13 October 2018

Books - September 2018

September ushered in the start of the school year for me, and I've worked extra hours every day since then. Which is my excuse for only reading three books last month. I'm trying to keep in mind my goal to read more than that in October, but my progress isn't great so far. My old-lday vision is getting worse, so I had to wait til payday yesterday to upgrade my reading glasses so I can see my latest book clearly. Hahaha...

The first book I read in September was In Your Hands by Ines Pedrosa. First of all (and I did not realize this while reading the book) what an awful name for a book. It's very challenging to search, as there are a lot of books with the same name!

This In Your Hands by Ines Pedrosa was about three generations (using the term loosely, as the second woman was simply raised by the oldest). It was an honest and beautiful representation of woman who made choices that didn't necessarily fall within the mainstream. I enjoyed this book more after I'd finished reading it, when I had some time to ponder the characters and their lives. You can read my full 3 out of 5 star review at Books I Think You Should Read.

The second book I finshed reading in September was The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year by Emma Chastain. This was the second book in the series, set to happen immediately following Confessions of a High School Disaster. It's the diaries of Chloe Snow, an endearingly average high-schooler.

In the second book, she is still processing her mother's defection to living on an island to write her novel, but now living with a new boyfriend. She is wrapping up her job at the community pool as school starts, and reconsidering what role she wants her summer co-workers to play in her school-year life. And she isn't entirely comfortable with her father beginning to date, and how that might change her relationships at school, since her dad is dating one of her teachers.

This was a great, amusing read for the end of summer. I gave this 4 out of 5 stars, and you can find my review at Books I Think You Should Read.

The third and final book I read in September was Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles, which was edited by Jessica Burkhart. This was a powerful book of essays by different authors about struggles in mental heath experienced by the authors or their loved ones.

I've thought about several of the author's stories since then. They are all real people. Success has not made them immuned to hard times, and several cite that maybe the amount of time they spend with their own thoughts may make authors even more susceptible to anxiety, depression, and other issues. 

While I did break this book up instead of reading straight through multiple essays, I am glad I read all the essays that were included. I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. You can read my review at Books I Think You Should Read.

Although I haven't yet finished a book in October, I am planning on it, and the first one is a bit out of my regular reading lately. Check in here to find out more next month!

12 October 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. I was all proud of myself for starting this post yesterday. So I sat down after work today to 'finish it up' and saw that all I'd done was write the title. LOL Yeah, go me!!
  2. My hubby got me a beautiful bouquet of flowers a couple weeks ago as we were shopping for birthday party stuff. I think they actually lasted longer than I expected, but now there is a dead bouquet in the middle of my kitchen island. Time to clean up again!
  3. Yay for payday! I finally paid my library fines. I felt bad to have returned some movies and a book late, but it didn't really bum me out til I went to try and borrow A Map of Days online and it wouldn't even let me in my account for 'excessive fines.' Usually I only get around to owing a few dollars, maybe up to $10? This time was $25.62. :hide:
  4. So at work we have a Health & Wellness committee. For the end of September and beginning of October, they had a bingo card that had you check off things like taking time for yourself, doing something relaxing, and other things I don't remember because I turned in my bingo card a few days ago. Anyway, I won the bingo challenge! They randomly drew one entrant for a $20 Amazon gift card, and they picked mine! Yay!!
  5. What a rollercoaster! I was so excited to go to a cider mill tomorrow, but then  I found out the kids' play are has an admission fee of $10 - $12. Too rich for my blood this weekend. I'd rather enjoy the cider and donuts, and I can't afford both on my play budget for this weekend. So grateful we have a lil cider mill branch right by our house so I can just stop in and get the yummies!
  6. Tonight is pizza and a movie night. Except there are no Redbox movies that I really want to see, so we'll just find something on Netflix or whatever. But the Hungry Howie's pizza is non-negotiable. I'm getting BBQ Chicken pizza today. I alternate between that or mushroom and bacon. 
  7. I have got to sit down with Jack and do thank-you cards this weekend! I got him really nice fill in the blank ones at Paper Source, but I need to address the envelopes and supervise what to write. Time to buckle down and do it. With fun breaks, of course.
  8. Coming soon - I have yet to post about the books I read in September! I'll try and finish that up soon - it was only three books (guess this is a clear indicator that I'm back to work!).
  9. Baton competition season is coming in fast! Our first competition is next weekend (October 21), with entry already due for the next one (States, on November 10) and then one in early December due in a couple weeks. I love watching my daughter's mad skillz and how much she enjoys competing.
  10. I hope you are having a fabulous fall weekend!

11 October 2018

Thankful Thursday

I'm joining Knit By God's Hand today for Thankful Thursday.

I am grateful lately for all my extra work hours! See, I am only officially employed for 10 hours/week. That's 2 hours/day. Because really, that's all I want to commit to. But since school started last month, I've been needed at other buildings for more hours. And those extra hours mean extra pay, which is really helping out as we get caught up on the autumn and back-to-school expenses.

I am thankful to my son for letting me play Plants vs Zombies on his new iPad. I earned my first iPad back when I was a consultant with Dove Chocolate Discoveries (now known as The Cocoa Exchange). Plants vs Zombies was my favorite game, and I played it all the way through to the end. Now most of the game is the same, but there's a lot of ads and 'extra games' (which you earn by doing things like watching ads). So I skip all the new ads stuff and play my game again. Thanks, Jack!

I can't mention that game with out also appreciating my Tiny Tower game on my phone. Some may consider it a sad day when my biggest accomplishment feels like it was building a floor on my Tiny Tower, but sometimes that kind of day just needs any victory I can find!

I'm also grateful for my two delightful children who still enjoy spending time with me as much as I enjoy spending time with them. Today's Jack-ism - "Someone should tape a traffic cone to my head so I can be a unicorn." Better yet? It's the very first thing he said this morning, before he even opened his eyes.

Last but certainly not least, I am so thankful for the good health my family and I enjoy. Each day we wake up refreshed and ready to tackle what we have to tackle that day.

What are you thankful for this week?

10 October 2018

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

Yeah - no catchy title for this post. I just saw a great post on The Badass Breastfeeder on Facebook that reminded me October is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.

I started scrolling through the pictures of the women and their stories, and I won't lie - I got too sad to keep scrolling. It's just heartbreaking to see some of their stories. And my emotions can only review so much heartbreak in one sitting.

Statistics say that one in four women will experience a pregnancy or infant loss. I don't know whether to say it's 'good' news, but I'm surprised that statistic isn't higher. It seems like any time it comes up in conversation, I hear so many, "It happened to me," comments that I expected it to be even more than one in four. Because I lost two pregnancies, and that means at least three friends should have no idea what that's like, right?

I'd heard years ago that miscarriages are more prevalant now than years ago. I wondered at the time if they're actually more prevalant, or is it just the fact that pregnancy is detected faster than ever? In my case, I had a loss at around 10 weeks, and another at just a few weeks. If we weren't trying to get pregnant, I wouldn't have been peeing on a stick to test so often the second time. If I hadn't even known I was actually pregnant, I just would have been late, right? So that one was a little sad, but I hadn't really settled into the idea that I was pregnant again yet. It made it easier to move on.

Hey - if you want to keep reading my story, here it is. But it gets kind of gross. You've been warned. 

To backtrack to the first loss, though, it was a bit more of an experience. My Maggie (who is now 11 years old) was two-years-old at the time. I was pregnant again and we were thrilled. I hit the ten-week mark a few days before we were leaving for a Disneyworld trip, so we headed to the same midwife who had delivered Maggie to see if we could hear the heartbeat. She checked several times, and had me moving around to get different angles, but we couldn't find it. But I measured about where I should, and she reassued me that not finding the heartbeat didn't mean anything bad - we scheduled another appointment for after our trip, and headed on our way.

Just before we arrived in Florida (we were riding along in my parents' RV), I started spotting. The first time I just tried to shrug it off, but we stopped for some pantyliners at the next drug store. As it kept up for a few days, I tried to call the midwife, but she was at a delivery out of the country and unavailable. I'm a very practical person, so I just went with the thought that whatever was happening, was happening. I didn't want to ruin my family's vacation at the hospital, and I knew there wasn't much they'd do if I was miscarrying so early. I enjoyed the trip as best I could, while following the pregnant lady rules (no rollercoasters or thrill rides).

Since you already know the theme of this post, let's just fast forward and know that I no longer had a viable pregnancy. I wish it was really that easy. I spent all summer bleeding, sometimes spotting, sometimes too heavy to leave the house. Finally, after an all day trip to Indianapolis, I passed a hunk of yuck. Like, a chicken-breast size mass of tissue. I know, icky. Sorry. I figured the worst was finally done, although the doctor had finally scheduled me for a D&C in a few days. I'd be cleaned out and ready to start fresh.

My body had other plans that night. I woke up around 2am or so, in a bed soaked in blood. I called my doctor's emergency line. He said if I was conscious, I should go to the hospital 10 - 15 minutes away that already had my records ready for the D&C. If I lost consciousness, hubs should take me to the closest hospital. Alrighty then.

I arrived safely at the hospital I wanted to be at. We pulled up to the emergency entrance and I told the guard who came out to meet us that I was having uterine hemmorhage. He brought a wheelchair and got me to a triage room. I will never forget the kind empathy of the nurse who helped me there. She helped me onto the table and out of my pants. Then she chatted with me while she took my vitals (blood pressure was 60/40 by now), and then actually picked clots out of the mess between my legs. Bless her. If I recall correctly, I did bring them a basket of goodies the next week.

I vaguely remember chatting with the doctor when she arrived after reportedly running several nearby red lights (thanks!). I told her I was still breastfeeding my oldest and would prefer not to receive any blood products. She looked at me like I was crazy, but said she'd do her best.

For a very traumatic experience, recounting it actually doesn't really stress me out. The employees at the facility treated me wonderfully and respectfully. All of my wishes were met (well, except for the one about still being pregnant...). Everyone I met there did their utmost to treat me how I wanted to be treated, and I will forever be grateful that I didn't have anything else unpleasant to deal with, besides what my own body was dishing out.

That miscarriage experience is what made my second miscarriage, after just a few weeks of pregnancy later that year, seem like no more than a blip on the radar.

Happy Ending

They say that babies who aren't born become 'angel babies' and wait for the next pregnancy. When Jack was finally born a couple years later, we always said he looked like a grumpy old man. If he had been the angel baby waiting through the last two pregnancies, that meant he was just watching us for almost two years. No wonder he was grumpy.

06 October 2018

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween - My Review

My daughter and I were lucky enough to win passes to see Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween this morning at the Rochester Hills Emagine theater. I'll have to start this review off by saying, "OMG - those seats!!!" We'd never been to this particular theater before, and we both LOVED the super-comfy recliners. There are buttons on the side of each and every seat that control how far it reclines, and how far you want the foot rest up. Plus nice big cupholders on both sides. So, so fabulous.

Now that that's out of the way - what about Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween? We really enjoyed it! It was definitely a kids' halloween movie. The content was not too adult for kids, and the romance was so super minimal that it was hardly noticeable. The scares may have been a bit much for my seven-year-old though. But that's why they rated it for PG - parental guidance, right? There were a few good jump-scares that I'm not sure how he would respond too. And things coming to life that aren't supposed to is kind of a classic childhood fear I'm hoping he can avoid. LOL

I loved Jack Black's character, although he didn't seem really pertinent to the plot - most of the movie was totally fine without him, but I was happy to see him on screen anyway. In my IMDB research after the fact, I was amused to find out Madison Iseman - the older sister (Sarah) in Goosebumps 2 was also the teen girl in the 'real life' part of the newest Jumanji. I just enjoy trivia stuff like that.

Overall, I'd give this 3.5 out of 5 stars. I'm hoping we can find the first Goosebumps movie online somewhere for tonight, as my daughter said she enjoyed the first one better than this second one.

05 October 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. What a day. It's cold and damp and dreary. But Jack's Warrior Dash was today at school. It's their biggest fundraiser of the year, so I'm happy I was able to leave my subbing job early to help out, and watch Jack enjoy the event!
  2. Twenty-seven years today. 27 years since my best friend from high school took her own life. I thought I'd be up to talking about all the things she's missing - not from my life, but that she'll never have. But it's still too much. I thought I'd written about the general story before, and found this post. An older post than I expected, so I may have written another time, but I just don't feel like looking more. 
  3. Which brings me in a circle. One of the girls at the middle school where I was subbing yesterday started crying. She said it had just been a really rough day. I comforted her as best I could, but then I just could not get her off my mind. Luckily she was back and more like herself today, but I just worry. You never really know what someone is going through, you know?
  4. Maggie and I get to go see Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween tomorrow! I love spending some time with my daughter, and I enjoy Halloween, so I'm sure we'll have a fun time. Thanks so much to Yes/No Detroit, where we won the tickets!
  5. Such a quandry - I love fall, but I'm not a big fan of this cooler weather...hmm....
  6. I think there will be more awesome Smartwool socks on my wish list this year. My feet are already a little chilly.
  7. Which pizza do you like better? At the middle school we were serving Little Caesars, but I purposely waited to eat when I got back to the elementary school for Jet's. I like the sauce better, and the whole piece of pizza is just more substantial. I really like Jet's veggie pizza, but had to stick with the pepperoni this time. Corner pieces, obviously.
  8. How could I forget - it's also cider mill season!! We're so lucky to have a branch of a cider mill in a mall near our house. While it's not the same, it's also spoiled me by being able to get cider and donuts fresh all summer long!
  9. But really - welcome to Friday! We missed last week, but this week we're back to open swim with the kids :) Maggie went straight to a friend's house after school, and we're picking her up there on our way. Hubby even said I can swim tonight! (Jack usually says I'm not allowed... :( )
  10. Hope you're planning another great week! Welcome to fall - it's time to put up Halloween decorations and get out the sweaters and boots - yay!!

01 October 2018

Happy 7th Birthday Jack!!

So my baby is 7!!

Jack is so smart, and funny, and quirky, and true to himself. No one can tell Jack who he is or what he likes - he already knows. For a while last year, he thought he may have outgrown Thomas the Train - his favorite of many years! But summer break rekindled his love, and trains have taken over our house once again.

Jack has so many friends. He loves seeing familiar faces from last year and the year before, and reconnects like no time has passed. And he wants to be included in everyone else's friendships too - Maggie's friends and my friends become his friends as well in no time at all.

Jack's compassion has been known for far too long. Although it wasn't in the most recent year, he loves to recount the story of when he 'rescued the baby mice' (cracked open all the eggs in the refrigerator!).

I also love that Jack is so grateful for everything! He is constantly thanking people for things from gifts, to thoughtful words and gestures, to thanking his father and I just for feeding him - hahaha...

I'm so blessed and lucky at the caring, loving, funny boy Jack is growing into. Every day is a new adventure, and I'm so happy to be sharing it with him.