Covid Check-In

Hello, world! Hope you are all reading this from a nice and cozy spot at home. And if not...dude, go home. Seriously. Wherever you are. Except on the slim chance you actually have to report to work right now, but in that probably shouldn't be reading this.

Last week my employer started talking about preparing for telework and limiting social contact and all the stuff the rest of the country was starting to grapple with. North Carolina public schools were closed over the weekend. Somehow, daycares were not closed so Babycakes went on Monday and I went to work per usual. But everything was so crazy and seemed like it was about to shut down, as grouping restrictions went from 50 to 25 to 10. Daycare remained open but basically asked us to keep our kids home if we could, to ensure they stayed open for as long as possible for those who do not have another option.

So we preemptively started our restriction on Tuesday once I got the full go-ahead to telework from home. I have a daily schedule and lots of Pinterest activities in my back pocket, so we'll see how it goes. The uncertainty was more than I could handle, and choosing to stay home was my small grasp at somehow having control. Also, I just really did not think daycare would last this full week.

Although apparently they were doing some form of "health checks" that included taking temps at drop-off, according to some friends. They are about to start this at Hubby's work also- anyone with a fever is sent home and immediately supposed to do a 14 day self-quarantine at home.

Teleworking is interesting. The only part of my job I can do from home is a busy-work type of job that wasn't a priority. However, there's a lot of it and it will keep me busy for a while and was on the horizon eventually. I'm getting up early and staying up late, so I am not just on the computer all day while Babycakes is zoned out in front of the TV. It's slightly easier on Hubby's days off, as he can be the "front-line parent" so to speak. Apparently our time-keeping site does not like my night hours though, as it's not recording it correctly. So that's interesting. Some specific paid leave has been granted for certain positions for sickness or care duties, so I am hoping to potentially do part telework and part paid leave. I've been going to bed at 10-10:30 and waking up at 4:30-5:00, which is less sleep than usual. Not terrible, but not sure I can do it 5 days a week.

I'm a little bit in "Army Wife" mode. That means...a part of me has just accepted that things are crazy and I've narrowed focus and am just sort of absorbing the hits. This is unprecedented, but some feelings are familiar. Unpredictable schedule? Check.  Feeling isolated? Check. Relying on technology for social interaction? Check. Disrupted life for the sake of a greater good? Fuckin' check.

To be clear, I accept this likely means I will have a breakdown after all this is over. That seems to be my pattern. It's not a bad patter, honestly, and I'm cool with it. Just want to be clear.

Babycake's birthday is next month. We were supposed to have a party at a local park, and also visit my family who live a few hours away. Both of those things are up in the air at the moment. Currently though, she is basically loving the fact that we are together all day. I've honestly stepped up my mom game a lot, bahaha. So she's doing cool new activities and we're playing outside and she gets to watch at least one Disney movie a day while I work (maybe 2,

I hope people listen and just stay the fuck home. If everyone would just calm down, rest for two weeks, recharge, and stay away from each other...this will pass. It will pass anyway, but the idea of someone's pride killing others is one that really fucking angers me.

A lot of it is truly ignorance or a coping mechanism, IMO. A friend was being annoyingly blase about the whole thing, and it wasn't until she realized how seriously the hospital she worked at was taking things and heard a local doctor speak that it sort of shook her. So we were almost a week apart in our journey to understand this...think of how many people she could have infected in that week if she was sick. And she wasn't even one of the ones going out to eat or anything, because our city had already clamped down on some of that.

She did comment that it was a little scary seeing the government impose restrictions. Y'all...freedom does not come free. Everyone pays a price for it. Freedom to live > Freedom to eat in a restaurant. Get better priorities. And reminder- freedom is not individual. It is collective. No man is an island. You have connections, more than you realize, and your actions have effects. You are not free from the consequences of decisions.

Anyway. Basically...we're fine here at home. At least for the moment.

Now, are you?

Show Us Your Books: March 2020

Another month gone! Y'all, February was a long one for us. My family got pink eye...repeatedly. My husband has a beautiful straight nose I've always loved...and he's always claimed it doesn't work right. Apparently this is true, because he has been plagued by sinus issues this month...which, FYI, can cause pink eye if it gets bad enough. After two rounds, I've told him I love him with all my heart but he's quarantined. I'm on the couch until he has fully recovered*.

He offered to take the couch. But it's easier to wash the bed linens than the couch, and it's easier to keep Babycakes off our bed than off the couch. This is just the most logical option.

Anyway...Babycakes & I seem to be doing okay, it's been several days without drops and our eyes are nice, light, healthy pink. We're keeping a safe distance, taking ALL precautions, and Hubs went back to the doctor for some super antibiotics so let's all pray that in 7-10 days I can kiss my husband again!

Until then, I have my books to keep me company. That's why we're all here, let's get to it.

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

One of Us is Lying #2

This was a fun and frustrating who-dunnit. Again, as I've said...I really just need to accept that I like to binge read a series. Wish I could have remembered a little more about the first in the series- it wasn't super relavent to the plot, but since it was in the same community I'm sure it would have been a more enjoyable read had I actually gotten all the references instead of constantly thinking "Hmmm that sounds vaguely familiar." Rated it 4 stars on GR, probably more like 3.5.

The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao

This book was slightly creepy. It was a slow, calm creep though. I didn't necessarily feel sucked in but I just interested enough to keep going. This may not sound appealing to everyone, but I loved it. The ending was dissapointing...I am just not a fan of that particular twist. Eh. Rated it 4 stars on GR, probably more like 3.5.

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

This book was hard. I did not like reading it. I wanted to quit so bad, but forced myself to keep going because it's been SO well lauded. The writing is fine but I kept thinking some form of hope would show up kind of did and kind of didn't. A question was answered literally on the last page, but even that answer was a "Well yep that's exactly as fucked up as I should have expected" more than an "Aha." As someone who tries to be very open-minded and liberal and understanding and all that jazz, it honestly made me super uncomfortable to read about such a closed community because I felt like I was reading every stereotype about a group of people and that's the opposite of what I want. But at the end there an interview with the author (and I cant remember the appropriate term but...she was a part of the community she writes about...own voices?) and she did talk about her side of that fear; that it was bad for the community at large and would she be critized for drawing more fire on them...but that she had to speak up because, like the characters, she never saw that part of her story. It's not all Muslims/immigrants but it is something she witnessed repeatedly, to varying degrees. Maybe this is an important book to read, but as a woman it was so. fucking. hard. I didn't feel good at the end. But...everyone deserves to know they aren't alone. And sweeping things under the rug isn't good. prepared, because I was not, and it put me in a dark space. I guess I'm saying...trigger warning.

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald

This book was exactly what I needed after A Woman Is No Man. It has some of the same issues (violence, socio-economic problems, abuse/neglect) but in a hopeful way. Zelda, the main character, was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She's high-functioning but also sees things in very simplistic terms, and doesn't always pick up on nuance. Maybe because of this, she was a fucking delight to read. I want to say sweet, but that has a negative connotation nowadays. She's tough AF, determined, smart, very logical once you understand how her mind works, and cares. She wants to be a Viking and she fucking is. This was a story of redemption and determination and loving your tribe and loving yourself and fucking READ IT.

Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life, from Someone Who's Been There by Tara Schuster

I really enjoyed this book, to the point where I ended up buying the ebook. As someone with's both comforting and frustrating to realize that all self-help books basically boil down to to the same things: journal, exercise, eat well, spend time in the sun/nature, and build social boundaries. These things can be done differently depending on personality, but they need to be done. I appreciated all the step-by-step suggestions and rituals. I appreciated that she was upfront about hard things, and how she felt. It's interesting to see that while she certainly does have some privilege and in some ways has an enviable job (re: money+career+travel, etc)...she's dealing with the same feelings that many people with anxiety have...because anxiety doesn't care where you are in life. It's just the worse.

What have you been reading lately? Link-up and let us know!
Life According to Steph

Another Check-In / Recommendations

Hello world. Still not up for full time blogging, but I am starting to think "Hmmm I should blog about that" so that's an indication I might be back more regularly soon.

This feels weird to say, because you don't really hear this a lot, but the hubs & I have been having a really good week or two. Sometimes in a marriage (or really any relationship) two people aren't on the same wavelength, and it can be fucking annoying. Right now, we are pretty in sync- mainly due to good communication. That's a super hard thing to get right, but it's felt really good lately. Our church had a very focused sermon a few weeks ago that encouraged a deep talk and while I'm sure it sounds cheesy to some, it was really helpful and sparked a good attitude and increased communication and I'm feeling very happy and comforted. Babycakes went to visit her grandparents this weekend, and we started to make all these big plans for our kid-free weekend. Instead we ended up sitting at our kitchen table talking for three hours. From internet memes to politics to where we were going for dinner, it was just a random old-school conversation with the person I love. It feels very special to have that with my high school sweetheart, my first love, after 16 years together (literally over half my life). He's my fav.

If you haven't watched the Taylor Swift documentary on Netflix, go do it. I've sort of been all over the map regarding my viewpoint on a famous person. I was slowly starting to come back around to the "Hmm she seems kind cool, I actually do like her music surprisingly (not a big pop person), and I could easily see how maybe some things in the media are twisted." This documentary solidified that and put me firmly in the pro-Swift camp. As someone roughly the same age, I've been part of her target audience so to speak, and to see all these things from her point of view from the last 15 was eye-opening. Loved it, can't recommend enough.

My kid's daycare teachers have this sheet of paper outside their door with a list of all the kids who can count to 30. Babycakes was the first kid in her class to do this, which is cool...but also, she's 3. Do we really need to publicly praise/shame a friggin' 3YO? Is it to encourage parents to work on it more at home? It feels icky to me. And my kid is on the list! I can't imagine what it's like to be one of the parents or kids who aren't on the list (not even mentioning special needs kids, which is a whole other topic...). Love the school, glad Babycakes is doing well and learning, but it just feels like an icky aspect of our culture.

I've recommended multiple episodes of The Armchair Expert podcast by Dax Shepherd before, and I'm doing it again. I've read Peggy Orenstien before, and want to read more from her. She's written about culture and media and girls for a long time, and recently wrote a book looking at boys and sex. Hearing her and Dax talk about this is so enlightening and I love this conversation. Listen Here

I'm feeling a bit down and isolated lately...just like my support system isn't there. This could be a chicken-or-egg situation; not sure if I'm down because the lack of support, or if the fact that I'm down makes me feel less connected. I've talked about this before, and maybe it's specific to my certain group of friends, but it seems like a lot of women are just not willing to make friendships a priority.

Along the same line...I skipped my FiA workout this weekend, but I think it was good for me. I spent some time having coffee and reading Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies (also highly recommend). Between the two, I was inspired and ended up going for a two mile run. I didn't stop or slow down until over a mile in, which is a big deal for me (I can work out, I can ruck, but I usually hate running). I think it was good to feel self-motivated, rather than my group workout which I LOVE and know is good for me but was feeling like a checklist item. Getting out there and reminding myself of why it's good for me and why it matters was mentally healthy for the day.

Oh and I gave up FB for Lent. I never practiced Lent as a child, it's not practiced in all Christian denominations. I've mentioned it before, but the older I get the more I appreciate these religions traditions...not just for traditions sake, but for the purpose behind them (clarity, closer relationship with Christ, etc). At first it was really difficult, because it's my go-to...but after almost a week I realized today that I hadn't even thought of it until I was almost at work- which is a big deal for me. I definitely notice that I still reach for my phone- I've spent more time on Pinterest and Instagram (haven't posted on Instagram in forever before last week). So far the only part I truly miss is having access to the groups for recommendations (places for Hubs & I to go for our date night, insight on fountain pens from my BuJo groups since I'm kicking the idea round of getting one as a greener alternative to my gigantic pen/marker collection). But, I also know I scroll through those groups mindlessly through the day and get annoyed because I see the same questions over and over because it is 2020 and people still don't know the search feature exists. And that aspect isn't good for me. So I think this break will hopefully help me moderate myself better.


Hello, world.

TBH, I just haven't felt like blogging I haven't.

Apparently all I've blogged about lately are books, which kind of makes sense. I'm on book 10 or 11 for the year, and it's only the first week of February. This is a bit much for me, although I usually have peaks and valleys so maybe it's not as unusual as it feels.

In general...everyone has still been sick. We had a week, maybe two, of health. And then...

I GOT PINK EYE. I don't even understand how. Supposedly Babycakes had red eyes at daycare, but they decided it didn't look like pink eye so they didn't call us to get her. She was mostly fine but Saturday my eye started pouring goo and Sunday I woke up with it swollen.

Hubs had it a few weeks ago, due to allergy backup which I didn't even know was a thing, but his didn't swell so he got a little concerned looking at mine. I didn't want to pay for urgent care, but I remembered the new online doc thing so I tried that. 30 minutes from creating an account to seeing a doc and getting a Rx. For half the price of urgent care- WIN. I ended up taking Babycakes to the doctor on Monday just to be its eye drops every four hours and hand-washing every 4 minutes. Super fun.

I/we as a family had a great week, and then a crap week, and now...idk. It's fine. Living my life.

I'm getting tired of hearing from other people, to be honest, and tired of putting anything out there. The world feels noisy, and I don't feel like my particular noise is needed or wanted or, more importantly, helpful.

So things are fine, but my time and energy is just going to different places that are better for me.

And my blog is the one place in my life I don't have to defend myself, but for the very few who actually read this blog on a regular basis, I thought I would pop in and ensure that I am not dead.

Show Us Your Books Link-Up: February 2020

Hello, everyone. Haven't blogged since last month's SUYB, but I have read a fair number of books! For those of you who are regular readers, a general check-in is coming later this week...but hey, I'm alive.

I have two reading goals this year, which include 1) read more new releases, 2) read the Goodreads 2019 Choice Awards / Best Books of the Year.

Southern Lady Code Helen Ellis
This book was so hilarious. I loved it. Helen Ellis is classically Southern, who moved to New York, and recognizes the beauty and insanity of both worlds, and comments on them with incredibly wit.
4 Stars

The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the future by Ryder Carroll
As someone who has been bullet journaling for over three years now, I kind of felt like I needed to read this book. It was a little much in some parts, where he gets very...introspective and thoughtful about some things that just didn't need it, IMO. But there are so many Facebook groups and YouTube channels that bullet journaling seem like it's only for people with unlimited free time and A+ artistic skills, so I deeply appreciated this reminder that the system was developed to be a useful tool rather than a DIY trophy to show off.

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country by Helen Russell
If it weren't for my family's inevitable freak-out, the ridiculously cold weather, and the fact that Danish is really hard to learn...I think I could move to Denmark. Nice to see a country that actually cares about it's citizens. I don't think we could ever get this socialized in America, for many reasons...but it's a dream.

The Line that Held Us by David Joy
Um...wanted to love this, didn't. I actually told my husband...maybe I've read too many female authors, because this felt very dude-y in a bad way. I didn't connect to the characters, one of them slowly descended into madness, and the ending was a fucking let-down and weird. It's from an NC author, and set in a world that I actually know really well (Southern, small town, hunters, tight families)...but it just wasn't the book for me.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
This book made me confident that I wasn't hating on male authors, just that last book. This one won the best Mystery & Thriller category on Goodreads, and for good reason. Nice psychological thriller. Not confident about all the psychology in it, certainly never heard of some of the theories put forth...but that's the psych degree talking. Overall a great read.

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth
 Another multi-perspective family story that completely won me over. The MIL relationship is super weird, and that was nice to see discussed. BUT, I really liked how things that seemed completely stupid and random and even offensive from one person's point of view, made complete sense and was actually super sweet from the other person's perspective. COMMUNICATION. As a species, we are not good at it. I identified with the DIL because, well, I am one- but I identified with the MIL personality wise.

The Hand of the Wall (Truly Devious #3) by Maureen Johnson
 This is the third and final installment of the Truly Devious series. I have the same review of it as I had of the last one- pretty good, probably would be better if I had just read them all in a row. I love a series, but do not do well with a gap between books. Fun and interesting YA read.

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong
Winner of the Goodreads Humor category. And for good reason! SO HILARIOUS. If you know women of child-bearing age, please at least read the chapters about miscarriage and new motherhood. Sounds lame, but if you know women going through either of these stages (which is just statistically likely) then you NEED to in order to not be an ass (probably, maybe you're naturally super smooth but most of us aren't). It's a testament to her skill as a comedian that these chapters are fundamentally hilarious while also perfectly encapsulating the range of emotions these stages come with.

What have you been reading lately? Link-up and let us know!
Life According to Steph

Show Us Your Books Link-Up: January 2020

It's the first SUYB of a new decade! Whoo hoo! Looking forward to lots and lots of good books in the upcoming year/s.

After rereading sounds like I haven't liked any of my recent reads. But they were all good! Nothing that I absolutely loved but very strong reads.

The Books

The Sisters of Glass Ferry by Kim Michele Richardson
This book was good...not necessarily I wanted but good. My one complaint is that the word Kentucky is used way too much. The state of Kentucky, the river named Kentucky, Kentucky whiskey...I get it. It's about Kentucky. Sadly this is a trope of a lot of Southern novels...either because we have a chip on our shoulder and feel the need to defend, or because we are still thought of as "other" by so much of the country that it's important to reminder non-Southerners every five seconds so they don't loose the vibe of the story. Either way, if you remove half of the times that shows up it would be a better book IMO. Still worth reading, just...ya know, personal gripe.

 This was a more fun, slightly creepy in a Stepford-ish way. I did not suspect the true identity of Isabelle and was a little blindsighted. The end wasn't exactly wrapped up in a way that I loved, it was still a great book. TBF I have issues with the endings of a lot of maybe I just get upset when things I like end?

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
As expected, this was a good read. Is it Evelyn or Daisy level? No. But it was a good read. It switches back and forth between two "lives" of one character...really between two possible lives, showing the two different paths a life can take based one single choice. Interesting to see the things TJR let stay the same between the two options, and what she made seem almost trivial or easily swapped. I liked one story better than the other...but enjoyed both. Each chapter was both exciting and frustrating because I wanted to keep the current story but also check back in with the other interesting experiment.

This book was...hard. It was long, and simply written. Which is fine...but I prefer slightly more emotion, and even the emotional parts were laid out somewhat matter-of-factually. Which is sometimes good to read and sometimes not as fun to read. The span of the main character's long. So painful, and also joyful. So strong, and so...random, regarding the occurrences and who survived and who did not. So far this review doesn't sound like I like it, but I did! It just had a lot to chew on, and I'm not done yet. If some books are light and fluffy like cotton candy, this was more like a steak. 

Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orïsha #2) by Tomi Adeyemi
Oh, boy. This is a complicated one. Here's the thing: I did not like reading this book. It did not immediately pull me in like the first book of the series. did what it did really well. Like any good dystopian was intense. And super frustrating at times. But what it did an excellent job at is beautifully expressing the ways our personal feelings and viewpoints can have drastic effects. It is a war, and war is uncomfortable.


This is another one that was a slow burn- after three in a row, maybe it was me! I was actually thinking of not even continuing the series (#3 should come out sometime this month)...but by the end I was sucked in. TBF, had I went back and read #1 I probably would have liked this more. But some things were foggy. It's very much a "whodunit" YA...and I like those books but sometimes I just don't feel like analyzing everything, so it's a slow burn until the character completely figures it out and tells me what's going on, haha.

What have you been reading lately? 
Link-up and let us know!
Life According to Steph

Books of the Decade

 original image by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

It's standard for SUYB to do a best books of the year post, but until my local library posed the question on Facebook I didn't even consider thinking of the best books of the decade.

But, once the idea was in my head I couldn't get it out.

First are just the best books I could remember off the top of my head. Then I went to Goodreads for my challenges for each year, which date back to 2011, to see what jumped out at me from those lists. The dates listed are the dates I read the books, not the dates they were released...because I'm selfish and count it by my experience rather than a published date.

Note: My reading life definitely improved around 2017...not sure why, but returning to those books made me smile. 2015 & 2016 were also good reads, but the other years were not as happy to look back over. The few I listed are really the only ones of worth and lots of the ones from my Goodreads lists felt pointless and regrettable. It also tracks that since my overall number of books read increased as the years went on, the number of "best" books each year also increased.

The first books I thought of off the top of my head were:

As previously stated, Daisy Jones & The Six was by far the standout book for me last year. Check out the rest of my 2019 top reads here.


Circe by Madeline Miller

Puddin' by Julie Murphy
A Tyranny of Petticoats, edited by Jessica Spotswood

All the Ugly & Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado

Honorable mentions: Dr. Greta Helsing series by Vivian Shaw



Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

You by Caroline Kepnes

Honorable mentions: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick, Scandalous Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon


2013 & 2014
Not sure why, but these years are sparse on Goodreads! Like, less than 10 books for two years. Not sure what happened...for 2014 especially I don't know why I didn't track more.

All I have listed for 2013 is about the first 20 books of the Stephanie Plum series. Not the best, but they were mental junk food that got me through a super hard time in my life.


Millennium Trilogy (aka The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Honorable mention: What Southern Women Know about Faith: Celebrating a Heritage of Grace and Strength by Ronda Rich

I was clearly homesick in Colorado, and needed some Southern in my life. One of the many blessings of books.

What books really stuck out and meant something to you in the last decade?

2020 Reading Goals

 Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

I don't typically do a lot of specific reading challenges or goals. In the past, it's felt restricting and made reading not enjoyable for me.

So this isn't a challenge or resolution or goal that I'm going to kick myself over if I don't meet it every month (or at all).

But, sometimes loose guidelines are more helpful than restrictive. And the SUYB link-up has confirmed that I'm terrible at keeping up with new releases and popular reads. And sometimes that's okay, because not everyone likes everything. But I do like having general knowledge of pop culture.

So, I've come with some goals for 2020.

First, the overall goal of reading 60 books this year. That feels like a lot...but I read 64 books in 2019. Which was 14 over my goal. I've been doing Goodreads challenges since 2011 and the number of books read has slowly increased almost every year. My 2011 goal was 26, so definitely a big jump in 9 years.

My second goal is to read the winners of 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards. I've already read two of them. And for two categories I'll be reading the runner up, because the first choice is either a second in a series or I just really didn't want to read that author. My goals, my rules.

Lastly, I am going to attempt to read more new releases. Previously, my habit has been to wait on reviews and then grab a book. This leads to a lot of waitlists at my I'll attempt to request books earlier and actually track new releases. This will probably be the hardest...but we'll see how it goes.

Post 2019 Holiday Wrap Up

Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

Hello, internet. TBH, I can't remember how long it's been since anything appeared on this blog because I think I scheduled a bunch of posts before starting my holiday break, but I'm not sure and I'm too lazy to check.

There has been an intro to 2020 post, but in general it's been a few weeks since I blogged anything current.

 Since I work in education, I have a very long break for Christmas. This year it actually ended up being over two weeks.

It was supposed to be a little less than a week and a half, but one day was taken off early to visit my in-laws. The day that was supposed to be my last day at work, Babycakes woke up throwing up at 0430. And I was supposed to go back last Thursday, but half of my office was out and since Hubs & I have been trading a cold back and forth for two weeks, I decided to rest.

So, from that brief synopsis, you may guess that it's been an interesting few weeks and basically I have no idea what's going on either in the world at large or my own life, really. Let's go back a bit and tackle this in chronological order.

The Thursday that was supposed to be my last day of work, Babycakes woke up around 0430. This isn't normal but it's not exactly strange either, kids wake up at random times. She complained her tummy hurt, but since she didn't eat dinner the night before I figured she was just hungry. Sometimes she doesn't eat if she doesn't like dinner or is grumpy or tired...we do not do "special meals" in our house for her, because...just no. But, she hadn't even drank her milk at dinner which was weird. Anyway, 0430 and I'm half asleep so I get her a small cup of milk and an applesauce pouch. She takes a few sips of each, says she doesn't want anymore, and lays back down. Before I can get a cup of coffee made, she's calling me again. Go back to her room and she's sitting up vomiting.

Not ready for this. Take her to the bathroom, wipe her off, throw PJs and bedding into the washer, and pray it was just the cold milk on an empty stomach. Try to take her to my room and lay down, knowing I'll have to call out of work because daycare rules state she can't attend until 24 hours fever/vomit free. We lay there maybe 45 minutes, not sleeping because...she never sleeps if I'm around. Then she throws up again, manage to get her to the bathroom and over a trash can. At which point she says "Mommy I need medicine" in a super pitiful voice. I have to meekly explain that...there isn't a ton of medicine for stomach bugs, you sort of just have to deal with it, and also ya's kind of early and I'm not dragging her out to the store right now. She does not take this well and sadly goes "But no, I need special medicine" because this is the first stomach bug she can remember and thankfully she actually rarely gets sick so she doesn't understand and it was that moment as a parent where it just sucks because you can't help and she doesn't understand because, hello, parents kind of know everything right?

So I have a sick kid and I'm stressing about missing my last day of work and leaving to visit the ILs the next day and my husband wasn't there so he calls to say he was on the way and when I tell him Babycakes is sick he has the same "Fuck this timing" thought I did (we are good parents, promise, but...holidays are a stressor, okay). And then he says he would just want to go anyway and I almost throw my phone because multiple hours in a car with a vomiting child sounds like torture for me and her and yeah I almost lost my shit. Anyway. 

Babycakes and I watch television because WTF else do you do when you are sick? Thankfully, I guess because she didn't have much on her stomach anyway due to not eating, there were no more incidents. And 0900 she was fine. Like, energetic and eating and talking and I'm going WHERE IS THE COFFEE I NEED AN IV because...0430 vomit wake up call, guys. She didn't even want to take a nap and I explained she had to because she was sick (and also 0430 vomit wake up call for mama) she goes "But I'm feeling better, I'm not sick" since she hadn't thrown up in a few hours. Thanks to the mom network, found out there were 2-3 other kids who either were sent home or didn't come in from her daycare class for the same thing.

Anyway. She was fine after that, thankfully it was a fluke fast stomach bug, but that ended up being an ominous start to the holiday break.

The next day we leave for my ILs. It was a good visit, especially since Hubs & I hadn't been to stay in a while. Babycakes has gone for several visits but it just hasn't worked for us to join them. We got one huge "joint" present this year instead of separate gifts, and it's really like 70% for Hubs. But, we also got cash and the joint present was expensive so I tried to smile and pretend to be as happy as he was. I do appreciate the gesture a lot, but the gift itself (a sound bar, so makes TV/music sound...super cool?) is just not something I personally care about at all. Bonus, we went to a German restaurant because my Hubs loves German food and we don't have one in our town...and I actually found something I really liked! German food just isn't my jam, but my only issue was the slight saltiness. Otherwise, it was very nice.

On the ride home I started sneezing a lot and...thus it began.

I got a weird sinus thing/cold I don't even know, so by the time Christmas rolled around and we were going to my parents I was living off of Alka Seltzer (which, btw, actually isn't bad once you put the correct amount of water...instead of half the amount suggested which is what I did for the first two days). So...more TV for Babycakes because something like loading the dishwasher zapped all my energy.

To add insult to injury, my nose was so clogged that my heart rate was already constantly elevated because I couldn't breath so I couldn't even drink coffee to try and get some caffeine energy. If I took more than 4 sips my heartbeat went crazy which made me feel worse. I had plans to be a good mom on this break...and it was just TV central.

Side note: whoever said TV was not a baby-sitter...good for you, but what-the-fuck-ever man. TV saved me. And I'm sad about it but I'm also not because...fuck, y'all. Mom-ing is hard and being sick is hard and holidays are hard and it was the best choice that allowed cuddle time and rest for us both.

Sorry if this post is more cussing heavy than normal...I've been around a small child for almost two weeks straight and have had no where to let my eff-bombs out.

Anyway. On Christmas Eve we made cookies to put out for Santa, along with beer. Hubs made a joke last year that Santa loves beer, and Babycakes took it very seriously. So that's our new tradition- a Guiness along with cookies. Obviously, Santa gets milk at all the houses and could use something special every now and then.

The next morning Babycakes opened her gifts...and y'all. Two major things. One, she loved her dollhouse and it's her favorite gift ever. Love that she is getting to the point where she can really uses her imagination and create her own stories and also that she immediately went for the biggest gift first, bahaha. Two...a watch that Hubs got her while we were all shopping together months ago made it in the Santa presents. Immediately upon opening it, she goes "But Daddy got me this, how is it from Santa?"

Three. She is fucking three. And we've already fucked up.

Insert scrambling story about mailing it to Santa and blah blah blah. People act like kids will forget shit, but let me tell you...they are smart little fuckers. With ridiculous memories. This came up at least twice after the holidays. Hoping she doesn't remember next year... but who knows.

After that, she played a little bit while we scrambled to get ready to go to my parents. It was a really nice visit, and I especially loved seeing her with my great-grandparents. All of Hubby's grandparents have passed already, and mine are definitely showing signs of aging. But they are here, and we were super close when I was younger, and I'm grateful Babycakes is getting to know them.

I started feeling slightly better, but by the time we got home Hubs started feeling sick. Y''s been rough. Babycakes never got sick after that very first day, but Hubs & I have been battling something for two weeks now. He has a job with very long, weird hours and his worst shifts happened over Christmas. It's fine, we dealt, but I'm not going to was tiring. I am not a SAHM for a reason. Add in the traveling...and it was almost a week before we got our tree down. And the normal decorations haven't made it back yet. Just...whoops. Also Hubs & I just weren't on the same wavelength. This happens in marriage sometimes, or at least ours. Some days we click and sometimes we just don't. We got in an argument this past week and Hubs went to lay down in our bedroom, which he never does. He woke up four hours later and came to apologize for disappearing for that long...and I was napping on the sofa. So, we know it's been a lack of sleep and health.

He had to work on New Year's Day, so I'm pretty sure we packed it in around...1700. Don't even care. We started feeling slightly better so I think we are officially on the mend. Whether it's the weather or just run it's course or the Elderberry gummies I picked up because I'm so desperate...we're both off the Alka Seltzer at least, bahahaha. We're GETTING SO OLD.

Oh, and in the midst of all this our washing machine finally died. It's truly not even a big deal because this has been coming for YEARS. Our old one, which came with the house and was probably 12-13 years old, has been having error messages for years. It might run a full cycle with no problems, and it might stop like 4 times and require us to go poke at the wires. But seriously, at least once a year I would research a new one and we'd save up and then it would magically work for 6 more months with no issues. We looked into repairing it, but everything we could find suggested it would be 85% as much as buying a new washer, so we just did it.

Shout out to my awesome husband, who just got a raise, and whose raise + holiday pay allowed us to buy it without even super stressing financially. Overall, it was the least stressful home appliance purchase ever. We didn't even research that much and I started to feel bad when our friend asked if we knew what we wanted (he was there for muscle and to lend his truck, God bless him). But, turns out the one he and his wife just purchased last year when they built their house was on sale and within our price range, so we pretty much immediately agreed to just trust their judgement and picked it.

Everyone has gone "Oh no" when I said we had to buy a new washer immediately after the new year...but I'm honestly so happy. I knew it was coming, it's been hanging over my head for a long time. Now it's done and that's a huge relief.

Afterwards we treated him to a burger and visit to our favorite local brewery as a thank you. His wife joined us when she got off work and it was a great way to end the holiday break, with some calm friend hang out time. Also, I got a little tipsy...because I rarely drink anymore and it only took about 2 beers.

Oh, and I also did a New Year's 5K! I rucked it instead of running.

Rucking is walking with a weighted rucksack, aka backpack. Or, as GoRuck puts it, cardio for people who think running sucks. 

I've tried to be a runner, y'all. It's just not for me, I hate it so much. But rucking I can do, and do relatively well. Hubby rucks all the time, it's been a huge factor in his recent weight loss, and it's something we both actually enjoy doing together. I've been wanting a ruck sack of my own, so Hub's got me one for Christmas! I've already been...four times. So that's awesome. Lots of my FiA friends ruck, and plus this is something I/we can do with Babycakes. Overall it's very exciting. Now I just need patches!

Anyway. Tomorrow I start back to work, and I am slightly sad but also very happy to get back in the routine I know is coming. Babycakes has had a bit of a tough week at daycare/weekend at home, and I can't super blame her because things have been so weird lately.

What's up with you lately?

Hello 2020

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Happy 2020! I hope it will be happy anyway. Isn't that always the hope for a new year?

And this is a new decade. I don't know what that feels so significant this year. I don't remember every even registering decades in the past...but this time I feel much more aware of the significance of that. Age? Parenthood? General state of the world? Who knows.

I'm not really interested in looking back...really only in looking forward. That said, I did take a look back at my first post of 2019 just to see how I generally start of the year here on the blog.

It made me both sad, because 2018 was hard for me, and happy because...I think 2019 was a good year for me as a person.

So if I am choosing a word for 2019, it would be more like Replenish. The damage has been done. It's time to clean up the mess, identify the foundational cracks, and restore things back to normal. I can't and won't handle pressure to be better or different this year. I'm it. I'm me, and this version of me is just going to have to be good enough. I'm taking this year to enjoy myself and my life.

That feels true. Last night during bedtime prayers, Babycakes put her arms around Hubs & I and said "I'm so glad I have y'all."

That is exactly what I wanted when I went into 2019. I wanted to get to a place of a replenished soul. And I think I got there. My relationships feel better. My head feels clearer. While there aren't really things I can point to as accomplishments in the traditional self...I have accomplished a lot of small, personal goals.

And you know what? They don't feel small. They feel...good. They make me happy. I'm focusing on the little things and you know what...they fucking matter. They matter to me. Does anyone else care that I painted my living room after five years of regretting a paint choice or replaced some home decor or learned to accept big parts of my personality or learned to be super honest and concise about what I need?

No. But I feel so much better. And while I'm have traditionally liked doing the Word of the Year...I can't find one this year. Because I just want to enjoy where I am. I want to just...keep going in the direction.

Actually, as usual writing it out helped me figure it out. My word for 2019 will be nurture.

I don't want to focus on specific things anymore...I want to focus on the kind of life I want, and the kind of person I want to be. And things that line up with those desires will be implemented in my life.