later, I couldn't tell you what it was about and had to look it up to be reminded of the plot.  Once I read just one line of the description, it came back to me.  However, I'm not sure that it qualifies it as a great book.  Let me give you the "hook" and you can make your own choice... a woman in trying to be helpful causes a terrible accident and out of her depression and a quick lie following the accident, she embarks on fulfilling a to-do list.

Resolution 43 - Clean off a book shelf

I've got lots of books. Some fall under the category of "read over and over".  Some fall under the category of "I'll read these someday".  Really, if someday hasn't arrived, it is time to move those books along.  I like to clear out at this time of year, because I might just be donating the perfect gift for someone.  So, clearing off and donating books is my resolution.  I'll bet you have books just like this... you can try selling them yourself or to a used book store.  Me, I'll just donate them.

Resolution 42 - Use Weights

I've read it and read it and read it.  Adding weights to your workout will improve many things.  Google it if you want to know what cause I'm not an expert and I'm not going to support this premise with details.  I'm just gonna tell you that I have.  I was so sore the first few days, but after that, not as much.  I'm hoping to see the results in the long run.  I am using them with a 30 back strengthening challenge.  Yes, here I am doing another challenge.  I like them, what can I say.  I'll let you know at the end how things end up.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Books 71 and 72

I found another series to read!  Not a romance series but a mystery series (yes, another mystery series).  The heroine has a split personality.  It took a little bit to get into the groove of the different personalities that come into play just by turning the page.  But it made me laugh!  And I was so hooked that I've already got the next one waiting for me at the library.  Oh, you want to know the book title?  Me, Myself and Why? by Mary Janice Davidson.

On a completely different note, the next book I read is called Moloka'i by Alan Brennert.  It is historical fiction and it has just enough history to keep it frighteningly real.  In fact, several times I had to check the book binder to make sure that it was fiction.  But as I read the author's notes, the characters and many events are based upon diaries and testimonials.  I had checked out a nonfiction book about the same topic, the Leprosy colony on Moloka'i, however, I put it back into the library bag to return, cover unopened.  I just couldn't read another story about this devastating treatment of people.  It was easy to hang in with the book to find out how the main character survived her affliction.  She was such a likable character that I cried and laughed with her throughout the book.

Reach out and touch... #41

I got a lengthy email today from my cousin.  I haven't seen or heard from her in decades.  And she found my dad and visited my folks last month.  Then she emailed me.  So I emailed her back.  And she emailed me again!  So nice.  It made me reach out and email another family member that I hadn't heard from.  And she emailed me back.  It is so much easier to stay in touch with today's electronics.  However, I would venture to say that when there was no email, texting and FB, people stayed in touch better; they didn't take it for granted.  Today, I think we take it for granted.  Thank you sweet cousin for reconnecting with me!

Resolution #41 - Reconnect.  Reach out and touch someone you love that you may have left in the dust of today's busy world.

Living in the moment...#40

I've done it.  I've made some real changes to live in the moment.  Let's be honest, right behind hanging out with my kids, I love to read.  So many books, so little time!  But, right now, this is about the kids.

Over the summer, I was reading my blogs.  I think I may have even been tearing up because of something sad that I'd read.  LRHB wanted my attention.  I said I was busy.  "Whatcha doin?"  he wanted to know.  I replied that I was reading a friend's blog.  Of course he wanted to know if he knew them.  "Well, no, actually I don't know them either, except through their blog."  Oh.  And he wandered off.  Thankfully, I could finish my reading.

Upon reflection of this conversation, in fact MUCH reflection, I've pretty much stopped reading my blogs.  Yes, I feel awful for the woman that lost her little boy that lives across the country.  But I also feel awful for the lady around the corner that lost her son the same month.  Should I not be giving more time to the sad mommy I know quite well than I am giving to the woman I've never met.  By her own words she is surrounded by wonderful people.  Should I give more time to the other mother across the country that has lost her son?  My Sweet LM lost her daughter and we struggle to find time to be together; I should be getting my ducks in a row at home so I can run away with her.  There is a blog I follow about a mom that is so devout that really each time I read her words I commit a sin, I COVET my neighbor's religious devotions.  Seriously, that time would be better spent in PRAYER.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Resolution 27

Clean Out the Freezer...

I had a flashback in the shower the other day.  It was Fourth of July.  I had a sinus infection and was feeling pretty lousy.  Everyone was headed in different directions or staying put.  I think it was during a car shuffle that I found it... an open freezer.  I just couldn't yell. The last one in had gotten a freezer pop for the sick momma.  Ugh.  How bad was it?

Well, I didn't have to throw anything away.  However, I was subjected to cooking and cooking and cooking for a couple hours.  Marinades.  Cooking meat.  Throwing stuff in the crock pot.  Grilling.  We ended up not venturing out to our events that evening and ate at home.  Crock pot baked beans and grilled shrimp and grilled pork roast.  An eclectic mix, yet there wasn't enough of either the shrimp or the pork to serve it on its own.

The upside (other than not having to cook for several days) was that everything was out of the freezer, it was hot enough to defrost the freezer and wipe it down.

It wasn't that I chose this resolution, rather it chose me.  So I will give it a number... 26.  As summer concludes and fall rushes in, this might be your last chance til next summer to thaw and clean your freezer.  Good luck!

Book 70

I wish I had made a note about where I got the title The Beginners Goodbye by Anne Tyler, because I might understand why I chose to read it.  Sure, Anne Tyler is a Pulitzer Prize winning author, but rarely does that motivate me to pick up a book.  Detour... I did some research and it was a Ladies Home Journal Magazine Book Club book.  Since for months while accompanying my son to therapy, I read all of the back issues of LHJ, that is probably where I got this book.  

"Why does she write about how she found this book?"  It is a such a detour from the frou-frou romances that we know I love.  Additionally, it isn't a memoir or biography which is my other choice.  It is fiction and addresses mourning and death.  It has a main character with tremendous personality and character flaws, yet he is compelling as he works through the tragic death of his wife.  He learns, grows and I won't spoil the end that was worth it.  It is a short book, however not really a quick read as I found myself pondering his situations.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Club Revival...

For reasons not to be discussed, our Book Club has been on vacation.  But I was just inspired by this:
So I am bringing our Kids Book Club back to life and renewing my Reading Promise to my LRHB.  Tell, me, do you need to renew a "vow" in your life?

(Also known as Resolution 26)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Books 64-69

I know now that the new TV season is upon us, my reading will probably slow down some.  However, as I reloaded my Nook today, I know that reading is really part of who I am and I will always make time for it.

I finished Debbie Macomber's Navy Series the best I could.  One of the books still hasn't been sold for digital so my options are to try to purchase that one book used or go without.  Yeah, I'm going with the latter for now.  The books are not really inter-related in this series.  The first couple made mention of a couple of folks, but after that, not so much. (64-66)

I then read Debbie's very first book she sold to Harlequin.  With the amount of references to pray and having a relationship with God, I am really surprised they purchased it.  Personally, I liked it, God talk and all, though you can really see that her ability to bring a story to conclusion has improved throughout her writing years.  The title of this book is Heartsong.  

I then read The Vow, by Kim and Krickett Carpenter.  This real life story about going through a terrible accident and surviving because of their faith was very compelling.  It is a very quick read and I am looking forward to watching the Hollywood version, though I am quite aware that it doesn't demonstrate the same power of faith.  They made a pledge before God when they married each other and it took A LOT of work to stay married.  It is very inspirational and I highly recommend it. 

This afternoon, I finished the last Debbie book on my Nook, This Matter of Marriage.  It is a timeless tale of boy being in love with his ex-wife while female friend next door is tackling blind dates in hopes of marrying.  Yes, these two friends finally discover that their key to happiness is right next door, but along the way others also find love.  Sigh.

I have reloaded my Nook with several books recommended by various authors in Ladies Home Journal or friends on FB or Blogs I've read.  Debbie is safely tucked away except for Saturday evenings when I tune into the Cedar Cove television series on the Hallmark Channel. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Resolution 40 - Christmas Lists

As I looked at the calendar today, I realized that October was arriving this week.  In the olden days, before the LRHB, I always did my Christmas shopping in early October.  First, my boys have fall birthdays so I would pool the money, buy what they wanted and divvy it up between birthday and Christmas.  Also, my nieces and nephews don't live close to us and I would try to get ideas and gifts sent before the holiday rush.  Also, sometimes it takes time to come up with gift ideas for the grandparents, so I need to start early.

However, I have found in the last years, I haven't been planning ahead.  Part of that is as the boys got older, it was harder to shop for them.  Gift ideas for teens are expensive.  Part of it is that we've taken to travelling in the fall.  One would think that would make me better organized, but alas, it has not.

This is the year!  I am getting organized NOW.  You should join me!  Make a list, check it twice.  "It's beginning to look a lot like Chrismas!"

Resolution 25 - Clean out the Refrigerator

We all know that I skipped half of the summer of resolutions.  So I was actually able to do TWO last week.  I looked in the fridge one day after school as I was pulling dinner together and realized that it was really kinda needing a cleaning.  Since we had extra time on our hands (rain had cancelled the evening's activities), I started pulling out a shelf and a drawer and cleaning them.  I wiped down some of the inside.  The next night, I tackled a little bit more (again, rain).  And I finished it over the weekend.  So, break a big job down into smaller jobs and get something accomplished that will make you proud.  Crazy as it seems, I am proud!  

Resolution 39 - Fall Clothes

Yes, it is that time of year... the weather is changing here (or so they say) and I've looked through the drawers only to discover that my boy is going to be cold.  Soon.  And college boy needs some new pants, too!  So make a list of those things that you need to purchase so you can pick things up as those emails come to you about sales or free shipping.  Perhaps, the need is more urgent and you need to plan a trip to purchase a couple of items to get you on your way.

In our case, we no longer have enough underwear for LRHB to make it through the week.  And his boxers are getting to small also.  So the boxers are going to the list to shop for eventually (like new pajama pants and sweat pants) and I made a late night Target run for new underwear.  Happy Shopping!

Resolution 38 - Freezer Meals

Last month, my sweet LM organized a cooking day so that when I started work, I would have one thing taken care of... dinner.  We cooked breakfasts and dinners that day; a productive day indeed as I am just using up the final meals.  It has been such a life-saver, I am putting together a cooking day for this coming weekend to restock the freezer.

I find that we use fresh ingredients so that the meals are healthier for our families.  Everyone needs a healthier approach to last minute dinner madness, so I recommend that you too take on freezer meals.  It is far better than my old plan of having something in the freezer for those crazy days that I bought at the store pre-made.  Like potpies or lasagna.  I am making my own potpies and lasagna!  The healthier version!  Of course, not everything is "healthy".  I don't want to mislead you.  In fact, LRHB requested Tatertot casserole as one of the meals.  And it is a comfort food, surely, however, not what I'd call healthy.  Guess that's why I'm only making one!

Resolution 37 - Use the Cleaning Chart

I developed this great cleaning chart in hopes that I'd be working full-time this fall and would need a plan of action.  I am working full-time this fall!  However, I am NOT using the cleaning chart.  Why not?  Well, I forget about it.  And I love watching football.  I've also made several more trips up and down the highways to see my college kids or pick them up and take them back, etc.  However, I find that I am trying really hard to stay on top of the house, just not using my tool.  Therefore, some things keep getting done while others slip through the cracks.  SO, my resolution is to PRINT my chore chart and work with it!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

This is WHY

I took my Teen Boy all over California last August to view schools that he really, really wanted to attend.  Some fell off the list, others moved up and another trip to CA in the fall secured the choice for early acceptance.  In the end, he didn't get into those schools and ended up at a state school.  Secretly, momma was okay with that even if it meant watching her boy's dream die.  I'm honest to a fault.


On Labor Day he was biking to class when the chain came off and the brakes failed and his face met with a brick landscaping wall.  He was in surgery by lunch to repair the deep lacerations to his face.  Unfortunately, the concussion is the thing that is bringing us the most trouble as it will linger on.  for WEEKS.  But we were on the road within 25 minutes of finding out.  We took him to the ER.  We were there while he underwent surgery.  We took him home with us and watched and cared for him that night.  We took him back to campus the next day (hardest.thing.).  And we picked him up three days later to replenish his spent spirit and support him while he gave his body the time it needed to heal.  We took him back three days later for the follow-up appointment with the surgeon.  We were there:  holding him, caring for him, listening to him, feeding him, medicating him, supporting him.  Because he was only 75 minutes away from us.  This is why God put him at that school.  He knew what was coming and that we'd need to be there for him.

God has a plan.  You may not see it today, but He knows.

Another thought, we are so blessed by Him that the damage was not worse.  Thank you, Jesus, for giving us what we can handle.  You know our hearts better than we do.

60, 61, 62 and 63 All Debbie

That's right, I am still in romance-land.  I am reading and enjoying stories with happy endings.  It gets me through days that have happy endings that are harder to see.  

Let me be clear, I am very happily married.  Is he "romantic"?  Not so much so perhaps that is why I enjoy these stories.  But he loves me.  Faults and all.  I am truly blessed to have him in my world.  I am not looking for these books to fill a void.  Off the soapbox...

This is what I've discovered.  In the evenings, my little guy is motivated to read longer when I am sitting and reading alongside him.  Not the same book as him as his requirement for school is independent reading.  So I read my stuff, he reads his.  Then he finishes his reading write-up and we go off to his room to read together.  
I digress...

I've read the latest release from Debbie Macomber, Rose Harbor in Bloom, a reissue of one of her first tales, Starlight, and I've begun another one of her series, Navy.  Within that series I've read Navy Wife and Navy Brat and I've emailed the author to find out why only 5 of the 6 books in the series have been reissued.  I'm invested!

Resolution Week 35

Learn from your Mistakes...

I work in a classroom that has this resolution posted so that students remember that learning from mistakes is a great way to learn.  That it is okay to make a mistake as long as you take the experience and learn from it.  I think that it is great.

I also found out how hard that is to do firsthand this week.  I made a mistake at work.  No lives were lost.  No people were hurt.

I just erased quite a bit of justification that I had typed.  Because I am still learning how to learn from my mistake.  I don't need to explain anything to you.  Nor do you need to to me.  Just learn.

Resolution Week 34

Learn Something New...

This week I have two children starting a new school year.  This is a time to renew their passion for learning and the best way to do this is take time to learn something yourself.  This is not going out on a limb for me because I am learning new material now that I am working.  My sons have seen me take classes last winter and spring as well as this month.

But I am wondering if I let me children know through the years that I was learning something new.  Did I communicate when I was reading biographies that I was learning from other peoples examples?  When I tried a new tool in the kitchen or to grow a new plant in the garden, did I tell them I was learning something new?  Did they know that when I was going to Bible Study that I was learning more about my faith and myself?  I have been learning even if I haven't been enrolled in school.  However, I think that communicating that to your people is something we don't take the time to do.  Take the time, share something that you've learned recently with your student so they know that you know that it is hard to learn something new.

Resolution 33

Talk About Risky Behaviors

You can read this that I wrote last year.

You can read something here:  http://lucastrong-aboutlife.blogspot.com/2012/02/way-back-in-august.html

Or this blog:  http://www.kateleong.com/2013/04/without-ever-uttering-word.html#.UjZB6sY3t8E

But please, please, please if you do nothing else, hug your kids.  Tell them they can tell you anything.  For my friends to have lost their children breaks my heart.  One in 2011, another this past spring.   No parent should ever have to bury a child.  But they do.

Anyway, this time of year serves as a reminder to talk to my kids about the dangers of the world.  If you want help finding out how to have this discussion, please message me.  I am happy to help.

Resolution Week 30

Challenge Yourself

I challenged myself earlier in the summer, with the encouragement of Sweet LM, to run a 5K.  I've been working out and preparing.  This weekend, Saturday July 27, 2013, I will run my first 5K.  I'm not sure I am ready as we were training for a 5K in September.  But we're giving it our best try.

After the Race...
I DID IT!  I ran it SO MUCH FASTER than I have ever gone while training.  I am excited to do another one in September.  Proud moment!  Happy ME!

59 Something New...

I tried something new.  A new author and a different genre.  I read Just Desserts by Mary Daheim and it is the first book in her Bed & Breakfast Series.  Ironically, I thought I was getting a different book by a different author.  Who knew there were two mystery stories titled "Just Desserts"?  I'm not even sure where I got the title from for the OTHER book, but I did enjoy this story.  She has many more in the series and eventually I'll get there.  And I'll get to Savannah Reid, the main character in a series of books that also start with a book entitled Just Desserts.

This I know... so many books, so little time.  Any chance I can become a professional story reader when I grow up?

Princess Sophia

I love people that view all young people as lazy, self-centered and entitled.  I have a friend that is a senior in college and she embodies none of those characteristics.  I could wax poetic on her summer internship working with homeless youth or her commitment to Young Life or her family.  Instead I will tell you what I found when I clicked on FB today.  Pictures of a birthday party celebrating Princess Sophia.  It was obvious from the photos that none of the eight in attendance were celebrating their birthday and the blog below was mentioned.  So I read it.  It will break your heart and inspire you in the same moment.


They were celebrating with cards and hats and a cake, this precious young life.  People who cannot see the good among today's "young people" need to meet these young people.  Our future in their hands is bright indeed in the things that matter.


Do you follow the now infamous Duck Dynasty?

I have followed conversations about it.  I have admired shirts on proud folks who have gotten Duck Dynasty apparel.  I've met folks that know folks in the Duck Dynasty family.  However, until last night, I had not seen Duck Dynasty.  Following a family dinner around the table with my brother who was visit, we congregated in front of the TV after a day of watching football, soccer and rain, to discover that Duck Dynasty was on.  Not sure which was the most amusing:  the full-body laughing of my boys, my brother explaining it to us or my husband yelling at them to close the back of the truck!  It was so fun to kick back and enjoy the hilarity of it all.

Quack, quack, quack.  Not sure, but I am pretty sure that my husband has now put it on his DVR to record.  Everyone needs laughter in their lives so if it brings him some, fabulous!  For now, I'll do my laughing while watching Devious Maids.

3.5 Books... read on and discover what I mean

I have been back in Fools Gold, California.  It is the town that Susan Mallery sets her series in and I've just finished reading the next three books in the series.  And a cookbook that contained a short romance story as well.  That would be the .5.  I mean, the story was short.  Although I read through the titles of the recipes and even investigated a couple, I am pretty sure I won't actually be making any.  I just got the cookbook so I could read the story contained within.  And the fact that I discovered that was sheer dumb luck.  I was actually spending time in Barnes & Noble the other day, window shopping, when I saw the cookbook on the shelves.  A whole Susan Mallery display, as a matter of fact, was at the end of one of the rows.  And right on the cover of the cookbook it informed me that there was a story contained within the pages of the cookbook!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?  I confess, I didn't purchase it.  I downloaded it from the library and read the story.  It was cute.  A little forgettable compared to the tumultuous tales of the other three books release this summer.   

In case you're keeping count, I'm at 58.5 books and counting...

Moving Forward...

I cannot go back.  Well, I can and I might, but for now I am moving forward.  There is no yesterday, no tomorrow, only today.  I am taking that to heart today.

I have been decidedly absent because I'm behind.  If I cannot make up the past work, I shouldn't carry on my current work.  At least, that has been my thought process.  No more.  I will write to write because it fills my soul.  I can get out the many things I want to say.  I can share the now.  Is it a little disappointing that I may conclude this year without my 52 resolutions, yes.  However, I look at the challenges I have been facing and overcoming and I need to celebrate those.  They may have numbers attached as I go back and tie them to dates.  But at the end of the year, there will be weeks with no resolution, and I've decided that for now, I am okay with that.  I need to fill up myself, not beat up myself.  I am moving forward... come along with me!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Resolution Week 36

Be Grateful...

For whatever it is in your world right now, take time and be grateful.  If your life is hard right now, I promise you, it feels better to find something to be thankful for and honor it.  For just a moment.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Resolution Recap

This may end up being two posts cause I do have to do something today besides 1) read blogs I've missed for the last two weeks, 2) catch up on my blogs, 3) finish my resolutions.

11.  10 Deep Cleansing Breaths.  I found it was best to do them in the afternoon when I finished crossing guard duty, but before I picked up my guy from the playground.  It helped me to be ready to focus on him.  Over the summer it has been hit and miss, but now that we're headed back to school, I am thinking a point in the day when I transition from employee to mom is the best time.

12.  Send a card.  I sent several as a matter of fact.  It just makes people know that you are thinking of them.  In this technology world, it is nice to get a quick response to a need via FB or email.  But the receiving of a card means you really made an effort.

13.  Clean out the Laundry Room.  I always find things and clean stuff out I no longer need.  It brings me such satisfaction.

14.  Do the taxes.  I am embarrassed to say these are still not done.  The gov't is earning interest on my money.  And it is what I am supposed to be doing right now.  Instead, I am taking stock of my life.  UGH.

15.  Be Kind.  I find that people are really surprised when you do one of two things:  Smile at them and Hold Open the Door.  Try it.

16.  Work out regularly.  The key for me for this was setting a goal.  I ran my first 5K this summer.  Sometime I'll have to tell that story, but not today.  I am working out 2-4 times a week.

17.  Ceiling Fans - well, I got Teen Boy to clean them.  That counts, right?!

18.  In addition to my daily fizz, I've been trying to remember to take my daily vitamin as well.  Problem is when I take it in the morning it upsets my tummy.  If I pledge to do this again, it is because I'm not taking calcium.  Just so you know.

19.  Perfect Daily Schedule - So what I discovered is for me there is no such thing.  For me and working out, I have to be flexible.  I cannot think... oh, didn't make it this morning so it isn't going to happen.  I have to think... I'm going now cause I can!  However, I have made a list of how I'd like my morning to start off when school starts tomorrow.

20.  Love Letter to your Children - I'll own up.  I just finished writing them this afternoon.  They are very different from each other but I think my boys will like them.  It worked out well because they are all starting new chapters in their lives right now.

21.  Cleaning Chart - Done.  Very satisfying to check stuff off for me.

22.  Summer contracts.  Here we are and as with last year, we did pretty good.

23.  One Life Changing Eating Habit - earlier this year it was one plate.  Most nights I still achieve that.  This time it was drinking 1/2 my body weight in water.  When I don't now, I feel like sh*t.

24.  Clean it out - found clothes the LRHB never wore and has now outgrown.  Donated some school supplies to our local school as we had 40 students, at just one of our schools, lose their homes in a fire.  This is why it is important to clean out.  More on that later.

Endings and Beginnings all mixed up

So on Friday I moved Teen Boy to college.  I drove home tear free.  Perhaps I cried all my tears out the week leading up to him leaving.  Perhaps I am still numb and it will all come falling apart at some time yet to be determined.  Perhaps there is truth in both of those statements as there is certainly in the former.  He's off to be great, to do hard things, to show up and learn and try and be.
“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” 
― Dr. SeussOh, the Places You'll Go!
Oh, I hope and pray that he steers himself down a path that satisfies his soul.

Prior to moving him to school on Friday, I started working full-time.  I had to juggle being away from LRHB on our last days of summer.  Boo.  I had to cook wonderful last suppers for Teen Boy.  Sigh.  I had to get up and get going and manage being an employee.  YIKES!  And I did.  I just showed up.  As Glennon would say, "Things are not good, nor bad.  Everything is a teacher.  Be Curious."  That's my new motto, mantra, prayer.

And on Thursday before the Friday, LRHB had his back-to-school social.  Third grade.  How can that be?  Wasn't it just yesterday I was pregnant with him?  Third grade is the big leagues.  Testing starts here; starts for the school/state, starts for himself and where he's headed.  More writing, his least favorite thing.  More reading.  Let's be honest, the boy would rather have a ball in his hand outside than a book in his hand inside.  Third grade.

This time of year there are momma's celebrating...  http://momastery.com/blog/2013/08/14/it-gets-better/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=it-gets-better.  And I get that.  I do.  And I celebrate you and wish I could be you in this moment.

Not me so much.  I am mourning the passage of time, the end of my favorite season, summer, and the aging of my children.  Yes, I will be the first to say this is the job of a mother:  Grow them UP and OUT.  Motherhood isn't easy.  Long nights with teethers and long nights with teens not home yet.  But I am so glad the Lord chose me for this job, to love these boys, to grow these boys and send them forward to make their loving mark on the world.

Today I mourn.  Tomorrow I will wake and be joyous as our new normal begins.  Two grown young men, off at college, working their goals.  One young man at home starting third grade with one momma working full-time outside the home for the first time in 19.5 years and one daddy treading carefully not to set the momma off.  It is a glorious new beginning and will be celebrated as such.  But for today, a little reading, a little blogging, a little snuggling and a little cleaning.

At this moment, I'd like to offer up thanks to Sweet LM.  She knew I needed help getting organized and ready and planned a cooking day so I would have one less thing to worry over when I started working.  Bless her.

6 Weeks, 13 Books & 2 Novellas

Not as many books the second half of the summer.  Perhaps because I have already gone back to work.  Or perhaps it was a busy vacation.  I certainly wasn't sick (thankfully), which gave me extra time to read during the first half of the summer.  And with the exception of one of the novellas, they were all rereads.  Oh that took me back.  I was that kid that reread books every summer.  The Cherry Ames series and the Bobsey Twins and Little Women were favorites to which I would return year after year.  So I returned to Cedar Cove, a series from Debbie Macomber, and reread each of the stories.  I visited with characters that are now coming to life on the Hallmark Channel.  I love the books so much that I want the show to be JUST LIKE THE BOOKS.  Not really happening, but the show, Cedar Cove, is an enjoyable summer treat.  

The lone novella that isn't by Macomber is by Susan Mallery.  You may recall that I read her Fools Gold series earlier this year and her newest novella and three books were released this summer.  They are up next on my reading list.  

Perhaps I will return to the land of reality and choose some books that aren't daytime dramas in print.  However, my doc says if an escape from reality is helping me, then go with it!


Oh, I do I do I do!

LRHB and I are "leaving on a jet plane" tomorrow for "I love LA".  (Can you tell I was at Karaoke night last night?)

This is step one in our "It will be alright when another brother leaves for college" campaign.  He will have his grandparents all to himself (with me) and they have planned non-stop fun for him.  We're going to prove that his life will have more fun when not traipsing around to brothers' activities!


We had a wonderful trip to Los Angeles.  Disney's California Grand Adventure was a grand adventure.  The Color of Light show was absolutely phenomenal!  We used the advice of mom's all-thing-Disney-expert neighbors and rode favorite rides easily and multiple times.  Lunches with Mom & Dad's friends made up plans on more than one day and were super fun!  Legoland and the Legoland Water Park was another day's fun outing.  That mini-land is SO AMAZING!  And who doesn't love a lazy river!  Spent the night with my high school BFF and her lovely family.  Fabulous frisbee playing, delicious dinner, fun outing to the San Diego Zoo, yummy ice cream, fantastic breakfast and way not enough time.  Throw in trips to the pool, reading, watching Little League championships, and the beach and we had such a great time.  Sigh.  Reality, I'm back.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sorry I've been missing...

It's been 19 days since I posted.  I get up in the morning with a strong desire to write, but I've tasks to finish so I don't allow myself this writing pleasure.  I cannot go on like this, not writing.  I have much to say about so many things.

**If you are moving a student into college this fall, this may or may not be the post for you.**

I'm living on borrowed time.  Teen boy leaves in 20 days.  Our job is to grow them up and out; this is the moment we've been waiting for and also dreading.  This summer, with him, has been a blend of typical "leaving for college" annoying attitude and true friendship developing.  I mean, most of the moms I know agree that leaving for college children develop this 'tude the summer post-graduation.  It is to help us pack them up and move them out.  And to prevent us from missing them too terribly.  They are so full of themselves and their emerging adult self.  I spend time daily reminding him that I own the home, car, clothes and food that they call their own and yes he is still expected to do chores and help out.

However, this summer he's the oldest in the house as College Boy is living on campus, working on campus.  He is my go-to guy for support.  And he's a delight, I enjoy him.  Of course, my anxiety is blossoming.  I didn't realize until BFF Phil kept checking in on me both days that we were gaming this week.  "Are you okay?  Are you sure?"  On the second day I had an epiphany.  I am tired.  Easy to explain, I'm not sleeping.  AH!  I'M NOT SLEEPING AND I AM TIRED!  AH HA!  Anxiety about him is concealed in my subconscious.  See I talk the good talk.  "Yes, this is an exciting time for him!"  "Oh, this school is going to be a good fit for him!" "Sure, let's go shopping and get all the stuff you need!"  I am UBER positive about this new chapter that he'll be writing in the story of his life.  He's going to do and experience marvelous, fabulous new things!  I mean he is, right!?  But, deep inside, the anxiety lurks.  What if the roommates are druggies that suck him into their hazy world?  What if his depression emerges, claiming hold of his soul and preventing him from succeeding?  What if the first time he goes to a frat party he drinks himself to death?  What if he blows this opportunity to be all he can be?  I guess these thoughts are just under the surface of my everyday positive self, creating a state of insomnia.  I am remembering driving home, alone, from dropping College Boy off.  I cried and cried and cried at 75 miles per hour terrified that in the night, his roommate would murder him.  I know, that isn't a rational thought, but it was MY thought and fear and reality of the moment.  Of course, that young man just locked him out so he could have sex with young stupid women to whom he wasn't committed.

In the next 20 days, Teen Boy will work and enjoy time with friends.  I'm going on vacation with LRHB; a week of fabulous fun.  And yet, I'll be fighting the demons inside.  In the end, I will win, but it will be a sincere struggle as I remain strong for the little boy that will become an only child, supportive for the one starting a new life and empathetic towards Hero Daddy who won't know how to express his angst.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In the good old Summertime...

This past weekend marked the halfway point of summer for our family.  I decided to focus on the fun things we've accomplished already and posted those on FB.  I am so, so happy to say that this action spurred others to post the same!  I know that FB is usually full of only happy news, requests of prayers or happy news and that I just contributed to that perpetual happiness, but shouldn't there be a place to celebrate life!? The day in and day out of summer vacation is often filled with TOO MUCH TOGETHERNESS and getting on nerves and doldrums.  However, there is NO HOMEWORK!  And in our case, fewer activities to keep up with.  We have a daily routine that involves being out of the house almost every single moment, but this helps us thrive.  I love the lazy hot days of summertime... afternoons at the pool.  Morning errands.  A few chores around the house to catch up on what escapes us the rest of the year.  And the following:
"What have you been doing with your summer? We have finished 6 weeks of kids home and have 6 more weeks to go. Been to bingo, karaoke, Rockies, an overnighter in Denver, sick, working out, pool, lunch, drinking wine, outdoor movies, tennis, bowling alley & laser tag, and swim practices/meets. And I've read 20 books in 37 days. I LOVE the summertime!"

Happy Summer!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Book 23, 24, 25...42

That's RIGHT book fans... I've read 20 books in 37 days.  Most have 200+ pages.  I've really done very little else.  Certainly not been blogging, although I was blogging nearly daily while I did the 14 Day Challenge (http://thirtydaystoahealthierme.blogspot.com/).  Certainly not resolving except to read and read and read!

I mentioned that a fellow reader passed me a book that would be entertaining though not educational and I discovered that it was book 2 in a series of TWENTY!  And that my mommy mentioned the very same author when visiting...kismet.  So I tried book one from the Library, the title of the Series:  Virgin River and I was totally hooked!  Here is the author's website with the entire 20 books from this series:  http://www.robyncarr.com/booklist.html.

It was like reading a daytime drama.  New characters came along, but old ones were revisited, sometimes with expansions of their original tales.  Romance.  Characters you would like to call friends in a town that although fictional, we all wish truly existed.  I was slightly afraid that they would get repetitive, but each story had its own direction, its own creative turns and twists.  Yes, detailed sex scenes.  I won't lie; it is probably "R" rated writing during those scenes.  But I couldn't put my Nook down except to download the next tale and the next and the next until all 20 were finished as of this afternoon.  

I have a couple other books around to read, but I really feel like I need to come up for air and connect with my life.  However, it has been great while it lasted.  Here's to Hero Daddy who didn't say ONCE all WEEKEND as I was plugged in reading, "Don't you have anything else you should be doing?"  I guess cause I put great meals on everyday, I was off the hook.  And did I mention I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Resolution 24: Clean it out!

School supplies lay around with partially used notebooks and half-filled marker boxes.  Mismatched mittens. Outgrown or outworn pants.  It would be easy to say... It's summer, it can wait until the fall.  Or you can just clean it out now.  I keep partially used notebooks... they come in hand for short term projects or keeping track of who is who on The Bachelorette.  While the young-uns are running amok in the back yard, snap pictures of the school work and then haul it out to the recycle bin.  Make lists of supplies you'll need to purchase for the fall and the sizes that have been outgrown (one of those partially used notebooks are especially good for taking those kinds of notes).  Then, hunt around online in the clearance sections for gloves or ski pants.  I also note ideas for Christmas... need flannel sheets for the winter?  Or to re-do little Johnny's bedroom?  Summer is a great time to clean it out!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Resolution 22: Summer Contracts

I am a BIG fan of summer contracts.  It lets kids know your expectations in advance and it lets you know their expectations of the summer vacation as well.  It needs to be written.  It needs to be an agreement, not a dictatorship.  Anything you want out of them, tie to something they want out of you.  Perhaps they want weekly field trips.  And you definitely want daily reading.  Or they want daily gaming time and you want daily exercise/outdoor time.  Don't over-schedule.  Do brainstorm lists of activities for those inevitable "I'm bored" or "I have NOTHING to do" moments with which childhood is and should be fraught.  I mean, its a right of passage for mother's to hear those phrases!

Resolution 21: Cleaning Chart

An angel lives in the form of my friend JF.  She has a business and she volunteered her services to help me out.  I learned that the best way to clean a mirror in the bathroom is not Windex and paper towels, but a cloth and hot water, then dried with a clean cloth.  I learned that those "green" products really do work.  I learned that her heart is incredible when she wouldn't take my money.  She did remarkable work in a short time, apologized that she didn't have more time (??? I was grateful for the time she gave!) and helped me prepare for family in the most generous way because I have to tell you I wouldn't have either slept or gotten it done; a job really interferes in time for cleaning!

Now that I have a clean home, I MUST, MUST, MUST keep it this way and a schedule is the only way for that to happen.

Resolution 20: Love Letters

Do you take an occasion to write to your children each year?  On their birthday?  Christmas?  New Year's Day or at the beginning/end of School?  Yeah, me neither.  But time is slipping past me so quickly.

My Hero Daddy said he thought this year's Mother's Day might be one of the last that I could spend with all three of my boys so he arranged for College Boy to come home and be with me.  It was a SURPRISE!  And what a surprise it was!  Poor Hero Daddy had no idea what he was getting himself into because College Boy wanted to bring home College Girl, too.  That meant that my sweet husband had to CLEAN up the house because he knew I would be HORRIFIED to have her come visit and the house be its usual chaos.

Usually I spend my Saturday mornings trying to bring some order to the home, but baseball and a weekend swim meet and a trip to the ER got in the way.  (Teen Boy had injured and has now reinjured his ankle and that is a story for another day!)  So, Hero Daddy did it all:  straightened, vacuumed, cleaned bathrooms and hid stuff in our room (he's a champ!).  And when I arrived at dinner on Saturday night and saw my College Boy, I burst into tears!  What a great surprise and the rest of Mother's Day was equally wonderful, cooking with my kids in the kitchen and playing games.

This led me to this week's resolutions... write a love letter to your children.  Capture this moment in time.

R18: Vitamin/R19 Daily Schedule

What was I thinking?!  That I would actually clean the ceiling fans?  College Boy needed a visit from Mom and then I headed to Texas with Teen Boy which also meant LRHB would need quality momma time before/after the trip.  Oh, well... there is always this week for cleaning the ceiling fans.

So this week I need an easy resolution... take a vitamin.  Oh, last year I got so good... taking both a multi-vitamin and calcium.  Somehow life crept in and the bottle emptied and it didn't make the grocery list and before you know it, the good habit established is gone.

This brings me to several thoughts.  Okay, really just one long detailed thought.  How are you supposed to remember to do EVERYTHING you need to do to be the best you?  Pray, exercise, eat healthy, take vitamins, cleans, reach out to others, meditate, breathe, be in the moment with your kids, read, learn, devote time to your spouse, sleep...?  I'm just not sure.  I resolve to make myself an improved self, but I find when I add something, things drop off?  I guess I should give up TV and computer games.  I actually have cut back on TV because I like to read and I really only have time for one or the other.  Maybe I need to consider establishing a set bedtime routine (I think I did this once in a past life) and a daily written routine and include the things that are important to ME.  So I am planning ahead....

RESOLUTION 19:  Create what would be the ideal daily schedule for yourself.  Include the things you'd like to have as well as the things you have to have.  Then, give it a try!  We'll chat more about this later.

Resolution 17: Ceiling Fans

It's coming... the company is coming!  In just a few weeks I'll be playing host to my parents and my in-laws to celebrate Teen Boy graduating from high school.  I know that this happened just two years ago, but in some ways it seems like a lifetime.  It is exciting!  However, I am met with the challenge of cleaning the house  prior to their visit.  Yes, cleaning under the gun is a way of life for me.  And every time I do it, I swear it is the last time.  That some how, some way I will find a way to stay on top of it!  "It could happen!" (Angels in the Outfield).  One step to take is cleaning the ceiling fans.  About the time they arrive, it is possible that Spring/Summer will arrive and the need to use the ceiling fans.  So this week, it is time to pull out the ladder and clean those blades.  I can feel the sneezes coming already!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer Journey...

I am using the next couple weeks to post about some of the resolutions I've been making this Spring and then  I'll also be recapping later how the resolutions have gone.  Many I put in under draft as I was working on them with little notes so I'd remember to include some detail or another, so it is a matter of going through and compiling them into a readable format from notes.  Also, I will be trying to do some catching up before turning on my Nook and the fantastic tales I've been downloading and reading.  Kind of like work before play, though I love writing so it isn't really work.  Anyway, they may or may not pop up in any particular order, just a warning.

Happy Monday, Happy Reading and thanks for joining me on my resolution journey.

Resolution 16


That might look different for each of us.  Some folks need it everyday, but my schedule isn't allowing for it every day.  Some folks need routine, same time/same place/same thing.  While others look for it to change.

I know that I need to view it as something to fit in around life.  Sometimes early morning, sometimes late afternoon.  Sometimes in the gym, sometimes at baseball practice.  I would love to have it fit in the same way all the time, but I discovered that by relying on that, I dropped the habit.  I had a time, though was flex in the activity.  Now, I need to be flex in the time as well.  That is why I am having to work on it again this year.  I'd ask for tips, but I really know what I need.  I need to be flexible.  I am okay with changing up my activity, I am!  I like Zumba and treadmill and walking and biking and water aerobics.  But, I can talk myself into more sleep, more time with the kids, more housework faster than fast.

So, Sweet LM and I tried to make a go of it, like we did last spring by hitting it early in the morning, but LIFE got in the way.  We're still working on it, though!  And we've set a goal to do a 5K next fall.  Thankfully, we have a lot of time to work on that goal!

Resolution 23

23:  Make just one life changing eating habit that will stick.

I'm not sure right now what that will be but I hope that it is to Strive for Five every day.  By that I mean, I am trying on several new eating habits and I think that one is the most important so I hope that is the one that sticks.  This week I'm going start with eating clean, eliminating dairy, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, processed sugar and soy.  Okay, let's be honest, what soy do I use?  And I'm not giving alcohol up forever, just for a little while.  Processed sugar... does that include M&M's?  I'm guessing yes, so farewell chocolate.  I wish I could give you up forever cause you do me no good.  And while we're hitting the honesty track, I had coffee this morning, but black.  Tomorrow is another day.  I won't mention this again most likely outside of the amusing antidotes of the pitfalls I encounter.  HOWEVER, I am blogging about it here:


Maybe your one life changing eating habit is less sugar or cream in your coffee.  Or no soda (inspired by a tale to come).  Good Luck.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Book 22

Brainless and entertaining.  Story number 2 in Rules of Play by Nora Roberts is titled The Heart's Victory.  Is it some of Nora's best writing, perhaps not.  But it was just what I needed to start the summer with reading fun.  What else am I planning to read this summer?  I am hoping to finish Janet Evanovich's series about a bounty hunter; I've read the first 9 books and first novella.  10 more books and two more novellas to go.  Might not happen as I am also trying a new series.  Funny story, I got a book from my friend JB with the note that it is brainless and entertaining.  I set it aside cause it was MAY, but when Mommy arrived and we started talking books, she asked if I had tried Robyn Carr.  "I think I have that author on my shelf to read," I quipped back.  Indeed it was the one and same so I am trying out Robyn Carr's Virgin River series.  I've also ordered The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (http://henriettalacksfoundation.org/), The Hundred Dresses (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hundred_Dresses), a Tree Grows in Brooklyn (which also has a movie from 1945) and Daring Greatly (which is supposed to be super powerful).  Please message me if you are interested it reading and discussing any of the above.

I did spend about an hour on the library site looking for and requesting books.  My LRHB is going to read every Amelia Bedelia story.  He's finished two and LOVED the humor!  Actually, I should say that he is reading all of the ones by the original author.  It seems that her nephew has started writing books about Amelia's childhood.  I'm not sure we'll venture there when there are so many books and so little time.

Read a book!

Read this...

Lots of read this and that out in FB land.  However, I found this today and rolled!  Enjoy!


School's Out for SUMMER!

Technically, we are sadly finishing week one of summer fun.  Sigh.  Where did it go?  Swim team started.  check.  Doctor's appointment to discover that Teen Boy doesn't need surgery, but will be in his boot another three weeks and will start physical therapy next week.  check.  Finished working and attended a work end of year gathering.  check.  Laundry?  nope.  Cleaning up post guests?  nope.  Migraine?  check.  Post May Migraine only lasted one day, for which we can be truly grateful.  Baseball finished?  nope.  We've got 4 games this week with potentially one or two more next week.  Getting caught up on useless reading?  check. Teen boy received his driver's license?  nope.  Not with a boot.

But the sun is shining (the wind is gusting) and I missed spots yesterday sitting poolside thus getting the season's first sunburn.  Today we make a list of summer projects.  And goals.  And fun.

I LOVE SUMMER BREAK!  One week down and 12 to go.  Oh happy dance time!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

House of Crazy

Let me start by saying that I am INCREDIBLY BLESSED.  I am and I know it.  However, it doesn't mean that I can't poke some fun at myself and my family that BLESSED me with their presence.  They all clean up after themselves, they all fix their own breakfast and lunch and mostly they just love us to pieces.  But, apparently after living far, far away from my family for the last 19 years, I've gotten used to small holiday events.  Something I NEVER thought I'd say.  Mind you, I did house of CRAZY two years ago, but I wasn't working so maybe that is why it was easier/less stressful.  Even though I took four days off.  And I didn't have to go with the swim team far away for the state meet, so that made life easier.  Yet, life was Crazy.  Crazy, Crazy Crazy and I wouldn't have had it any other way.  The one smart thing I did do, was go back ALL DAY after my four days off.  Second to last day of school carries its own crazy, but one that seemed easier.

I cannot point to any one thing that made life Crazy.  Perhaps it was just the culmination of everything.  Work.  Staples in the LRHB's head.  Broken plumbing.  A non-driving graduate that had to be chauffeured everywhere the entire time including grad rehearsal and every party.  Having a party at the house where almost everyone came in the first 30 minutes.  Who knew 6 pm was a good party time?  Did I mention the graduate was on CRUTCHES?  Oh yes, nothing easy.   Perhaps it was the baseball game that got SLEETED out.  Or fitting in an MRI, and having to wait and wait and wait for the results, not knowing what the summer held.  Perhaps it was the blending of everyone's different lives in one home for 10 days (think TV - some watch nothing but sports, some watch 24/7 but game shows and news).  But everything was special.  Watching the grad chat with the grandparents about stuff.  Or play cards.  Or watch movies.  Watching all of them adore the LRHB when he was injured or playing baseball or making his First Holy Communion.  College Boy putting family first to be here for first one brother's big day and then the other's big day on a different day and still finding time to spend with the grandparents.  It was crazy, and blessed and special.

And to think, we have another graduation next year.

Books, Books, 18-21!

  1. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume is not unlike Forever in that is pushes ones comfort levels when it comes to the topic of sex while telling a compelling tale.  If Forever made you uncomfortable, pass this one up.  
  2. Starting Now by Debbie Macomber is a return to her Blossom Street Series.  We visited with old characters and met new ones in this delightful tale.  If you haven't read this series, it is a great trip to Seattle with characters that are easy to befriend.  It starts with The Shop on Blossom Street.
  3. I returned to the nonfiction with When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner, a rabbi.  This book originally released in 1981 carries words of wisdom true still today.  A go-to book perhaps not initially for the one in the midst of the grieving, but rather for those around them.  This is a go back and read kind of book for people that truly want to be present and helpful during grief.  Thanks to my dear friend J.J. for recommending it!
  4. Carry On, Warrior is a book I actually pre-ordered and then didn't even read quickly.  In fact, I treasured it slowly, a little at a time, fearing the day that is would be finished and I wouldn't have it to read.  I desperately wanted to meet author Glennon Doyle Melton on April 11th and have her sign it, but (sigh) it was Hero Daddy's birthday and he came first.  I LOVED this book and as soon as my Crazy Mama returns it to me, I will promptly have to pass it along, again.  At my kids book club, I read the other moms excerpts from it and they all want to read it.  That's why Crazy Mama has it.  It made me laugh, OUT LOUD; it made me cry, ALSO OUT LOUD, not that quiet sniffling thing.  Get it.  Now.  Read and Share.  Now, how many books have I said that about?
  5. Opposites Attract (story 1 of Rules of Play) by Nora Roberts is my most recent read.  I would hide out at night and fall into the story while I was living in the house of crazy during graduation week.  Don't get me wrong, I love the house of crazy and will detail it in a separate post.  However, sometimes a good old fashioned romance is the perfect escape.  I hadn't read my good friend Nora in several years, so it was a nice reunion.  I have started the second story and hopefully will find that as brainless and entertaining. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Not really a post...

This is not really a post, but just a drive by.  To tell you I'm not resolving at the moment, but I am.  I'm not reading at the moment, but I have.  I've got tons to do for the household guests descending in hours, but I felt  that before I could do that for others, I needed to fill my soul.  So I caught up on my blogs.  And then I drove over here to give you some direction.

Looking for a great laugh?  Go here:

Looking for a place to give?  Go here:

or here:


About me... my Teen boy is done with high school and with swimming.  Both bring a boatload of emotions to me that I will hopefully explore in the future.

In the meantime, I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!  I did, and more on that later.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Surviving the Band Trip

I did survive the band trip.  Part 1 - 15 hour bus trip:  With a little help with my Motrin Nighttime, I was able to sleep on the bus.  Probably to the dismay of my co-chaperons.  I slept through one whole stop on the way down; a stop I didn't know we were making.  Actually, I think I slept through one on the way back too.

Part 2 - Tour Day was fabulous!  The trip to the 6th Floor Museum was interesting and informative.  For those of you like me that have NO IDEA what this museum is, it is about the assassination of JFK.  We got those headsets to wear and walked through the exhibits.  It was very cool.  But the most cool thing was our tour of Dallas Stadium.  Now, I am not a fan of the Cowboys.  In fact, I root for their arch enemy the Redskins.  And I wore my Redskins shirt there as did Teen Boy - such fun!  But that place is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!  I took a bunch of pictures to share and learned so much stuff.  Like the Jonas Brothers played some video game on the BIG SCREEN.  And it is the largest this and that and the lockers are made of some special wood imported from Africa and cost about 10K a piece.  Dinner that night was at a Mall Food Court.  I ate soup and a sandwich from the SoupMan (apparently he's only called the Soup Nazi by Jerry and his friends).  This mall had some VERY upscale shops and then some places I would be able to afford.  It also had a pond with turtles so I took a picture for the LRHB.

Part 3 - The performance.  They played the absolute best I have EVER heard them.  And my boy rocked his solo.  They deserved this trip, this chance to play in a beautiful concert hall.  The performance was followed by another pizza buffet.  UGH.  And then fun at the Go-Kart place.  Now, I got my kicks on a motorcycle racing video game inside and even came in FIRST.  A fun time was had by all in spite of a too early departure to hang at the hotel and then have a family style meal at Buca Di Beppo (I miss that place!).  Crazy times rocked the hotel that evening but I was super proud of our teens and how they handled being in a hotel with another band that had slightly different rules (like NO rules!!).

Part 4 - Six Flags over Texas.  The kids had a ball riding the roller coasters and I enjoyed the train and the antique cars and hanging with my girl Momma R.  I got the horrid news from home while in the park.  I hoped, oh how I hoped that the kiddos would be protected from the news.  D*MN that social media.  Lesson of the day - it is okay to have fun when sad things happen.  Teen Boy lost his 1 week old phone on a roller coaster.  Perspective - it is only a phone.  I think it ruined his day.  Add lack of sleep (his room missed bus roll call!  Too funny!!) and poor diet and he discovered that those things do not make for a happy boy.  I finished the day with a funnel cake.  Just so much goodness in that funnel cake!

Part 5 - Ride home.  Those bus drivers rocked that ride home!  We came back in just over 13 hours - such joy!  Yes, I am recalling sleeping through another later night stop.  I do still have a crick in my shoulder from bus sleeping.  But breakfast was Sonic. Everyone else lined up at McDonald's or headed to Denny's where I thought the waitress was quite rude so I convinced Teen Boy to walk farther down the road with me to Sonic.   YUM!  A good time was had by all, I think.  Just gotta figure out how to get the pictures off of my phone!