2018 Popsugar Reading Challenge

I don’t really make it a secret that I love reading. Every year I try to do the Popsugar Challenge and fail, so this year I decided to pick out all my books before the new year even started. I also made a point to pick mostly from books I already own. There are a few I will get from the library. Below are the topics, and my choices!

  1. A Book made into a movie you’ve already seen: Me Before You – Jojo Moyes (Normally I try to read the book before the movie, but that didn’t happen in this case. Also when I see the movie before reading it, I often have trouble reading the book. This topic may be a little hard for me.)
  2. True Crime: After the Eclipse – Sarah Perry (Or Columbine – Dave Cullen)
  3. The Next Book in a Series You Started: Beautiful Darkness: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  4. A Book Involving a Heist: Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
  5. Nordic Noir: The Snowman – Jo Nesbo
  6. A Novel Based on a Real Person: My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand
  7. A Book Set in a Country that Fascinates You: Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter
  8.  A Book with a Time of Day in the Title: Emma in the Night – Wendy Walker
  9. A Book About a Villain or Antihero: Heartless – Marissa Meyer
  10. A About Death or Grief: Squid’s Grief – DK Mok
  11. A Book with a Female Author Who Uses a Male Pseudonym:  If J.K. Rowling releases her new Comoran Strike book I will do that one, but if not I will do Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
  12. A Book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist: Simon Vs. the Homosapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli (bonus this is going to be a movie next year)
  13. A Book that is also a Stage Play or Musical:  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Original Screenplay) – J.K. Rowling
  14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you: Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
  15. A book about feminism: Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu
  16. A book about mental health: The Impossible Knife of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson
  17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift: The Circle – Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg/ Lost in Austen: Create your own Jane Austen Adventure – Emma Campbell (these were both given to me as gifts from my Swedish relative.)
  18. A book by two authors: The Royal We – Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
  19. A book involving a sport: Beartown – Fredrik Backman
  20. A book by a local author: The Chemist – Stephanie Meyer
  21. A book with your favorite color in the title: The Mystery of the Blue Train – Agatha Christie/Court of Thorn and Roses – Sarah J. Maas
  22. A book with alliteration in the title: Maniac Magee – Jerry Spinelli
  23. A book about time travel: Drums of Autumn(4rth Outlander book) – Diana Gabaldon
  24. A book with a weather element in the title: The Winter Sea – Susanna Kearsley
  25. A book set at sea: The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware
  26. A book with an animal in the title: The Magician’s Elephant – Kate DiCamillo
  27. A book set on a different planet: The Sparrow – Susanna Kearsley
  28. A Book with a song lyrics in the title: The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  29. A book about or set on Halloween: Something Wicked This Way Comes or The Halloween Tree both by Ray Bradbury
  30. A book with characters who are twins: Sisterland – Curtis Sittenfeld
  31. A book mentioned in another book: I don’t have this one picked out yet, as I’m going to just pick one from one of the books I read along the way.
  32. A book from a celebrity book club: I believe I’m going to do the Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, however I’m going to wait a little bit and see what else Reese Witherspoon picks.(Or possibly Emma Watson)
  33. A childhood classic you’ve never read: Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls or The Book of Three – Lloyd Alexander or the Betsy Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace
  34. A book thats published in 2018: I’m also waiting to pick this later in the year.
  35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards Winner: Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
  36. A book set in the decade you were born in: The Marriage Plot – Jeffrey Eugenides
  37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn’t get to: Also left open for choice.
  38. A book with an ugly cover: I kind of had trouble with this one as if it’s ugly I tend to pass it by. I chose one that was just sort of boring instead. So I picked Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.
  39. A book that involves a bookstore or library: The Bookshop on the Corner – Jenny Colgan
  40. Your favorite prompt from the 2015,2016 or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: I chose a book of short stories from the 2015 Reading Challenge – Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

I haven’t decided if I will do the advanced yet mostly because I want leave open books for my bookclub, and if anything comes out that I want to read or if I want to reread anything!

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Just Listen

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I had an epiphany about my four year old son last night. He was over tired, and over sugared, because you know it was Halloween. Around bed time he started to throw a tantrum because he did not want to go to bed. He lost any bedtime privileges and was sent immediately to his room. Then he really started crying, but it wasn’t an angry cry. It was a sad confused cry, and my instincts kicked in that what he needed was to be comforted, not to be disciplined. I’m not saying this is what you should always do. There are definitely times when a tantrum should not be tolerated or given into. I wasn’t giving into him either. He was still going to bed, because IT WAS bed time.

I walked in, and found him rocking himself on the glider that is in his room, he was bawling. It was loud, and the kind of crying that makes me want to hide under a blanket in a closet somewhere. I told myself that I could do this, and so I sat down on his bed. I didn’t say anything. I just waited, and looked at him. He finally calmed himself down, but then started up again. Except this time he got up and threw himself into my lap. He wrapped his arms around me, and put his little head on my shoulder.  I continued not to say anything, and just wrapped my arms around him, and rocked him. He finally calmed down, and asked me where his daddy was. I told him he had gone to bed, and he didn’t say anything more. He ended up putting his head back on my shoulder, and then was out within minutes.

All this to say I’m glad I trusted my instincts. He was just overwhelmed with all the festivities that Halloween had brought that day, including school.

So my epiphany; it was that sometimes you don’t say anything, especially when you’re angry. Sometimes you have to put your big girl pants on, and realize you’re dealing with a little person. That’s full of feelings that they don’t quite know how to deal with. So sometimes you go in, and you wait for them to calm down. Then you listen to them, and you comfort them.

You just love them.

 

Life is Fleeting, Learn to Love It

After losing my father to his battle with cancer I felt; Anger, sadness, and denial. Even now I can be struck with any of these feelings at random. It’s little reminders like pictures, or notes or just passing memories.

My father wouldn’t want me to feel this way. There it is, the reality of the situation. This thought struck me with an immediate weight lift. It surprised me that I felt that way.

One of my last conversations with him he said “You’ll be alright, I know you will”. I was crying when he told me this. It was then that I knew that he really was dying. This new normal was a hard fact to swallow, and I didn’t for one second believe that I would be alright without my father in my life.

It’s very hard to be sitting with a person that you thought was invincible. Maybe you even tricked yourself into thinking that he or she was immortal, and realize that it’s not true. Death is not a thing that could happen to them.

Death is not a lesson you want to learn about, but it is inevitable. My father dying was my first real blow in how tangible and fragile life can be. So of course I let myself fall into depression and anger. It was easier to be there then it was to feel happy. I evolved into a different person.

There’s no time line on mourning but now I realize that I want to live my life the way he would have wanted me to. He would want me to wake up each day with the belief that it will be a good day. He would want me to go to bed after a truly horrible day, and say “It is what it is, but there’s always a new day tomorrow.”

He would want me to be happy whenever I remembered anything about him. He would want me to cry happy tears, because the memories were fleeting thoughts that put a smile on my face. He would not want me to be sad.

He would want me to be less angry. He’d want me to notice the little things in life that make it all worth it. The little things that make you wake up each day and say “Yes this life is worth living,”

He’d want me to love the people I still have in my life, and to reach out to them. To do little things for them every single day to show I care. He’d want me to teach my son independence, and good morals. He’d also probably want me to teach my son about cars, and be a good handyman but that last one is going to fall upon others shoulders.

He’d want me to love Zack fiercely every single day, to be thankful for him every single day. I believe my father knew I was going to be OK because of the people that I was led to in my life, the family and friends I have. He knew was I going to be OK way before i knew it myself.

Now when I think of him or am reminded of him I will strive to be happy for the time that was given to me with him, and not angry about the time that I lost.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us..” – Gandalf (Lord of the Rings)

 

 

Canvas, Unfinished

All,
My,
Life.

I’ve felt awkward.

Even at thirty-five,
I still feel unpolished.

I don’t belong in my skin.
Someone calls me beautiful,
on a regular basis.
My son still sees me,
Through innocent eyes.

An unfinished canvas.

To me though,
My mind,
My soul,
My body,
feels ungraceful.

There’s still work to do.

I’m stumbling,
Along.
Still,
Living,
My Life,
In awkwardness.

January Reads

  1. Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick
  2. Carry On Warrior – Glennon Doyle Melto
  3. Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
  4. The Creeping – Alexandra Sirowy
  5. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  6. Wonder – R.J. Palacio
  7. Cream Puff Murder – JoAnne Fluke (audiobook/reread)
  8. Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden – M.C. Beaton (audiobook)

 

I read a lot of nonfiction this month, which isn’t my usual go to books. I prefer fiction. My favorite of those was Shonda Rhimes book. I’m an introvert like her, and like her i always find no easier to say then yes. The book just really resonated in me, and gave me the lift I needed to start finding my own way. My least favorite was In Cold Blood, which I found the book to be really interesting to read it was just a little slow for me. Also the descriptions in the beginning were unnerving since this book was a true crime book.

I loved Wonder, there were times when it was heart breaking, and other times where it made me smile. The ending was my favorite. I felt pretty meh about The Creeping. There were definitly times where it was pretty creepy. At one point I was reading it in the dark with my book light since everyone else was asleep. I was pretty creeped out by it and had to put it down until the morning. The reason it fell short for me was because of the ending. It felt way to obvious through most of the book on where it was going. The other fact of Stella’s not really having any present parental units is just way to convenient of a plot line. I’m pretty tired of that. I also couldn’t stand her best friend Zoe, but I guess she wasn’t really meant to be all that likeable.

I listened to two audiobooks this month. I usually listen to them to go to bed at night so I like to listen to cozy murder mysteries or books that are fluff. I’ve already read all the Hannah Swensen books, and they’re full of fluff, and perfect for me to fall asleep too. I listen more now for the stories of the characters then the actual mystery part. The other book I listened to was the 9th book in the Agatha Raisin series. It was as usual funny, and better at the mystery telling part.

I’ve started Where’d you Go Bernadette, but this month I’ve been kind of tired from reading. I watched the entire first season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend instead. I LOVED that show, and i can’t wait for season two to show up on February 11.

That’s it for now.

How I Feel About Being a Stay At Home Mom

I read a lot of articles and satire articles about what it’s like to be a stay at home mom. I am one so therefore I relate to them. 

They are often about how it’s tiring and rewarding all at the same time. That 4PM is kind of an evil hour, and it’s a “please bring me some wine hour”. I don’t really like wine unless it’s Rosé. If the day has been kind of bad then I’m more of a “please bring me some Red’s Apple ale, or Rum and Coke.” More likely though I’ll just beg to check out early, and go to bed at 7:30 PM. I’m always happy when my husband walks through the door regardless of how the day went though, probably a little bit more on bad days.

Then this morning I was lying in bed dozing before I actually had to get up. It’s that magic hour where everything is quiet, and I don’t have to quite get myself going. As I was lying there I suddenly thought to myself, “I like being home.” I’ve always liked being home. It’s something a lot of people don’t understand. I don’t actually care if I don’t make it out the door on some days. I don’t feel crazy if I don’t talk to an adult until almost 6pm.

If I weren’t a stay at home Mom I’d still want a job where I had to do very little interacting. In fact the job I had before I had my son I spent most of it behind a computer monitor, and most of my conversations were via email. I wasn’t fond of that job, but I liked that I had very little interaction with the public. It was all interoffice, and I absolutely loved my coworkers. I was good at it too, and so that also made me feel good about it. At the end of the day though, I’d rather be at home in my pajamas.

.There are days where I am running around doing errands, going to the gym, house chores, playing with my kid, and sometimes I’m just present with him. I always shower at night, and so I don’t fall into the non-showering spectrum of being a stay at home mom. Then there are those days where I really do watch TV all day because I’m exhausted.

I like being a stay at home mom. It’s hard. I complain a lot. Especially when my kid has turned into a threenager in more ways then one. (I.E. the power struggle with a toddler is real.) It is tough. Some days end in crying. Some days as I said before end early and I go to bed at 7:30 because I can’t imagine facing the day any more. Some days can be wonderful. Some days are full of good conversation. They are full of laughter, and end with a good book, movie or This Is Us. I write all the different kinds of days down in my journal. It’s good to have the bad so you can appreciate the good. It helps to see what you can truly be grateful for.

If I were to really get down to the nitty gritty of it all, being home is easier on me for my generalized anxiety disorder. I knew a long time ago I wanted to be a stay at home mom if it was ever going to be possible. It is hard to be a mom with anxiety and some times depression. I’ve learned how to function with it, but it can still be hard.

I tried working part time while being a mom, and I found I was more stressed and anxious.  It wasn’t greener on the other side for me. I felt like I was missing things with my just turned one year old. He was learning so much, and I wanted to be there.  So we made the decision that I would go back to being home with him. It was the best decision I ever made for myself. I wouldn’t change it.

I don’t just like being a stay home mom. I love it, even with all the hardships that come along with it.

Building Up

If I were being honest, aside from my family*, I often feel lonely. Sometimes even alone.

I have friends. I get to see them sometimes. I know they care and love me, but as you get older every day life begins to happen. We’re not always in the same place in life, and we struggle with things differently. I Know I can talk to them at any time, but thing is…

The thing IS;

Well back when I first had my son I was fine. I was happy. I loved being his mama. It was my world. I didn’t know. I didn’t know there was a whole outside to this little world that I was acquainted with.

Back then the worst thing would have been spilling my large Diet Coke from McDonald’s. I probably would have cried, ok exaggerating here. I wouldn’t have cried, but it sure would have made the day feel sour.

Now when I spill it, I see it as a thing. I see it as something that while I’m annoyed about, I am just numb to it. I say oh shit, and then clean it up, and hope my kid doesn’t start running around saying “oh shit”. I’m a little sad because I only have half of it left, but it doesn’t matter

I’ve lost far greater things.

Of course I texted a couple people about the incident, but not because I was upset about it. I texted them because I actually thought to myself and saw it happening as I was walking in holding it in a precarious manner. I didn’t spill it in the way I visualized. I spilled it in a completely different way. I said to My son”well that was weird”.

He laughed. I laughed, and said “see we all spill things sometimes, even mama.” Then I cleaned it up and was annoyed because uh it was soda from McDonald’s. They have the most delicious soda ever.

But I brushed it off, because I’ve felt worse.

I don’t mean to take away from anyone that doesn’t know what I’m talking about. I can’t degrade anyone’s pain. We are all struggling with something some days. It’s just some days I feel awfully lonely. I struggle.

I struggle because even though I know I have people that care about what happens to me, but I am still genuinely afraid of rejection.

I’m afraid to ask to make plans. I’d  blame it on being an introvert, but also I just get anxious about everything.

I know a lot of this is my fault. I closed in on myself. I didn’t want to care. I wanted to take an eternal nap, or watch every single episode of The Middle in an entire week.

I’m trying now though, taking baby steps, and they frighten me. I feel lonely. I don’t know how to begin to try again. I don’t know where I stand

I just have to keep building up again.

*the one I grew up with, and the one I married in to.