Tuesday, March 20, 2018


The end of last year and the first of this year were pretty hard financially.  It felt like we were just hit by one thing after another after another.  "Uncle!"  Felt like I couldn't catch a break!  Well, consider the break caught-en.  (That's sort of a Bring it On  reference for ya there!)

Nearly two years ago, I had a blow-out on a tire.  I'm the first to admit that I'm not great at adulting especially when it comes to car stuff.  My ex-husband had all the info on my tires . . .  where they were bought, who installed them, etc, whereas I didn't have a clue.  I tried to get in touch with him to find out the info on the tires and couldn't.  So I ended up going to Sears and buying a whole new tire. 

Fast forward to now.  I jumped in my car Sunday afternoon and a message popped up: low tire.  So low, in fact, that while my right front tire was at 38, the back tire was at . . . six.  Get this though: only one of my tires came from Sears.  Only one had road hazard protection on it.  And it was that tire!  Patching a tire wouldn't have been a huge expense but still it was one of those things . . . like, FINALLY!  Something positive!


I posted this on IG but I also wanted to post it here.

Mark decided to work from home yesterday to help me get the tire fixed (see: bad at adulting, especially when it comes to cars) and so I wouldn't be stuck sitting in Sears for an hour and a half.  We used the time to make a Sam's run.  When we came out, we saw an older gentleman who - ironically enough - was trying to fix a flat in the rain.  Mark grabbed the umbrella from the trunk and went over.  "I'll just hold the umbrella for him."

I looked over and saw this:

That's the man holding the umbrella while Mark changes his tire.  This is the picture of a good man.

I'm so proud he's mine - and sometimes I can't believe he is!  He is so, so good.  His mama raised him right and I'm only hoping we're raising our boys to be and do the same.  He's the best.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Nary a Green Beer in Sight

Last week was Spring Break.  It was:

a) nice because we could sleep in
b) not-so-nice because the kids were home all.the.time.

Andplusalso, Mark was in Guntersville, Alabama, for work so I was flying solo and the kids and I were together 24/7 and we hosted a couple of sleepovers.  Suffice to say, by Thursday I was SO OVER all those kids! 

J and the K's went with their dad Friday afternoon and, that night, Mark gave me the greatest gift: the house to myself!  He took the other two to see Black Panther and I enjoyed having he house all to myself on a Friday night.  AKA things that never happen.

Saturday morning we got up and ready for the first track meet of the season!

The Girl was running the 100 meter and I realize you can't really see her in this picture . . .

That's because she and her friend were literally neck-and-neck.  It was a photo finish!

She ended up placing sixth out of, like, 50+ elementary school girls. Hello, awesome!

J also ran the 100 meter and totally smoked the other kids in his heat.  Air J:

He placed fourth out of 50+ boys because, yeah, our kids rock.  They don't get it from me but I can still brag because I  made one of 'em and I take both of 'em to their practices.  Let me get my mom brag on!

They are both trying field events for the first time this year -- long jump for J and high jump for the Girl.  I don't have any pics of the high jump because it happened the same time as the long jump so we had to divide and conquer.

Neither of them did great in their field event but you know what?  It was the first time EVER for them to try their events and I was so happy they just went out there and TRIED.  They will get it in time and sometimes it's good to get a little dose of humility when you're smoking everyone on the track . . . I'm just sayin.  ;)

One last mom brag: When J was doing the long jump, I noticed a couple things.  He was high fiving and "good luck"-ing another boy in his heat.  I was talking to that boy's mom later and she told me she recognized J from football.  That made me proud of my kid but wanna know what made me even prouder?  Her kid - the one J was high fiving - was basically the king of the football field last season.  And rather than being jealous of him or wishing him ill, J was showing good sportsmanship.  So proud!

We did the whole responsible parent thing the first half of Saturday so for the latter half . . . it was things like this:

Nothing says St. Patrick's Day like Mexican food and margaritas so Russell met us at Happy Mexican and we had too.much.fun.  'Twas also a much needed night out for me because, you know, tired of kids and all that.  Also.  Mark and I both got a light sunburn at the track meet - he on his face and me on my arms - so I told him we needed to celebrate the Irish in us.  Even if it was with nachos and fish tacos!

We weren't ready to go home after leaving Happy Mexican.  The weather was so great and we really just wanted a patio.  We went to a steakhouse close to home for drinks and bread pudding dessert.

It was such a fun night!  We don't really even have to do anything.  I just love time with my guy.

We were home in time to watch Michigan beat Houston with a buzzer-beater and, OMG, does anyone have an intact bracket left?  I had Virginia making it to the finals, Mark had Michigan State winning the whole damn thing, and I also had Tennessee, Houston, North Carolina, and Cinci making it further than they did.  But OF COURSE Kentucky is still hanging on.  *All the eye rolls*

Great weekend that - hopefully - is going to be the catalyst to a great week!  My batteries are recharged and I'm ready for that downhill slide to summer break!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Books 2018: Shari Lapena and Nancy Thayer

It's Spring Break!  We've been very lazy, doing a lot of sleeping in, and having a lot of sleepovers.  I'm also trying to do a lot of reading for pleasure to get me back into gear for the remainder of the school year.  Here are reviews of a couple recent books.

The Couple Next Door
Shari Lapena

It all started at a dinner party. . .
A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.  (Goodreads description)

I gave this book four stars on Goodreads.  It's definitely a thriller that keeps you guessing.  I thought I had the story all figured out (and I was half right!) then Lapena went and threw in another shocker.  None of the characters are particularly likeable -- from the couple with the missing baby to their neighbor's next door to Ann's parents to the investigator on the case.  If it weren't for something so serious - a missing baby! - you kinda wouldn't even care what happens to them.  It is a page-turner and thriller, though, and you'll find yourself wanting to know just what happened and why.

The Island House
Nancy Thayer

Courtney Hendricks will never forget the magical summers she spent on Nantucket with her college roommate, Robin Vickerey, and Robin's charismatic, turbulent, larger-than-life family, in their gorgeous island house. Now a college English professor in Kansas City, Courtney is determined to experience one more summer in this sun-swept paradise. Her reason for going is personal: Courtney needs to know whether Robin's brother James shares the feelings she's secretly had for him.

Time with the Vickerey family always involves love and laughter, and this season is no different. Vivacious matriarch Susanna Vickerey is celebrating her sixtieth birthday, but beneath the merriment, trouble is brewing. The family patriarch, Dr. Alastair Vickerey, is quiet and detached, while unspoken tension looms over oldest son Henry, a respected young surgeon. Warm and witty Robin, the most grounded of the siblings, is keeping a secret from her parents. Iris, the colorful baby of the brood, remains rudderless and in need of guidance. And the sexy, stunningly handsome, untouchable James--to Courtney's dismay--may be in love with a beautiful and vibrant local artist. As the summer unfolds, a crisis escalates, surprising truths are revealed, and Courtney will at last find out where her heart and her future lie.
Weaving the trials and uncertainty of real life into a tapestry of passion, hope, and courage, The Island House is a beautifully told story about the ties that bind us--and how the blessings of love and family heal us in ways we never dream possible. (Goodreads description)

I hated this book.  I hated it so much.  I would have given it negative stars if such were available on Goodreads.  I was a third of the way through it when I considered sending it to the good old "did not finish" shelf when I realized it was PRIME snarking material. 

I have long considered Nancy Thayer to be the poor man's Elin Hilberbrand.  Reading her books are like drinking generic soda: you get the general idea but it's way off from the actual product.  And sometimes you find a flavor that's better than others.  In this case?  Flavor was not better.  Worst flavor ever.  Like ordering a Coke at a restaurant and someone bringing you not just a Pepsi but a GENERIC Pepsi.  I liked the description of this book so dove into it hoping it would be more knock off orange soda and less knock off Coca-Cola.  How wrong I was.  HOW.WRONG.I.WAS.  The description is NOTHING like the book including the reason Courtney is going to Nantucket.  She already KNOWS James' feelings for her  He's just a spoiled machild that has to have his way and well . . .

We're going to get spoiler-y from here on out.  Not that it matters because you shouldn't waste your time reading this book but, I don't know, if you're into self-torture then stop reading, k?  This book deals with mental illness - to be specific, Bipolar Disorder, and does an absolute HORRIFIC job of representing mental illness.  I have a family history of BPD and a majority of the book just made me feel so icky.  I honestly wonder if Nancy Thayer has any real experience at all with mental illness because, holy stereotypes! with a side of wow, gross.

The main female characters in the book - Courtney and Robin - are simpering and stupid.  They're not likeable and, if I'm being completely honest, at the end of the book I was hoping Robin would get her boat overturned and she'd drown (yes, I really just said that) just to throw in a little excitement. 

The best thing about the book was the author's "playlist" at the end of the book.  It mentions several country songs that I love but, funny enough, the entire book came about due to Blake Shelton's "Boys Round Here" which is a song I absolutely hate.  So, yeah.  Hate.

One star.  Would give it even less if I could.  Don't waste your time.  Do better, Nancy Thayer!