Friday, February 28, 2014

February Book Reviews Books 7-14 of 50

Fallout - Todd Strasser
Have you ever been curious about what would happen if history had gone a different way.  In Fallout Todd Strasser does just that sort of speculation.  He takes the cold war anxiety of the 50's and 60's.  He has a family build a bomb shelter.  The he sets that bomb off.  Told from the young son Scott we experience the first two weeks in the bomb shelter as well as flashbacks to both family and historical events that lead up to the dropping of the bombs.  When the sirens go off Scott's families home is invaded by neighbors who want to seeking protection in the shelter.  His mom is life threateningly injured.  Some people make it in, some people are forced out to die.  Supplies are tight.  Emotions run high but are also punctuated by moments of boredom.  It was an interesting read but also sort of a downer.  Even just speculating about what life would have been like had we nuked our world to pieces is exceptionally depressing.

The Valley of Amazement - Amy Tan
Speaking of bummer books...thanks a lot Amy Tan.  So Tan has written some amazing books.  I love her descriptions of mother-daughter relationships and sort of the complications added by being the child of immigrants parents.  I should have known from the very beginning though this book was going to a nightmare when I realized it was about a Courtesan House.  It follows the lives of a mother and daughter living in China.  The mother, a California girl, ran off to China following a Chinese painter who even though she bares him two children will not marry her and shame his family.  The husband runs off with the son and leaves her with a 1/2 Chinese daughter who is not really well accepted by either side.  With very few options available to her the mother opens a Courtesan House where both Chinese and foreign men frequent to make business deals and interact with beautiful woman.  Heartbreak after heartbreak follow for both woman.  Years pass.  What I really want, the reconciliation of mothers and daughters I don't get until the last 4% of the book.  I mean literally, I looked on my kindle when I was finally there.  This is what Amy Tan does best but instead she fills this book with page after page of the depravity of man, the inner workings of a courtesan house, and sort of the horrors of being born a poor girl in China at the very beginning of the 20th century.  Some of this I was ready for.  Some I was like, okay no thanks.  There was definitely quite a few skipped pages for me.  The truth is I probably would have quit reading but I really wanted that reunion.  It ended up not being worth it.

Vengeance - Megan Miranda
Does anyone even read these post?  Well if you do you'll remember that last month I complained about another book where a female author was trying to portray the voice of a teenage boy and I hated it.  Once again tried and failed.  You have a girl who is super interesting, she almost died after drowning in a frozen lake and she now has the power to feel when people are close to death.  Obviously this is pretty traumatic for her and isn't exactly great for her friends, family, or boyfriend either.  Whose perspective do we get though...the lame, jealous boyfriend.  He comes off so whiny and insecure.  I realize that guys can feel this way, that these feelings do not just exist in the female portion of our population but I don't enjoy reading about them.  It's sort of like the guy version of of Twilight.  Blah.  The bits that were sort of fun about this book, there is a little mystery going on...a possible whodunit.

Her Dark Curiosity - Megan Shepard
So this book was interesting.  Imagine that Dr Moreau had a daughter that he had abandon when he'd run off to The Island.  Imagine that he'd had her come to see him.  Imagine that she'd been part of his destruction but had then returned to England to find that his works had followed her both in some of his creations and his work that was being financed by men of means who want to use his inventions as weapons of war.  Megan Shepard does just that.  You get a little smattering of sci-fi, some Victorian backdrop, a mystery, and some love interest.

The Solitary House - Lynn Shepard
Lynn Shepard wrote this book to be a contemporary of Charles Dicken's Bleak House.  It is as if she wrote her book to live inside the world that we see in Bleak House, so there is a lot of overlap in places and even some of the characters.  I was happy because I love the world Dickens exposes but I don't always enjoy wadding through the Victorian language.  Is that horrible to admit?  It is!!!  I know it, but I just want my stories to be exciting and to the point and Victorian Language sometimes takes a little longer to get there then I have patience for.  I enjoyed this book because it was a good grimy English murder mystery with a quirky engaging detective.  The subject matter is dark though and the backdrop rather grim and the villains just utterly vile so if that is not your cup of tea I would not recommend it.

The Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsey
So I used to listen to Dave Ramsey on the radio all the time.  Sometimes I think he is really extreme but sometimes I think he is just what I need to hear.  With this big trip we have coming up we got a little to comfortable with debt.  Dave is great at motivating you back on the path of debt avoidance.  We set up a nice little budget.  It's called don't spend any money AT ALL...except on the bare essentials, the trip, and debt.  We even considered only having Dr. J go on the trip since it would be significantly cheaper but Dr. J ultimately convinced me saying this is a once in a life time experience.  Hopefully the budget will help keep us on track.  He also does things like advise you to have $1000 on hand so that you can take care of life's little emergencies and other great little tips like that.  I liked having that little extra bit of motivation.  He also has all these great forms to help you get on a budget, to plan to pay back debt, to learn about investment.  I know people who are huge believers in Dave and people who aren't.  I'm a believer even if I'm way far off from where I should be.  Hope Dr. J and I can stay on track and get those med school debts paid off fast.  Goodness knows when you are a doctor family you need help being motivated to tackle that crazy debt!

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth - Reza Aslan

Find the review here...

Finally we come to my favorite book of the month..

Harvesting the Heart - Jodi Picoult
Find the review here... 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

50 Hour Work Week

Yesterday Dr J was putting in his time card for last week and started adding in his time card for this week, keep in mind it was Wednesday. "Well," he said, "I've already worked 50 hours."  "Really," I said, "It has actually seemed like sort of a light week."  And it has.  With the exception of his call day where he was gone all day and night he's been home by 6:30 every other night and at home dad is a helpful dad.  In fact earlier when we had just put the kids to bed I'd gone to the bathroom and was silently freaking out because while I was trying to get my business done they were running around screaming and shrieking.  Stress rising, stress rising, stress rising.  Then I remembered Dr J was here.  "Uh sweetie can you handle this?"  "I'm on it."  Ten seconds later blissful quiet.  What a marvelous thing to have two sets of hands at home.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Lets Talk About Birth Control -A Nuvaring Review

This post is about birth control.  If that's a little TMI for you I won't be offend if you skip it.

Last night Gigi asked me when I was going to have another baby.  "Well sweetie, I'm probably not going to."  "What?  But we need another person!"  She ran in to talk with Captain E about it.  They both came running back.  "What about adopting an orphan? Can we adopt someone?  Maybe someone older who can play games already?  We need another person in our family!". Wow kids I didn't know you felt so strongly about this.  Turns out your dad and I sort of feel the exact opposite.  Like maybe are 95% sure we are done.  I don't want to say a 100 yet.  Cheetah's birth and the following miscarriage definitely left me with an empty spot that I sometimes feel like only the birth of another child could fill but then on the other side of the coin I feel completely overwhelmed.  I'm raising these crazy four kids quite often on my own.  Dr J helps when he can but the man has a demanding job.  This comes as no surprise to any other parent, but kids are also super demanding.  We often feel overwhelmed.  I have a friend whose husband is an oral maxillary surgeon.  She's pregnant with kid number 9.  I honestly don't know how she does it because I often find myself just totally at the end of my rope and I think the crazy shows!  Today I was at church alone with the kids.  I was feeling pretty good about myself.  I'd kept my kids relatively contained during an hour teacher training before church.  I did sacrament alone.  I got to team teach my lesson.  The bishopric may not have liked it but we only had four kids at church today.  I was sitting in the home stretch of church thinking about how amazing it was I had a roast in the crock pot and homemade  hoagie rolls on the counter waiting for dinner.  Liz was making announcements.  I looked up and saw her grimace right at me.  "I have only one more announcement," she grimaces at me again, " this weeks church cleaning families are...well the only one in here is sister S.  Better round up the other people on this list if you want help."  Ok, great.  Then later in the hall the young men's leader in charge of reminding people about the cleaning assignment saddles up next to me and gives me a sideways I swear to you exact same grimace.  "So is Dr J going to be off this Saturday?"  "No," I say.  Return of the grimace.  "Ok, well you guys have church cleaning on Saturday.  Sorry."  So even on my best day when I'm feeling like I'm doing amazing, everyone else recognizes the crazy.  Also can we just say that if it makes eveyone so uncomfortable I wouldn't mind if you pulled my name off the list, I'm just saying :)  But back to the original post, when you are there, when you are living in this overwhelmed crazy you really have to ask yourself is this the right time to have a baby, and the answer at this point...we just don't feel like it is.  So if you don't want to have a baby but you still want to do the stuff that makes a baby what is a couple to do.

Our primary forms of birth control have been me nursing, condoms, and family planning or the rhythm method.  I'm not going to say they haven't worked at all because suckers we have 2 1/2 years spacing between these kids.  But I'm also not going to say they are full proof because we have these kids.  We always intended to space closer to 3 years.  Each pregnancy was a surprise.  That means our chosen birth control is not reliable and when you are pretty sure you are done, not reliable is not a plan!

My mother in law and sister have been pushing us to get a vasectomy.  Our church isn't really on board with that but we have four kids and I'm pretty sure I'm doing my part so I think they can just back off on this one.  When we were prego with number five we were certain we were done and because I was going to have to have a c-section anyway I figured I'd just get my tubes tied.  But then we lost number five and while I'm completely overwhelmed right now and mostly sure I'm done, I'm not completely ready to say that for sure in absolute terms.  So I'm just not ready to schedule that vasectomy today, but I also don't want to get pregnant today because I might be ready next month or next year.

So what is a girl to do?  I thought about the pill but I've done it a couple times before and it always makes me nuts and it always makes me fatter.  I thought about noroplant but having something under my skin freaks me out and I worry it would make me fatter.  I thought about an IUD but seriously having them open up my cervix freaks me out!  So finally I settled on what appears to for now be my only reliable choice while we figure out if we are done done.  The ring.

The ring is this little flexible ring of some type of plastic like material.  You put it in your vagina for three weeks, you pull it out, and put another one in a week later or my ob said you can leave it in there and pull it out and replace it on the same day every month.  Now this is what she told me.  If you are going to use the ring this way talk to your physician because I don't want to be responsible for you getting pregnant.  I'm using it off label at my own risk.  If you choose to do this you are at your own risk as well.  The things I like about it.  I don't have to remember to take it everyday.  I just put an alarm on my phone to change it once a month.  For the most part I don't notice it.  I'm losing weight while on the ring so it isn't causing weight gain. We don't have to hassle with finding a condom or putting one on.  I felt a little moody/crazy the first few days it was in but my hormone levels have regulated out now and I feel fine.  It has decreased the heaviness of my flow.  I can actually use those light tampons that I never used to understand before why they were included in the variety pack.  I don't have to worry about getting pregnant.

Things I don't like.  You have to shove it up pretty high so it isn't in the way and reach in pretty far to fish it out.  It isn't horrible and it is only once a month but it is slightly uncomfortable and if you are a little squeamish about bodily fluids this might not be for you.  Dr J can feel it during sex which doesn't really affect me but is worth noting.  It has made my periods longer.  For example I started on the 14 and I'm still going today.  The flow is less but they sure are long.  The first month I started I actually bleed for two weeks.  Seriously such a bummer.  The ob said there is still a chance by stacking them I can get rid of my cycle completely but I'm not holding out hope.  I haven't had this problem but people sometimes report break through bleeding.  One time I had it pull out on my tampon.  Seriously awkward.  I've had a noticeable drop in sex drive.  I used to instigate sex a lot more than I do now and along with that decreased vaginal secretions.  It actually kind of reminds me of the feeling I used to get when I was nursing...the feeling I used to treat with menopausal skin creams.  The idea that I might have a dry vagina for the rest of my life...sort if a bummer.  

So that is the skinny on the ring.  For now it is serving it's purpose.  It isn't horrible, but could be better.  I think comfortwise the vasectomy over the long term is the way to go but until we are ready to say that we are for certain-certain right now the ring will do.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Driving In Snow - An Arizona Girl's Perspective

 I spent the first 17 years of my life in Arizona where I only saw snow if we took a special trip to see it.  I learned to drive on nice dry roads in an automatic.  I even took my test at a DMV that only made you do a three point turn, not parallel park.  When I was 17 I moved to Provo, Utah to attend school.  Suddenly I lived in a place that had snow but without a car I just had to learn to walk on it, not drive on it.  Then when I was 21 I married my husband and inherited my first partial ownership of a car a 1984 Honda CR-Z.  I didn't drive that car once on the snow.  I was still a student and we lived right at the foot of campus.  I could easily walk to work and walk to school.  Any time we needed to go anywhere in the snow my husband was there to drive.  After that first year of married though we moved to central Illinois.  Suddenly we didn't live close to campus.  Suddenly we went two different places each day.  Suddenly he didn't have time to drive me to the grocery store or the post office.  Suddenly I had to learn to drive in the snow.  I've now lived in the Mid West 11 winters. I've drive in snow more than I care to remember.  I've driven on ice so thick I couldn't see the road underneath.  I've driven through mountain passes during snow storms.  I've driven in almost white out conditions.  I would call myself a decent snow driver.  Here are some things I've had to learn along the way in my adult life since I didn't get them in my teen years.

1) Park in a garage if you can - Having to clear your car makes everything worse.  It is cold, it is wet.  You do not want to stand outside uncovering your car.  For eight years we lived in a lovely little town house that we adored that was super reasonably priced.  The only problem.  NO COVERED PARKING!  In the Midwest that meant that I'd often end up with windshield wipers stuck to my car or on particularly cold wet days my doors would actually be frozen shuts.  Seriously no fun.  When we bought our house a two car garage was an absolute must as well as enough outside(shed)/inside(closet) space so that we would be able to use our garage and not just have it to hold our junk.  I take pleasure in parking in my garage everyday and everyday I have to travel in the snow starting out in a warmer car makes it so much better.

2) Clear snow off your driveway - The awesome thing about the sun is if you get the driveway shoveled even on a cold day if there is a little bit of sun it will often melt off that last little bit and leave you with a dry place to land.  Don't shovel the driveway and every time you drive over the snow it gets more compacted onto concrete.  It melts a little and becomes ice.  It gets extremely difficult to shovel off and makes everything into a slippery mess.

3) Take your car to the car wash - It seems ridiculous to be washing your car when you just know it is going to snow again but the salt is extremely corrosive and if you don't get your car washed occasionally during the winter you increase the chances of rust forming.  Make sure you pick a wash that sprays the undercarriage.  Nothing like having the bottom of your car rust off to ruin your day.

4) Driving safe on snow mainly involves the components of speed and spacing.  A lot was made about the recent snow storms in the south and how they were not capable of handling the snow because of lack of plows and salt.  Here in the North we know that even with plows and salt you aren't always going to have a safe surface.  For whatever reason this winter has been the worst anyone in the state can remember.  The result our neighborhood has been an ice rink for two weeks and many of our city streets have been covered in various degrees of snow, ice, or slush for weeks.  Now sometimes it is just too unsafe to drive so if you don't have to, DON'T.  If you have to drive, drive SLOW and leave lots of SPACE.  Slam on your breaks when you have no traction and you will skid, maybe even spin!  No worse feeling than being in a car and feeling it go the opposite direction you intended it to go.  If you start to skid, take your foot off the gas.  Don't slam your foot down on the break but you can gently pump it.  Turn your wheel toward the direction you are skidding.  Now sometimes that advice is going to stink, like the time when we were skidding toward a stream on a road that basically had no shoulder.  I'm not going to lie I was a little freaked, but I slowed down, gently tapped the breaks and tried to keep the wheel relatively steady.  We were lucky.  Spacing is important because you'll need the extra time when coming to a stop to decelerate via pulling your foot from the gas and then gently using your break.  So if you know a stop sign is coming, start slowing down.  If you are driving with other cars put twice as much space between you as you normally would.  Sure four wheel drives are awesome but I see trucks going off the road just as often as anyone else.  Probably because they think they can drive faster.  They SHOULDN'T!

5) Watch out for black ice.  Sometimes you can't see snow or ice on the road but if the temperatures are down and there is a tiny bit of water on the road you can get ice.  Last nice we had a rain storm while it was 29 degrees outside.  This morning there was a lot of ice on the road.  Some of it was big and chunky but as I was driving my son to the doctors on a road that looked almost clear I felt the car start to slid.  If it has been damp and cold be aware that black ice might be on the road.  Take precautions and drive slow.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Peach and Her Colored Pants

Peach has always had her own sense of fashion.  She loves bright colors, she prefers purple to pink, she likes leggings with short shirts.  Often when she comes out of her room a internally cringe.  I once figured out that of all my clothing 90% is in the colors of black, red, white, and blue.  I own at least five plain white tees and 10 black ones.  I think I'd be exceptional happy as a least when it came to fashion.  Peach is my opposite.  She doesn't look to stand out, she really just goes with what she likes, but she doesn't mind standing out.  Earlier this week she asked me to put her hair in a unicorn horn.  She wore it like this all day including to school and had great fun pretending to be a unicorn.  Then yesterday she came down in these pants which she absolutely adores but Dr  J and I dread because she always pairs them with a patterned shirt.  Dr J sees her and says, "I think maybe you'd prefer to wear a pair of jeans."  She looks up at him and with a big smile says, "I think you should wear colored pants."  Daddy didn't have anything to say to that so he just laughed.

Valentine's Day Traditions

I am the tradition girl.  My parents gave me a little something something on Valentine's Day so I like to give my kids a little something something.  Usually it is a tiny box of chocolates and some pencils.  This is not a second Christmas.  A girl on a board I'm on mentioned she'd spent 100 dollars on gifts for her daughter.  I didn't say anything there because we have a be nice rule but I'm going to say something here.  Are you crazy????  I want to mark the day and let my kids know I'm thinking about them, but I don't want to set them up with any greater consumption souls then they already have.  Stuff doesn't bring happiness.  No reason to give that myth any more air time.  Cheetah and Peach ate their chocolates for breakfast.  Captain E and Gigi took theirs to school to eat with their lunch.  Cheetah kept yelling happy chocolate day!  They were happy campers.

For dinner we did our annual fancy v-day family dinner.  This year we had roasted petite carrots, stuffed mushrooms, baked potatoes, and steak.  My kids LOVE steak!  Even my children who prefer to be 90% vegetarian go crazy for the stuff.  Can you believe I never had a steak until I got married?  This one was delicious!  We has pizzokie for dinner which is just cookie dough cooked in a pie dish.  It gets crispy on the outside and says gooey on the inside.  Then you dump ice cream on top!  Devine!  The kids love this dinner!  They totally get giddy about the sparkling cider and they didn't seem to mind the fact that we didn't eat until almost eight and that we didn't dress up this year.  Sometimes having a resident daddy puts kinks in your plan but we try to stay as true to our family traditions as we can.  Dr J and I both love this one.  It is nice to have an excuse to eat yummy food and it is nice to not be out with half the couples in the neighborhood.  That kind of crowding is outrageous!  I'd rather hang out at home :)

Here we are.  Getting older every day.  Dr J in "no person on the planet has ever looked sexy scrubs".  Queenie me with frizzy hair and no bra because sometimes when you are going to be home alone almost all day there just doesn't feel like a point in putting one on ;)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Dancing Daughters

Sending your kids to extra curricular activities while a resident is an act of faith....seriously!  Money is always tight, choosing to funnel a portion of it toward your children's play can be difficult, but we've always felt it was important to let our children experience some of the activities out there especially ones that involve physical activity, music, or character building.  Along with money being tight, time and parent involvement  are also at a premium.  Dr J works a lot and that often includes evenings, weekends, and even holidays.  That means my car is the only one available to get anyone anywhere and my hands are the only ones there to help.  With dance we've dealt with this problem by finding classes that run at the same time.  It means every Saturday is frantic but it also means every daughter has an opportunity to participate.  Because cheetah's class starts slightly after her sister's today she joined G bear during warm ups.  She was ecstatic to be there...the proof being that she stayed in the circle.  In her own class I have to bribe her into sitting through warm ups.  Watching my oldest and youngest daughters together was a real treat.  I hope I'll have lots of other opportunities to watch the dance together!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Date 1 of 6

So remember when I said we do babysitting exchange now...well tonight was our night to go out.  We started out at Home Depot.  We have a gift card there from a drill we returned...we already had one.  We spent an hour looking at routers.  We talked to the guy, read reviews online, watched a few videos, talked about projects we wanted to use it for and then decided to table the purchase for a few weeks to see if they went on sale.  Maybe this will sound weird, but it was super fun.  One of my favorite parts about owning a home is working on it together with my sweetie.  After we went for Indian food.  It was delicious but I'm sure I made a mess of my clean eating challenge.  We are allowed a cheat day but man there was so much cheating was a nightmare.  No more cheat days for me.  Seriously no self control, but it was delicious :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Random Stuff From the Week

G bear said to me this week when I was calling her for bed, "Mom, can't you just give a girl a break.  I'm trying to get my leg warmers on.

 Peach is always ready for a photo moment.  I love her hair so much in a bob.  Yes I miss not being able to braid it or put it in a pony tail but it is so cute!

 The girls were not super excited about the 7 layer bars I made...don't know why they were upset.  I wanted to eat one SO BAD!
 Cheetah got to one of the last surviving pairs of headphones.  My mother-in-law says she'll bring me a couple of unused pairs kicking around their house.  Apparently they don't have a headphone eating monster there so when they get new iDevices the extra headphones just sit around.
 Cheetah has been really congested and was having a super hard time breathing.  Daddy doctor gave her a breathing treatment at 2 in the morning.  She was completely irrational and very ungrateful.  That is love, taking care of someone even when they are made at you for doing it.
 Cheetah loves Cheedar popcorn.  She also loves pistachios.  I think she is a salt nut!
 Took the girls to Costco to get nuts and coconut oil.  They were out of ALMONDS and COCONUT OIL!  How is this even possible.  The girls got pizza.  I had half of Cheetahs slice.  When I went to program it into MYFITNESSPAL I found out those slices are 700 calories.  Thank heavens I only ate a half :)
 How Cheetah feels about church.  I'm sorry but going to church with four young kids is hard.  Especially when one of your children is a tiny tornado.
 Then here is the after.  We now have one o'clock church so we don't get in the car to come home until four.  Not really the ideal time to fall asleep, but this is pretty much every Sunday now.

I need to remember this site for a craft I'm I'm going to use this blog to hold my spot.  It's my blog...sue me :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January Book Reviews

I managed to get six books read this month.  I figured I didn't want to be playing catchup from the beginning.  There were:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? - Mindy Kaling

So I should preface this by saying I loved the Office, like it is one of my top five favorite shows of all time, and Mindy Kaling was a writer for the office.  She also is the star of the Mindy Show...which I do not love quit as much as The Office because lets face it, a smart woman like that would not get tied down to so many horrible boyfriends but I recognize it is for comedy and so I keep watching.  Plus it gives you great tidbits like this which while I realize is maybe a little scandalous is also one of the hottest kisses I've ever seen...TV, movies, really life...pretty much ever.  Plus I really wanted these two to kiss so I was HAPPY!  Ok so basically what I'm saying is I have a little bias because I really like Mindy.  She just seems cool and funny and like the kind of person who would make your friend group just that much greater.  I sort of have the same feeling about Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.  A lot of guy comedians who I think are funny just feel like they would be a lot of work to be around but these three ladies they just seem like they could be everyone's funny best friend.  This book did nothing to change that belief for me.  So the order was a little loose (maybe some of the essay's needed a little more fleshing out or could have been pulled completely), it had a few awkwardly placed f-bombs, and it wasn't so funny I was dying while I read it, but I was smiling almost the entire time and a few times at the gym I just laughed out loud like a it was totally worth it.  I was looking for something to make me laugh because laughing makes me happy and this fit the bill.  Also anyone know how I can become besties with Tina, Amy, and Mindy and just do lunch!

Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

My father-in-law gave me access to his HBO and I pretty much just use it to watch movies I'm too cheap to rent from the red box.  A couple months ago while Dr. J was working a night shift I choose Beautiful Creature which is the prequel to this book.  It was not bad.  Definitly The Hunger Games but good enough I was willing to try the book.  I figured it had to be at least as good as Divergent, hopefully better.  So I grabbed this second book at the library.  Big mistake!  It became pretty obvious midway through that the movie people had not stayed nearly as close to the book script as I'd have needed them to to stay comfortable with jumping in on the second book.  Also this book totally feels like a missed opportunity for me.  Two woman are writing from the guys perspective...hmmm???  How about your write from the guy and the girl, or better yet how about you just write from the girl, because guess who the truly interesting character is.  THE GIRL!  So really we are just watching her life kind of implode from the perspective of her sort of annoying dependable boyfriend.  I don't know, it just wasn't for me.  I especially did not appreciate that they threw in new potential love interest for the characters but then of course they ended up together again and the same thing you thought was a deciding factor in the first book, "Will she turn good or evil, oh wait she can be both."  Well you pretty much just have the same story here with the same conclusion and then they want you to pick up the third book.  Blah, no thanks!

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

So I saw this book at Target and I was so intrigued by the idea of it that I remember the title and found it again at the library.  It's sort of a fantasy with these weird creatures seeking out and trying to destroy magical children who are hiding out in a time loop during The Second World War.  One of the children decides he can't handle hiding and leaves the protection of the loop to join the Army.  He fights in the war and then moves to America where he raises two children and then has a grandson who he tells about his life and his "magical family" but they choose to believe he is just speaking in a metaphor for The Holocaust.  Then he is discovered and killed and his grandson goes on a trip to see if these stories are really true.  The interesting part of this book is actually the part that got tedious for me by the end.  The author has a collection of weird older photos that he has woven the story around and while at first it is fun look at the old photos and what constituted early trick photography.  After awhile it just feels a little too contrived, like I would have preferred the story if he didn't have to keep making up these little bits to explain the photos he choose.  It was ok but not enough that I'm going to read the sequel.

Bad Monkey - Carl Hiaasen

So I've read some of Carl Hiaasen's work before.  He's actually the guy who wrote Hoot just in case you care.  He mainly sticks to mystery-suspense with an environmental angle.  This book stayed pretty true to that but it just stunk.  I wish I would have picked something else.

The Arrivals - Melissa Marr

So Dr. J and I have a tendency to binge watch shows.  We don't have regular TV so there is no show we have to watch but when we do want to watch TV we pick one show on Netflix and pretty much stick with just watching that one until we've finished all the seasons.  Right now we are watching Supernatural (Dr. J's choice).  It is totally cheesy, the plot lines ridiculous, the acting overdone and horrible, and worst of all the story is just suppose to be scary, not my type of show at all but over eight seasons the dang thing has really grown on me.  Dr. J and I will repeat particularly cheesy lines to each other and then just laugh our heads off.  So I guess you can say it has been a great bonding experience.  When I picked up The Arrivals it starts with a scene where a Monk is taken over by a demon and after weeks of watching Supernatural I was like jackpot!  Unfortunately it just didn't pay off for me.  All the characters who were suppose to end up together did.  The magic didn't really make sense.  I didn't really care about the bad guys either way and didn't find the good guys all that likable.  Someone find me a book I will like!

Moon Over Manifest - Clare Vanderpool
This was my favorite book in the group.  I mean it won a Newberry for crying out loud you know it is going to be good.  Basically it is just one long summer where a little girl gets to find out about what makes her dad tick after he's sent her away to live with friends while he works on the railroad during depression times.  There is not a whole lot more to say about it, but I really did love this book.

2014 Goals

I can't remember the last time I made new years resolutions.  Probably when I was I mean really it was probably when I was 18.  For the most part I think I'm perfect, no, almost perfect, no actually I'm just not one of those people who sees the point in waiting for the new year to make goals or for coming up with goals just because it is the new year.  I join the gym in July because that's when I looked in the mirror and thought, "Wow you are looking way chubby."  But in December I had three friends reporting on their 2013 Goals, particularly their book reading goals and I thought, you know maybe making yearly goals would be fun, even if just purely to give a timeline for data collection, so I decided to jump on board.  My goals for the year are.

Read 50 books.  When I told Dr. J this he actually laughed in my face.  LAUGHED IN MY FACE PEOPLE!  His exact words, "You used to be able to do that in just a few months."  Well yes honey that is true, but that was before my iPhone, Facebook, Netflix (which allows me to binge watch awesome shows like Dr. Who and Battle Star Galatica), and oh yeah the four kids I birthed you.  So now we set more manageable goals and I thought 50 sounded pretty good...although secretly in my head it is 52, since I figure one book a week sounds reasonable...oh wait I just put that down on paper.  Just so you know the girls I'm following are planning on reading 75 books this year.  They are definitely better than I am :)

Go on 6 Dates This Year.  Does it seem weird that I have to make that a goal.  We are just super busy people and not exactly rich so that whole going out every Friday night thing, well it doesn't work for us.  Shoot we don't even make it out of the house every month, but I did think, especially since we are now babysitting trading) that we could probably make it out at least 6 times this year.  We missed January so far but our babysitting exchange friend is watching the kids next Friday and then my in-laws are coming in the week after so I'd say were are staying on track.

One vacation that is not to visit family.  That seems reasonable right?  It isn't that we don't love family, oh we do, but sometimes you just want to see new places as well.

Go to one concert.  I love concerts but since Dr. J and I have gotten married we've only been to one.  That is just not going to cut it for me anymore.  I'm not pregnant, we don't have any nursing babies, I can do this!

Go to one sporting event.  I'm sort of so/so on sporting events.  I like back stories and sometimes I get into the crowd fanatics but they are something that are really neither here nor there for me.  That being said Dr. J loves sports and we live in a city with lots of different sports teams so just do it!

Take 30 family walks.  I have friends last year who went on 100.  They are awesome.  They also live in a state that it tons warmer than mine.  Maybe next year we'll shoot for 75....or maybe not :)

Do Better With My Budget...which basically means spend no money.  I'm trying to pay off debt and work a snowball.  Fans of Dave Ramsey will know what I'm talking about so no more spending money.

Get Healthier.  What does that even mean?  Right now I'm in a ten week clean eating challenge and it is going really great.  Although going great means I'm not currently eating gluten, or dairy, or sugar but I have lost some lbs, so that is nice.  Thanks to MyFitnessPal I'm doing pretty good keeping track of what I'm eating.  I'm doing a better job of using the gym five times a week, and thanks to our do better with my budget goal I'm doing a better job of packing lunch when I go to the gym so I'm not tempted to eat fast food on the way home.

Be a better mom.  This is always a constant goal of mine and I don't really have a good way to judge if I'm getting anywhere there it just doesn't seem fair to be listing goals and not mention it.

So those are the goals for the year.  Seems obtainable, so let's go 2014!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

That Creepy Guy At the Gym

I have a lot of gym rules for myself.  My own music is a must, the stuff they play there is blah!  Clean off your equipment after you use it, no one wants to be covered in your sweat.  Bring lots of water.  Wear something comfortable that can totally fall into the category of things that might not normally be considered kosher but don't go all nuts with shorts that are so short they show your underwear or even worse that you aren't wearing underwear.  Wear a top, I mean it can be a tank top (although to be honest with these arms I've avoided those for years) but it should actually look like a top.  If it is just looks like a bra or a too tight swimsuit...gross.  Speaking of bras wear a good exercise bra because one long roll of boob is a whole lot better than boobs flying into your face and then down to your belly button.  Be polite to people but not intrusive, nodding acquaintances are fine but there is no reason to become besties with some random person of the opposite sex you meet at the gym.  Try not to be too jealous or too judgmental (although you ladies who I saw eating Big Macs, large fries, and gigantic cokes after your half hour on the elliptical, you were pushing me on that one.  I mean at least just go with the regular sized fries).  Don't talk too loud.  Make sure your music isn't so high other people can hear it.  Try not to flash anyone.  Try not to fling sweat on anyone.  Don't take your kids to child watch if they are sick.  When reading a funny book it is ok to smile like an idiot but try and keep the laughing uncontrollably to a minimum.  Be inclusive, ie don't join a class and then turn it into out your own dental Mormon school clique from high school hell where you hold court and ostracize all the other girls who were originally in the class while you spend the whole classes complaining to everyone about how uncomfortable you are three months pregnant (hello you have two other kids and choose to get pregnant so it's not like this is some type of surprise, we are not friends, I just went through a miscarriage which I'm having the decency not to mention in class but is making me really sensitive, now shut up).  That non judgmental thing is a hard one for me I'm sure you can see. If you are having a gassy day do everyone else a favor and run outside regardless of how cold it is.  You get the idea right...I believe in gym etiquette.  I've made some great friends at the gym but for the most part I see it as a place to go, work out for a few hours without bothering anyone, and then go home.  I try not to disturb anyone else and I don't really want anyone else bothering me, which is why last Friday was so annoying.

I'd done my normal workout and I happened to be a row behind one of my good friends who is very near popping.  She is pregnant although she is lovely and never complains about anything and is friendly to everyone so she is not the before mentioned pregnant woman.  That being said I happen to know that last Wednesday even though she still has a month to go she was already dilated to a four, 80% effaced, and a -1, so seeing her work so hard on the treadmill in front of me, I'm not going to lie, was making me a little anxious.  Sure her other two daughters were born a little premature and sure they were totally fine but my daughter was born a preemie and it was a mess, and my friend's baby was born four weeks less premature than Cheetah and it was a mess, and I've known two people who had babies die this year, and our (me and beautiful pregnant mama) other friend's son was just born totally full term and he is still in the hospital because of complications.  So I get a little anxious about pregnancies now...and I'm getting a little anxious about her working out so hard, but I'm a reasonable person and I recognize that she is a very fit adult who is capable of making her own decisions and capable of taking responsibility for those choices so I just try and chill out.  But as I'm going to walk out of the gym I run into her and we are just having a little conversation about this clean eating challenge I'm in and our daughters who are best friends and her pregnancy and this weird guy comes up to us.  He's older (50-60's) with a buzz cut and a huge diamond earring in his ear.   Maybe he knows her, I doubt it, but he certainly doesn't know me.  He puts his arm on her shoulder which in my rules of proper gym etiquette is a definite no-no.  Stranger, sweat, opposite sex, a little personal space invasion and turns to me and says, "Isn't she just beautiful, I mean she's just glowing."  At this point I'm totally still on board with him and I'm nodding and then he says, "She's just such an inspiration to everyone else here (big pause as he turns and seriously looks me up and down) like you and me."  And now I'm stuck in this really awkward moment, because one, I've just spent the morning thinking she really needs to cool her jets for a bit so inspiration is not high on my list of descriptive words at the moment, and two, maybe this isn't how he meant it but that whole statement came off backhandedly toward me.  Thanks guy I'm super aware of the fact that I'm overweight but I can tell you that I've been working out pretty consistently for the last nine years and also unlike before mentioned ladies with their post workout big macs, I will be eating an apple and a handful of nuts after this workout with a 24 ounce drink of water which I will carefully document in My Fitness Pal to guarantee that every day I only eat between 1200-1400 calories.  This is my life and yes sir I do hate my body.  Not because it is on the chubs size, I finally came to grips with that the first time my husband saw me naked in the light and did not turn away in disgust, but I hate my body because I actually have to work to be this chubby and it doesn't respond to the normal bounds other people put on theirs.  I mean really.  A few weeks ago someone who I dearly love who for the most part has always been really laid back about my weight and pretty much everyone else's weight, under what I can only imagine was the seriously bad influence of her future husband who I'm pretty sure is a jerk deep down, went off on how fat some of our mutual friends have gotten.  The problem is I've known these people almost my whole life and they like me have genes that so quickly go to heavy but have to work so hard to slim down.  I mean I've seen them stay on the chubby side while running marathons.  HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE!  Meanwhile I happen to know this friend maybe on exercises once a week, spends a lot of time laying on the couch, and puts butter on everything.  Sometimes you are just lucky and have good genetics.  Sometimes you are not lucky.  Sometimes your genes say you have to work out and watch what you eat and at your very best when you feel like you are starving to death you will still always carry a good thirty extra pounds.  So sir I hope you don't mind too much that I rolled my eyes at you before I smiled and winked at my friend, but even if you did, I don't plan on ever talking to you again so please do me a solid and don't ever talk to me again either.


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