Author Archives: Heather

About Heather

I am the lucky mom to two kids. Scorch is my baseball obsessed 9 year old son and Bean is my crazy, loving 7 year old little girl. I'm happily married to the Hubs. We live in the middle of nowhere with two cats and one certifiably crazy dog.

This is 40

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I’m reading a book right now that takes place the summer between high school and college. Do you remember that summer? For me, it was 1996 and 22 years later it’s still one of the most vivid in my mind. There was that sense of excitement and fear and joy and worry – I can hear the music that played on repeat and smell the clove cigarettes to this day.

There was also a boy.  A beautiful, damaged boy – a boy I wanted to know and be known by.  A boy who I thought I could fall in love with despite all his warnings that he was too broken and not capable of love. A boy I wanted to try with regardless.  A boy who came thisclose to breaking my heart.

This book reminds me, achingly, of that boy and that summer. That summer when anything could have happened and my life could have gone in so many different directions.

~*~*

This past summer was not an easy one in so many different ways, personally and professionally. There were storms that I honestly didn’t know if we’d get through without sinking.  Tears, anger, frustration and hopelessness- they all colored this past summer.

This was also the summer I turned 40. Despite what I *think* I’ll see when I look in the mirror, there is a middle aged woman staring back at me with the start of crows feet, silver at her temples and a squishy middle that is the bane of her (my) existence.  There are bags under my eyes and still some faint marks on one cheek from when I developed chloasma gravidarum when I was pregnant with the Bean.

But my eyes sparkle, my smile is always ready to burst out and those crow’s feet- they’re laugh lines.

If you ever want to know how loved you are, I highly recommend hitting a milestone birthday during a particularly shitty time. We celebrated my 40th five times over four months with friends and family from all over the country.

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I was kidnapped and swept away for a night of bar hopping and dinner, I traveled to Nashville with my best friends from 3rd grade, and I went on a wine tour in the Finger Lakes with some of my favorite people on earth. I turned 40 sitting on the bleachers watching Scorch do what he loves most in the world while the Hubs coached and the Bean and my parents sat next to me. I sang along with Jimmy Buffett when he played in Fenway Park, I danced in the rain on a rooftop bar and laughed and was loved on so damn hard from the people I adore most on this earth.

This summer was the craziest mix of highs and lows – full of fury and fun and heartbreak and overwhelming love.  I dissected my life – my choices, the path that led me to where I was now, the people I surrounded myself with and every little thing in between.  There were a lot of what if’s and daydreams about what could have been.  Could I have been happier? What would my life have looked like if I went right instead of left? Took Option A instead of Option B? Would my life be better? Worse? Different in a whole other way?

But then I realized, it doesn’t matter. This IS the life I picked- and I’d pick it again.

I would pick this life again in a heartbeat.

I’d pick the Hubs to walk by my side. I’d go through the heartbreak of my miscarriages to get the kids I have today. I’d surround myself by the incredible people that lift me up every day. And I surely couldn’t imagine a better family to be born in.

I would pick this life again.

The “what if” game is fun to daydream about – and trust me, even though I’d pick this life, I still daydream and wonder what could have been – but the fact of the matter is this is the life I built.  This is the life I’ve worked for for 40 years and I’m so damn glad it is mine.

So here’s to the next 40 with its ups and downs and heartbreaks and belly laughs. Here’s to family and friends and fighting for the life you want. Here’s to figuring out how to right your own ship, weather the storm and come out stronger for it.  Here’s to laugh lines, tear tracks and choosing to love each and every day no matter what life throws at you. Here’s to my wickedly crazy, awesome life

JimmyBuffett

 

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Middle School Joy

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School has been back in session for a few weeks now and, so far, the transition has been a smooth one. Bean is still in her beloved school – only this time – for the first time ever –  without her brother there with her. In her words, it’s amazing. And Scorch transitioned seamlessly from his tiny Catholic school to the much larger public school.

I think it helped that for the first year ever, we’re letting Scorch play tackle football. Trust me, we debated this decision over and over and over – but what finally got me to say yes is the fact that my kid thrives on a team. He soaks up everything about being a teammate-  having kids to hang out with, having a set schedule, being forced to manage his time. Football here meant summer conditioning sessions and practices that started the week before school started so he went into the new school already feeling like he belonged, which is a really good thing.

Last week, Scorch was supposed to have his first game so the Bean, Hubs and I went to the field. There was a tennis match going on below the football field and a cross country meet happening on the far side of the field. The Powder Puff game was going on after Scorch’s game, so the entire athletic area was packed. Warm up music was blaring and kids were hanging out in groups – teasing, laughing and carrying on. It was a loud, chaotic, fun community atmosphere.

It may be 22 year later, but damned if the sounds, sights and smells weren’t exactly the same as when I was in school.

I freaking loved my teen years. Not in a Glory Days way where I want to go back and relive those times again – but those years were a lot of fun. Sure, there was the typical drama that all teens go through – first loves, fights among friends, pushing boundaries and figuring things out – but overall, those years rocked.  And as I looked around at where my kids were going to be living out their teenage years, I became excited for them.

I know that being a teen today is a hell of a lot different than being a teen 20+ year ago, but I’d like to think that the foundational things aren’t that different. Social media adds a whole new levels to things, but at the core, middle school and high school years are about starting to figure out who you are and who your tribe is. It’s about exploring your interests, stretching your wings and taking those first steps to adulthood.

Sure, it can also be about drama and angst – but, thanks to social media and the news, it’s easy to think that’s all it’s about. But it’s not. It’s also about joy, friendship and crazy love. Come on???  Don’t you remember that first exhilarating car ride you took with your friends with no adults in the car? Finding new friends that you clicked with? Discovering a new activity that you loved? Riding the bus home from games, celebrating the big win? Taking class trips? Sneaking out of your house to meet your friends and getting away with it (or not- thanks, Mrs. Wilson!)? Picking out your outfit to your first formal dance?  The thrill of your first kiss?

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We called this our 90210 pose. Awkward as hell middle school years? You betcha. But I’m going to on vacation with these ladies next month to celebrate our 4oth birthdays!

*sigh* I want my kids to have all that and more. I want them to be 40 years old and look back on that crazy time with a smile on their face remembering amazing friends lost and the amazing friends still in their lives. I want them to laugh over the stupid things they did and realize how those years helped to make them into the amazing adults they will become.

So, instead of freaking out about all the horrible things that the media tells me lurks for my kids as they get older, I’m going to concentrate on all the awesome things that will also happen. My eyes will be open to the bad – I can’t pretend it’s not out there – but that fear won’t take away the joy that I know will be there too.

 

10.

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Dear Bean-

You have been blessing this earth with your sassy attitude, funny personality and charm for a decade now.

Girl, you’re old.

How in the world did that happen? Aren’t babies supposed to stay babies? I think there is a law about that somewhere that you broke with all this growing up you’re doing.

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We were in FL back in March, on the beach in St. Augustine – you were all long, skinny, tanned limbs and my heart stopped just looking at the gorgeousness that is you.  Not just your physical features, but your sparkling eyes and loud laugh  – that was the moment I got a glimpse into you who you’d grow up to be and it was astounding.

~*~*~

You are still my mystery girl. Your brother and I are very similar- what you see is pretty much what you get. We like people, we like crowds and there are no such things as strangers- just friends we haven’t met.

You, on the other hand, are much more guarded. You keep your circle small, your friends close and list of things you love to do pretty damn small. Getting you to try new things is like pulling teeth and if you’re not sure you’ll be 100% successful or comfortable doing something- you’d really rather not.

Parenting you is sometimes one of the most challenging things I do  – and I’m so thankful for it.  You, my Bean, make my life a 1000x more interesting. You keep me on my toes, you show me a new way to look at things and you’re constantly wowing me with your intelligence and humor.  In short, I adore you.

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~*~*~*~

This past year was a great one for you. You rocked 4th grade- adoring your teacher, getting good grades and working hard. This year was the start of some serious girl drama as you discovered that have 2 BFFs is hard. But you ladies figured things out and learned a bit more about kindness, compromise and what being a friend is about.

You kept playing an instrument, even though you complained once a week about that. You played lacrosse again and killed it – even though you complained about that too. Your father and I have figured out that you’re going to complain about most things that take you out of the house- but once you’re there, you shine. You’re dedicated and work hard and more or less remember your manners.

The only things you never, ever complained about? Playing flag football and horseback riding. You’ve already stated that in 7th grade you’re playing real football because when you grow up you want to play in the NFL. Then become a marine biologist. You don’t care which you do first- you’re just going to do both of them. And I really don’t doubt you will if that is what you really want.

As for horseback riding- you started taking lessons about a year ago and fell in love. I don’t know if it’ll be a long time love affair- but you have never once tried to get out of riding and you’d pretty much rather be at the barn than anywhere else (except home- you always want to be at home). It’s a joy watching you find what makes you happy – and right now, being on a horse is one of your most happy places.

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~*~*~

You start 5th grade in a month – and it’s the first time in your life you’ll go to a different school then your brother. You two make each other crazy, but you’re also each other’s BFFs and I wonder how this will go for you. I have a feeling you’ll find a sense of independence you’ve never had before and I can’t wait to see how you stretch your wings.

As you start the first year of your second decade, I wish so very much. I wish you:

  • Friendship: keep your BFFs close, but don’t be afraid to make new friends too. Let people surprise you in the best way possible- because people are amazing.
  • Kindness: I hope the girl drama stays to a minimum and you all remember the importance of being kind to others- but to yourself as well.
  • Courage: try something new. Venture out and do something that scares you just a little. You are smart, funny and amazing- hold on to that knowledge and step off that ledge.
  • Determination: some things are going to be hard. You’re going to have to work really hard at some thing, or you’re going to be faced with a situation that will need strength. Stick to your guns, see it through and know that what ever it is, you’ll succeed.
  • Confidence: Know all the way down into your bones that you are worthy of love, kindness, friendship and compassion and settle for nothing less. Be true to who you are. That may mean that you won’t be loved by everyone- and that’s OK. Be confident in yourself enough to know that it’s about the quality of those around you and demand what’s due.
  • Curiosity: don’t be afraid to meander down different (physical and metaphorical) paths if something interests you. Sometimes you’ll find the most delightful surprises at the end.
  • Conviction: as you get older, knowing your own mind and sticking up for what’s right becomes more and more important. Ask question, figure out how you feel about things and stick up for yourself and others when you feel you’re not being respected.  I have all the faith in the world in  your ability to move mountains.

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You, my darling Bean, are one of the best gifts I have ever received. You are my heart – my wild child, my rule breaker and my stubborn mule. Watching you grow is my greatest privilege and I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years bring.

Love,

Mom

12.

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Dear Scorch-

You turned 12 a few weeks back. You- my first born, my baby, one of my greatest loves – turned 12. As you like to remind me a lot this puts you firmly closer to a teenager than not.

I feel like I should be sad about this. I should be gnashing my teeth and wailing that you’re not a baby any more. Facebook tells me I should feel this way, as do all the sappy blog posts telling me to cherish everything. And I do cherish them when they are happening- I love that you still love to snuggle (even though we all know I don’t). I love that you still chat with me about anything and everything and that your stories still never end. I do miss your toddler cheeks and your squeaky voice – the way your little body used to melt into mine (now you come up past my chin, so if you melted, I’d fall over). But that doesn’t mean I want to go backwards.

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I’m too excited about who you are becoming to wallow in it. Because life, my sweet boy, is about to take off for you.

11 was a tremendous year for you- full of school and friends and sports. You broke your first bone and handled it like a champ 99% of the time. You pushed yourself academically and athletically and started new things like boxing and academic games. You read the Hunger Games series, went to a camp where you knew no one and took first place in a state competition with your classmates. You learned how to argue fairly with friends, perfected the art of rolling your eyes and had more then a few meltdowns of epic proportions as your hormones monster started to grow (don’t worry, we’ll let you watch Big Mouth when you get much older- you’ll get that reference). You learned to care how you looked (still doesn’t mean you match, but you try) and spent more time combing your hair than anyone else in this family.

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So, now here you are at age 12. You gradate from elementary school this month and start Middle School in the Fall. You go from a class of 14 to a class of 200 and you.cannot.wait. While I’m just as excited as you are, I hope you savor every minute of these next few weeks because come Fall, nothing will be the same again. Hold on to these friends because there is great power in friendships that start when you were 3 and carry on throughout your whole life. You’re going to look back on these years and realize how truly amazing they were.

So, as we’re on the precipice of so many changes, I wanted to share my hopes for you.

1) I hope you stay in contact with your elementary classmates and you use them as your touchstones when you move into the big school next year.

2) I hope that Middle School is kind to you and that you handle the changes about to be thrust on you with grace.

3) I hope you fall in love. Hopefully not with a girl yet- but with a class, a sport, a friend. I hope you take all the opportunities given to you and try something new and you love it with every fiber of your being.

4) I hope you stay kind. You, child, are a leader. Kids like you and they gravitate towards you. I hope you keep that charisma and never, ever turn mean. It’ll be tempting. You’ll see kids picking on others and sometimes it’ll be just so easy to make a joke at someone else’s expense. While I hope you’ll be perfect and never slip- you will. That’s part of growing up- but I hope you realize it when you’ve done it and you’re big enough to apologize and try better the next time.

5) I hope you keep caring- about your friends, your grades and your loves. I hope you keep striving to do better and reach higher. Apathy is a terrible look.

6) I hope as you navigate school you find your core – your ride and die group that has your back no matter what. I remember how the sands shifted in middle school, but at the end of the day, those who really loved you were there when the ground settled.

7) I hope you remember that words have power. The power to build up – and tear down. Try to use yours for good. Compliment instead of complain. Offer solutions instead of whining. Use your voice for good, for the betterment of yourself and others. Use your voice to stick up for others, to advocate for yourself and to call out the wrongdoings you see. You’ll be shocked at how loud you can roar, child.

8) I hope you never put too much stock in “cool.” Cool is overrated, over appreciated and ever changing. Staying comfortable in your own skin is the ultimate cool. Don’t be afraid to shake your butt to the music, show your enthusiasm and laugh until you cry.

9) I hope you know that we will always, always, always love you. Forever. No matter what. We are going to fight and we are going to argue and we are going to want to pretend that we don’t know each other some days. There will be slammed doors, eye rolls and crying – from all of us. But we’re still going to love each other fiercely, have each other’s back and always build each other back up.

Child, I cannot wait to see where things go from here. I cannot wait to see you stretch and grow.  Stay true to yourself, stay bold, roar loudly and always, always aim high. I can’t wait to watch you soar.

Adding On – Advice Welcome!

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Back in 2002 when we moved back to NY, one of the things we were most excited about was being able to afford a house. Prices were (are) obscene outside of DC, but we knew we could afford something when we moved back back…we just weren’t sure what. We were approved for a stupidly high amount of money, but we knew we didn’t want to be “house poor” (where we had a great big house, but no left over money) so we dialed down the amount we wanted to spend, rented for a few months and then found our house.

To be honest, our house was not the house for me. We found the house, but it was more than we wanted to spend so we settled on the house we bought which has a layout I hate(d)- but it had 2 acres of gorgeous land and a perfect location. We figured it was just a starter home- we’d be here 7 years tops and then we’d move on to the house we really wanted.

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View from the front porch

Almost 16 years later, we’re still here. This still isn’t my favorite house- the layout is all wrong, the bedrooms are small and we only have 1 full bath. But it’s home. And it’s still cheap- allowing us do a lot of amazing things we wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. And frankly, those are things I’d rather do then have a bigger house.

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Just a part of our gorgeous yard

But…that one full bathroom thing (especially when that bathroom is roughly 8×9) and the lack of closet space is getting to be a bit much. We’ve looked at houses for years now and have never found one that made us decide to move (the $10-13K in annual taxes on more expensive homes with comparable land has something to do with that too), so after a lot of consideration, we decided the best option is to put an addition on our house.

*gulp*

We have a (rough) plan, a kick-ass contractor and an amazing architect and we’re slowly turning our ideas into a reality. We’re 90% sure we’re doing this and things are getting real. We’ll be adding a 25×35 foot 2 story addition that will include a master suite (my own bathroom AND a window seat to read at!), a spare bedroom, storage, a game room and a laundry room where the pipes don’t freeze in the winter. We’re waiting on the first draft back from the architect and I’m giddy! The best news? We can complete 90% of the addition without touching anything but the exterior of our existing home – so while we’ll be dealing with noise and people, we won’t be dealing with a mess inside my house until the very end.

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Outside of re-doing our kitchen, we have never dealt with anything like this- so talk to me. What should we be considering? What did you wish you had done / known / thought about if you went through something like this? What should we be prepared for? Hit me with your thoughts- I’d appreciate them all!

 

Road Trippin’

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The calendar tells me it’s Spring. The kid’s sports calendar tells me it’s Spring. Mother Nature didn’t seem to get that memo though- it’s cold and grey and sleeting outside my window. It snowed on Easter Sunday. This seemed like a particularly bitter pill given that we had arrived home from Fl the day before.

We had a fantastic trip – hitting the West Coast…

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Disney…

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and the East Coast…

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There were feet in the sand, Mickey Ice Cream Bars consumed daily, trips to numerous pools and tanned faces. There was also one trip the ER (the Hubs, sinus infection), one puking kid (the Bean, low blood sugar) , two teeth lost (Scorch, they were loose) and minimal tears. We drove 1115 miles* on the way home and no one lost their minds until about 45 minutes from home, so I consider that a win. There was lots of family time with some of our favorites, a date night that turned into sharing a table with two drunk fishermen with lots of funny stories, and lots of movies watched over and over and over to make the drive down and back bearable.

All in all it was perfect and the Hubs is on his annual campaign to convince us all to move south. Maybe one day…

~*~*~

Full confession- I wanted to fly to FL this year. So did the kids. But a combination of a last minute date change and the Hubs iron will meant we drove. And while it’s a pain in the butt (2 days in the car both ways), I’m so thankful for these times.  When we travel, we usually travel with people or to see people – but those days on the road are just the 4 of us at dinner and crammed into a hotel room. We only have 7 more of these end-of-winter get aways with both kids (!!!!!) so I’m feeling the need to savor them.

The kids are also amazing travelers. I’m sure it’s a combo of their personalities and the fact that they have no choice- but they really are. Road trips with them are a joy 90% of the time (the other 10% involves vomit and/or sibling death matches).  Because they are so very awesome, we’re driving cross country with them in 2019 for a few weeks…

…and I have no idea how to plan this trip. I mean, I know how to plan the route and where to stop, but I don’t know how to plan how we’re doing this. Taking our car and staying hotels or cabins? Renting an RV? If so, do we tow our car?? That part baffles me. So hit me up, peeps, with any thoughts you have on that topic!

 

The Years are Short

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One of my friends on Facebook has a one year old- the most darling, beautiful little boy.  She posts about how she can’t believe how fast he’s growing, how quickly the time goes by and how much she’ll miss his wrist folds, chubby cheeks and open mouth kisses. She posted a beautiful video the other day about the last time…not knowing when it will be the last time your rock your baby to sleep, the last time you pick them up, the last time they ask you to read to them because the next day, they’ll be too old to need that again. It was gorgeous and I admit to getting choked up for a minute…

…and then I thought how much I don’t miss that.

I look back on the kid’s younger years with so much joy and love in my heart. I loved the squishy newborn years and the sweet/crazy making toddler years. I loved the excitement of preschool and the earnestness of the start of elementary school – but I don’t miss it. I wouldn’t go back there.

So then, of course, I start wondering if I’m a horrible person. Am I wishing my kid’s childhoods away? Am I not present enough? Am I rushing them to grow up? Am I heartless that I don’t wail over every new milestone? Do my kids know how much I adore them at every age? Am I wrong to much prefer my kids old enough to tell me when they are sick, read books with me and laugh at inappropriate humor? Because while I have adored every age with these kids these are the best years.

~*~*

After all that-  I know I’m not completely heartless because occasionally I’ll come across an old picture that makes me gasp. These were taken 8 years ago today.

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That’s 3 year old Scorch a month before he started his first year of t-ball. This year, he’s in his last year of Little League. He still love to catch and the Hubs is still his biggest fan and constant coach. There will be rose ceremony on Opening Day marking this crazy baseball milestone and *poof* next year he’ll start 7th grade and modified sports. I don’t know how that’s possible.

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While the boys played, this 20 month old wanted to climb. She wanted to climb and escape and do the opposite of what you wanted her to do. She never wanted to ride quietly in her stroller, didn’t want to be confined and she spit nails if you tried to make her. This year she’s in 4th grade…and she hasn’t changed. Her cheeks are less chubby and she’s got a hell of a lot more hair- but that fire still burns.

I may not miss those itty bitty kids, but I do marvel at how fast they grew.

Broken- and Why I’m the World’s Worst Mom

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When Scorch was in 3rd grade, he started snowboarding. He worked so freaking hard to learn- it took him all 6 weeks in row of weekly 2.5 hour lessons to finally- FINALLY- get his green pass. He hasn’t looked back since. Last year, the Bean and I started skiing. She’s fantastic, I stink- but we are, officially, a family that skis. (Except the Hubs- he wants nothing to do with it thanks to his previous 5 knee surgeries.). We love our Thursday nights on the slopes- Scorch heads off with his friends while the Bean and I stick together and she makes fun of how slow I go. We meet up randomly and then have a fun dinner out. #bonding

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Last week, just as the Bean and I got off the ski lift at the very top of the mountain, I heard my cell phone ring. I ignored it and we continued on with our group lesson, slowing inching our way down the hill with our instructor and 8 other kids. All was going well enough until I got a tap on my shoulder from another chaperone who some how tracked me down to tell me Scorch was hurt and that I needed to go check on him ASAP.

Which was doable – in theory. Except that I was stuck at the top of a trail I didn’t know with my 9 year old who promptly fell over, lost a ski and started to sob that she was never going to get up again. So I called the head chaperone who was with Scorch, determined that no bones were jutting out, EMTs were not called and he was calm – then I more more less told the Bean to calm down, pull herself together and get moving.

15 agonizing minutes later I rushed into the room where Scorch was to find him acting completely fine. Sure, he had ice on his wrist, but there were no tears, swelling or bruising. It was rather anti-climatic after our rush down the hill.

We headed home and had the Hubs (a former EMT) look at Scorch’s wrist where he deemed it fine. We asked Scorch to perform a bunch of mobility exercises, that he did successfully and then basically shrugged our shoulders and figured he was fine.

The next day, the wrist was still sore, and, given that Scorch had a basketball game and two football games the next day, we decided to get him x-rayed just in case. The doctor we saw agreed that it was probably nothing but ordered the x-ray just in case.

You know, just in case his wrist was broken in two places. Which it was.

Scorch handled this rather well all weekend long – until Monday when the cast was put on and reality set in. That night, my sweet, patient, loving child lost his ever loving mind as we drove to the gym (something we so every Monday, Wednesday and Friday so the Hubs and I can work out). There were tears, yelling, stomping of feet- and then finally, after getting the Bean all riled up – The List.

My kiddos spent the last 15 minutes of our drive to the gym outlining all the things that I don’t let them do that I should:

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For the record, I defending myself against the “lying” accusation by noting that telling my kids that they can do something, only to find out what they wanted to do wasn’t offered at the time they wanted to do it (something out of my control) was not lying (that happened the week before). I also told them I’d stopped yelling in the morning (why do I yell? So we get to school on time. I didn’t yell yesterday once, we were 20 minutes late). The rest? Well, they’d just have to suck that up- that’s called parenting.

Bottom line: Scorch is in a cast for the next 3 weeks, he’s a resentful mess over it and I’m wondering how much a kid with a broken wrist would get me if I sold him to the circus.

 

The Best Books of 2017

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Full confession here: 2017 was long year. There were job changes, crazy schedules and the general upheaval in the world. There were times when I was hanging on by a thread, trying to keep the balls in my life from crashing spectacularly to the ground – and days that, despite my best effort, they crashed anyhow.

So this year was the year of comfort books. I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited. I revisited the romance genre- contemporary and historical.  I didn’t read much that strained my brain and while part of me feels badly for that- I mainly just enjoyed the hell out of everything I read this year. And I plan on doing the same thing this year.

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So, here’s what I loved last year:

My Most Favorite of 2017

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Beartown by Fredrik Backman. Beartown is the story of a small town on the edge of being forgotten. The only thing the town is proud of is its junior hockey team full of talented high schoolers. Hockey is life and these boys are raised up – more myth then almost-men. So what happens when one of does something unthinkable?

As a mom raising a male athlete, this one hit me right between the eyes. I still think about this book months later and cannot wait until I can slip it into both my kids hands so we can talk long and hard about it.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah Maas:
I preach my love of Sarah Maas loudly and proudly- and this series shows exactly why. An engrossing, far reaching novel with amazing character development, twists and turns- it’s pure escapism at its finest.

Honorable Mentions

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  • Kulti by Mariana Zapata: truth be told, I loved most of the books by Zapata that I read this past year. Wonderful slow-burn romances filled with grown up who talked about problems, reacted appropriately and are sexy as hell.
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: The Hubs is a police officer and, the past few years, the way police officers have been portrayed has broken my heart. That said, this book- about a police related shooting- was outstanding as it examined the repercussions of such a shooting.
  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn: this story was about the strength of women during WWI and WWII- their grace, their passions and their sheer determination to make a difference. Much like The Nightingale, this book wasn’t always easy to read- it was it was well worth it.
  • The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer: I’m not a huge Amy Schumer fan- I didn’t care for her TV show and thought she was OK in her movies- but this book made me laugh out loud. I read it as we were stuck in traffic trying to get to our beach house at the very tip of Corolla, NC. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes and I seriously wondered if the Hubs was going to kick me out because he was so mad at the traffic as I laughed like loon next to him.
  • Something like Happy by Eva Woods: I am, at my core, an optimist. This book grappled with how to hold on to that optimism when your world crumbles around you. How do you keep that sense of wonder and joy when the worst has happened. I laughed and cried .

Series

  • Rock Kiss by Nalini Singh: Super sweet, super sexy rock-star romance.
  • Fever by Karen Marie Moning:  This series went up and down for me, but the last book came out in 2017 and it tied things together really well!
  • Wraith Kings by Grace Draven: I don’t even know how I found this series, but I listened to it on audio book and it was outstanding. I inhaled all 3 books and cannot wait until the 4th comes out.
  • The Wallflowers by Lisa Kleypas: This series was my first taste back into historical romances and the whole series was sweet, funny, saucy and sexy.
  • Lost and Found by J.M. Madden: This series, about a detective agency that employs injured vets, was smart, funny and suspenseful.
  • Cainsville by Kelley Armstrong: I preordered this book when it was released in October and I sat on it for 2 months. I adore this series to the point I didn’t want it to end so I simply didn’t read the book. But once I did, I’m so glad I made the leap. While it wasn’t everything I hoped it to would be, it was a great ending to a fantastic series.

So tell me- what you have loved? What can’t you wait to read in 2018?

20 Years In

Standard

20 years ago today, the Hubs and I went on our first date. We had met a few weeks earlier, but through a series of random events (like having my wisdom teeth taken out), our first official date was delayed. I don’t remember what I wore on that date- but I know I had awful yellow/green bruises on my cheeks and that it hurt to smile. But that crazy man wanted to take me out anyhow.

Obviously I agreed to go out with him because he was good looking and was highly recommended by a friend – but after that first date, I realized that for the first time in my (young) life, I was dating someone solid. Someone with goals, a path to achieve them, passion and and a sense of humor. At 19, that was like cat nip and once we took off, we never really looked back.

~*~*~

As I write this, the Hubs is sitting on the couch on the other side of the room from me. He’s sick – a sinus infection, we think. He didn’t sleep last night because he felt so crummy, so he napped today and his sleep schedule is all out of wack. I have to work until 1 am and, really, all I want is for him to take his snuffling, snorting, sniffling self to bed so I can have the TV to myself. Or maybe not to bed- maybe to the couch so I can sleep without his clogged nose making him snore next to me.

Sexy? Nope. Romantic? Not even a tiny bit. But that’s life. The romance and the sexiness is still there – sometimes. Fancy clothes, sweet gifts and a quick call during the day just to say “I love you.” Purposely putting on each other’s favorite song just to make them smile. Sharing news and stories and memes because you know it’ll make them laugh during a shitty day. And sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the romance is found by laying out NyQuil, warming up a car and buttering the other person’s toast before it gets too cold and the butter won’t melt.

The romance now is rooted in the partnership of all that comes with raising two smart, active kids. It’s working on the weeks logistics on a Sunday night, determining who is taking which kid where so you both can get to the gym, cook a meal and still have a date night the following Saturday. It’s purposely carving out time for yourselves because the kids no longer go to bed at 7:30 and those relaxing evenings that you used to have with just the two of you are long gone because you’re both going to bed by 10 even though the kids just fell asleep 45 minute ago.

20 years in with an 11 year old and 9 year old, romance is dreaming together about your kid’s future. Planning your retirement. Working on your long-awaited cross country road trip itinerary even though you both loathe pre-planning trips because you’d much rather wing it- but you know this trip is too big to leave to chance.

20 years is literally a lifetime worth of memories. Amazing, horrible, astounding memories that are yours together. It’s an in-twined history that makes it hard to remember life without the other person. It’s knowing even on the nights when you know you’re going to be tempted to smother your partner due to the damn snoring, there is no one else you’d rather have your back.

Here’s to 20 more years with my favorite person to laugh with, raise our kids with and dream big with.

Marriage