Six Years Ago

This time six years ago I was having lunch by myself at Applebee’s. I had just left my final doctor appointment with T before Stella arrived. She was a week overdue. That morning the doctor explained they wanted me back at the hospital later that afternoon. They would do something to see if the baby would come on it’s own, if nothing happened overnight they would induce me the next day, June 9th, my 30th birthday. What a bunch of emotions I was having as I sat there by myself. T had to go back to work to wrap things up as it was year end. It was the spring where it was hotter than normal, this made me extra uncomfortable. I was ready to have a baby, we didn’t know if it would be a Stella or an Everette. We were excited to find out, but things were about to change.

That evening we ate licorice, played cribbage and watched the Twins as nurses came and went. I hardly slept. Too excited and nervous. All I remember of the day, my 30th birthday, was showering up, the uncomfortable epidural, and then rolling from side to side. I really don’t remember the contractions, I feel like I was in a fog all day. I do remember just wondering when “it was going to happen”. As we were nearing the end of the night, I remember the nurse saying I had finally dilated enough to get excited…and then they checked again and they realized they were wrong. I distinctly recall the disappointment. I then got sick to my stomach and pretty much ended up in the operating room for a c-section. One of the nurses had really cool shoes on and for some reason I remembered this, even to the point where I recalled her when she came into the clinic where I worked months later. Leave it to me to remember something like that. *smile* They told me it was a girl, she finally arrived and appeared to be healthy. T got to go be with her. I went to recover and felt like I passed out. My birth story was not how I visioned it to be. I don’t know if many are. I didn’t have a birth plan per say, but I wished for the baby to come without being induced, and knew from my research that I would try for no epidural unless I was induced. Ideally, I just wanted us all to be healthy and have God surround us and our medical staff. Recovery was a little longer than expected, a few extra days in the hospital to make sure I was healthy and strong enough to go home. Here we are. Healthy, happy and blessed.

Friday Favorites: Dark Walls

Grabbed the Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home from the Bemidji Library. I am enjoying some interior design inspiration over a cup of coffee on this sunny morning. Makes me want to change up our home. It’s hard to think we have been in our home already six years. We have a few rooms to update for the first time before we redo some rooms. It doesn’t hurt to dream though!

There is something stunning and inviting about a room with dark walls. I have yet to try this in a space of my own but will some day. I love how it contrasts with the bright white trim in this Domino book. The neon pieces of furniture are fun pops of color. A person has to really love these bright colors to put the money into sofa and chairs of this magnitude, but how beautiful is this room! A person may not be able to find chairs and sofa like this in stores but they can be custom made.

A Bear & Her Cubs

So…we saw a bear on the way to work yesterday morning by my house. It was in the middle of the road and hopped into the brush as we drove closer to it. So I know they are around our “neighborhood” yet. A friend and I decided to go for a walk tonight. We decide to not grab our phones, literally talked about the bears we hear are still around, and go on our merry way. It was a pleasant walk. Great company. Beautiful view. No bugs. Perfect temperature. On the way back, not a mile from my house, just up the road from where we are walking a momma bear crosses the road…and so do 4 cubs! I would not say we panicked, but we definitely didn’t know what to do. Do we walk back to the house we just passed and ask to use their phone? Do we continue on our walk? Do we run? No! We don’t run, that’s totally what one doesn’t do when they see bear, right!?!? Or…not!?!? We start to walk. We pass some horses and they don’t seem to be “normal”. Are they trying to tell us something? We hear something. We stop. We finally see a car. We feel better. I hear something else. It’s a pileated woodpecker. We walk more. We hear something else. We see a deer. We see another car, and another. *sigh, we are ok* We decide to run…not our intention for the evening, but yeah, we want to see our children. We want to see our happy, or whiney children…we just want to live to see our children. We keep looking behind us, no sign of the bear. We stop running. We are home. We survived. We may not go for a walk down that road again without the fear of seeing a bear and her cubs, and for sure, we won’t leave our phones behind again. Lesson learned. Next time, I hope we see more turtles!

Sweet Girl & Smart Girl Review

I have said it before and I will say it again and again. I get so sad when I finish reading some books. I long for more story and more detail. I am not ready for the characters to leave my world. These feelings are heightened after I read a series of books with the same characters. I finished Rachel Hollis’ second and third books of her series, Sweet Girl and Smart Girl. Just as I did with Party Girl, I was rooting for the main characters, Max and Miko (love the name by the way, I think I had a Barbie back in the day with that name). I found a piece of myself in each of them. Each character was a strong person dedicated to her dream and making it come true. That alone was enough inspiration for me to keep reading. Bring Landon, from Party Girl, back into the mix, I adore the friendship and truth they bring to each other’s lives. I am blessed to have friendships like this and couldn’t help thinking of my friends throughout the books. Factor in their love stories and you have strong chic lit books. I liked how Landon’s story continued throughout Sweet Girl and Smart Girl. I didn’t feel like I was left hanging so much with her and Max. Now Rachel Hollis, perhaps a fourth book is needed? The epilogue was not enough. “Girl” as Rachel (or Landon) would say, I need more!

Other series of books that I have enjoyed:

Nora Roberts:

Chesapeake Bay Saga

In The Garden Trilogy

The Bride Quartet

Inn Boonsboro Trilogy

Susan Wiggs:

Lakeshore Chronicles

Happiness Project: May Review

Be serious about play and leisure. That was my challenge for May. I was supposed to find more fun, take time to be silly, go off the path and start a collection. Oh goodness, most people would think this would be an easy month, but without looking ahead to the months to come, this may be the hardest. I like to think that I am fun to be around, but me being silly just doesn’t happen. I wish it was, I am in awe of people that are silly, like my sister, but it is a difficult task for me. Yes a task. I do have to take this time to pat myself on my back. We did have some unexpected and atypical hot temperatures for Bemidji for the month of May. We spent a day at a friend’s lake home. The girls had no problem jumping in the lake. A month prior it was pure ice, so you can maybe understand my reluctance to jump in after them. After an hour, I decided, what the heck, it is 90 degrees out, be the fun mom. Guess who had a lot of fun! Yep, that was me.

For the month I did try to focus on my free time and finding things to do that made me happy. For an example, T put up a fence last fall for a garden we wanted to make. It ended up bigger than we anticipated. I explained to him that it was added stress on me to have a garden that big. We scaled down the amount of things that were going to be planted. He brought in Stella’s help to plant the seeds and explained she was going to help water them each day. I love the idea of being organic and having our own garden, but the time I have available outside of family time and work is limited. I want to be able to work out, work on my blog, read books and just plain relax in the warm temperatures and sunshine. I made a mindful effort to not take on more than I can realistically and positively accomplish. I don’t like to be a failure. If I can’t do something well and up to my high standards, I don’t want to do it. It is added stress.

I am sure when Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project, said to go off of the beaten path she didn’t mean to stop doing something I love. She intended for me to seek something out that was out of my norm. I thought of something that I could try at the beginning of the month but couldn’t think of something new I was desiring. Before I knew it, the month was over *oops* I can share that I did end up not working out as much as I had the previous couple of months. Instead of my 6 day work outs/week I was like 3-4. Not bad, but I was feeling pretty good about the 6 day results. I also noticed that my anxiety/stress levels raised this month. Perhaps, the workouts were helping. Back to my dedicated workouts for June.

Starting a collection caught my attention, but along with starting a collection made me instantly think of clutter. Now, as I write this reflection, I think I could have thought of things that didn’t require clutter. I collect books and cookbooks. Those collections make me happy. I have always wanted to start a dream/motivation/inspiration board. That could have been my collection. It is never too late to start *smile*

Interested in finding out more about my Happiness Journey? Check out previous posts here:

January

February

March

April

Monday Meals: Iced Tea

Happy Memorial Day everyone! May you all enjoy this extra day off from work and please say your prayers and thanks to the veterans that have fought for our lovely country.

I won’t be sharing recipes for meals today, but I am on a iced tea kick since the temps increased so here are a couple I am loving. I tend to be a tea snob and like the “good stuff”. A couple of years ago I came across Argo Tea at Lueken’s in Bemidji. It was on sale and so I stocked up. The bottles alone were worth the money. Glass bottles with lime green caps. Completely reusable. After the sale ended I did some research on how to make tasty iced tea. Here are two recipes I feel I have perfected.

Green/Ginger Mix

8 cups water

10 green tea bags

1/2 cup sugar (or honey as I have used this year)

2 T cut up ginger

1 t vanilla

Splash of lemon juice

Boil water and remove from heat.

Place tea bags and ginger into pot of water and steep for 20 minutes.

Remove tea bags.

Stir in sugar or honey, vanilla and lemon juice.

Let cool completely.

Pour over ice or place in container and refrigerate.

Minty Mojitea

8 cups water

10 mint tea bags

1/2 cup sugar or honey

Splash of lime juice

Drop of peppermint essential oil (make sure it is a brand that you can consume- like Young Living)

Boil water and remove from heat.

Place tea bags into pot of water and steep for 20 minutes.

Remove tea bags.

Stir in sugar or honey, lime juice and oil.

Let cool completely.

Pour over ice or place in container and refrigerate.

Coffee and a Good Read- 2018

I am an avid reader. Here I will list the books I read during this year. I will provide a few words to describe my feelings of the stories told without giving away the book.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Unforgettable love. Inter-racial struggle. Ahead of the times. A must read.

https://www.target.com/p/calling-me-home-target-club-pick-jan-2014-paperback-signed-edition-by-julie-kibler/-/A-14850406?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=bing_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Entertainment%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Entertainment&LID=700000001230728pbs&network=s&device=m&querystring=calling%20me%20home%20book&gclid=[*GCLID*]&gclsrc=ds

Darker by E.L James

This is the 2nd book written through the eyes of Mr. Grey. Enlightening. Additional details. Further perspective.

https://www.target.com/p/darker-fifty-shades-darker-as-told-by-christian-paperback-e-l-james/-/A-53057835?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=bing_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Entertainment%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Entertainment&LID=700000001230728pbs&network=s&device=m&querystring=darker%20book&gclid=[*GCLID*]&gclsrc=ds

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffen

Something Blue by Emily Giffen

One does not have to read both books and it does not matter which one is read first.

Lovable characters. Chic Lit at its best. Why did it take me so long to read her books?

https://www.target.com/p/something-borrowed-reprint-paperback-by-emily-giffin/-/A-11338498#lnk=sametab

https://www.target.com/p/something-blue-reprint-paperback-by-emily-giffin/-/A-13305904#lnk=sametab

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

Held my breath. Not your typical Nicholas Sparks book. Suspenseful love. Root for the underdog.

https://www.target.com/p/see-me-hardcover-by-nicholas-sparks/-/A-49168470#lnk=sametab

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

Artistic writing. Hopeful. Why do his books not get old?

https://www.target.com/p/two-by-two-paperback-nicholas-sparks/-/A-53420456#lnk=sametab

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

This is the third book in the series. Me Before You was a tear jerker. After You was good but Still Me made me feel whole again. A great follow up to the second one as I was left feeling a bit disappointed.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This was my suggestion for the book club I was in. It is one of Oprah’s 2018 Book Club selection, but also one I kept seeing float across the Instagram account for Book of the Month. It had me at page 5 when one of the main characters references Love Jones, a movie I had on VHS back in the day. It has a soundtrack that I still frequently listen to. It is an emotional and intense read. I longed for it to be longer with more details of the love triangle that it is. Silver Sparrow did an excellent job with this piece of work.

Girl, Wash Your Faceby Rachel Hollis

Full book review here

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

Brief book review here.

Party Girl by Rachel Hollis

Read review here

Sweet Girl and Smart Girl by Rachel Hollis.

Here explains my love for these books.

Every Day by David Levithan

Book review here.

Another Day by David Levithan

My thoughts on the book are found here.

Party Girl: Book Review

This girl has been fighting off a cold or allergies for the past week or two. Friday it was apparent I needed some R&R this weekend to move past it. I have been a bit MIA from my love of reading lately and needed a chick lit book to get me back in the groove. I finally picked up this gem of a book and devoured it in two days.

See, a few months ago I was roaming through the world of Instagram and happened upon Rachel Hollis’ book, Girl, Wash your Face. I had never heard of this writer before. I ordered the book on a whim, read it in no time and loved her from the start (see blog post for why). I loved how she talked about the trials of writing the book and getting it published. Not that I wish trials on anyone, but it shows that she is human and that things take work and dedication.

This morning I used my Memorial Day Barnes and Noble added discount to purchase the two books that follow Party Girl. I can’t wait to dig deeper into the characters she has brought to life.

As for Party Girl…it is exactly what I expected after reading the description in Girl, Wash your Face. I have to admit though, I kept seeing Landon Brinkley as Rachel Hollis, not a long blonde haired character. I could hear Landon speak as Rachel speaks on her podcast, Dais. A voice of genuine friendliness and fun. It was a different take on the high rolling life some live in LA.

Pick up this book if you want to giggle, feel inspired to take a leap of faith and invite some new girlfriends into your world.

Oh, and just one more reason why I love this book. Check out this page. Rachel Hollis, I love how you incorporated Edward and Bella into this book. *smile* I am a dork. The first Twilight movie is still my favorite, bad acting/low budget and all.

Click here to see the books I have read this year.

Friday Favorites: Snail Mail Surprises

I have a couple of friends that love snail mail as much as I do, giving and receiving. Occasionally we send each other a little something something. When I am out and about it is my favorite thing finding a treasure that makes me think of a family member or friend. It is not the easiest thing for me to get it to the post office, but it will get there *smile* my friend, Melissa, sent me these note cards from Tiny Prints with artist Stina Persson. The print is of a woman that has amazing earrings. Melissa and have a “thing” for Nickel and Suede earrings. It’s a connection we have, in addition to many others! Thanks to this wonderful gesture, I have found a new artist to love!