Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Here I Go Again: A BlogHer Book Club Review

**This is a paid review for BlogHer, but as always, all of my thoughts and opinions are my very own**

When I started reading Jen Lancaster's Here I Go Again I was automatically hooked.  An annoying High School mean girl seems to have finally had her luck run out, right at the time of her high school reunion, and everything seems to be blowing up in her face.  What could be wrong with a story like that??  It was an easy and fast beginning and I honestly enjoyed it from the first few pages.  But then I got to the part where the main character Lissy ends up being given the opportunity for a 'do over', sending her back in time to her high school days to set right all the things she did terribly wrong.

You guys. I LOVE THIS KIND OF STORY! My entire family has a deep love for those 'go back in time and change things to see what you did right/wrong/how good you really have it' kind of stories.  The Family Man, YES.  Mr. Destiny, YES. Thirteen going on Thirty, ABSOLUTELY.  So when I tell you that I completely adored this book, know that it comes from a long standing love of time jumping, destiny changing nerdy addiction.  And if you also love that kind of story, this book is PERFECT!

The story is a simple, easy read.  Perfect for me right now.  I read it in a couple of days, and my only wish was that it had lasted a little longer.  I loved the characters, I loved the story,  I loved the time travel.  All around, this was one of my favorite BlogHer Book Club reads.  You should check it out!

We will be discussing Here I Go Again over at BlogHer for the next few weeks.  Come join the conversation!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Lego House Battle

So Friday Henry and I stayed home sick from work/school. We both had the always sexy pink eye, and also something that shockingly resembled the flu.  I can't say for sure, because we weren't tested, but a note came home from school on Tuesday that said 'PARENTS! Do NOT sent your kids with a fever because of THE FLLLLUUUUUUUUU!", which I read as "Somebody brought the flu to school and the teachers are pissed".  Then, not 24 hours later Henry was telling us "I just going to sleep.  I cold.  Just leave me alone."

No really.  Henry said that. Like a dozen times.    How PITIFUL is that? I was all like, "Poor baby... I guess he is a maybe not feeling good... do you think he might have cold chills??"  And then twenty four hours after that I am like, "JUST MAKE IT STOP!!"  while wearing 4 shirts with a hood up over my head, sweatpants, huge woolly socks and four blankets.  Then I burst into tears and told Nick "I THINK I AM REALLY SICK*!" 

Now that I think about it, Henry handled it way better than I did.  Henry is a total bad ass.   Also, screw you, double sided, pink eye/flu like preschool plague...

Anyway, Nick stayed home with Henry on Thursday and I stayed with him on Friday since I was then sick too.  While we were laying around Henry asked if I wanted to play Lego's.  I say sure so he goes and gets his giant box.  He asks for me to build a house, which... I mean, who can't build a house, right?  It's like, a square.  So I start digging for pieces and get to work.  Like a million hours later I inform Henry that we DO NOT OWN THE RIGHT PIECES! and declare the house cannot be finished.  Still, I was pretty proud of the start I made on it.

I mean, it has an a nice front step, it has a door... totally a house. Then Nick comes home and is like 'Um... what is that?" And I am kinda proud, but also felt it was rude to brag, so I am just like "Oh, you know... just the house I made..." and he laughs. HE LAUGHS! And I am like, "What? I think it's pretty good...". To which he laughs harder. Then I say "WELL! We didn't have enough pieces to finish it! I couldn't find the right size! But I think it's DECENT!" Apparently Nick viewed it as a challenge.

That's right. There are flowers.  And sconces. 
And he didn't even have to take mine apart to make it, so there goes my "There weren't enough pieces" argument...
His has shutters and dormer windows. Mine has... holes where I pictures windows to be. Because I find IMAGINATION to be an important thing to teach children.  His has a 'stone footer with a brick exterior." mine went with more of an all inclusive color palette
Oh, his also has two people, a fireplace and a computer. but.... whatever

I really think the take home message is just that we both made Lego houses for Henry.  Who needs to say who's might be "better".  I mean, what is BETTER anyway.  Just someones opinion.  I think my house is rather good and shows the value of...

Never mind.

Nick wins.

*We both had our flu shots, and I got on Tamiflu right away, just in case because I don't want to expose Missy.  We are both feeling much better)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Thoughts on Downton (When Favorite Shows Hit too Close to Home)


Sometimes, no matter how much you love a show, you need to take an episode off.  It will just hit too close to home, and leave you up all night, not thinking as much of the character or storyline, but of how that story line reminds you too much of your own life and what is to come.  Last night, that was me and Downton Abbey.

As the show started and Lady Sybil complained of headaches and swollen feet I looked and Nick and said "sounds like preeclampsia to me..."  I saw it coming, and truly should have turned off the TV right then.  Except, it didn't occur to me that it would be unwatchable.  Nothing has even been unwatchable for me before. And this is childbirth, not cancer. 

When the baby was born, I thought maybe it would be okay.  But when she was having her mom make promises to take care of her husband and baby, I knew.  And I really should have turned it off then. Really. I should have. But I thought they would wake up and find her gone the next morning.  I thought of mom, dad and Missy watching this together.  I wished then that someone had warned them.  Told us not to watch.  But I kept watching, because I was already invested, and because I didn't know how bad it would get.

The scene.  The scene with the death.  It will haunt me.  I stayed up all night playing it over in my head.  I woke up thinking about it.  And I know a lot of America did too.  But while everyone else was thinking of Sybil, and how tragic it all was, I was thinking of my own baby sister.  The youngest of three girls.  I thought of my own parents.  I thought of seizures and memory problems.  I thought of... I thought of our life to come.  And how fucking awful it is going to be.  While everyone else in American was crying last night for Downton, I was crying for MY baby sister.  

There have been other deaths on TV that I watched, back in the days of BEFORE, deaths like Dr. Green on ER or Charlie on LOST.  I remember watching those scenes and crying and thinking "What gripping television".  I am jealous of the people who got to think that last night.  Because it was nothing but personal for me.  And although I hate spoilers.  For all time I have plugged my ears and sworn "I WANT TO KNOW NOTHING!", I am taking that back.  You spoiler readers out there, you who watch shows early online, if you see something like that again, please warn me.  Please send me a message that says "Avoid that show you love.  Bad things happen. It will be too hard for your heart to see it right now".  Especially if it involves the death of siblings, or mothers grieving daughters.  Right now, it is just too much.

I promise, I wont be mad.  And I will heed your warning.  Maybe I wouldn't have before last night, but now I know there are some things I just can't see right now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sleeping Boy

For the first fourteen months of his life he fell asleep in my arms every single day. Then he stopped nursing, and the idea of him falling asleep somewhere else felt sorta freeing. Now, two and a half years later, he almost never falls asleep in my arms.

Today, after having lunch with Aunt Mimi and having a hair cut, we got home and he had to take drops for his lovely new pink eye.  He was tired and didn't feel well and it was all a little stressful, so after a big hug and being told he was super brave for taking his drops, I asked if he wanted some chocolate milk and a movie, or did he just want Mama to hold you for a minute. He said "No milk. No movie. Mama just hold you for a minute." And he curled up and went to sleep.

It felt worthy of a picture. Because even though it used to happen every single day, I can't remember the last time he did this. And who knows how long until he does it again.

My sweet boy.  He sure is growing up fast.  For today, I am so glad that his safest place is still his mama's arms.


Monday, January 21, 2013

How Henry Helps

Life is hard right now. And finding the balance for Henry has been one of the hardest parts. He has no idea what is going on, so in the middle of our grief there is an air of normalcy that we try to maintain for him.

In a lot of ways, it is good for us all. Like when he made me laugh on Friday night by doing this:
Or when he got me outside on a beautiful day by wanting to do this:

Or when he wanted to play playdoh, so we had a fun hour as a family making things like this:
(Nick totally made all of that. I am playdoh helpless and made things like an exciting ball)
Or after a long day of trying to be normal, he falls asleep like this, and warms my heart and allows me to feel like we might, somehow, be doing okay.

If anybody has any advice on talking to three year olds about grief and the potential loss of a close loved one, I am happy to take any advice you have to offer.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Just a sweet picture from the other night of my and my amazing sisters.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Just Thinking

I feel like I am in a strange place with blogging.  Actually, I feel like I am in a strange place in general.  It feels wrong to talk about Missy all the time, but it feels wrong to talk about anything else.

 I am not sure where to go with that.

I do know that now that I can say things about Missy on here, I am much more drawn to blogging.  Honesty.  It helps.

I do not know what to do with my time. I have too little, I have too much.  It's just impossible to find a balance.

 I am spending as much as possible with her.  Taking long lunches everyday to sit and visit with her at her apartment.  Having her come and stay the night with us so we can have those long stretches of quality time that only overnight stays can really provide.  It is wonderful, and it is hard too.  Because her cancer is progressing.  Because I know that our time is limited.  Because... just because this is all so unspeakably difficult.

I am back in school, which is a constant internal debate with myself.  But classes started last week and I showed up.  And I will show up again this week (unless I don't.  In which case, whatever).  I wouldn't care to take the semester off.  I am not so set to my schedule that I have to keep going so I graduate on time.  I really couldn't care less about that right now.   I could walk away for awhile, but really, I like that it keeps me busy.  that it keeps my mind occupied.  That it gives me something else to think about.

 Is that logical?  I don't know.  But I am going, and we will see how long I last.

We are redecorating Henry's room.  Because doesn't now seem like the time? 

He got a new big boy bed for Christmas, and it wouldn't fit where the toddler bed went.  We (I) decided to do a full room redecoration, changing from a forest nursey to a big boy outer space room.  We (Nick) have really been busting our butts for the last week to get it done. First big night in his new room is tonight! Wish him (us) luck!

Pictures to come.

I saw Cloud Atlas with my dad this weekend.  I can't stop thinking about it.  It starts out pretty confusing, and some of the makeup is a little distracting, but by the end I was totally hooked.  Six stories, told all at once, creating a movie about how we are all always connected. 

I highly recommend it.  (So does my dad)

My pants seem awfully tight.  I bent over to pick something up yesterday and the snap on my cords just popped open.  I should do something about that one of these days.

I have a new Harry Potter shirt that I got for Christmas.  It's awesome.
Just thought I would share.

My neck looks surprising long in that picture...


I have no idea what I am doing. I have no idea what I should be doing.  I feel tired all the time, and I think a lot of that is because I am emotionally exhausted.  Or maybe it's because for a week I have had a three year old in my bed.  Sometimes I am so very sad, and other times I ease back into nearly normal.

These days... I wonder what they will look like to me when I look back on them from the future.  Hopefully I will see myself here, doing the very best I can.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Willpower Instinct: A BlogHer Book Club Review

This is a paid review for the BlogHer Bookclub, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my very own.

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.  takes on the idea of what is the definition of Willpower, what is it's influence over us and how can we improve ourselves by taking control over it.  When I began reading the book I thought "I have great willpower!  I don't need this book!" but I quickly learned that everyone actually could use some willpower tweeking.  There are things we all do (or don't do) that we would rather do different.  This book takes a close look at them and gives scientific, evidence based ideas on how to make changes in our behavior.  Dr McGonigal  actually taught this as a college class on this topic at Stanford (so it allowed me to freely think of her as Professor McGonigal without even feeling an ounce of guilt), and combine all the important information from her course into this book.

This book is not a light read, but it isn't overly schoolish either (at least to me, who reads a lot of schoolish things).  It has the undeniable feel of a self help book, because that's what it is, but it also isn't painful to turn the pages.  If you are interested in the topic of self help and willpower, it honestly is a great book.  Anyone can read it, and everyone who does will take some good advice from in on the importance of  willpower's influence.

The book is set up to be read over time.  The ten chapters in the book actually represent her ten week course.  I think I would have gotten more out of the book if I had taken my time with it. If I had read a chapter a week rather than trying to read it all in a few sittings. For me, it all began to run together and sound like things that were good ideas in theory, but that lost their effectiveness with a quick read.  Still, if you are looking for a self help book that is based in logic and backed by scientific studies, this is a great option!

We will be discussing The Willpower Instinct with BlogHer book club over the next several weeks.  Come join the conversation!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thank You

Thank you all for you sweet comments and constant support about Missy.  It has all been very heartbreaking.  It will continue to be heartbreaking forever and ever.  I don't know where to begin processing my emotions around this, or how to deal with the idea of her not always being here us.  I don't know what is the right thing to do or say.  I just know how much I love her, and how my life will never ever be the same.  And that is shattering.  The thought that one day my life will be missing one of it's most important pieces.

 For today I am just going to show you pictures from our New Years Eve together.  Because it was a good day. And we are holding on to every good day we have.
New Years Eve 2012
New Years Eve 2012
The babies, about to ring in the new year.

New Years Eve 2012
my amazing parents
 New Years Eve 2012
My Aunt Carole doing a luau dance (Did I mention we were playing board games? We were. My aunt doesn't just randomly luau in the dining room.)
 New Years Eve 2012
See? Games!
 New Years Eve 2012
In which Boo Danced like a ballerina while wearing Cici's tutu
 New Years Eve 2012
My dad
New Years Eve 2012
Mom and Missy

See, my heart feels just a little better.  Pictures (and time together) are good for my soul.


Monday, January 7, 2013


The week before Christmas Missy and our dad went back to the NIH to meet with doctors about her cancer.  We learned that her new medication is not working. There is nothing else available to try. They are taking her off all treatments and just placing her on steroids to keep swelling down. After Christmas Missy and our parents met with the local doctors and with Hospice to begin this new stage of dealing with her terminal cancer.

 We are heartbroken. Truly and completely heartbroken. But we are also trying to focus on where we are right now. She is no sicker today than she was before the trip to NIH, we just have more information today. We had a wonderful Christmas as a family and rang in the New Year all together. We will just have to wait and see what 2013 brings, taking it one day at a time and enjoying every moment we have together.

I just wanted to update everyone here on the blog because I know she is on your hearts. And because with this new place we are at, I am not sure how much I will be blogging.  Possibly a lot, possibly none at all.  You may read my grief through these posts, or I may post pictures and act like nothing is happening.  If I am not here as regularly as I used to be, know I am doing what is most important.  If I am blogging about trips to the aquarium, book reviews or funny things Henry says, know that I am just trying to find a small bit of normalcy in this difficult time.  If I blog openly about my grief, please be understanding, which you all always are.

This is harder than I could ever imagine.  For now, our family is spending as much time together as possible.  We are talking and laughing, hugging and kissing and telling each other as often as possible how much we love the other. Someone is always with her. We are all here together, spending time with our Sweet Missy.   Hard days are ahead of us, but for today, we are living in the now.  We are doing the very best we can and are loving each other with the time we are given.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Random Thought for a Sunday Morning

I am wearing my painting pants I bought in 99, a rainbow sweater jacket I bought in 97, drinking coffee out of an oversized mug  and doing homework that should have been done a week ago, tired from staying up late watching Nick play Super Mario Brothers.

If I were shooting for pulling a Somewhere in Time sorta time jump, I would have nailed it for 1999.

*If you haven't seen Somewhere In Time, this post makes no since at all.  I blame you for missing such a classic movie.  Go watch it.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Resolutions- Reviewing and Renewing

Happy New Year! I am back to my regular schedule (kinda) and figured if I was going to write a resolution post it was REALLY time to get on with it. I am sure you all have been waiting, right? 

First we will review from 2012 and give myself a grade!  Let's see how I did:

  1. Read six classic books (which I changed in April to be six books out of my reading comfort zone) and twenty four books total. I totally give myself a star!  A gold star!  a platinum star! I read 41 books and (let me review my list) and at quick glance nine were out of my typical reading comfort zone.  A couple historical fictions, a few memoirs, a suspense thriller... I nailed this resolution.
  2. Lose 15 pounds in the first quarter on the  year, still have it off in the last quarter. Another platinum star! I actually lost around 22 pounds.  As of this week (after the holiday weight gain) I am sitting at 19 down.  NOT TOO SHABBY!
  3. Paint. If it was just this I would feel guilty, but after the second go, I am going to go ahead and give myself another full star!
  4. Take Henry to fun, interesting and educational places throughout the year.  Yes.  I am giving myself another star.  We did the museum, the movies, Waveland, hiking and fishingthe pool, the beach, the fire station, South Carolina and the aquarium (post to come)...and those are just off the top of my head.  I think we did pretty good!
  5. Do not allow social media to influence me. I am going to once again give myself a big  check on this one too.  I forgot it was on the list, but I feel like I am in a much better place with this than I was a year ago.  To the point that it is truly a non-issue.  Anything I read on facebook or twitter is just interesting information at best, it does not influence me to make me feel like I need to live life any differently.
SOOooooooo.... that gives me a FIVE OUT OF FIVE!  A perfect Resolution report card!  Makes me kinda not want to make any new ones... but I guess a tradition is a tradition.  So here we go:

  1. Spend as much quality time as possible with my family. Number one priority for 2013. There are things going on that I will talk about within the next few days, but with these new things have reminded me that the most important thing to me is time with my family.  Really, this could be my only resolution because in a lot of ways it's the only one that matters.
  2. Finish my capstone for my Masters Program.  A capstone is sorta like a thesis and has to be written and defended in order to graduate.  I do not think I will be able to defend my capstone in 2013, but I want to have the entire thing completed and prepared to be defended.  
  3. Spend more time outdoors. I feel like too often our days are spend inside, even when it's pretty.  Henry is bigger now, so hiking and fishing and bigger outdoorsy things are on the table.  Maybe even camping if we get crazy.  But more than that, I want to use the backyard instead of the couch.  I want to use the park instead of the play area at the mall.  I want to see the sun (or the moon).  I want to be outside.
Aaaannnd I am going to stop at three this year.  Lame, right? I always do five.  But three is all I have, and I can't think of anything small that I want to add.   Let's see if I can go three for three...