Friday, March 29, 2013

Letting Go

In life, we all have our accomplishments and struggles. Our ups and downs. Our happy times and sad times.

We learn, in our own way, how to deal with them. I'd like to go as far as saying there's no right or wrong way in handling the surprises, good or bad, that life throws our way. However, there are things you can do to help you deal.

In life, we continue to learn as we grow. We have milestones that we reach in our lives beginning in infancy, some may even say before that.  We learn how to hold our heads up. We learn how to chew. We learn how to walk. You get the picture. However, one of the most important milestones that we reach in life is our thought process. That is an ongoing milestone that we are always improving upon (or in some cases declining upon). We always learn how to deal, how to react.

Our thought process can help to define us as individuals. How we deal and react to situations help us learn and grow, in a positive or negative manner. It is up to us to decide. I am constantly, constantly evolving on this.

Several events in my life have taught me how to react in any given situations. I'm still learning actually. I have choices to make. We all do. I try not to react to a situation without thinking it through.

I've come to realize that while I can do something about some things, I choose not to. I choose to do nothing about decisions made by others. I choose to do nothing about the reactions made by others. I choose to do nothing about any negative consequences based on my actions (unless I deliberately, willfully and maliciously hurt someone, which this is not the case). In doing nothing about it I choose to:

Let It Go

I think that this is a lesson that we all should learn or put into practice. Let it go and accept the things that we cannot change. We will be so much happier for it. I hope to impart this lesson on my children as they continue to grow and learn. 

This is where I will send all that I let go. Down a lonely road by itself. :-)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Good Guys Love Dogs Book Review

I'm loving reading books for review and have been basking in my excitement.  So far, I've hit the jackpot on reading good books that have brought me joy.

Here's the latest book I read and my review: Good Guys Love Dogs by +Inglath Cooper

Desperate father Ian McKinley moves his delinquent teenage son to the small Virginia town of Keeling Creek, a place very unlike the New York City life he has been leading. Love takes him by surprise when he falls for Colby Williams, a woman unlike anyone else he has ever been drawn to, a small town vet with a heart for animals and a fierce love for a teenage daughter she is also struggling to raise. 

But Colby has a secret in her past, a secret she's not sure her daughter will ever forgive her for. And as for Ian McKinley, he seems too good to be true. If she had learned anything from the one time she had thrown her heart fully into love, it was that it didn't last. 

Title: Good Guys Love Dogs
Author: Inglath Cooper
Pulisher: Fence Free Entertainment, LLC; 1 Edition (June 9, 2012)
Format: ePub; Kindle/Mobi; 247 pages
Genre(s): Romance
Locations Available: AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes

This story is about finding love when you least expect it. It was a wonderful and easy read with an uncomplicated plot. The pace was just right, not too fast and not too slow. It's a great story to read on a lazy Sunday morning or while relaxing at any time.

From the minute I read the prologue, the story grabbed my attention. I needed to know how Ian McKinley was going to fix the huge rift that was in between him and his son, Luke.

The emotions the story invoked in me were topsy turvy. I laughed and felt sad several times while reading this story. It was also exciting. At one point Colby says she felt like a teenager. I felt like that right along with her as I followed her experience.

The main characters were well developed. You were able to understand what their story was and how they came to be where they are in their lives. The story not only revolves around the lives of the adults but also that of the teenage children. You feel the anguish they experience through out the story. While reading, you can't help but root for these broken families to repair themselves. Each of the characters in the story played a vital role, even if they were mentioned once or twice. They contributed to the story whether it was just by making Ian feel welcome or psychologically pushing him to do things he never thought he would. Even the non-human characters are vital to the story. A great book for animal lovers.

The story ended exactly how I wanted to end. There was closure and it's great to read a story that has resolved the conflicts within the characters.

I do recommend this story if you want something easy to read. Something enjoyable. Something that will leave you feeling happy and in love.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Went Back.... to FB - Yikes!

I did it. I went back to Facebook. Yikes!

Why, oh, why did I do this?! It's a two-fold decision. I'll tell you that it is selfish.
  • First - I miss the friendship I developed with wonderful people on Facebook and I miss keeping up with my family.
  • Second (and probably the driving factor) - I want to increase readership to my blog for the book reviews I do for authors. It's a great way to drive readers in both their and my directions. 
Blogging has helped me. It has become a vehicle for me to share my thoughts with the virtual world. Something about putting yourself on display for the world to see and dissect can be humbling. It keeps you honest to yourself and to others around. Never did I think I would be doing this. Never!

I also discovered the joy of blogging book reviews. So far, I've only done two and it has been well received. Maybe not as well as some other blogs who have a high readership count but good enough for me. I am truly enjoying this. I blogged recently about this here: What I've Been Up To. Currently, I am reading Good Guys Love Dogs for review. So far so good.

I have mixed emotions about returning to Facebook. I really do. I'm happy to reconnect and to promote my blog. Yet, I feel like I am betraying myself for going back to Facebook. I shouldn't but I do. I remember clearly what brought me to the point of deleting my account and I can't go back there. I know that I don't want to fall back into the same trap I was in when I was on Facebook last. Facebook can really suck you in if you're not strong enough. I'm just a social individual who loves interacting with people. I know that I have to set guidelines for myself, not too strict, but I will have to pace myself as I return to Facebook. I can't overload myself. Now that I know what to expect and what can happen I will be able to handle this.

Well, there you have it. Now you know why I went back to Facebook. This time around it'll be better. I know it will.

In the words of my husband "LOL... You couldn't resist. Haha"

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Independence for the Kid

My youngest is definitely at that stage where he's trying to figure out how to be a big boy and be independent.

He wants to do everything on his own. He's been this way for a while now but he is becoming more adamant about it.

I know that his success depends largely on me. I have to learn to let go of some things. I have to continue practicing patience daily. I have to interact with him and make him feel confident in his decisions and actions.

Earlier this week, I saw a video shared by a friend and in the background there was a child talking. Everything the child said was followed up by the word "okay". I only point this out because my son does this too. It definitely has to be a three year old thing.

While it is sometimes difficult to understand what my youngest says, I can clearly understand his follow up word "okay". His favorite phrase right now is "Let me do it, okay." I realize that by him saying "okay" he is asserting himself. He is letting us know that he is an individual. He knows what he wants. He's showing us that he can do it. He's confident in himself. Which is great at this age. In other words, he is letting me know that he is a big boy, just like his two older brothers, and should be treated as such.

He's a great big helper as well. We cleaned up his room and he did most of the putting back together the puzzles and sorting out the shapes into where they belong. While we cleaned he also practiced his early math skills.

Then it was time to vacuum. This was sort of hard for me to let him do because by this point, I just wanted to finish. But his ever persistent little voice was saying "Let me do it, okay." Okay, I said, okay. I told him that I was going to vacuum too. He was adamant about me not doing it. We came up with a compromise of him getting the big ones and me getting the little ones. Whatever those are. It worked. He pushed around the vacuum, as best he could. He did a pretty good job too.

He was so proud of himself that he'd done a big job like vacuuming. I told him that his vacuuming was so good that he got almost everything. He was beaming from ear to ear.

I say all this because I remember seeing a video clip of Mr. Rogers on the Tonight Show back in 1983. He said that children are to be respected. That we learn things from them all the time. I wholeheartedly agree.

I respected my son's need to find his independence and be a big boy while still guiding him and teaching him.

Boy is it hard letting go.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I've Been Up To

Ever since I started blogging, I knew I needed some changes. I wanted something different in my life. (Here's my first blog post: Changes)

I'm not sure that I've achieved those subtle changes but I feel that I am getting there. One day at a time as I try new things in my life.

As a stay at home mom, I can't ask for anything more, right? Or so I've been made to think when I read other blogs or posts or whatever from other SAHMs. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being a SAHM and I love my boys dearly but I realized I needed something more.

At the time when I decided to become a SAHM, I needed that in my life. I was working with folks that really stressed me out. The job was fine, I loved what I did, just the folks weren't easy to work with but I digress. I had the opportunity to stay home when my youngest was born. I welcomed that opportunity with open arms. I was much happier. I thank the wonderful people who made that opportunity a reality for me. They helped me as I in turn helped them.

Fast forward to 3.5 years later. I had gotten to the point where I was just sitting around the house doing nothing useful with my life. I was spending WAY to much time on Facebook so I decided to get rid of it. One of the best decision's I've made thus far. I was beginning to feel inadequate. I was beginning to feel like I wasn't contributing to my family. I was beginning to feel like I wasn't doing anything, nothing, useful with my life. I was beginning to feel like I meant nothing. (It's hard to admit this on a forum where anyone can read it but if I don't get it out there, I'll be stuck in a rut.) I really hated that feeling. I felt like I was approaching depression. I don't want that. Even thinking about it scares the heck out of me.

Yes, I took care of the house and the children and stuff like that. But you know what, I am more than that. I am more than just a stay at home mom. I am more than just a housewife. I am more than just a mother. I am more than just a wife. I can't and won't settle for just that. Does this make me sound selfish and ungrateful? I hope not because life is not about settling. It is about pushing yourself and discovering new things about yourself. Things you never dreamed of. It is about being courageous and exploring life! I want that. I want all of that. So, I'm getting there. Slowly but surely.

I know at some point in the future I will need to go back to work. At least I think I do. I need to keep busy. I need to do more with my life. I can't just do the whole mom and wife routine and not do more with my life. I know some people are content with just that but not me. Not at all.

So, I started crocheting and I truly enjoy that. It does keep me busy. It keeps my brain fresh with learning new stitches and seeing my creations come together. I love that.

I also started reviewing books. Now that I really enjoy! I love reading. Reading takes me to a different world. It is truly my escape. I find it both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I get to travel to different places, see new things (in my mind), learn about people (albeit made up people) and so much more. It is a curse because I read these stories and wonder what my life would be like had I been in those situations. Not the fantasy stories but the ones that are more true to life.

Anyway, reviewing books has given me an outlet to connect with the world, even if it's just virtually for now. I find myself happier than I've been in a long time. I feel, for now, like I am making some sort of contribution. Even if it's just helping authors get their books out there. Even if it's just helping readers find new books. Granted, my little blog is just that, little. :-) But I love it. I truly feel like this is a part of me, another creation that I am proud of. In my mind, I have these huge plans for my little blog to eventually make it into something bigger.

For now, though, I will continue as I am going. I will continue sharing little tidbits of myself as I continue into my journey into subtle changes of myself. As I continue crocheting. As I continue reading and reviewing books.

I hope that you will join me on this journey and share your thoughts with me. For those who've read my blog and continue to do so, I thank you for your support from the bottom of my heart. It means the world to me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Children and The Blood Book Review

As I venture into the world of book reviewing, I've been fortunate enough to have received and read some wonderful books.

This next book is such a book. It's nothing like I've ever read before. Just when I think a genre has been done several times over, +Megan Joel Peterson has done something different with it and I loved it!

A forgotten life.
A secret war.
Eight years ago, an exploding gas main killed Ashley's family and left her with a childhood she can't remember. 
Eight years later, the forgotten past is behind her and life on her isolated farm is all she knows. 
Until that past comes looking for her.
Until men with superhuman powers hunt her down in the night, determined to take every she loves away from her again. 

Title: The Children and The Blood
Series: Book One of 'The Children and The Blood' series
Author: Megan Joel Peterson
Publisher: Self Published (February 6, 2013)
Format: Paperback; ePub; Kindle/Mobi; 350 pages
Genre(s): Young Adult; Urban Fantasy
Locations Available: AmazonBarnes and NobleAppleKoboSmashwords

What usually grabs my attention of a book is the title, then either the synopsis or cover. But usually the title is the first thing. When I got this book for review and saw The Children and The Blood, it intrigued me. One doesn't normally think of children and blood going together unless a child's hurt. However, knowing that the book was an Urban Fantasy novel, I decided I had to learn more.

Then the cover got me. It's so simple. Nothing fancy at all but just as intriguing. When I read the synopsis, I wanted to learn more about Ashley and her family and what happened to her. And boy was I in for a ride!

Within the first few paragraphs of the story, my attention was caught. Immediately, there was turmoil and anguish. Megan didn't waste any time getting into the action of it. She gives us a teaser of the present in her prologue and then back tracks to the past of just a few hours. It was well done as I wasn't confused on what was happening in the timeline progression of the story.

Once we get to learn more about Ashley and what happened to her family, you can't help but feel the sadness and pain that her dad and sister has lived with.

*I will put a spoiler alert warning here but try not to give too much away.*

This story is about magic, plain and simple. Magic. However, Megan does something completely different with it. I certainly have not read a book about wizards in this manner at all. I enjoyed it tremendously. It was simple and new. We get to learn that Ashley and her sister come from a wizard family but yet are quite different than wizards. Hmmm...

It's also about survival and learning who you are inside you and what you are capable of doing in order to keep your loved ones safe.

During the course of losing her family, yet again, Ashley meets some outcasts called Hunters. They take her in and teach her about the magic world that surrounds her.

The story is also told from the point of view of another integral character to the story, Cole. Cole becomes the unlikely hero who saves Ashley and her little sister. They become separated and that's when Ashley meets the Hunters. Cole assumes the role and responsibility of guardian to Ashley's little sister. He takes care of her as they both learn about the magical world.

Both parties go on an adventure trying to hide and stay one step ahead from the wizards and pretty much just trying to stay alive.

This book finished with a jaw dropping cliff hanger! It ended NOT how I was expecting and certainly NOT who I was expecting to see. I suspect that we will get to know more about what and who Ashley, her little sister and Cole are in the upcoming book, Taliesin Ascendant. I loved the ending cause it has me anxiously awaiting the next book.

Do I recommend this book? Heck yeah, I do. I can always tell a book is good when: I can't put it down; My emotions are all over the place; I can't wait for the release of the next in line book of the series; and when I get really sad that the story has finally come to an end.

It's a young adult urban fantasy story that just takes on a ride from the beginning up to the very end.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

eLoves Me, eLoves Me Not Book Review

Recently, I had the opportunity to read a book for review. Yay. Well, I read all the time but this is the first time I'll be blogging a review about a book, so bear with me.

*Read at your own risk as this may contain spoilers. I'll try my best to be as vague as possible with details.*

eLoves Me, eLoves Me Not by +L. A. Johannesson is a story where we follow Kayte Wexford's journey into the online dating world. This book is appropriate for the times we live in where online dating is becoming a norm. Kayte is a 39 year old woman who is very confident, in charge of her destiny, smart, beautiful, sexy and has got everything going for her, except love. Her heart was broken by whom she thought was the love of her life and it has taken her a while to get over it.

When she decides to enter the dating world again a disastrous blind date leaves her knowing more so what she wants in a man. Through the gentle coaxing of her best friend, Chloe, Kayte enters the online dating world and creates a profile. She clearly details what she is looking for and what her expectations are in a man and relationship. She leaves nothing out and leaves no man guessing. Through this site, she meets many a wonderful men, who are sexy, charming, witty, funny, handsome and sexy, wait I said that already but you get the picture.

With the help of a male friend, Roman, Kayte follows several online dating rules to help her through her journey. You laugh, you cry, you cringe and you get pissed as you read this book and follow Kayte's journey.

I was really interested in reading this book because my husband and I met on the internet. Granted, we followed non of the dating rules detailed and we lived several states away from each other when we met. We fell in love while exchanging emails, letters via snail mail, pictures and talking on the phone. When we met for the first time, physically, we knew we were meant to be together. We are still going strong 10 years and 3 boys later.

The book was great. L.A. Johannesson left nothing out in her book. She was very detailed in her writing and in creating the atmosphere and ambiance for the scenes in the book. Maybe a little bit too much detail but it gave us an insight to her Kayte was. I certainly did not get the ending I was expecting or wanting. However, it ended appropriately as the story was written IRL (in real life) perspective. While I got my happy ending with my personal online dating experience, not many folks do.

I also learned a few things. If you are someone who is easily offended by talks of sex and all that goes with it, this book is not for you. L.A. Johannesson goes into detail about some sexual experiences Kayte had but it was very classy and tasteful. It is rare to read sex scenes so eloquently written. I loved them.

So if you are interested in online dating or just want to read a good book, give this one a try. You won't be disappointed.

Title: eloves me, eloves me not
Author: L.A. Johannesson
Publisher: Linda Johannesson (November 9, 2012)
Format: Paperback (418 pages) and eBook (335 pages)
Genre(s): Chick Lit; Contemporary Romance

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

You Scratch My Back, I Scratch Yours

I am proud to say that something I have been trying to teach my boys is finally sinking in.

I give my boys everything they want, not material things, but I allow them to do most of what they want to do. However, I don't give them everything just because. They have to "earn" it. Whatever it is. I expect them to be good listeners, good children, kind to each other, considerate, respectful and responsible.

My boys have all these traits. The one thing, however, that they are lacking in, is the responsibility in taking care of their chores. I realize that with time and continuity, they will get it.

Their room (I'm referring to my oldest two now) often resembles as if a herd of elephants just finished their yearly migration. It is chaotic! And you can forget what their playroom looks like, it's worse at times.

Every so often, I go through their room and playroom and model/show them how to organize their toys and clean it up. It seems they need this reminder from time to time. They're kids. They are not concerned with keeping their room or playroom cleaned. They have more important things to do, right.

Several weeks ago, I'd gotten fed up with their room and playroom. I gave them a talking to and said that I allow them to do everything they want to do. I only expect for them to be responsible with their room and playroom and keep it cleaned and organized. I told them: You give to me and I give to you. If we can help each other out that way, we won't have any problems. For days I would reiterate this.

Their bedroom has been looking way better than it has in the past. They are not allowed to do anything else until their room is organized. We're still working on the playroom. It's a work in progress.

Now that this long winded back story is over, I can now share how do I know that the lesson is sinking in. I think. They are home from school today due to the weather. Their room was cleaned fine but their playroom was beyond a mess, not to mention the TV room. And they were beyond wild. I mean just wild! After lunch, I told them they needed to relax their bodies in their room either reading or drawing. Fine. 15 minutes later they asked if they could play on my Nexus 7. I told them no because I needed for them to relax for just a bit without technology and that my N7 needed charging.

Five minutes later, my oldest comes to me and says "But Mommy, what happened to the "I give you, you give me" rule (I assume that my oldest two talked about this). What could I say. He got me there. They gave me 15 minutes of silence, the least I could do was allow them to play with my N7, right. I did explain to him that my N7 did need to charge good before I allowed them to play with it. He understood.

The point is that they are getting it. You can't expect to get something in return when you don't put the work in. Whatever it may be. I hope I'm doing the right thing in guiding my children in the right path and teaching them values and traits that will make them wonderful adults and a great contribution to our society. That is my goal as a mother.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Milestone For Us

Recently, our family, rather my youngest, reached a milestone.

Wait for it... The first official haircut.

Firsts are a huge thing for families as is in ours. While I suck at documenting such firsts, I do remember them fondly. I guess this blog post is an official documenting of my youngest's first haircut.

Now, I know haircuts aren't that big of a deal, really. But my youngest got his first haircut at 3 1/2 years old. Yes, 3 1/2 years!

So, why did it take me so long to cut his hair? I knew in my heart of hearts that he was going to be the last one. The baby in the family. I needed to hold on to some of that babyhood for as long as I could. I wanted to stretch out the firsts as best I could.

Of course, I stay home with the kids so I also knew that I had the time to comb his hair when needed. Also, in the past, we've waited until our other boys have turned at least a year old before cutting their hair. My oldest two were about 18 months old when we first cut their hair. Yes, I still have their hair in ziploc bags, as I do have my youngest's. When my youngest, turned one year old, he had a good bit of hair but he was so small that it just didn't feel right to cut his hair. So, we waited and waited and waited.

I then decided to wait until he turned 5 years old to cut his hair. Well, as you can tell, that isn't going to happen. His hair got so long and thick that the joy of combing his hair was quickly fading. He was used to getting his hair combed but he would start saying ouch whenever I had to untangle it. His hair is so curly, thanks to me, that no matter what I did the tangles would always be there. But he was a good sport about getting it combed. Also, he was ready for it. I talked to him about getting his hair cut and he was really excited about it.

I made an appointment with my hairdresser and off we went. On this wonderful adventure of getting his haircut. The whole family went to support him and make him feel great. My oldest was so excited to see him and commented on how much he know looks like the rest of his brothers. It is uncanny to see how much resemblance they have to each other. Just yesterday, I had a flashback of when my oldest was 2 years old when I saw my youngest out of the corner of my eye.

When we got to the salon, he climbed up on the chair and sat like the big boy he is. I was so proud of him. My heart swelled at thousand times with pride, joy and sadness.

Proud because he was so ready for this and taking it so easy.

Joy because you could see the excitement in his little face before and after his haircut.

Sadness, well, because his features have changed and I know that slowly but surely I am loosing the little baby that I had. I need to learn to let go of that and embrace the big boy that he is becoming.

This is how long his hair was. You can see how thick it is.
That first snip. He didn't even flinch.
Here we are.