Saturday, June 16, 2018

She Did It!

If we had a summer bucket list, then we would be checking off one big box. Graduation!!
Kyli graduated from high school! Cue the tears!

There is just something surreal about your first born graduating. Days filled with sadness over childhood reflections, anticipation of a changing relationship, anxious over what the future holds, and all the other things that sneak up on you as the day approaches. There are also positive things like celebrating this milestone of finishing 13 years of school with them, gaining their independence, and finding interests and passions they didn't know they had. I'm very excited to see what this child does with herself.   She really is a great girl and has so many amazing characteristics that will serve her well. I just want her to hold on to those qualities tightly because I know the world doesn't always appreciate them  :)

I don't quite think Ky knew what to expect on graduation day. It's understandable because she has never attended a graduation in her life. Weird, huh? After the ceremony, she was glowing. She said, "That was fun!" I thought that was just the cutest thing. You will see a picture below of her waving up to us in the crowd. I thought that captured her attitude the best.  

The graduation ceremony was a special moment to watch and know it was honoring her (and her classmates) hard work. I couldn't help but reminisce about my own graduation sitting there. It is such a great memory and a great time in life. Ky is going to love adulthood. Recently, I have really sensed her desire to be more independent and explore what she will become in the future. 
I'm looking forward to seeing her life unfold.  

Could her smile be any bigger?

And we can't forget the graduation cap. I love all the creativity that goes into this graduation trend.
Kyli did hers all by herself with a nudge from Pinterest (of course). However, Pinterest still doesn't make my creations nearly this cute! She just has that creative, artsy touch.

My friends, this picture right here, is almost too much for me to manage :)
All of us together with one "launched" baby bird. And let's define launched as --technically she can do what she wants with her life now.

I can't even believe it happened!

Friday, June 8, 2018

My Summer Has Begun

The day I've waited for all year. My last day of work for the summer! I'm free and it feels so good! I completed my second year of subbing at the elementary level. This year I worked for two schools in the same district which helped to control my stress compared to my first year hopping around to multiple schools through the week. Luckily, some very smart readers advised me NOT to do that, so I stopped doing that! Thank you for sharing that :) Subbing is tough no matter how well organized you are. So I'm exhausted! *haha* But I am happy to have employment in a tough job market.

What am I doing with all my free time? Great question! There will be so many beach days, mostly documented because the beach is amazing here!

There will be running and races because I'm vowing to BE a runner. It just has to happen! I have no other hobbies (besides reading), so this is it! All my eggs in one basket. Lucky me, I have a built in partner who will push me to run when I don't want to.

And our local running club is AMAZING! Real people running at all levels, paces, and distances. Plus, craft beer and socializing after your run. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?

There will also be reading because it's me!

And adventuring because that is how our SemperFiFam does life! 

And there will be coming to terms with the fact that my oldest is 18, graduating high school, and headed to college out of state :( Let's avoid talking about that for another week, m'kay?!?

It's summer friends! Let's enjoy every moment.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Summer of Fitness

We have two goals this summer---> Fun and Fitness. Life is bringing so much big stuff our way and I refuse to be bog down by it. Fun will offset all the stress. The fitness part was something Zac and I are choosing because he will be training for cross country throughout the summer. If figure if I piggy back on those workouts then I will be more motivated to become the consistent runner I want to be. It's a lofty goal because it's hot and humid here; however, I think the way life has arranged itself will work out perfectly.

Saturday was the monthly 5k on Camp Lejeune. We love to participate because #1 it's our military community and #2 it's free. I feel MCCS (Marine Corps Community Services) does a great job organizing the races and the course is easy. The drawback is waking up at 6am to drive to base. I was secretly hoping Zac was going to change his mind but no luck.

Just coming off of track season he is still loving running and still in great shape. He ran ahead of me and finished 4th. I was proud of my finish too. Mostly, because I wasn't last, or second to last for that matter :) Which I always am! Plus, I broke through the 40 minute ceiling that had hung over me since I started running in 2017. This race I finished at 39:30. It's not a great time but it's a great time for me. And I am going to own it and be proud of it.

We always told Zac during track, you are doing better than 95% of the high school because you are running every day. It's true. 39:30 might not be a great time but it's better than all the other people who didn't run today :) That is how I keep motivated! Breaking the 40 minute mark was enough to motivate me to keep running this week and keep up with my health so I can keep running in general. And I know by doing those two things, I will shave off a few more seconds the next time I race in July.

So, there it is. Summer of Fitness--let's do this!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Summer Reboot 2018

It's June 1st and that means our SemperFiFam is (almost) on vacation! We have collectively decided to enjoy these crazy hot humid days. No matter what! I've been struggling with the idea of coming back to the blog and questioning if I would be able to maintain writing when life gets busy again. But seriously, why worry about tomorrow?? "Tomorrow will worry about itself." (Matthew 6:34) There are no promises for where this blog is going or what I am doing with it :) I'm just missing writing, documenting, and having these conversations with you. 

Yes, our life feels crazy right now. We are months away from leaving our active duty military life. Our oldest is college bound, out of state no less. We are thinking about jobs, houses, relocation, etc etc. And wouldn't you know, all the sudden I am worried and fearful over just about everything. Weird fears too. Stuff that has never really hit the radar for my attention and you know what everyone tells me? "It's because you have so many unknowns you can't control". Strangely, many people say that to me. I don't understand how that translates to fear but it sorta makes sense. Writing helps me lay everything out and process it. I know my 'WORDS' people totally get that. Another reason for coming back to the blog.

This summer, I would just like to write and take pictures and share them with you. Back to the basics of blogging over here. Come September, the crickets might move back in?? I'm just taking one day at a time! Welcome back long time friends and hello new friends. I'm looking forward to getting to know you!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Today is a Snow Day. Yesterday was a snow day. It feels like we are on the longest winter break in the history of school breaks. I am dubbing this my favorite week of 2018! This BombCyclone... Snowmaggedon... East Coast Freeze has reached its icy fingers all the way down to North Carolina (and beyond). We love every single digit moment!

Life has literally stopped. Everything in our area is shut down. No school, no work, no shopping. It's a nice way to be forced into simplicity. The boys are sledding with our one sled and making do with boogie boards as well. My husband and I managed a quick walk around the neighborhood before I cuddled up with my book and read all day. An legitimate excuse to read all day is another favorite.

I think we ended up with between 4 to 6 inches of snow here on the coast. Everything is so pretty and picturesque. The trees are covered in icicles. The trees are brushed with snow. The temperatures are low enough to keep everything frozen for one more day before it melts and life gets back to normal. I might have to bundle up and go for one more walk. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 Is The Year

I'm putting all my eggs in 2018's basket. This is going to be an excellent year! 2017 had its ups and it also had downs. I think the Instagram #bestnine2017 says it all for the ups 

Our year started with a military deployment homecoming. Our last military homecoming before his retirement. Yep, we've being doing this life for 20 years and it is almost done. I've said it many many times, it goes fast. After the first 10 years, the second ten fly by. Remember  this advice young ones who are contemplating the direction of your military life, it goes fast. After he picks up some seniority, there won't be so much BS to deal with. Ok, there is always military BS to deal with, but you will be better at managing it.

We did a heck of a lot of traveling this year. It was our goal living on the East Coast to travel as much as we could before we left. We went to Florida, back to Iowa, around North CarolinaWashington DC, Virginia, New York City, and Kentucky in 2017.

Exploring this side of the nation has made me realize, I really do love the East Coast. I think I like it more than the West Coast. It so easy to get to so many places and  there is so much history. If it weren't so cold in the North and I wasn't such a misfit in the South, the East Coast could be our forever home. Unfortunately, I never caught on to the whole Southern Girl hospitality/charm thing. So, we will be moving in 2018. *All the NC people are cheering right now* 

This year was also the (beginning of) an end of an era for our family. Our oldest, Ky, started her senior year. If you have followed this blog for the past 7 years, then you are just as shocked as I am! She was a little girl when I started posting pics and telling stories. And now, she is going to be an adult, living outside this house for most of the year. Mommas, it is so hard to be on the cusp of launching children! It is emotional and frantic and exciting and all the emotions times a thousand. Sometimes, I'm ready and sometimes I want five more years. I'm thinking a pause button would be great to use sporadically over the next 6 months. Anyone got one??

This is one of the first pictures I posted of the kids back in 2011 when we vacationed to the Gulf Coast.

This year we've met a lot of quality people in our little town. People who we adore and call friends. I'll be packing them with us when we leave... along with the beach. 

Our biggest down in 2017 was losing our Charlie dog. He has also been around as long as the blog. He drove me absolute batty most of the time. He liked very few people outside our family, he would go after the neighbors, and bark when someone down the street pulled into their driveway. He drove me crazy like that. But he was our dog and a part of our family. Now he isn't here and it's sad to think about. 

I can't quite put my finger on what 2017 was all about. We had fun. We were together most of the year. However, the year just wasn't the greatest, you know?  2018 is the year of big changes and new beginnings for us. I am feeling the excitement. Next year at this time, I will (hopefully) be reflecting on a new home, new friends, new job, a girl home for the Christmas, two teenage boys in the house (Lord help me!), a husband who doesn't have to be gone for days/weeks/months, and all the things I can't even imagine. I'm hopeful for this new year and I wish you all the very best in 2018!

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Year of Reading 2017

When it comes to book talk, I have been quiet these past few months. My reading life has been pretty dismal. I guess life happens and reading takes a back seat. However, a yearly wrap up is always fun. If you like that sort of thing of course :)

In 2017, I read 44 books. My goal was to read 30 books in 2017 which was significantly less than my 2016 total of 60 books and 2015 total of 52 books. Of those 44 books, only 2 were books I had read before. I totally needed a refresher on The Hunger Games. 38 years old and I still love the book/movie series. No shame here!

My 2017 book list was equal parts fiction, nonfiction, and middle grade this year. Not a good reflection on my overall favorite genres. My favorites are contemporary fiction and celebrity memoirs. I read more suspense/ thrillers this year than I have in the past. I'm starting to like the new thriller genre that is taking off with all the twists and diversions. Hoping to get in more psychological thrillers in 2018.

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. A contemporary fiction novel about the slow destruction of a family after the death of a child. We get to see the impact on each member before and after the incident. This book gets mixed reviews and yet something about it touched me to the core. You can go back to my August book review to read more. I have all the book love for Celeste Ng.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Sadly, there were several books that fit into this category. I was excited about the Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. The ending just didn't do it for me. I was excited about finally reading Farewell To Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston. It was boring and unemotional. I can't believe it was required reading in school at one point. I think the subject matter is way more interesting than this author's shared experience. The last book, The Dry by Jane Harper, didn't meet my expectation. It was well written. It had a good storyline but I think the book was overhyped. I expected something more original and nail biting.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn 

 4. Best series you started in 2017? 

To All The Boys I've Loved Before series by Jenny Han. Otherwise known as Lara Jean series. It's a young adult series I picked up as a fluffy read and ended up loving it. I thought it was written in a way that adults would like it without being too sugary sweet. 

5. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

 Celeste Ng is going to take this one. I read all new authors this year with the exception of my re-reads.

6. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Although most of my books were young adult, I do not usually read the genre. I was happily surprised with all the YA I read. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was the "best". 

 7. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena kept me up to all hours. 

 8. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a book I will read over and over again. 

9. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

Inside Out and Back Again has a great cover. 

10. Most creatively written book read in 2017?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

11. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn. I don't know why but it was!

12. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah isn't that old to have waited until 2017 but it was that good. I'm always so hesitant to read overhyped books but I felt this one deserved the praise. 

13.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Shortest Book: We Should All Be Feminists, 52 pages
Longest Book: The Nightingale, 440 pages

14. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

The Nightingale was solely read from recommendation. Thank you friends!

15. Best 2017 debut you read?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi was my favorite debut out of the 8 (I think) I read.

16. Books That Made You Cry in 2017?

I rarely cry when reading a book but this year I did it twice.  I cried reading Everything I Never Told You and The Mothers. I wanted to cry about all the unfair treatment I read about, the stupid endings, and the lack of emotion in other stories :/ 

17. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

My hidden gem was The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. It a middle grade novel full of history and conversation starters. We listened to this as an audiobook on a road trip and we all loved it. I would recommend reading it with a child or reading it then have your child read it. Then talk about all the things.


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Sorry scholarly readers, I let you down! I promise to make up for it in 2018 :)

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018?

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading Life In 2018?

My first goal for 2018 is to read only good books. Lately, I've been feeling the burn-- as in burnout. I'm not sure how to control the only good books thing, trust Goodreads ratings maybe. My second goal is to read all the books I bought in 2017 that went unread. Buying books is definitely my weakness and the library sale is two months away. I can't justify buying more books when I have so many still unread from 2017. My third goal is to re-read an old favorite or two.

Now it's time for you to answer some bookish questions. What was your favorite book of 2017? What book are you committed to reading in 2018?

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