Saturday, December 31, 2016

Just get out of here already. Seriously.

It's really no secret that if you were a celebrity, you were probably laying low for fear the reaper was coming for you while wearing 2016 glasses. Unfortunately for the rest of us, 2016 was just as much of an asshole to us as well.

While the last week of 2016 was actually pretty amazing for us, the majority of 2016 was absolutely horrible. I could recap it all but I won't. Sometimes it's better to just let awful things be, you know? But what I have learned from 2016 is that for the second time in my life, a crisis shows me who is a friend and who isn't. Who your actual ride or die village is and who only wants a ride when it's convenient and fun for them. I've said some tough goodbye's to friends who weren't friends at all and I've said some really feel good purges on Facebook of people who don't deserve the best me, or my family, has to offer.

And it feels good. It's amazing how free you can feel when you just don't care anymore.

But there are a few friends, people I would drop everything for to help them in a time of need that I haven't said goodbye to yet, and I know I should. It's so hard to break up with friends, especially people who you really like as individuals, people you miss dearly and keep trying to make the relationship work with, and they just.. don't. We have different lifestyles (I have kids, they don't, they work, I don't, they have money to do fun things, I don't, etc) but I still feel like the foundation for a good friendship is there. I don't know why it doesn't work anymore. Maybe I should just ask. Or maybe I should just walk away and be sad for awhile and then that's it. I don't know.

I do know that 2016 has just been so damn awful and I don't want another year like this one again for a long, long time. I don't know if I can emotionally handle it to be honest with you. I barely made it out of this year alive, if there is any kind of justice in the world 2017 will be kind.

Monday, December 19, 2016

P.S. I Like You

I've decided since my brain is kind of mushy by the end of the day that I'd get myself on a YA reading kick because those always seem to be fast and easy reads. I also have given myself a goal of actually reading every book on my shelf and I have a bunch from book boxes that I just haven't gotten to yet, so I found this one, and so I read it. And really liked it.

P.S. I Like You - Kasie West

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

Can I just be honest with you? When I was in high school I was very much like Lily. A little strange, no boys seemingly had any interest, and I had friends who really tried to get me to talk to a guy. Any guy. And just not make fun of him, be nice, and give him a chance. Except I couldn't because I was really terrified he wouldn't like me or it'd end badly and all of a sudden totally untrue rumors would go around school and I'd be even more of a social outcast than I already was. So I just didn't, but this would have been a dream scenario had this happened to me.

Anyways. So we have introverted, awkward, sarcastic Lily who has a chaotic home life with all of her siblings, so she feels a little ignored at best. One day she begins an anonymous letter exchange with someone in an earlier period of Chemistry than her and after a few letters she realizes it's actually a guy she's writing to. And falling for. One day, against her better judgement, she goes to the classroom on an errand to see who her pen pal is but when she sees who he is, she's equal parts intrigued and horrified. And torn because of the connection to her best friend. Enter mean girls, awkwardness, family issues, and preconceived judgments, and you have a really great book. I flew through this book in two nights before bed and if you're in the mood for something light but also fun, and remind you of what first love was like, this is your next book.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Penelope: whoa, doggie.

Penelope at 19 months is.... well she's very entertaining. She's also very challenging and I don't know if I had repressed what this age was really like or if she's just so much harder than Olivia and Jackson were. Granted, I was working full time back then so I really only had to deal with them a little in the morning, and a little in the evening, and then weekends. My mom handled the brunt of them so perhaps I should ask her.

Every day it's an absolute adventure. Almost every day she wakes up with a massive poop and it's really the worst way to start your day. I've started putting a gate in front of her door after being woken up to her holding her pooping diaper, inches from my face. I figure it's just best to keep that kind of potential disaster contained as possible.
She climbs on everything. She opens everything, she pulls everything out, she is an absolute menace.
She wanders around our house carrying random objects, oftentimes dropping food, and banging into walls, cabinets, appliances, chairs, etc and then screaming at us like it's our fault she's essentially a drunk toddler.
Penelope has also learned how to take her clothes off on her own and no matter how cold it is, this child is either topless or pantsless, and often not wearing socks. She's really got a thing against socks. You'd think this would be a positive step towards potty training, but she doesn't really give a damn about being in a gross diaper.
This face? Is a very accurate depiction of what living with her is like. She is hilarious, she can be so much fun and a total goofball but make you so angry. She does things that send you over the damn edge and then gives you a hug. She really is a sweetheart when she wants to be.
But this face? This face is what life is like 98% of the time. Often by bedtime (which is 6pm folks, and she sleeps in until 7am, usually) we have all broken down into tears. Here she's climbed into her high chair around 4 (her way of demanding the dinner be served right now), in tears, picking her nose, completely disheveled, and wearing a shirt a friend gave her that shares the sentiment I say to myself every day while I'm trying to burn food as fast possible.

Good gravy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Lucy: 4 months

I'm super behind, so we are actually going to recap month 3 and then talk about her as a big 4 month old.

It's so strange that Lucy is already four months old. It feels like I had her forever ago, but that's because I can't remember month one and two much at all. I can't remember month three either.
I do know that in month three she is sleeping (mostly) through the night. She goes to bed around 9 with us, sleeps in a rock and play in our room, and gets up around 4 in the morning to eat and then back to bed until around 7.
She follows me everywhere with her eyes. She turns her head to find me all of the time, she's definitely another little mama's girl.
She is totally a snuggle bug. If you want a baby who snuggles? This is your gal. She's in six month clothing (mostly), she's pretty chunky. Cankles and rolls for days.
She very much dislikes tummy time, but we do it so she doesn't get a flat head. She's lost most of her hair but it appears to be coming back in all fuzzy. It's kind of adorable.
Post partum depression wise.. I'm not any better. In fact most days I feel like I'm worse. She's such an easy, adorable, lovely baby so it's not her, it's definitely me.
My mom comes to help me every day and it's such a help. She also gets a kick out of Lucy's rolls and no kidding- I can't help myself kissing and nibbling her.
She loves to be spoken to and she's starting to get really vocal with her squeals. She loves music and she's doing a good job at grabbing at things and holding onto them. She also puts anything she can get into her mouth!
Penelope is a pretty good big sister. Some times she's jealous and wants us to put Lucy down and focus on her, and she can be a bit bossy with her sister, but she's also very sweet. She tries to help out and I think she knows what Lucy wants more than we do!
Lucy also started cereal this month and seems to love it. She is the easiest baby to feed of all of the kids- she clearly enjoys food! I also used a gift card someone gave me to purchase this cool bumbo seat thing with a tray and activity bar to help her sit up. She does pretty well in it and is trying to grab at the toys but her arms are just a little too short.
Overall, the last four months have been so hard. I am so grateful that she's a pretty easy baby because I struggle every day. I just want to be able to go out and do things with her and it's so hard. Now it's winter so leaving the house is such a chore anyways but I don't have confidence like I did with my first two, you know? That and with my memory issues I'm terrified I'm going to forget someone in the van or in a cart or something. So we stay home every day. Here's hoping Santa brings us new toys because lord alive I'm sick of what we have here!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Wallflower Blooming

I'm going to have a bunch of books coming at you this month because I've kind of been on a roll, so stay tuned!

Wallflower Blooming - Amy Rivers
Val Shakely is a list-maker. Daily routine. Check. Calm, quiet (but successful) business. Check. No drama. No excitement. Some might call it boring, but it’s precisely the way Val likes it. She loves her hometown of Cambria, nestled in the mountains of Colorado, and runs a fruitful PR firm. And that’s more than enough for Val. So what if she doesn’t have a social life? Then, her cousin Gwen decides to take on the local political bully, the Mayor, in head-to-head combat for the Mayoral seat and Val takes her company reluctantly, and against her better judgment, into the fray. The minute Val takes on Gwen’s campaign, the safe world that she has carefully constructed begins to unravel. She feels the pressure of the campaign and the personal attacks by Gwen’s opponent. And as if that wasn’t complicated enough, Val finds herself falling in love. Val’s desire to stay on the sidelines is put to the test and she’s forced to reexamine the life she’s built as she trudges toward a new and more exciting future. 

If you are kind of overwhelmed with the holidays and don't really want to commit to a lengthy book, this is definitely a good option for you. Coming in at just under 200 pages, this book is a cute little PG romance set around local politics. I know, after the election this fall you are probably burnt out on politics, but this is features a hot mayoral race in small town Cambria, Colorado between Val Shakely's cousin Gwen and incumbent Roger Barton. Val reluctantly agrees to take charge of Gwen's media and marketing for her campaign and it throws Val into the uncomfortable waters of being in the public eye. Once thrust into the crowds of the local elite, Val meets elusive bachelor John Hatfield who almost immediately shows an interest in Val. The personal attacks and nitty gritty of a political campaign threaten to get the best of Val, but John does his best to hold her together even when attacks verge towards physical.

Overall? I'm rating this 3/5 stars. For me, it reads like an indie novel and I found some grammatical errors, more towards the end of the book. The romance is very PG, which makes it a great option for readers who don't want to hear about pulsing private parts. The political race gets contentious and we have a build up of the incumbent mayor having a real issue  but when we find out what made him so vile and vicious? Total let down for me, I was hoping it was going to be a real revelation instead of what it was. I also found the relationship between Val and John kind of boring? But you need to keep in mind I like a fairly dirty romance so that's a preference of mine. Val is kind of an annoying character, she seemed kind of immature and overly anxious over minute details.But the book itself is a fast read with a predictable, happy ending.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It's all going to get better. Dove chocolate says so.

I know I've been on a weight loss kick (or trying to be) but if we're being honest, I ate an entire bag of Dove chocolate this weekend while in bed and I kind of don't feel bad. I feel more bad that I slept for almost the entire day on Saturday and didn't care that Matt was dealing Penelope the Beast and Lucy the Cutest on his own. I think it's good for him because there are a lot of days I'm left feeling like he must think I literally do nothing all day. Just sit on my phone playing Candy Crush, reading books, watching Paternity Court on TV, eating Cheez-It's until he gets home where I put all of that away to make it look like I've been productive.

(Again, if we're being honest, I sometimes eat my lunch while watching Paternity Court, playing Candy Crush, and eating Cheez-It's, but I'm eating lunch and keeping an eye on Penelope the Beast while she eats HER lunch and Lucy is right here. It's OK if I'm still mom'ing it.)

But in the total scheme of things? I'm struggling. I'm now on my third anti-depressant and honest to god, this one makes me feel AWFUL. I thought the Lexapro was bad but at least on that one I wasn't physically able to cry for some reason. I wanted to, badly, like an itch I couldn't scratch, but tears would not come. Now I'm on Cymbalta and woah- I can cry now! Which is frustrating because I was sure that if I could just cry a little bit I would have found this good balance between keeping it together and letting it out.

But no. Turns out, that's not how any of this works.

I saw my primary doctor on Friday and because I've gone through three, I now have to go to a psychotherapist who can do more in depth evaluation on what I need. Which... it's depressing. I'm getting really frustrated with doctors and I know it isn't rational- they are doing the very best that they can for me and are just as frustrated.

The worst part? Is that I feel genuinely bad about being depressed. There are so many people doing kind and amazing things for us, I am blown away every day by emails from friends and strangers, people bringing us dinner and gifts, people coming over to see how they can help- I am so grateful that people care so much. I honestly think I would be worse off without these things.


There is a large part of me who is so tired of not feeling well, of being sad, being overwhelmed and that part of me really wishes I wasn't here. I sometimes wish I had just died during my AFE. I keep telling my doctors that I'm not suicidal, I don't feel like finding the means and carrying out the act of killing myself, but if a bus was coming at me down the road, I maybe wouldn't hustle as fast to get out of the way.

I fully recognize that when I say this people don't know how to respond and it scares them. It scares them, it makes them angry, it makes them sad. I get it. I'm so sorry because I can't change that any more than I can't change how I feel. It's a really awful feeling to have and I haven't talked about it much because I don't want to worry people any more than they already do. But I recently read that if you want to conquer something, you have to acknowledge it, make it real. So that's what I'm doing. It feels like such a small step but I hope it's a big one because there is really nothing more frustrating than to feel this awful despite all of the good going on around me. I hate that my own brain isn't letting me find joy in all of these things. I can't even have joy with my children- I'm so tired of hearing their voices and seeing their faces and I would rather lay in the dark all alone. And I hate it. There are so many people out there who would love the noises in my home, the love they have to give, and I'm just here. Angry. Sad. Depressed. Anxious. Worried. Confused. Tired.

But, Dove chocolate tells me it's going to be OK. I'm pretty sure chocolate wouldn't lie.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

There's A Bumbie Under My Bed!

It's so nice to get a chance to review some children's books, especially because I have little ones who still like me to read to them, unlike Olivia and Jackson who want to go off on their own.

There's A Bumbie Under My Bed - Bethany Ramos
Are you afraid of the monsters who come out at bedtime? Do you ever wonder what lives under the bed with the dust-bunnies? Bunny-stein that's who! There's a Bumbie Under My Bed is the story of a child's relationship with various monster-bunnies that come out when he is trying to sleep. Count Hopula bounces across his bed while the Were-bunny tickles his toes. The zombie rabbit hops and plays all night, making so much noise. . . Ms. Ramos has created a great story and method for children to befriend the imaginative 'monsters' teasing them at night. By encouraging critical thinking, There's a Bumbie Under my Bed shows children how to turn fear into a fun activity before bedtime.

Do you have a little one who is afraid of the dark? Perhaps they tell you of fantastic creatures that come out once the lights are off? I remember for years Olivia would refuse to sleep because of the flying dogs outside her second story window. She honest to goodness believed that these dogs were trying to get in her window because it was too cold outside. Needless to say, we had a lot of sleepless nights in our home. (Turns out, that child strongly dislikes sleep and functions on little to none even to this day and she's eleven. Yay us!)

With creative illustrations that almost look like spray painted graffiti bordering on the slightly scary side, this tells the tale of a little one who is visited every night by a slew of fantastic creatures. Turns out it's just the child's imagination along with a flashlight to make creative shadows on the wall! It's a cute story that invites you and your child to come up with some creatures of your own.

I'm sorry I didn't get this for review before Halloween because it could have been a cute Halloween read, but if you're looking for a cute little book that you won't easily find in a library or on the shelf of Target, this would be a fun one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas Wishlist

You know that Christmas is my favorite holiday of all time. This year is going to be tough financially but Matt and I are determined to make the best of it this year no matter what. I'm pretty grateful to have such great kids that I know even if it's a small Christmas, they'll be happy no matter what. They know what a tough year it's been. I will say that we've been incredibly blessed this year, and our Christmas is going to be special. I won't write anymore until after the holidays so I don't jinx it, but we have wonderful people in our lives.

But the fun part of Christmas for me has always been my wish list! Sure, every year I make a wish list and if I get one thing off of it I'm thrilled, but I like to make them anyways. Sort of reminds me of being a kid and going through the Fingerhut catalog with my brother and circling all the things we wanted. I do it every year, even as an adult because I am convinced I will win the lottery someday. So without further ado, here is Sara's Super Amazing Christmas Wish List:

1. Vera Wang nightgowns 
I'm a size large and these are the BEST. I currently have two, but they are threadbare (I've had them for years), have holes in them, and you can tell I wore them post childbirth four times because of the stains. How I conceived children while wearing them is a miracle all on it's own, but they are the most comfortable ever.

2. the Tyme Iron
I think I've talked about my inability to use a curling iron before. I just can't do it. I saw this on a Facebook ad months ago and I kid you not when I tell you I will zone out watching the YouTube videos of people using this and having curled hair.  I want one. I have zero desire to spend the obscene amount of money they want for one, but you can bet your bottom I'll buy one when I become rich.

3. a Vacuum: I can't even research for a good one because I'm so overwhelmed. I just need something lightweight, that had attachments and stuff to do my furniture and stairs, and is good with pet hair.

4. New Kitchen Appliances
I have been eyeing this set up for months. Then I had Lucy and our medical bills have sent us into a financial spin. So, it's not going to happen. But now with my dishwasher leaking with every load and my oven not holding a temperature and taking FOREVER to pre-heat.. yeah. I'm pretty sure we need to replace things soon but we can't afford it. Until then I'll just look at this pretty set.

5. Chair Massager
The cats chewed the cord on my old chair massager, and god knows my back is killing me. I honestly don't care so much about the heat element, but I'd really like something that can really massage my back.

6. Bedroom Curtains
I have two windows in my bedroom that need curtains, aren't these gorgeous?? My goal in 2017 is to finally take the ugly wallpaper off our walls and paint our room. I'd really like to replace the carpet upstairs too, but I'm not hopeful that'll happen at all.

7. A new Laptop: No picture on this because I would only trust Matt to get me one- he knows what I need. But I'd really like to have one that I can use anywhere and has a number keypad. My poor laptop has had better days, no longer will work without being plugged into a wall, doesn't have a usable CD-ROM (shut up, I still use one!) and is heavy and awkward for me.

8. Giftcards! I love gift cards and anyone who says they are impersonal and awful? Doesn't get good ones. My favorite stores are JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, Maurices, Old Navy, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Amazon,  JCPenney, Target, etc. I really need some clothes that fit but because my scar is itchy and awful, I'm having to try everything on. It's such an ordeal. But I do need new clothes that fit. I also need scrapbooking supplies to work on Lucy's baby book, too. Victoria's Secret because I need underwear that doesn't have holes or stains. Ulta because sometimes I need makeup and god knows I need a good anti-aging cream right now.

9. Books! Here is a (short) list of what is on my want-to-read list:

I really like plain faux diamond earrings. I like all variations of them and since I've got little ones, studs are where it's at. No pretty dangles for me. 

This is my favorite perfume of all time. Almost nobody carries it in store so I have to order it online and I'm almost out. But I get so many compliments that I smell good and it's this, folks. This is why I smell good. 

12. Gift cards to get haircuts and eyebrow waxes! There is a place in Superior that I've always gone to get my hair done and that's Utopia Salon. I don't have a "person", but if anyone in Superior knows of a person who is super great with thick, wavy hair- I need them. I also get my hair cut once a year and I'm in serious need. I'd love to get my hair dyed, and a pedicure this spring, too. 

OK- so I'm ending my list on a weird number. But truly, I struggle with what I want outside of books. I could give you book lists for days, lambs. But I always appreciate anything I get. Seriously. I'm happy to be thought of anytime. I never buy things for myself really so I'm excited about anything. That and I like opening gifts. HA! 

What's on YOUR wish list?! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Blackbird by Molly McAdams COVER REVEAL

Title: Blackbird
Author: Molly McAdams
Series: A Redemption Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Releasing February 28th, 2017

Cover Design: r.b.a DESIGNS

“Consuming. Enthralling. Sexy. MIND-BLOWING. From the very first line to the very last page, Blackbird sank into me and didn’t let me go. This is Molly McAdams at her best! A must-read that will have you questioning all your emotions as you fall in love with this unforgettable story.” – New York Times bestselling author, AL Jackson

From New York Times bestselling author Molly McAdams comes a powerhouse romantic suspense that will have you questioning your morals and second guessing your view on love.

I live in a world few know exist. I’ve trained for this. I know what to say, what to do, and how to act. I’ve perfected the lethal calm required for this life.

Now it’s time to buy my first girl. But all it takes is one look at the brave girl who starts singing mid-auction for that calm to slip.

Briar Chapman is going to be the death of me, and I don’t care. I’ll take every day with her until that death comes, and I’ll welcome it when it does.

On the outside, Lucas Holt is what nightmares are made of. A man cloaked in darkness, with sin-filled eyes and an enticing grin. A devil so devastatingly beautiful and cruel that his very presence instills fear.

But beneath his terrifying, ever-calm exterior is an affectionate man haunted by a past that refuses to stay buried. And Lucas looks at me as though he’s finally found the only person who can make it all go away.

We’re a battle of the brightest day and the darkest night—and I want to lie in the wake of our war.

Exclusive iBooks Pre-Order

Read a SAMPLE of BLACKBIRD on iBooks!

Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.

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The Six Train to Wisconsin

I'm doing so well on book reviews so hopefully you'll find a few new ones to read and a few to purchase as well! You'll notice at the bottom of every review now I'll have an Amazon link so you can shop easily, you're welcome, lambs.

The Six Train to Wisconsin - Kourtney Heintz

Sometimes saving the person you love can cost you everything.

There is one person that ties Oliver Richter to this world: his wife Kai. For Kai, Oliver is the keeper of her secrets.

When her telepathy spirals out of control and inundates her mind with the thoughts and emotions of everyone within a half-mile radius, the life they built together in Manhattan is threatened. 

To save her, Oliver brings her to the hometown he abandoned—Butternut, Wisconsin—where the secrets of his past remain buried. But the past has a way of refusing to stay dead. Can Kai save Oliver before his secrets claim their future?

An emotionally powerful debut, The Six Train to Wisconsin pushes the bounds of love as it explores devotion, forgiveness and acceptance.

I've had this book, and the sequel, on my review shelf for a few months and I'm just now getting to it. I actually flew through this book rather quickly despite it being a little over 400 pages. The point of view switches between Oliver and Kai. Oliver would do anything for his wife Kai, he literally would go to the ends of the world for her. Kai would do the same for Oliver but she is so wholly dependent on him because she's a telepath who makes terrible choices. She feels extreme guilt and wants to save everyone all of the time even at the cost of her life or sanity. Oliver does everything he can to keep her from falling apart. One day, after the death of a child at the hands of her father, Kai is in rough shape. Oliver has been working on a plan to help Kai and he has to put it in motion a little sooner than planned.

Cue their road trip to Butternut, Wisconsin (Oliver's home town) where Kai has effectively been kidnapped by her own husband. Her irrational anger and lashing out at Oliver made her a very unlikable character for me, and I really felt like smacking her upside the head so she'd see that Oliver doesn't want to be there either but he's sacrificing for her well being.

Oh, but it's not all easy because Mickey is also in Butternut, and Mickey is Oliver's first love. Kai is angry that Mickey is a shameless flirt and makes it clear she wants Oliver even still. Now, on one hand I totally get it- I'd be angry if some chick was throwing herself at my husband. But on the other, I'd like to think I'd have some faith in my husband to stay faithful. If you don't have trust then you have nothing. (Except let's remember Kai is a telepath so she knows what Oliver thinks so yeah.. you already know how this is going to go wrong.) My problem with Kai is she acts fairly childish, much like a child stomping her foot when someone tells her no. She drove me nuts this entire book.

I'm not giving Oliver a free pass either, he did lots of things wrong. Anytime you assume you know best for someone so you do things or you fail to be honest with them, it's going to blow up in your face EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And it does in this book, big time.

Mickey's son Lukas, who has taken a liking to Kai (mostly because he has his own powers like Kai, a bit different though so Kai naturally feels like she has to guide him) is kidnapped and in the search process, Oliver makes a HUGE mistake, which Kai witnesses. Cue her leaving instead of talking to him, Oliver making bad decisions, Mickey being an idiot, and we've got a seemingly lost little boy. We meet Nathan, Mickey's ex-husband, who is kind of nuts, and everything fall apart rather quickly.

I really liked the book but I can't give it five stars only because the first 3/4 of the book are SLOW. I kept wondering where the hell the drama was. It took so long to set it up that I almost gave up but then crap hit the fan and I was all in. Would I call this a fantasy book? No, not really. It's a romantic suspense if anything else. Sure, we have Kai and Nathan (and Lukas) with their weird powers but it wasn't enough of a thing for me to push it into a fantasy or paranormal category. It's a solid 4 star read though and I'm excited to read the second book!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Workout Wednesday: Zumba and giant rubber bands

Hi lambs! I forgot to post my Workout Wednesday last week so I'm making sure I am posting it this week so you don't think I'm a slacker.

I mentioned I was going to join a weekly Zumba/dance fitness class and I totally did! We've had two classes so far and I'm finding I'm ridiculously thirsty for hours after working out despite drinking a lot of water while working out. I've gotten it down to two pee breaks in our one hour class, so there's something. Overall, I never want to go because my bed is really comfortable, but I've pushed myself to show up and participate and I haven't died.

Though I'm pretty sure Connie (the instructor) is trying.

The fact that this is listed as a SQUAT CHALLENGE should terrify you, but you should also know I've done it twice now and you will pee your pants the next morning before you can squat on the toilet. Seriously, give it a whirl.

My arms are so jiggly so I've dug out my resistance bands, which are like giant rubber bands. I managed to do some exercises with those and only snapped myself once! Frankly, that's a win.

I haven't lost any weight but I feel like I will. I really wish I didn't get so tired so quickly, and I really wish I could go for a walk outside. It's gotten cold here, and we've had some snow and rain, which makes for slippery roads and sidewalks so walking outside is off the table. My treadmill just isn't the same. That and I have zero motivation to get on it. At least with the zumba class I'm leaving the house and that's pretty helpful.

Anyways. It's not a lot of progress, but it's more than doing nothing at all so I'm pretty satisfied with myself. Here's to another week of moving the fat around!

Monday, November 21, 2016

AFE update: losing hair, new medication, and migraines.

Last week I had another full week of appointments and this week I only have one, with my counselor. Fortunately I was able to get on the cancellation list so when someone cancelled, I jumped on the appointment, otherwise my next one isn't until mid-December.

I've been talking to a few other AFE survivors online about their symptoms and diagnoses post AFE and it's kind of a downer, really. Almost everyone I have talked to are about six months or longer since their AFE, so not quite where I'm at, but they all are frustrated with doctors who don't know what to do with them. I do know that it's so rare that it's hard to study, so it makes sense that there isn't a whole lot on the books on what to do with us. I'm learning that a lot of what I deal with isn't going to be fixed by time or medicine, that I most likely learn to live with it because there just isn't anything out there.

Hands down the worst are the migraines, with a close second being the feeling of getting the flu all of the time. I'm always achy and tired. But the migraines.. oh man. At best, I get migraines 4 or 5 days of the week. At worst, I'll have one every day. My medicine I can take to keep the edge off works maybe half of the time now. So far the consensus is that it's either hormonal, because of low sodium in me, or a combination of both, courtesy of my broken pituitary. I had some labs last week to measure my hormones and those came back normal, so I don't need hormone replacement therapy yet, which is a GREAT thing.

Another change is the medication I take for my blood pressure and depression/anxiety. So far, I haven't noticed a change in either area except the depression/anxiety medication makes me feel physically sick, so that's a lovely way to start the day. I also decided I need to get one of those pill containers for morning and night because keeping track of my medicine is getting to be difficult. I'm afraid I'm going to take the wrong thing at the wrong time or double up on something I shouldn't. Honestly, I don't know how elderly people keep this all straight.

The biggest change so far is easily my hair loss. I've  never had post-partum hair loss before, and I don't think that's what this is at all. I think it's either hormonal or medication related. It started as a few strands here or there (a few weeks ago) but this weekend I noticed every time I run my hand through my hair, a small handful will come out. It's... weird. I mean, I have extraordinarily thick hair so I wouldn't be opposed to it thinning out a bit but now I'm a little worried I need to call someone about this. I'll likely just wait until my next appointment in December to check on my medication.

But to combat feeling overwhelmed, I put up our Christmas tree on Sunday. Christmas is my most favorite time of year and I'm holding onto it like a life line at this point. We are really blessed, even more so this year, and I'll talk more about that later. I just want to soak it all up, you know?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Dear Pope Francis

Oh lambs, my heart. I knew as soon as this book came through my email as a potential review I had to do it. I didn't realize how much I was going to need it soon after it came.

Dear Pope Francis - Pope Francis
In this unprecedented book, questions from children from across the world are presented to Pope Francis — and the Pope himself answers each letter. All too often, the big spiritual questions from children are ignored or written off as quaint, but Pope Francis helps every child feel God’s love and know that their voices are valued and heard. With each question charmingly illustrated by the child, Dear Pope Francis lets the Pope respond directly to each child with inspiring, meaningful answers. Pope Francis's joyful warmth and wisdom shine through for parents, grandparents, teachers and, of course, children.

I absolutely should preface this by telling you I'm not really religious. I'm certainly not considered Catholic (though I'm baptized as Catholic), but I have a special spot in my heart for Pope Francis. I feel like he really, more so than the last two Pope's in my lifetime, appreciates the differences in people worldwide and he really tries to be a good soul towards everyone. Some of the statements he's made about public issues throughout the years have really blown me away and made me look at the institution of the Catholic church a little differently.

And this book... the first thing you'll take away is the absolute candor and his genuine love of children and people. The letters from children come from all around the world and showcase their original artwork, a photo of the child and a little information about where they come for, and translated into English where needed. All of the letters are adorable, some are funny and lighthearted, some are serious, and some break your heart because you can only imagine the weight the child must have been feeling in their heart to write to the Pope for guidance. Questions like, "why do some parents argue with each other?", "do bad people have a guardian angel, too?", "my mum is in heaven, will she grow angel wings?"- so many of these questions are so hard for any parent to answer but the answers the Pope gives are just enough to make you break down and sob. The Pope shows off his personality, not something you'd think you'd really see, and does such a great job at conveying a special message with each response.

If you are book shopping for a child in your life, I absolutely recommend this one, no question. This will be one of those books I'll pull out when I need a little pick me up because though some questions make you hurt for these children, the responses give you a good reminder in your own life.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

More appointments, more pee, and trying. Lots of trying.

After last week, I went into the weekend feeling pretty damn defeated. I did some fun things, to hopefully make life a little more fun and not focus on my failures and struggles so much. But let's talk about the medical stuff first.
Last week I saw my endocrinologist and he reviewed the lab work I had done the week before. My thyroid is still considered low functioning, and everything is basically the same. He was concerned that I'm still peeing too much, which means my diabetes insipidus is maybe not as controlled as it could be. In order to figure that out, he ordered me to do a pee-in-a-jug test where they test it to see how much salt is absorbed into it... or something like that. Turns out, I peed 3 liters in a 24 hour period which is considered elevated and peeing 10 times in the course of a day is kind of high. So the recommendation is for me to take another half pill of Desmopressin in the morning (I take a half pill at night) and that should help. All well and good while my insurance deductible is met and I don't have to pay for my medications, but it's dawned on me come January 1? I can't afford all of these pills. I will become that person who has to determine what I can afford and what I can live without. I'll have to just learn to like peeing hourly.


Another concern that I have, which my OB doesn't seem to be concerned about is my scar. Because I was in a really critical situation during my c-section, I have a vertical incision. Normally it's a horizontal one, but what can you do? My problem is that for most of my life, I have had what I have always referred to as my "kangaroo pouch". It's a weird lump of fat under my belly button and no amount of dieting or exercise makes it shrink. Well, half of my scar goes over and under the flap so when you lift the flap, it basically looks like another butt hole. In my stomach.
You see? We can all just call it my second butt hole. The other super disgusting part? Is that because it's a flap (you can see the crease), I sweat during the day (thanks, hot flashes!) and it.. let's just say it leaves a residue and it's so gross. I've become that fat person that has to clean the folds of skin. It's disgusting. I cannot highlight enough how disgusting it is.


This week I saw my neurologist on Monday. That was a really depressing, and frustrating, appointment. I learned that not only did I have lung failure, amniotic fluid embolism, and the right side of my heart fail, but I also had a STROKE. Apparently having a stroke after a trauma involving blood loss and lack of oxygen isn't uncommon. But I was surprised that this was the first I had heard of it. So I left there with a feeling of defeat because though I'm only 34 and my brain is young and relatively healthy, they can't tell me how much I'm going to get back. Certainly memories that are gone, those are gone. But my short term loss? Nobody knows. We're hopefully that my brain testing in January will be more helpful.

I'm scheduled for an EEG today to see if my "brain blinks" are actually seizures. The hope is that they ARE because if they aren't then they don't know what's causing them.

I saw my general practitioner on Tuesday for a full physical. The doctor is GREAT and is so thorough, listens to everything, took a copy of my symptoms list and really tried to go through each one to find solutions. My blood pressure medication and my anti-depressant are changed so we're hoping that helps a few things. Interestingly, when I mentioned the stroke she said I didn't have one. I said, oh yes I did, I saw it on the MRI myself. So she spent 20 minutes going through every report and image in my patient file and sure enough, it's there. Bad news? Is that the MRI was taken on August 4 and the only doctor who would have known about it is the neurologist- the information wasn't readily available in my file so anyone treating me from that day until this week, wouldn't have known it.

Cue frustration and fear.

So now I have to advocate harder for myself to make sure EVERY detail of what I've gone through since August 1, as much of a pain as it is, is in my patient file on the summary page. Maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal, but if I get into a car accident or see a doctor who isn't familiar to my situation, they need to know right away. They wouldn't know, or maybe have time, to go into the detail pages to look for something.

So that's been my week so far. I'm feeling really down on life in general. More on that another day. But I need a nap and I'm sure you have things to do. More soon, lambs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Corn Maze cherry? Popped!

Would you believe that I am 34 years old and had never been to a corn maze before? It's true. I always have good intentions on doing these things with my kids and giving them memories and traditions, but the truth is that I really hate cold weather. I'm not good at toughing it out, I hate hauling small kids out all bundled up, it's just so much more work and I don't have fun after all of it. But a few weeks ago we actually went to a corn maze. And it wasn't awful!

I had seen a few friends on Facebook talking about this place called The Burch Barn, located in Spooner, WI. It looked fun, and the fact it's family run on an actual farm sold me. If you're going for an experience, you do it right.
Easily the biggest draw for basically all of the kids, but more so Penelope, was the huge play area filled with corn kernels and who knows what kind of seeds. She could have played in that all afternoon. The big kids joined her for awhile and then ran off to do their own thing. Matt was carrying Lucy in the infant carrier because I just can't do that kind of weight on me yet, so I was bummed she didn't get to at least kick her feet in it. Next year!
But yeah, this makes me think I need to do some kind of sensory area for Penelope over the winter when we aren't able to play in her sandbox every day.
Even the big kids loved it.
And came home with plenty of kernels and seeds in their underwear, as evidenced in my washing machine and dryer the next day.
Even Penelope wanted to swim in it.
These goofballs crack me up and are SO patient with Penelope.
She liked it best when I would push all of the kernels up on her and bury her- she was probably the most excited kid in that area.
Penelope wouldn't put her head in, but we tried. The big kids were sports, though!
The BEST part of our day is that we didn't tell the kids where we were going or what we were doing and once we got there, I told the kids that we were going to leave them there and it was really Dr. Phil's ranch that he sends naughty kids to.

Which sounds cruel, but it's a running joke in our house because every time they see Dr. Phil on TV he's sending kids to a ranch and so I'm always saying, "Don't make me send you to the ranch" and we all laugh. Even better, these kids take me so seriously sometimes and I have a great time.
It was such a great day out. The drive home was a little dicey, but that's OK. The weather was unseasonably warm (70 degrees in October? YES, PLEASE.), we got to watch them make real apple cider (Jackson looked like he wanted to do it), we played on hay bales, went down fun slides, went through the corn maze and thank god Matt has a good sense of direction with these things because I would have gotten us lost and needed rescue. 

If you're in the northern Wisconsin area next year and looking for an authentic fall afternoon, this is a great place to go. It has a small fee, but it's really worth it, and the kids will have a great time. We'll definitely be back next year! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith

If you're a long time reader of this blog, you'll know I'm not the biggest fan of historical fiction in general. From time to time I'll pick one up and it grabs me, and that's how the first Avelynn book was for me. At the time I demanded a sequel and the author pulled through for us all.

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith - Marissa Campbell

It's the year 871. Charges of treason, murder, and witchcraft follow Avelynn into exile as she flees England with Alrik. Arriving in Wales, they find refuge among Alrik's friends in the Welsh nobility. Cast out by his half-brothers, Alrik seeks to regain his honor and earn favor with the gods. When war threatens, Alrik embraces gold and the opportunity for his crew to become mercenaries, aiding the Southern Welsh kings in their fight against Rhodri the Great.

Desperate to return home, Avelynn seeks to find a way to prove her innocence, but she is pitted against Alrik as their desires for the future clash. With battle looming, Avelynn's faith in their relationship is further tested through a bitter struggle with Marared, a jealous lover from Alrik's past. Marared's threats turn deadly, and Avelynn runs afoul of magic and sorcery, causing her to question her beliefs and role as priestess.

When Avelynn and Alrik are betrayed, Avelynn is captured and Alrik is charged with regicide. The two become separated, a chasm of greed, deceit, and ambition driving them apart. In an act of harrowing faith, Avelynn will stop at nothing to find her way back to Alrik and break them both free from Wales's bloodthirsty grasp.

I'm just going to get into it- the romance between Alrik and Avelynn is pretty damn steamy, and thank god. I have to say that being a historical romance you kind of assume their love affair would be tame given the time period but nope- and us readers fully benefit from that! We know Avelynn is basically on the run and leaves a mess behind in England. It doesn't take long for trouble to find her as they arrive in Wales, a place familiar to Alrik. Avelynn soon meets Marared, Alrik's former lover, and she doesn't accept Avelynn at all as Alrik's true love.

I have to say I really like how despite being in a Christian world, Avelynn's convictions and her love of the Goddess never wavers and it actually gives her the strength to do what she needs to do in order to clear her name. Things go bad fairly quickly for Avelynn and Alrik and Alrik's fate isn't certain as he's charged with crimes, Avelynn is captured, and people are dying left and right. The only complaint I have is that so many characters are in this book that sometimes I had a hard time keeping track of who was who and what their part in the greater story is. Big points for the story never getting dull, it's fast paced and action packed. There is more action in this book than the last three thrillers I've read combined. You won't get bored and you won't be able to put it down. I also loved how the book ended, it made it feel like if we never hear from Avelynnn again, it would be OK.

I have to give this book five stars because again, it blows away every other historical romance or even historical fiction that I've read. It's not a genre I read a lot of but I'm so glad I've discovered this author through Avelynn.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Say You'll Stay

I have to just put this out there because it's really frustrating me- I am so tired of every book becoming a series. I used to really love it, and it was always a treat if you got a sequel but it focused on other characters in the original story, but it's becoming a trend and I'm formally asking for authors to stop it. It's driving me crazy.


Say You'll Stay - Corinne Michaels

One word. 

It was all he had to do. Instead, he got on that bus and took my heart with him. 

That was seventeen years ago. 

I moved on. Marriage. Kids. White picket fence. Everything I ever wanted, but my husband betrayed me and I was left once again. 

Alone, penniless, and with two boys, I had no choice but to return to Tennessee. He wasn’t supposed to be there. I should’ve been safe. However, fate has a way of stepping in.

This time around, the tables are turned. It’s my decision. Second chances do exist, but I don’t know if we can repair what’s already been broken . . .

I mentioned that I was just wandering about Barnes & Noble one day and this book was just sad and on the floor, all alone. I took it as a sign that clearly it was meant to be on my bookshelf. Then I went home and started it right away because I had a bit of a break in between obligated reviews, so here it is.

Raise your hand if you've read a romance novel full of miscommunication because the characters were young and dumb, not willing to shut up and listen to each other, and just make assumptions- yeah, we're all standing here with our hands in the air. That's what this book is, pretty much all of the way until the end. I really liked Zach, I think he did the best he could and genuinely was trying to make the best decisions for him and Presley. Except Presley is basically every female character I can't stand, who assumes everything, keeps secrets thinking she knows best, and never listens- it never works out yet here she is, being all annoying.

Presley is fresh from her husband's death, the heap of debt he left, and she is heading home- the last place she wants to be. Baseball didn't work out for Zach, so he's been back and working on the farm, and bam- these two high school young lovebirds are trying to fight obvious fate. This time around they both have more baggage than ever before and even more secrets. Are they able to get over the past and to make a future? Who knows, but we spend the entire book trying to figure it out. It's a sweet story, you feel for Presley because what she's left with is enough to drive anyone to the brink, and you just once want her to make the right decision. I'm going to give this book 4 stars. It's not one that I would throw at a person and force them to read, but if you want a good romance with a story line trying to be serious and not cheesy, this is right in that category.