Saturday, December 31, 2016

December Photo-a-Day Part 2: my month in pictures

Not a hefty load of pictures today, I actually am missing five, but I'm also writing this 4 days late oops. I'm going to backdate it and leave it at that. I'll pretend that I really published it when I was supposed to LOL.

We watched Elf together and I snapped this picture because it was so funny and cute. Saydee cuddled up between the two kids, licking on Cami, Bella chilling in the background, Nick laying on Cami LOL // SpiderElf, SpiderElf // For our 10th wedding anniversary, Nick picked me up an Aerogarden because the chipmunks ate all of my plants this past summer. It's the coolest thing ever. // Wolfy tail // My Bella kitteh.

We are beyond blessed with a big family and it's grown a lot in 2016 with two new littles added from my husband's sisters. Mason loves his little cousins! Here he is hugging on his 7 mo old cousin, Ezra. // We decided to let Mason skip his nap on Christmas Day to maximize our family time...he fell asleep during Christmas dinner. // My brother-in-law has been helping redo our mantle and fireplace area each time he comes into town. The boys (Nick and Big Mason) built shelves, placed the mantle on, and mounted the tv this time around. They're hoping to do the stone and set in the insert properly in February and that should be it! // Big Mason and Kathleen (my husband's sister) brought their dog Klaus down and Saydee was so sad when he left :( // A week into germination and my little herb garden has some sprouts!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season - no matter what holiday, if any, you celebrated, and I hope everyone has a safe, prosperous, and happy 2017. xoxo

Saturday, December 17, 2016

December Photo-a-Day Part 1: my month in pictures

I have no idea what day it is...well, I do, but it definitely takes me a hot minute each day to figure things out. Nick has worked two weekends in December and now he's on vacation. When he works weekends, I feel like it's Monday on a Saturday and then I just lose track of my days. I was supposed to get this up on Thursday the 15th, but failed to do so. I had my pictures ready to go, but forgot to log onto my blog and make this post. I know it's highly doubtful that I will get back on track until my big kids go back to school in January. *sigh* I need an adult! So let me show you what is going on in my neck of the woods!

Mason has discovered boxes and they are one of his favorite things now. Although he got really angry when he couldn't fit all the way in this one.
Cami made her Turkey in Disguise into Elsa and the sign says "Let it Go-bble" which she came up with herself and I thought was just absolutely hilarious. // Another box for the Little // I decided to not take the stroller with when we took Cami to her ENT appointment (which went very well) and Mason did pretty well. Still not there where we can do no stroller all the time. // I'm trying to break Saydee of this habit after transferring a million pictures of her like this one LOL

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Books I Read in November

The Empty Throne by Cayla Kluver - 2 stars (DNF)

I was gifted this book via Netgalley.
I try to make it 10% through books before I decide to put them down if I don't like them. Because I adored the first book so much, I tried very hard to make it through this book, but unfortunately had to "DNF" it at 25%. It definitely fell victim to second-bookitis. The plot moved like pondwater.

Girl Last Seen by Heather Anastasiu - 3.5 stars (finished 11/2)
I was gifted this book via Netgalley.
I'm really into the crime scene right now. It's basically all I'm reading and watching at the moment. I thought I would enjoy a story where a girl goes missing and the best friend is the main character and suspect.

Kadence is a royal bitch. Let's just get that straight right off the bat. Lauren is the "yes" person that Kadence has chosen as a best friend and Lauren feels she is so lucky to have her until she gets an infection that puts her on total vocal rest. Not a big deal unless you are being pressured to continue singing with your best friend after a video she posted of the two of you goes viral. Eventually, Kadence gets fed up with Lauren's recovery time and decides it's time for her to go solo. Then Kadence goes missing and all signs point to Lauren being responsible.

I like this book and I disliked it. It was written well and was very readable, but the characters weren't necessarily my favorite. I felt there needed to be a little more substance in the storyline. The ending was quite surprising though - I have to admit.

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige - 2.5 stars (finished 11/27)

I was gifted this book via Netgalley.
I was really excited about this book going into it, but ended up more disappointed than anything. The story definitely has/had a lot of potential and I will definitely be reading others' reviews of the sequels, but I will not be reading them myself. I think there was a lot of filler, a lot of stuff that didn't make sense in the story, and it did seem to drag on quite a bit.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December TBR List + Upcoming Releases

I finished 2 books in November and DNF'd 1. Not ideal, but it happened. I'm hoping to finish at least 4 this month. It would be incredibly nice to finish 11 and meet my goal of reading 45 books this year, but I highly doubt it'll happen. I don't want to get my hopes up.

Possible reads:
  • Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
  • White Cat by Holly Black - new series
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga - new series

What books do you hope to read this month?
What releases are you excited for?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Photo-a-Day Part 2: my month in pictures

I can't tell you all how excited I am to not be dong this post anymore in 2017. It's too much for me, especially this time of year. So I will have two more of these and then be doing a short weekly post on Fridays :)

My weekdays are spent hanging out with these three: Presley, Saydee, and Mason. // I cannot believe how big Mason has gotten - Matthew picked him up for comparison's sake. // My sweet Rosie Riveter little niece :) // 40 degrees means I got to steal Nick's hoodie LOL // Our family makes the cutest little nephew, Ezra, is sitting unassisted now and will be crawling, walking, and talking before we know it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November Photo-a-Day Part 1: my month in pictures

November is already half over and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly the last few months of the year fly by. Here's what we have been up to in the first part of the month!

My little chunk (he's wearing shorts and they rode up LOL) in his new Chucks! // Yoda ears // Those grins - he is rotten and he knows it // When your dad steals your cheese...

Friday, November 4, 2016

Books I Read in October

Because I Love You by Tori Rigby - 4 stars (finished 10/6)
I was gifted this book via Netgalley.
I chose to request this book because it dealt with something that hits close to home for me: teenage pregnancy. I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. The MC, Andie, is slightly younger at age 16 and has a slightly different life than me, but still I knew I was going to relate in some ways to her and I was excited to read her story.

Being pregnant before graduating is about the only thing I have/had in common with Andie. It was pretty different otherwise. Andie is the co-captain of the cheerleading squad, but once she finds out she is pregnant, she is not only slut-shamed but treated like she is a leper. The degree of bullying once she finds out she is pregnant is not something I experienced and it was incredibly heartbreaking. She is basically ostracized by nearly everyone in school before she makes the switch to being homeschooled. The only people she has left are an ex-boyfriend she reconnects with after she finds out she is expecting and a new friend she has made after everyone else refuses to have anything to do with the pregnant girl.

I really loved this book despite the 4-star rating, but I docked a star because there was some plot whiplash. A lot of back and forth and I am not really a huge fan there. And it didn't really have much to do with pregnancy hormones - because I have been there (three times now) and know how that goes. I did cry in like half the book though, so that means I did really connect with the characters and the story. The end was not what I expected and I did like that too. Although I did hold out that Andie would choose differently.

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras - 3.5 stars (finished 10/11)
I was gifted this book via Netgalley.
The synopsis of this book said nothing about anxiety that the MC, Viviana, deals with when it's a huge part of the plot. I would have been even more inclined to read this book because of it, even though the current synopsis caught my attention.

Vivi strives to overachieve due to the unrealistic pressures her father has placed on her. She's got her eyes on the Stanford prize because that is what is expected of her. She ends up riddled with anxiety after her now-ex-boyfriend makes a private picture of Vivi go viral after she dumps him via text. I can really relate to her anxiety and panic attacks having experienced pretty awful anxiety over the last 6 months.

I felt like the story needed more development though. It was good, but it was definitely lacking. It needs more. I wasn't really a big fan of Vivi's bestie, Sammie, and I felt that her 8 year old sister, Mila, was written entirely too young - I have an 8 year old daughter. I feel like Mila reads/acts more around 6 years old or so. Professor Cox was also another really strange addition to the story that was completely confusing.

Bitter Blue by Jennifer Estep - 5 stars (finished 10/20)

I was gifted this book via Netgalley.
It's hard to leave a review without spoiling some major plotlines of other books that have come previously, but I will say that I really enjoyed this one. I felt like the recaps weren't too prominent like in some past books - they were more useful than just fillers. The plotline had me slackjawed. It was SO good. Finn was quite frustrating, as was the new character. You just wanted to shake them both. The ending was great too. I love seeing where this is going! Thoroughly impressed with this one!

Unraveled by Jennifer Estep - 4 stars (finished 10/25)

I was gifted this book via Netgalley.
I felt like this was Bitter Bite part two and loved it. It's rare that you get to see a bad guy more than once in this series because Gin is so very good at her "job". I loved the flashbacks to Gin's childhood and more of a glimpse of her life before Mab stepped in. Overall, another great book in the series and, of course, now I am dying to read the next book. January cannot come soon enough!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November TBR List + Upcoming Releases

I read 4 books last month which is what I'm supposed to read each month, however, I am still 5 books behind schedule of my goal of reading 45 books in 2016. I am nearly finished with my current read and then I'm not sure exactly what I'll read next. I may go back to finishing up the Southern Vampire Mystery series once and for all. I think I only have 3 or 4 books left to read in that series. But we will see :) I think next year I am not going to keep trying to read the books I had on my monthly "schedule" from 2 years ago and just read what I want to read when I want to read it, which is really what I've been doing anyways.

Possible reads:
  • Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • Married with Zombies by Jesse Peterson - new series
  • Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind - reread
  • Reboot by Amy Tintera - new series

Unnatural Deeds // The Diabolic // The Friendship Experiment // We Are Still Tornadoes (Netgalley) // Double Down // The Amateurs // Saving Hamlet // The Sun is Also a Star // Heartless // Scrappy Little Nobody // Flashfall // This is Our Story // Turbo Twenty-Three // Kathy Griffin's Celebrity Run-Ins // Of Fire and Stars

What books do you hope to read this month?
What releases are you excited for?

Monday, October 31, 2016

October Photo-a-Day Part 2: my month in pictures

I'm actually going to be getting my photo-a-day up on the right day! GO ME!! Here is what we have been up to in the second part of October:

Mason enjoying some pancakes for dinner :) // We celebrated the founder of Girl Scouts' birthday at our last meeting. Cami and I made 50 cupcakes for the troop. // I have literally the cutest nephew ever! // And my little niece is quite the cutie pie too!

Friday, October 21, 2016

October Photo-a-day Part 1: my month in pictures

I have plans in the new year to stop doing this in a once or twice a month format because I'm not always taking pictures now. I'm taking loads of videos. It's ridiculous. So I think I may start "Five on Friday" or something like that to share a few pictures and talk about life. But I'll keep doing these couple of months in 2016 as the twice-a-month posts :)

Mimi (my mom-in-law) with all her littles (Mason, Cami, Ezra, Presley, & Matthew) // My first nephew with my first niece - love them soo stinking much. They are so cute!!
Sometimes I sneak pictures of Mason sleeping - it's easier when he's in bed with me LOL // Mason insists on holding the leash when we take Saydee outside.

Friday, October 7, 2016

2016 Series Challenge: Update #3

I have read 7 more books added in the last 3 months, bringing my total to 21 books. I know I'm not going to finish as many series as I wanted to by the end of the year, but I think 21 books off the series list is awesome so far. I have now finished 3 series and only started 2 new series since July.
  • 21 books in a series read
  • 3 series finished
  • 4 new series started
I will be back in January for my final this real life?! LOL

I highlighted all the to-be-released books in purple.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Books I Read in September

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany - 5 stars (finished 9/8)

Once I got used to the screenplay format, I blew through this book like it was nothing. I hated when I had to stop reading. Such a phenomenal continuation of the original stories. I only wish there were more. I would keep reading about these characters for a lifetime and more. I just absolutely loved it. I don't want to give any of the plot away for those who haven't read it, but please don't be discouraged by those angry that it's "glorified fanfiction" or has no plot. I honestly am not sure what they read because this has an amazing plot and although it may be written differently than the books, it doesn't make it a bad read in the slightest.

The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCullough - 4 stars (finished 9/16)
 **I received this ebook for free from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**

The Oathbreaker's Shadow tells the story of a people who make vows with consequences for breaking them. They carry their vows as knots that are worn. The oathbreakers are scarred by their knots (like a brand), exiled into the desert, and haunted by a shadow of the person they made the vow to. Vows are not typically made until adulthood - as you can imagine the little promises children make and break between friends or parents - "I promise to clean my room!" "I promise to not go to this place." etc. The MC, Raim, however, has a knot that he has had his whole life and he is only 15 y/o. He has no idea what the vow is or who he made it to. When he makes the ultimate vow to protect his best friend and future ruler of their people, the small oath is broken. Raim is scarred and exiled, but he has no shadow.

I love high fantasy books. It has always been one of my favorite genres and I find that you either get really dry stories or ones you cannot put down. I docked a star, making this book 4 stars out of 5, because it did start out a teensy bit dry for me. I almost DNF it. I thought the premise was very interesting, but there was a lot of name introducing and descriptions that were a little unnecessary, in my opinion. Plus I kept getting confused with his bff's name, Khareh, with the place called Kharein. Once I got past that, it was fine. It was pretty solid. There were a few places that dragged on, but for the most part, it was a good read. I am very excited to read the next installment.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October TBR List + Upcoming Releases

*sigh* I have gotten to 5 books behind now. I worked on trying to read some of my (48) NetGalley books in the month of September and one that I picked was a good read, but took me some time to really get into it. It had a few too many plot arcs and that was strange and made it harder to get through. The other I'm still working's 464 pages long. And I mean....LONG. It's high fantasy and it's very descriptive, but at the same time, I do love it. I'm also super duper tired lately, so I never get to reading for very long. I need to pick up more of the other NetGalley books and try to do more than just one book at a time.

What I May Read:
  • First Kill by Heather Brewer - new series
  • The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad - new series
  • Pulse by Patrick Carman - new series
  • Born of Illusion by Teri Brown - new series
Again, not overly enthusiastic about them all being new series...

What books do you hope to read this month?
What releases are you excited for?

Friday, September 30, 2016

September Photo-a-Day Part 2: my month in pictures

It's time again for some more picture sharing as September has come to an end. I am sad for September to end, but October is pretty awesome too, so I'm ready for more pumpkin and cooler weather (finally) and sweaters and boots to happen! Now let's get into what happened in the second half of the month!

I didn't mean to have the flash on, but it turned out to be a super cute picture of Nick and Cami - she looks so much like him. It's insane. // Kroger has got to STOP with the cute dinnerware. // Mason adores his brother's Cars cars. It melts my heart to see him play with them just like his big Bubba did. // Mason also loves Matthew's Furby, but the thing is creepy af when its batteries die.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September Photo-a-Day Part 1: my month in pictures

September is already off to a good start. It's my favorite month (not because it's my birthday month)! :) Nick returned from ALC (six weeks in Fort Gordon for the Army) and we have had his brother, Zack, and his wife, Chantal, come into town. Hopefully in my next post, my first little niece will have arrived - she's due to come on the 26th!

Nick surprised us by coming home for Labor Day weekend - he had two more days of class after their day off on Monday, but didn't want to be away any longer. He got him some baby cuddles...which he soon found out aren't a thing anymore LOL. // We went on a lunch date with Mason in tote and he had his first grilled cheese. He's also learning how to use a fork :) // Nick also found out how much Mason has changed since he has been gone. He climbs everything. Even if you are in the room, you have to pay attention because he is QUICK. Nick made me take the picture before he grabbed him down. // My baby nephew, Ezra, is super adorable. I love seeing his little face! Even if it is just in picture form for now. // Mason's expression when I interrupt his Paw Patrol episode haha

Friday, September 9, 2016

Books I Read in August

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater - 3 stars (finished 8/26)
**I received this ebook galley from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.**

This one was quite difficult for me to read. It wasn't boring, but it wasn't exciting either. It felt very flat throughout the entirety of the book. The big story arcs were not really grand enough to count as arcs. I was looking forward to the continuation of Isabel and Cole's story, but I feel really let down. I loved the original trilogy and think that it should have stayed that way. I'm sure most readers could see the ending coming a mile away and I think that just made finishing the book even more disappointing. I hate that I didn't like or love this one. I really do. I do adore Maggie Stiefvater's writing and characters and world. This one just really fell flat.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mason Benjamin: 18 Months Old

I cannot believe my littlest is a year and a half old. *sobs* He makes me want to have more kids because I cannot handle how stinking cute he is. A lot of folks say that it must be easier to just have one instead of two (like I had Matt and Cami when they were 11 months apart)...but it's not. It's infinitely harder to have one toddler. The big kids always distracted each other, but Mason is free to get into everything! It doesn't help that he's a climber...but he's cute so he gets away with everything. haha

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

August Photo-a-Day Part 2: my month in pictures

Hi, everyone! I am behind schedule but catching up as best I can. So here is Part 2 of the August Photo-a-day post and I did get a picture every single day from Aug 16 to Aug 31, so go me!

We have begun to let Mason use a toddler fork and he seems to like it even though he's not the best at getting food on it quite yet. He is practicing :) // Saydee girl // Chipmunks have been around all spring and summer. I'm pretty sure they ate plants in my garden. // Cutie pie at Cracker Barrel!