What Memorial Weekend Looked Like

This post doesn't hold anything interesting, just warning you! Mostly because I have been swamped with work this week. Plus we will have tons of company this weekend and my house is a wreck. Like, there's Fruit Loops on the throw pillows and 30 mismatched socks floating all over the laundry room. Oh, and the trash is overflowing.  You know, the usual. Anyway, here's what is going on in our neck woods.

First, my memorial weekend was pretty amazing.

Camping, a flea market, a winery, beautiful weather and...my sister photo bombing the creepiest selfie I've ever taken...

I mean, can you beat that?

There are so many amazing wineries in my neck of the woods. We stayed for 3 bottles  a couple glasses at a place called Whiskey Run Creek  after walking around a flea market in a teeny little town called Brownville. The Winery has a beautiful barn they've turned into the perfect place to sip on samples of over 23 different wines. After picking our favorite, we bought a couple bottles, plus a basket filled with artisan cheeses, summer sausage and crackers. It was so fun! 
What are your go-to types of wine? 

I picked out a sweet red called "Rose" and a semi dry white called Vignoles. Manfriend liked another white wine called Edelweiss, that is similar to a Riesling. They were all fantastic in my book! 

I also spent a ton of time with my nose in a book this weekend and I can't say I hated it. If you are looking for a saga to get lost in, start reading Somerset now and follow up with Roses. Both books from Leila Meacham are so great. They span years and years of families that migrated from Georgia to Texas in the mid 1800s, who start their own cotton plantations and timber businesses. Roses came out first and Somerset is the prequel. I don't mind reading them in the reversed order but now that they are both out, you can pick!

The rest of the week will be spent with family who are in town and "I don't mean to brag but" I get to see The Daily Tay do stand up tomorrow night at the Funny Bone Comedy Club in Omaha. To say I am excited about this is the understatement of the year! 

Happy Thursday! 

Book Round Up: Easy Breezy Summer Reads

Summer is my favorite because it is the perfect time to read easy, fun and simple books. I think I still have a little bit of that "school kid" attitude when it comes to summertime- I really just don't want to do anything too serious. That's why I love reading lovey dovey, mushy books! So with that in mind, I have collected some beach reads that I have read reviews for lately that have really caught my attention! 

That's What She Read's Summer Edition of Book Round Up! 

From Goodreads: For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole

From Goodreads: From the internationally bestselling author of four books, including The Opposite of Me, a vibrant, compulsively readable novel about two married couples who pursue a dream to open a bed-and-breakfast in small-town Vermont. In Catching Air, Pekkanen turns an unflinching eye on the tangled relationships of two pairs of thirty-somethings.

A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

From Goodreads: Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

By Jen Doll 

From Goodreads: Wedding experiences come in as varied an assortment as the gowns at any bridal shop, and Doll turns a keen eye to each, delivering a heartfelt exploration of contemporary relationships. Funny, honest, and affecting, Save the Date is a fresh and spirited look at the many ways in which we connect to one another.

Right now, I'm reading 

Somerset by Leila Meacham, who also wrote one of my all time favorites, Roses. They are huge books, sagas, really. They span several decades and generations in families and I've always loved that in books. Somerset is a prequel to Roses and it's about generations of cotton plantation farmers in the mid 1800s. Love it. 

I'm also listening to The Weird Sisters on audio book.

Since I have 2 sisters of my own, plus a ton of other women in my family who I consider to be as close as sisters, I love a good family drama. The sisters in this book could not be more different and they are actually pretty hostile to each other, so it's drama filled, which I like, but there is some tenderness in their memories about their childhood together so I am interested to see how they can mend their relationship as the book unfolds. 

From Goodreads:  The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. But the sisters soon discover that everything they've been running from -- one another, their small hometown, and themselves -- might offer more than they ever expected.

So that's what my summer is going to look like from the book shelf stand point! 

Other than that, it's shaping up to be a great couple months full of t-ball games, twirling practices, parades, camping and a whole love of fun! 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! 

Book Review: May We Be Forgiven by AM Homes

After reading May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes, I will never look at my favorite Thanksgiving side dish the same way again. 

From Goodreads:  A darkly comic novel of twenty-first-century domestic life and the possibility of personal transformation. Harold Silver has spent a lifetime watching his younger brother, George, a taller, smarter, and more successful high-flying TV executive, acquire a covetable wife, two kids, and a beautiful home in the suburbs of New York City. But Harry, a historian and Nixon scholar, also knows George has a murderous temper, and when George loses control the result is an act of violence so shocking that both brothers are hurled into entirely new lives in which they both must seek absolution.

This is one of those books where it's kind of like those links Perez Hilton posts on Facebook. You know it's probably going to be shocking and slightly scary, but you can't help but keep going. 

The main character, Harold, is a brutally honest, sad man. He's a total creep but I still loved him the entire time, even when he was acting like an ass. He falls in love with his brother's wife. When his brother ruins his family, Harold has to transform his entire life to help safe what is left. At first I thought Harold was going to totally fail. He starts finding women online to have sex with and goes into zombie mode when he's supposed to taking care of his niece and nephew. But A.M. Homes writes this book in a way that has you riveted the entire time, so even in the middle of Harold acting like a total ass, the fast paced writing and quick switching scene make sure you never lose interest. Just when you get frustrated with a character or disgusted with a situation, BOOM, it moves on to the next twist in the plot. 

So Harold finds himself suddenly divorced (he was totally bored with his wife and life anyway, he just didn't know it so it really was for the best) and now taking care of two kids and a house in the suburbs. Not to mention, his once successful brother is now in a mental institution. He's dealing with a lot of sorrow and confusion and does some questionable things that make you think he's not exactly stable himself. But then he starts to grow as a man and he does the most amazing acts of kindness for people.  He picks up a homeless girl who turns out to likely be the one who disappeared and has an Amber alert out for her. He meets a housewife on an online dating site, sleeps with her and then ends up having dinner with her and her entire family. He takes in an older couple and gives them a place to live when they are abandoned by their granddaughter. He takes his nephew on a trip of a lifetime for his bar mitzvah. 

In doing all of these amazing things for other people, Harold fixes himself without even realizing it. 

I can't remember another book whose characters were so memorizing. Harold's brother is a complete and utter psycho. He actually scared me. The two teenagers in the book are incredibly endearing and I fell in love with the way they changed Harold's life. 

This book is like one of those awesome episodes of Intervention. You know, the ones where the back story is totally riveting and then you get super pissed off at the addicted person for royally screwing over their family members...and then little by little they start recovering and at the end, you get chills when the plane takes off to rehab and then cry when the screen goes black and the little white letters tell you they've been sober for months now and have reunited with their family. May We Be Forgiven is like that. 

I found May We Be Forgiven because I read in an interview with Chelsea Handler that she recently read it. Her description of the book immediately intrigued me: 

"The first third is so serious and dark, and everyone's lives are in such disrepair. And then for it to get as funny as it got, I couldn't believe it. I love laughing alone — to know you can achieve that joy by yourself is always fun."

Chelsea Handler is pretty much me, only funnier and richer. So I knew that if she liked the book, then I would too. And she was right. I shuddered in fear and sadness and laughed my way through this book. 

Read it. 

Stick Em Up! A Fun Way to Work Out

Just wanted to share something that has me doing cart wheels lately! 

No literally, guys. I can do cartwheels. And hand stands. 

And it's all because my arms and legs are stronger then ever because about 3 weeks ago, my gal pal Tisha invited me to do a work out with her. She wrote a bunch of short work outs on Popsicle sticks and drew them one at a time for a great workout with lots of variation, strength conditioning and fun! 

I wanted to share it will you all because it really is a fun, simple way to workout. We mix it up by doing a lot of the work outs with 5 or 10 lb weights, or adding in sticks that say to add 10 more reps or heavier weights. We usually walk a lap on the track before and after to warm up and then add in a "killer" stick just to make it hurt. Those include Around the World Planks (planking while holding each arm and leg up for 10 seconds at a time, while doing a regular plank for 10 second in between) or Holding Crunches, where you hold a sit up for 5 seconds before going down for one count and back up again, 15 times. Yeah. Ouch. 

When we first started, just the sound of a wall sit hurt my body. Tonight, I tackled a 1 minute, followed right after with a 2 minute wall sit. Feel the burn, baby! 

I feel stronger. I tend to hate measuring and weighing, so right now I am just enjoying feeling stronger! And when you get a fun group of women together, you laugh, encourage each other and tell funny stories in between sticks, so it feels like fun, not a workout!

 Here is an example of a typical night's worth of sticks: 

We also listen to an AWESOME "80s Workout" Playlist on Pandora, so you should too! 

Happy Thursday! 

Please Don't Watch While I...Things I'm Insecure About

Yesterday I wrote a sad little post about how my son wrote a crappy thing in a mother's day card and it made me cry. Today, I am feeling better about the whole thing...last night, we played Legos, ate a Happy Meal and made pinky promises to work on our yelling and following directions. 

 Not to mention, the comments from every one who read the post helped me so much, especially from moms who have totally been where I've was! One of the comments made me cry so I wanted to share it with you guys because it was so special. It was from the mom of one of Ryder's classmates: 

"You are a wonderful mommy from what I have seen and what my son has shared with me and what Ryder has said about you, like "Mom, Ryder's mom's lets him do superhero things, why can't I?"

And that my friends, is why is it so important valuable to reach out and support each other. It is so so worth it, the love and kudos we can give to each other helps so much! 

So to celebrate, I thought I would lighten things up a bit around here and share more things I am insecure about, just in case airing out all my "bad mom" dirty laundry wasn't fun enough, I guess. 

So here you have it: 

Things I am insecure about...

The fact that I have to tweeze...ALOT. Why are these hairs every where and HOW do they grow so fast?!

What people think of my plate when I walk away from a buffet 

Whether or not I am talking too much or if the story I am telling is even making sense.

Blowing my nose in front of people.

The sound of me peeing in public bathrooms.

If I going to have time to adjust my shirt and cami when I get out of the car. 

Cussing on Facebook even though I talk like a sailor in person.

Doing butterfly crunches and spider planks with other people around.

The way my boobs bounce when I run (triple sports bra, anyone?) 

Whether or not my kids are well behaved in the grocery store. 

If my tinted Jergens lotion is doing its job or if my secret is out.

People knowing I still watch Teen Mom, Honey Boo Boo, Dance Moms or any play-on-words show by Tori Spelling. 

So there they are! 

What are you insecure about?? 

The Mother's Day Card That Broke My Heart

So for Mother's Day, the kids' grandma took them to the store and they picked out bouquets of flowers with balloons for me.

It made me feel so good and I loved how happy they were to give them to me. 
Reese picked out a big beautiful red rose and Ryder picked three small yellow roses because he knows that's my favorite color. 

 Then Ryder goes to his backpack and pulls out a little book he wrote for me at school. 

I sat down to read it...
and it didn't exactly go like I wanted it to... 

I mean I guess he complimented me on my hair and that was nice and all...but I can't quite put into words how the other sentence hit me like a ton of bricks.

"She is oways yelling"

Is that what he really thinks about when asked to write about his mommy? 

Am I always yelling? 

But wait, what about every thing else? 

What about the endless Lego building, the soccer coaching, artwork, the sidewalk chalk? 

The picnics? The circus? The trips to get ice cream? 

Am I doing something wrong that makes him forget all that and focus on the fact that I yell at him? 

Last night I couldn't sleep and so tonight I was bound and determined to sit down with Ryder and talk to him about yelling and how that is such a small part of me being his mommy. 

I told him that I yell because I get frustrated.
I said I lose my temper when he jumps up and down on my furniture because I've told him a million times not to do it, because I KNOW he's smart enough to know it is wrong. 

I told him that I am not yelling because he is wrong.
 I am yelling because I know he can be better. 

But I should not be making excuses for my yelling at a six year old, so I also told my son 
that I was sorry and that I would work very hard at lowering my voice, thinking before I spoke and controlling my temper. But in return, he needed to think before he acted, remember my rules and treat others the way he wanted to be treated. 

I think if we work as a team, my little buddy and I will figure things out. 
I need to remember that I'm still relatively new at being a mom. People are pros only after working hard at something much longer than 6.5 years. I need to remember that I am still new at all things boys. And I need to remember he's practically just a baby. 

I think we will get the hang of it. 

Because no matter what, I want my kids to remember this 

And not that I get grouchy about the furniture or loud volumes.

 Even though it's important to teach kids lessons, I am continually working at being a better mom, every day in any way possible. 

The only thing about motherhood that I am sure about is that it comes with a gut feeling. 

 I had a feeling that he was a boy and that she was a little girl, long before seeing the proof on that black wobbly sonogram screen. 

I knew he would be a handful even before he learned to walk and I knew she'd be a dreamer and a dancer when I saw her first attempt at a cartwheel. 

These are things I just know. 
And it's that tiny little voice inside me now that is helping me through this Mother's Day. It's saying that I am a good mom, despite my son thinking I yell too much. I have a gut feeling that I'll make it up to him, that he will still remember the good over the bad and someday, when he has his own furniture to take pride in, he'll look back and understand. 

That's my hope, at least. 

I don't mean to brag but...

I don't mean to brag but...I ruined a completely adequate week of working out by eating fast food pasta for lunch today. As in, there was enough there to feed a large daycare. I have no idea why. It was a moment of weakness and they were out of lettuce. So it's not like I had much of a choice.

I don't mean to brag but last week, Manfriend and I managed not to burst out laughing at the used car salesman whose fly was open, shirt tale falling out and everything! He was also trying to show us how to use the automated windows on my new car. Like we've never seen them before?

I don't mean to brag but I bought myself a new car! Going from 17 mpg to almost 40 is pretty much epic if you as me!

I don't mean to brag but I managed to keep a straight face when a woman I barely know told me congratulations on setting a wedding date with Manfriend. #smalltownproblems #noringonthisfinger 

I don't mean to brag but I know all of the words to Frozen's Love Is An Open Door. I like to think I put these parents to shame:

I don't mean to brag but R2 had cottage cheese for breakfast and dinner one day this week. The kid's gotta eat, right? Why not feed her something that doesn't induce fits of rage and tantrums? Eat your heart out, weirdo.

I don't mean to brag about the weather but our Missouri Spring has been beautiful so far. We ate outside a lot last week and I loved every minute of it! 

I don't mean to brag but I haven't blogged in like, a month. I just can't bring myself to do anything but stare at 19 Kids and Courting after 8 p.m. each night. I have 2 book reviews to post. If those Duggars would just stop having dorky interviews about not holding hands until you're 30, I could probably get some stuff done! 

I'm not going to brag, but I saw Chelsea Handler live last Friday and you didn't. She was everything you'd think she'd be and more. Funny, raunchy, loud and slightly offensive. I would pay to see her again and again. 

Speaking of hilarious comedians, I don't mean to brag...but I have tickets to see Taylor Wolfe. Yes, that Daily Tay Taylor. She's doing stand up at the Funny Bone Comedy Club on May 30. No doubt she will do a fantastic job! (She's my favorite blogger and also inspired this post topic with this great idea!

Now do something brag worthy yourself and post it to her site! 

Have a fantastic day, and TGIF tomorrow!