My Reads, Reading

Nest by: Terry Goodkind

#1 New York Times bestselling author Terry Goodkind reinvents the thriller with a provocative, page-turning walk among evil.

Kate Bishop thought she was an ordinary woman living and working in Chicago. But when she unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a police investigation into a brutal murder, Kate makes a shocking discovery: she has the ability to identify killers just by looking into their eyes. -Copied from Goodreads.com

I’m not really into thrillers because usually they scare the bagesus out of me. But this one was written by favorite author who has created a wonderful fantasy world that I have visited periodically for the last 16 years. So, I decided to step into the thriller world for a change of pace since it was after all written by my favorite author.

It was so well written, that I think I will stick with the fantasy books. It’s a really good story and will keep you wanting more (if you’re not scaredy cat). I also like that he gave Kate the ability to “see” killers when she looks into their eyes. It’s a good twist and made it all the more interesting. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers or wants to brave a new world of books.

Lessons As We Grow

6 Things I Want My Children to Learn

I wrote the below letter to my kids several years ago and put it in their memory box for them to read when they are older. I was looking back on things I have written and found this, I wanted to share because this website is just another step I have taken to try and stay on track to meet the lessons below.

To My Beloved Children,

Every day I make a wish for you to live and grow to be healthy, strong, happy, smart, and successful.  I also make a wish for us as you parents to have the same so that we can be better to help you find your happiness and achieve your goals.

As you grown into adults, I hope that I can teach each of you the six lessons that I feel are most important to your happiness and wellbeing.

1. Be Healthy:  I love fast food, pizza, cookies, and everything else that is so good but so freaking bad for a body as much as everyone else (maybe a little bit more) but teach yourself to eat in moderation. I promise there is not going to be a shortage in cookies anytime soon and all this yummy stuff will be available though out your life, or something even better will take its place.  This is the only body you will ever have and you will need it for the next 95 years.  Staying active, exercising, and having a good diet will also help your mind stay sharp and keep you motivated to achieve your dreams.

2. Be Strong: Life is going to throw you a lot of curve balls.  Things are going to happen that you didn’t expect and the things that you expected to happen will never take place.  Sometimes it will be for the better and other times you will feel deep disappointment.  It’s okay to be sad, disappointed, angry, and confused these are all emotions that make us human.  The important thing that I want you to remember it to work through it.  Don’t get stuck in a pit of despair.  Life is going to be a very long series of trial and errors and most people only achieve a handful of successes.  Pick apart the experience.  If there was a mistake made, learn from it and try something else to get to where you want to be.  If you lose a person you loved for any reason be it a romantic interest, friendship that fell apart, or someone passes away, try to focus on the love and happy memories you shared and be thankful for the time you had with them.  Nothing is forever and everything will change at some point.  Take the good of every experience and keep it in your heart, but remember the bad ones to so you don’t make the same mistake twice.

3. Be Happy:  There is a saying “Do what you love and love what you do”.  Unfortunately a lot of people never really figure out what they love doing and settle for something that they are content with always feeling like there is something missing from their life.  I pray that your father and I have the ability to expose you to all the different activities that spark your interest and help your curiosity about the world around you grow.  I want you to always try new things (that you know for sure will not result in only harm to yourself such as drugs), never shy away or be afraid when an opportunity arises.  I want you to know what makes you happy and what does not.  I want you to live “doing what you love and loving what you do”.

4. Be Smart: When I say to be smart, I don’t mean you have to win several rounds of Jeopardy.  Although it is very important to have a good education and to get as much from school as possible, being smart goes beyond the classroom.  Being smart is learning how to manage yourself and your emotions. It’s making mistakes and learning to do better. Be aware of what is happening in the world around you, from your neighborhood, to our federal government, to other countries. When you are young you will not realize just how much your life can be affected by what is happening at the White House or in Saudi Arabia, but it can and most likely will be. Going back to knowing what makes you happy will work with your awareness of the people and the world around you.  When you see that other people’s agendas may take away something that makes you happy you can try and find a solution to stop it. Or, at the very least prepare for it.  Being smart is using a compilation of all of your experiences up to this point and using them to keep moving forward in a way that is positive for your life.  Never stop asking questions, never stop learning.

5. Be Successful: Success is in the eye of the beholder.  No one can tell you what true success is, it’s something that you feel within yourself, within your own heart.  Your parents, your sibling, your best friend, a stranger at Wal-Mart, society, can give you their own opinions of what it means to be successful but it really is just one of those things that varies from person to person.  In my opinion, being successful is living by the first four things listed.  Being Healthy, Strong, Happy, and Smart because it’s in these things that you will discover love.  Love for Life, Love for people, and you will Love Yourself.  Finding your passions and people to help fuel them is in my opinion as successful as you can get.

6. You Are Loved: This is something more for you to know than to learn. As cliché as you may think it sounds, from the day we found out I was pregnant, you were loved.  Since that day our love for you has only gotten stronger and stronger.  There is nothing that you can do, no mistake you can make, that will ever change that.  There will be a lot of good times, but there will also be times when we don’t see eye to eye and there will be times when we fight or argue, that’s all part of human relationships.  You need to know that no matter what happens as you grow into an adult and even once you become an adult, that there are two people in this world who love you more than anyone else possibly can.  You need to know that you can come to us for anything at any point in your life because there is nothing you can say or do that is going to change the way we feel for you.  It is so important to me that you know that we love you, you will never know just how much until you have your own children, but I assure you that either one of us would gladly sacrifice anything if it means you will have a better life.  I can only pray that there is not a day that goes by that you ever think that no one loves you, because that will never be the truth.

I look forward to the many adventures we are going to have as a family and to watch the two of you grow.

I love you always and forever,

Mommy

Lessons As We Grow

“I’m Givin’ Her All She’s Got, Captain!”

One of the many one liners that came from Star Trek. I feel like I’m Captain Kirk and my will power is Scotty from the original Star Trek series. I’m requesting warp speed away from being blown up by Klingons and my Scotty is just like “She can’t take no more, I’m Giving her all She’s Got Captain!”

I am one of those over the top happy people at the office that come in with a sing song “Good Morning Everyone!” everyday, but especially on Mondays. I don’t always feel like being that way, but I choose to be that way. There are some days I force myself to be that way because I know eventually it will be my truth. If I went in with a “leave me alone” or “fuck off” face, or if I complained about being low on energy or tired, then that would be my truth. For the whole day. Then probably the next day. Then all of the days that follow. That’s not the life I want. I want to be happy and I want the people around me to be happy. And if me being happy makes them unhappy, well they can fuck off.

That was me. Now I try to do the same at my “new home office” aka: the kitchen table. Being happy with twin 8 year old boys who struggle with school are ADHD and on the Autism Spectrum, and complete projects is much much much more of a challenge than anything my job can throw at me. My husband works full time and covers Fridays so I can go to my actual office and take a break, I mean, work.

This new normal has made me really work to be happy. I have had to learn how to control my anger, frustrations, and disappointments in a whole new way. In some cases just completely remove emotion when certain situations happen. I have to just apply the solution over and over and over until it takes root, almost in a robotic way. And I have to be ok with it. Because that is what my family needs to be successful.

One of my boys, Ninja D, is on the autism spectrum. Among several things, he has sensitivity issues with some clothes. But its only while he is focused on it. Socks and shoes are his latest reason for dramatic episodes. There is a lot of crying and tantrums and refusing to wear them, but it’s kind of a necessity in life so I make him wear them anyway and tell him that it’s something he is going to have to learn to live with. It’s the same with normal shorts or jeans. The thing is, once you get him to wear the clothes and then make him move onto the next thing like brushing teeth, eating breakfast, talking about minecraft, he forgets that he has this “issue” and it’s no longer a big deal. Sometimes he will remember later in the day and start again, but I move his focus to something else and it’s forgotten again.

The dramatic episodes over the simplest of things were making me so pissed off. They still make my husband pissed off, we are both getting better at handling situations, I just deal with it more often. That’s an example of what I mean by having to remove emotions from situations. I can’t be pissed off all the time for stupid shit that can’t be helped. His brain operates differently. But at the same time he is a kid. He is a human. He still try’s to get away with whatever he wants. It’s a very tiresome line to walk. And my other boy, he’s not causing many challenges at the moment, but he has had his time in the spot light.

Then there is work. I love work. It’s where I use to feel the most accomplished. I have had to shelf my feelings about work as well. I love working. But because I have to balance family and career more than ever now, I still get projects done, but not as well or efficiently as I know I could if I wasn’t sitting at my kitchen table being interrupted every 5-10 minutes. I have altered my daily schedule slightly, so I start later but work later into the evening in order to do better. Once the boys are done with school, it isn’t so bad. And it could just be in my head, I’m pretty hard on myself, but because I feel that I’m not doing as well as I should be doing with my projects, I feel like a failure. I can’t allow myself to feel like a failure. Because then tomorrow I’m going to feel even worse and then the day after and so forth. I will fall into a very deep hole that is very hard to get out of. I don’t want that for myself again. So, I shelf my feelings about work and complete what I can and hope that when I do return full time to the office that it was enough. Then I can take my emotions off the shelf and start feeling good and proud, and accomplished again. I can start taking steps forward and advancing.

Last night when I was taking a shower, I was thinking about personal shields. I was thinking about how I have to program and keep updating the software of my personal shield. I program it to keep other peoples problems and negative emotions from penetrating my spirit, but still be able to listen to their situations and help if able. My shield allows for positive, fun and inspiration to come threw though. Being near the people I care for and love the most, the battles are frequent and long and there is a constant barrage of torpedo’s., sometimes they learn how to hack the system, in either scenario I need “red alerts” to go off to put emergency shields up. When I feel that surge of anger or when I need to force my mouth to stay shut because I’m about to make someone feel really bad, which puts gas to the fire, I know they have broken thru and I need to think quick to get ahold of myself.

That’s when I call my Mr. Scott to get the shields back up on the double and warp speed out of the situation. Hopefully in the time that I’m having this internal episode of Star Trek, I’m not getting blasted by torpedo’s. Usually Scotty just in the nick of time gets my shields back up and I can be calm about what ever drama is happening at the moment and get through it in one piece. Rarely do I get to warp speed out until I have disarmed the Borgs or the Klingons.

We have love. At the end of the day, these are Lessons as We Grow and I know we will be better for them. But damn, its really really difficult right now.

I hope all of you other Captains out there stay Happy, Healthy, Smart, Strong, and Successful!

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER
Kid Reads, Reading

The Poky Little Puppy-Classic Kid Book

How many of you remember reading this or your parents reading you this book when you were a kid? Truthfully, I had forgotten about this book until a friend of mine gave us a bunch of their books, her kids were to old for these special classics so I happily took them.

I remember as a kid thinking how special the books were with the golden spine. As an adult reading them to my kids now, I feel that they are even more special. We read a lot of newer character books, Dora and Diego the Explorers, Last Kids on Earth, The Magic Treehouse, etc, etc, but none of them made quite the same impression on my kids.

It was interesting to hear how they reacted to the Poky Little Puppy and how they felt about the consequences enforced by his mother after getting into trouble. In the story, Poky and his siblings keep sneaking out of the yard by digging under the fence to explore the surrounding world, despite warnings from their mother not to do it otherwise no dessert! However, the first couple of times Poky comes back after his siblings have gone to bed and eats the dessert for himself.

My son “Ninja D” and I had a somewhat heated discussion about this. lol He feels that the mother was being unfair to the puppies for not giving them dessert before bed.

So naturally I asked, “so there are no consequences for the puppies breaking the rules?”

he replied, “they only wanted to explore and learn about their world, it’s not their fault they get bored in the yard!”

Me: it’s natural to want to explore the world, but they are to small to go out by themselves. What if something bad happened to them? They wouldn’t know what to do or how to defend themselves.”

Ninja D: “well, their mommy needs to find a better solution. Why can’t she go with them to explore?”

Me: “Maybe she was busy working, cleaning, and cooking for the puppies and she doesn’t have time right then to take them exploring. Maybe the puppies should have asked her if she could schedule time to take them out”

Ninja D: “yeah, maybe. But she needs to be the one to have that idea and talk to them. Not just torture them with no dessert”

Me: “so, do I have to worry about you exploring the world without me?”

Ninja D: “heck no!” “you’re stuck with me!”

I found it to be an interesting moment and very insightful to how his mind works. He doesn’t lack discipline or consequences for his actions. But his mind does process information in a very different way than the majority of kids his age. He already at the age of 8 years old values communication and working things out. He is coming to understand that his mind processes differently and he is trying harder to talk and ask questions instead of get angry and frustrated because he doesn’t understand. I to am trying to understand and have a different response to his impulsive defiance and naturally dramatic personality. As long as he waits till after I have had my coffee, we are usually good for the day.

These kind of conversations don’t usually happen with newer stories. The action and adventure stories are fun, but nothing beats the classics. I am going to look into getting more of the Little Golden Book Classics.

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy, Smart, Strong, and Successful Day!

Lessons As We Grow

Trying to Make it Perfect

For the last few weekends the weather has been horrible. This past weekend we had a tropical storm passing by. We have resorted to chanting ancient magic to try and make the sun come out. It goes like this:

Rain, Rain GO AWAY

Come again some other day

Mommy and Daddy need the boys to get outside and play!

I try and make our moments perfect, or course. This is the only moment just like this that I will ever have. How did I make a rainy weekend in a covid world perfect you ask? I did all the normal things in life and recognized, it’s not forever.

I cleaned the house, exercised for a while, took a nice long shower, caught up on work projects, finished reading one of my books, celebrated the Miami Dolphins winning, drank wine and played games with the boys on the Wii.

Yes, I said Wii.

They try to get me to play minecraft on the tablets. But I don’t get it. Give me a Wii mote or Dance Revolution dance pad and I’m good to go. I did introduce them to Resident Evil……they weren’t ready for it. I paid the sleepless consequences for that one.

Yes overall, we try to have fun no matter what. There were even a few moments where I actually felt bored…..it’s a rare feeling for me, it was nice in a boring kind of way.

In a few weeks we are going to venture to St. Augustine, FL and I can hardly wait. It’s going to be a little bit of a pain in the butt, because we take a lot of precautions against COVID. But I need this vacation to happen. I bought a fun scavenger hunt secret mission book to do as a family. It takes you to different places of interest (mostly free ones) and tells some history about while you pretend to be a secret agent. I look forward to sharing our St. Augustine adventure with y’all!

Anyone have any suggestions on “things we should do” while there? I welcome and would love any ideas you guys might have!

Until next time,

Stay Happy, Healthy, Smart, Strong, and Successful!

Cheers!

This turned into more of a jog than a walk 🙂
Lessons As We Grow

Cocoons of 2020

What to say that hasn’t already been said?

This year has been something special.

This year has been transforming.

This year deserves a special name. Like “Year of Butterflies” or “Year of the Moth”. Maybe “The Butterfly Effect”. “Reflection of Human Nature” , “#NOWWHAT?” “#OMGSTOP” , “Year of WTF!!?!?”

I like “Cocoons of 2020” . Because I feel we have all transformed this year into someone or in some cases “something” else.

The majority of us have been cocooned up in our homes for at least 3 months of this year, many of us (like myself) have been inside for almost 8 months of this year. Sure I escape every Friday to go to the office, but mostly I have been home with the kids. Working and Schooling.

I am very fortunate that my work allows me to be home and still be productive (usually after the kids are finished with school or asleep) and my employer is understanding enough to allow me to do it. Being fortunate however does not mean I am without stress, it means that I have chosen, worked hard, and sacrificed to have positive circumstances around me up to this point. I am still with stress because I need to continue to work hard in order to maintain and grow in this environment; while being even more involved with my children’s education and helping them to find ways to grow and evolve in a positive way. I have ALWAYS been involved with their education and well being, but now that we are all home together, it’s more intense.

After having several anxiety attacks brought on by stressing about my kids doing their school work, constantly getting up when they should be working, fighting with one another, feeding them, making them clean their messes, and then deadlines to meet for work, my own health, and on and on on, I reached a point that I have to let go of the “worry” stop trying to control everything, accept that it’s a flexible schedule and just go with the flow. I bought a robovac to help clean the floors (best investment ever!) because one of my kids leaves crumbs everywhere. I don’t know how, but he does. I have had to learn patience on a whole new level as well as a deeper understanding of my kids personal challenges.

And you know what? I’m happy for it. I’m happy for 2020 even though it spoiled all of my travel plans and gave me several anxiety attacks. We have became closer as a family unit and the love in this house is even stronger than before. I think we have all become more comfortable with ourselves as individuals as well. This experience has helped all of us see the reflection in the mirror in a new way.

Yes, we all have definitely been transforming while in our cocoon. There have been “highs” and “Lows”. There has been crying, screaming, laughing, and smiling from all of us and they have learned some new words that cannot be used in school. We aren’t perfect but I think we are getting better and no matter how challenging or angry the day is, we always end it with goodnight hugs and kisses with the promise that tomorrow will be better.

I hope that when the time comes for you to emerge from your cocoon that you come out even more beautiful, strong, and amazing than when you went in. If you have already flown back out into the world, I hope you are doing well and staying safe. For those who have had a difficult time with transformation, remember that the only thing that is consistent is change. Everyone and everything changes in life, how you do it is up to you.

These circumstances will change to. The world will go back to what it was, hopefully better. America will prosper and get back on it’s feet no matter who is elected because that’s what Americans do. Kids will grow up, Parents will grow old. The sun will shine and the moon will glow. The world will turn and take us for a spin, some people lose while others win. I think what a person should ask his/her self is, What do I want my heart be filled with as the world changes? Then take action to make it happen.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Reads, Reading

Where The Crawdads Sing By: Delia Owens

I have been into emotional books lately and this one did not disappoint. This was a story that takes place in the 1950s and 60s; its about a young girl who is abandoned by her family at a very young age and forced to learn how to live in the Marsh all alone. She survives with the very few skills her parents and siblings taught her before they left. The towns people treated her very poorly as she was a “Marsh Girl” and most never tried to help. Those that did she was very skeptical of and afraid they too would leave. She befriended and became very close to a boy who was one of her brothers friends. He taught her how to read and opened her eyes to science. However, as everyone else in her life he too left her.

I don’t want to spoil the whole book. The story is very well written and the characters are very memorable. It’s a beautiful story of survival, determination, and finding happiness and peace in self acceptance. I would recommend taking the journey with Kya as she becomes the legendary “Marsh Girl”.

Adventures, Beaches, Just Outside

A Long Weekend on Cocoa Beach, FL

Cocoa Beach, FL Behind the South Beach Inn

This post is a little bit overdue. Life has been so crazy since the kids have been doing virtual school, I feel overdue on several things. Back in September we finally took a little break from life and had a wonderful long weekend on Cocoa Beach. We didn’t do any of the “touristy” things as we are still keeping our distance but we still had fun.

We arrived on Friday to our hotel, The South Beach Inn. It’s about 2-3 miles from the pier where the “hot spots” are. When we go on vacation we always look for places that have a kitchen. Even without COVID we prefer to cook our own meals, not just because it saves on money, but dining out isn’t enjoyable for us with small hyper kids. This place had a kitchen, a bedroom, sofa bed for the kids, and was right on the beach. It was extremely clean and super affordable! It had a nice yard and place for grilling and having get togethers, a deck with plenty of chairs and benches to relax that is lighted at night, a shower to wash off the salt and sand before you go back to your room, as well as beach gear (boogie boards, chairs, etc) you could borrow if needed. The staff was friendly and very helpful when needed. The hotel is an older hotel and has character to it, regardless I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for an affordable place on Cocoa Beach.

Backside of Inn
Second Floor, from outside our room

We arrived during high tide on Friday, the waves were brutal on the beach. If you are a surfer, you would have loved it! If you are a family with smaller kids, probably less love for the waves. Even for me, after being in the water for 5 minutes, I was over it! The waves were so high and smacked me so hard that it rolled me under water and dragged me thru the sand back to the shoreline several times. The boys didn’t go out as far as I did and it was actually worse for them closer to the beach. So, mostly we made sand castles on Friday. Saturday and Sunday were not to bad during low tide. We had a lot more fun with the boogie boards and playing in the ocean. High tide started coming in between 3-5:00pm, so we had pretty much the whole day to play in the water.

We drove to the pier on Saturday just to see what it was all about. Parking is $15 for the day and since this is where all the shops and restaurants are it was very crowded. We decided it wasn’t worth it, went to Publix and spent $15 on some chicken wings and wine then headed back to the hotel for lunch and walked to the beach.

My husband in our beach spot. As you can see, not crowded at all

Another great thing about this beach is there are a lot of sea treasures to be found!

All of us enjoyed our long weekend at Cocoa Beach and will definitely be back. Next time I hope to be able to check out the Kennedy Space Center and see one of the rocket launches.