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40 Bags In 40 Days

Today is March 1st, which marks the first day of Lent. This year I have decided to do a 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge to clear out my house. Lately I’ve been feeling out of sorts and overwhelmed with the state of my house. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get all the stuff on my to do list done and the house is suffering. The purpose of the 40 bags in 40 days challenge for me is to be purposeful and mindful of what I’m choosing to keep in the house. I’ve never done this challenge before so I’m excited to get started. I’m hoping that this challenge will put me in the mindset of asking myself “do we really need this?” before I buy or bring something new into the house. I know we will never be minimalists but we can definitely do with less stuff! 

We spent last weekend doing some work in the kids bedrooms. Like I mentioned yesterday, Tyler’s futon broke so we had to do some bed rearranging. It was eye-opening, shocking, and downright appalling to see the amount of clutter and crap in the kids rooms. I mean, seriously! 

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All of that came from underneath Zoey’s loft bed. And that’s not all of it. That’s just one side of the room. See? Appalling. And I don’t even know what half of that junk is or where it came from. That’s embarrassing. Mason’s closet was scary and there are so many things in there that he doesn’t want or care about anymore. 

I have quite a few areas that I want to focus on- closets, pantries, laundry cabinets, master bedroom, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets…the list just goes on and on. I start today! In fact, I already have my first bag filled and ready to donate! I’ll keep you updated on my progress and hopefully in 40 days I’ll feel better about the state of my house.

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2017 Monthly Goals: March

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Hello March! I love March. The weather gets warmer, the days start getting longer, we have some birthdays to celebrate, and the flowers start to bloom. March makes me happy. I did okay on my February goals. It was a tiring month with basketball for Tyler and Mason going deep into the month with playoffs. 

February Goals:

1. Do our taxes. Done! I hate taxes. But I got them done and we got a decent refund that we used to pay down debt. 

2. Clean out my closet. I got a little bit done in my closet. I still have a lot more to sort through. 

3. Plan Tyler’s bedroom redo. Done. We actually started on his bedroom redo but it’s not done yet. 

4. Clean out the master bedroom. Nope. Things came up and it just didn’t get done. But it’s still on the list. 

5. Do the Couch 2 5K program. Done. I had to take breaks because my joints were swollen and painful so it took me longer than normal and I still have a week left to do. 

March Goals:

1. Clean out Zoey’s bedroom. This child. She’s a hoarder, y’all. I need to clean out her room completely, rearrange stuff, and make it more functional for her. 

2. Finish Tyler’s bedroom. We got a decent start but there is a lot left to do on my list. A lot. 

3. Finish Maia’s bedroom. We just did a big bed switch this last weekend. Tyler’s futon broke so he got Mason’s twin bed, Mason got Maia’s full bed, and Maia got a queen bed from my sister’s guest room. We really wanted the queen to go in Tyler’s room but he is limited on space because of the big weight bench. Now I need to get Maia’s wall gallery done and do some rearranging in her room.

4. Clean out the kids closets. Knowing that the little kids are definitely going to the same charter school with Tyler means I can get rid of a bunch of extra clothes because they will were a uniform 5 days a week. I cannot wait to clean out the excess!

5. Clean out the master bedroom. Told you- still on the list!

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Monthly Book Report: February 2017

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I read a lot of great books in February! I read 11 fantastic books, to be exact. It was a great reading month for me! And 9 of them were borrows so they were free to read! That’s a great month, for sure!

1. The Memory Watcher by Minka Kent– When Autumn Carpenter stumbles upon the social media account of the family who adopted her infant daughter years ago, she finds herself instantly drawn into their picture-perfect existence. From behind a computer screen, Autumn watches Grace’s every memory, from birthdays to holidays to bedtime snuggles. But what starts as an innocent fascination spirals into an addictive obsession met with a screeching halt the day the McMullen family closes their Instaface account without so much as a warning. Frantic and desperate to reconnect with her daughter, Autumn applies for a nanny position with the McMullens, manipulating herself into Grace’s life under false pretenses. And it’s only then that Autumn discovers pictures lie, the perfect family doesn’t exist, and beautiful people? They have the ugliest secrets.

This book. THIS BOOK. It was so good! I didn’t see the ending coming and there were some twists and turns that I definitely wasn’t expecting! I love that in a book. This was more in the contemporary mystery/suspense category, which I really enjoy.

2. Kill Me by L.P. Lovell– Una: To many, I am little more than a myth. The Kiss of Death, a hired killer, revered by some of the greatest criminal organisations in the world. Trained by the bratva themselves, without conscience, without mercy, the perfect soldier. I’ll kill anyone… for a price. Death doesn’t discriminate, she sells to the highest bidder, but even I have a weakness. Nero: I want one thing—power. But power is merely a game of strategy. The pieces are on the chess board. Death is my queen, and also my pawn. She’ll paint this city red in exchange for the one thing she wants. Now all I have to do is watch it all play out. She’s nothing more than a weapon, and yet, I find myself wanting to dance with death, to possess her. And I always get what I want. A game of power. A risk that could cost her everything. An obsession that would see the world burn at their feet. A bloodied king. A broken queen. Kill me or kiss me?

I enjoyed this book. It was unexpected. The heroine was a badass and I liked that. I probably won’t continue reading the series but this book was pretty good. It’s violent and dark and fast paced. 

3. Protector by Michelle Horst– I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of person. I wanted to save the world, or at least leave my stamp behind. In my own naïve way I thought I could bribe karma but life has a way of teaching us lessons. I never knew how selfish I was until my life was ripped away from me. Taken. I’m forced to watch as they torture and kill my family … and I know I’m next. I hear their screams. I watch them die. It’s the worst kind of torture. Then he comes. He made a promise to my brother. It’s the only thing keeping him bound to me. A promise to protect me. I should set him free of the promise … but I don’t. He’s my shield against karma. He’s my protector.

Woah- this book was just WOAH. It’s definitely violent so if that bothers you then you’ll want to skip this one. I felt for the heroine, she really got a bad hand dealt to her. I didn’t see the twist coming which always makes me happy. I do recommend this one and I hope this is going to turn into a series because I would definitely read more about these characters!

4. Becoming Mrs. Lockwood by K.I. Lynn– Every girl has dreams of meeting Prince Charming, or at least I know I did. A fairy tale-like meeting of love at first sight. Real life and fairy tales are very different. I’m just a small town Indiana girl that had a chance encounter with one of Hollywood’s golden boys. You may think you know where this story goes—not even close. Life is different. Marriage is hard. It’s even worse when you’re strangers.

This book definitely requires you to suspend reality a little bit in order to enjoy it. And I had to get over the age difference which at first made the story a little icky to me. I almost stopped reading but I kept going and I did end up enjoying the story. 

5. Turbulent Desires by Melody Anne– ER nurse Lindsey Helm used to be strong. Then a late-night attack at the hospital nearly killed her and left two close colleagues dead. Now Lindsey has retreated from the world. She knows she needs to move on, but every hint of danger seems threatening—including a certain sexy flyboy who’s determined to show Lindsey what she’s missing. But falling for F-18 pilot Maverick Armstrong is a risk she can’t afford. Maverick knows that fear can eat away at the soul, and he won’t leave Lindsey to that fate. She needs someone to reach her and to remind her of the exhilaration and unbelievable passion of being touched. He’ll help her heal, and then he’ll walk away. He has to walk away. Because Maverick swore he would never fall in love and never marry. But this is a rescue operation, and Maverick will stay the course—even if things get hazardous. Even if saving Lindsey means surrendering his heart in the process.

I really really enjoyed this book. It definitely has triggers for violence but it was a really well written story. It gave me all the feels and I loved the interactions between the main characters. It’s part of a series but I read it as a standalone with no problems. 

6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver– For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night. However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

I’ve had this book on my TBR list for awhile and once I saw that it was turned into a movie I knew I had to read the book first. I refuse to watch movies based on books if I haven’t read the book first. And I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting and I couldn’t put it down! Highly recommend. 

7. Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb– As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action. Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”…While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions: What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

I just love this series. I love it so much. Every book is great and the characters all feel like old friends now. This is book number 44 in the series and if you haven’t read all of them yet, what are you waiting for?? 

8. Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton– U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Noah Miller—call sign Burn—loves nothing more than flying hard and fast. When he meets a gorgeous and sassy woman while partying in Las Vegas, he immediately locks on to her. Jordan Callahan owns a thriving clothing boutique, but her love life is far less successful. Her luck changes when six feet, two inches of sexy swagger asks her to dance and turns her world upside down. One scorching weekend becomes an undeniable chemistry that they can’t leave in Vegas. But the long distance relationship and their different lives threaten to ground their romance. And when the dangers of Noah’s job become all too real, Jordan learns being with a fighter pilot means risking it all for a shot at love.

I love me some military books. The heroes are always yummy and alpha and hot. This was the first book in a new series and it was fantastic. I love that the relationship between the two main characters wasn’t easy. It was hard and real and they dealt with their issues in adult ways. I devoured this book in less than 12 hours because I could not put it down!

9. Into the Blue by Chanel Cleeton– Eric Jansen—call sign Thor—loves nothing more than pushing his F-16 to the limit. Returning home to South Carolina after a tragic loss, he hopes to fix the mistake he made long ago, when he chose the Air Force over his fiancée. Becca Madison isn’t quick to welcome Thor back. She can’t forget how he shattered her heart. But Thor won’t give up once he’s set his sights on what he wants—and he wants Becca. Thor shows Becca that he’s no longer the impulsive boy he used to be, and Becca finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But will Thor be able to walk away from his dream of flying the F-16 for their love or does his heart belong to the sky?

This is book 2 in the series and it was good too. Probably not as good as book one but still a solid 4 star read for me. I enjoyed seeing repeat characters from book 1. The angst level in this book was higher than in book 1 and the conflict wasn’t as strong for me, but definitely worth the read.

10. On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton– A year after losing her husband, Joker, the squadron commander of the Wild Aces, Dani Peterson gets an offer from his best friend, Alex “Easy” Rogers, to help fix up her house. Dani accepts, and their friendship grows—along with an undeniable attraction. Racked by guilt for loving his best friend’s widow, Easy’s caught between what he wants and can’t have. Until one night everything changes, and the woman who’s always held his heart ends up in his arms. Yet as Easy leaves for his next deployment, he and Dani are torn between their feelings and their loyalty to Joker’s memory. But when Dani discovers something that sends them both into a spin, the conflicted lovers must overcome the past to navigate a future together.

And this is book 3 in the series. It was as good as book 1 for sure. It deals with two of the pivotal characters from book 1 and I loved it so much. Seeing them work through their issues and find a future together was amazing! I hope there are going to be more books in this series because I just love these character so much!

11. Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova– Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease. Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing? As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

This book was a recommendation from a reader, thanks Amanda! And it was good! I could not put this story down. I had to keep reading. I had to know the end. And the end….not what I was expecting. It was a heartbreaking read full of hard stuff and tears but also full of love and family. I cannot recommend this one enough!

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3 Things Thursday {2.23.17}

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Zoey got to have a sleepover this last weekend with her bestie. These girls met because of Tyler’s football and now they are inseparable. I’m so excited that they are going to get to go to school together next year. This was Zoey’s first sleepover at our house and she had a blast. They watched Secret Life of Pets, ate tons of popcorn, made milkshakes, and just had such a blast together. I love watching my kids find their tribe. 

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Mason’s team won their first playoff quarterfinal game and moved on to the semifinals on Tuesday night. They played a team that was bigger, rougher, and more physical. They were also one of the only 2 teams that beat our team this season. So this victory was sweet! We move on to the championship game on Saturday morning!

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Zoey had a big week. She finally lost one of her front teeth. This stubborn tooth has been hanging on for dear life by one thread for weeks but she wouldn’t let me pull it out. I even tried to bribe her with $5 to let me yank it out because it was literally crooked and sticking out making her look like a tiny hillbilly. It finally fell out while she was eating popcorn during her sleepover. Do you know how much fun the tooth fairy has on a Saturday night trying to retrieve a tiny tooth from under a pillow in the middle of a sleepover? She almost broke her neck. Tooth fairy deserves hazard pay.

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5 Ways Sports Parents Lose Their Minds

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Sports parents are crazy, y’all. Did you know that? We are totally crazy. And it goes beyond the wild cheering the stands and heckling the referees. It’s an all consuming thing. The following are just 5 of the ways we absolutely lose our minds. There are more than 5, believe me. 

1. The money. Unless you have kids who play high level sports you have absolutely no concept of the amount of money involved. I thought rec sports was expensive. Ha! I scoff at my previously naive self. I played club soccer so I knew it was pricey but I had no idea how expensive varsity sports were going to be. Tyler played varsity football and basketball this year. So we had a pay-to-play fee of over $100 per sport just to be on the team. Then we had the costs for team shoes, personalized gear such as shooting shirts for basketball and warm up shirts for football, the matching team bag, all of the gear needed such as knee pads, wrist braces, compression leggings, etc. Tyler went through 2 pairs of cleats during football season at $175 for each pair. It’s ridiculously expensive. Between football and basketball we forked over well over $2,000 this season. 

2. The time. Because Tyler doesn’t drive yet I spent a whole lot of time in the car. First, we had summer off-season work which meant I sat at the field for several hours during the mornings and then in front of the weight room in the afternoon for a couple of hours. Every day during the summer. Then the season began and they had practice every afternoon until after 6:30. Practice was supposed to end at 5:30 so that meant a lot of time sitting in the car waiting. Then game days. Home games meant arriving early to help set up, then tailgating, then watching the game, then waiting for the team meeting. Away games meant rushing to pick everyone up from school and drive to the games- some were well over an hour away- then driving back to the school and waiting for the bus to arrive. Sometimes they would stop for food on the way home and we’d be waiting in the parking lot for 3 hours. Then they had weights and practice on Saturday mornings. Y’all. Varsity sports is a family commitment, not just the athlete. 

3. The team spirit. The moms went all out with team spirit. We all bought team spirit shirts for the whole family, we all chipped in to make sure the guys had Gatorade, water, snacks, etc available for them. And the tailgating. Oh man, the tailgating. It was as elaborate as a NFL tailgate. We’re talking tables of food, coolers of drinks, huge tents…it was amazing. And we did it for every home game.

4. The emotions invested. Have you ever seen a group of angry parents run off a bad referee? I have. Ever seen the amount of drama that 3 overly involved moms can cause? I have. But I get it. We’re putting in as much as our kids and we want to see the rewards from all the effort. And heaven help the poor coaches. They put up with a lot. I have a rule- if my kid’s actual health and safety are not impacted then I do not get involved. I don’t ask the coach about playing time, or a switch in position, etc. Nope. Not my job. But there are many, many…many parents who don’t feel the same way!

5. The family. I have never experienced varsity football the way I did this past season. Some of my best friends right now are the other moms of players on the team. We cheer for each other’s kids, we cringe when they take a big hit, we drop everything to help if needed, we know what is going on with everyone’s kids. We’ve become family. There’s nothing like watching your kid pick up a teammate off the ground after a vicious hit and then go after the player who dished it out. That makes you family. 

So yes, we’re all nuts and crazy and a lot of people do not understand us. That’s ok. We understand each other. 

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