Fairly recently, I started reviewing book on NetGalley. I have loved getting Advanced Readers Copies (ARC) of books and getting to give my honest reviews. I am so glad that an online friend (thanks Caitlin for the recommendation) told me about NetGalley. She also read Pretty Things and after reading her review, I immediately got myself on the list to read it, too.
And I am so glad that I did! I loved this book. It felt real. In the realistic sense. It talked about things that are relevant now and I think it was very relatable. I found the talk about Instagram and how one of the characters needs the approval of her followers to be spot on and relatable. I don’t have many followers, but I always get excited when someone likes what I posted (this could be a whole different blog post!).
Janelle Brown did an amazing job with this book. I really enjoyed the way it was written between the two main female characters. There was some overlap with their stories to see how each handled a particular situation and I couldn’t get enough of the way it was done. The back and forth of the characters was perfectly executed and I loved all the twists and turns.
I also found myself going back and forth throughout the book debating which character I liked and which one I didn’t. It takes a brilliant author to weave something together so seamlessly where you know what will happen, yet you don’t. It was so good.
The story was plausible (which I always things makes a psychological book a little more twisted and fun when you can picture it actually happening). The characters were lovable and easy to despise.
If you are looking for a book to buy this year (or month or week or day), buy this one. I think it will be one you’ll recommend to friends and family and give as gifts.
What are some great books you’ve been loving lately?
Do you ever get something in your head and you just can’t get rid of it? I’ve been trying to figure out a couple things on my site here that have been bothering me and I can’t focus on anything else. I haven’t figured out how to fix it, so all I do is think about it.
I do this with lots of things. Once something gets stuck, I have a terrible time getting it out. Usually it’s something on my to-do list, some question I can’t figure out the answer to, something I need to research, or even something I have been meaning to buy. But it also happens when I am doing things for work or learning more about websites.
I can have my hubby help me with my website issues, and if I have exhausted everything I can think of, he can usually come to my rescue. But I’m also quite stubborn, so I do like to try first. I am still learning, so there are a lot of things I haven’t figured out yet. Plus I feel like some of the things I am using on my site have limited me a bit (layouts, templates, plugins).
Some of the time I can just let it go and decide I don’t need the answer. But other things I just can’t get out of my head. I think it depends on how much it affects me as to how likely I am to pursue it. Like my website issue. I have been thinking about this issue for days because I see it all the time when I am editing and publishing posts. But it would just flutter out of my head if it wasn’t something that was readily in my sights.
What gets stuck in your head? Is it a problem you need to solve? A question you need answered? What are your best methods for solving them? Do you ever just forget about it or does it continue to nag at you until it is resolved?
A little over 18 years ago, I came across this cute guy with these stunning blue eyes on a yahoo dating site. (Yes, we met online back when it wasn’t cool or even really recommended. 😬) I immediately sent a message and we started chatting….LOTS. After we had been talking and video chatting for a bit, we decided we would go on a date. And 18 years ago today, this cutie is still mine!
On our two year dating anniversary, he proposed! He recreated our first date and since it was rainy, he improvised, bought an umbrella on the way and took me onto a dock on the lake and proposed under it. I’m so thankful that this sweet guy took a chance on the hot mess that I was so many years ago. 😂
Happy 18 years together my dear! I am so lucky you are mine and I will always get lost in those eyes of yours! Love you! 😘❤️
We have been doing distance learning for about a month now. It has been quite an adjustment, but I think we are doing better with it than we were at the beginning.
Before distance learning started, we did some homeschooling at home. A lot of people thought this was a little weird because we had a schedule and had things planned for the day. But we don’t do well just winging it. None of us do. I would have just given them iPads all day and read a book or played on my phone (which I did a lot of at the beginning following the news as everything was changing by the hour). So we made a schedule (the kids made their own daily schedule and lunch menus) and adjusted when need be. It was so fun to see them so enthusiastic and willing to make these changes. And we are still using the lunch chart – we are on week 1 for the 2nd time 😁.
After a couple weeks of homeschooling, the teachers were ready to start distance learning. At the beginning it was very overwhelming and we struggled at lot. Everyone was frustrated, there were a lot of tears and I was really worried about how we would do this long-term.
After about a month, as I said, things are much better. The girls have gotten into a good groove about what they need to accomplish and they are getting everything done like they should. Their school work is getting done in the mornings before lunch and then we do other activities in the afternoon. We go outside, watch movies, play Minecraft, play games, have quiet time, build LEGO, have screen time, or just be creative with their toys. It’s been working out really well. And aside from a question here and there, they don’t need my help very much now that they have learned how their programs work.
On the question note, I have really been trying not to help them very much with their work. I have been encouraging them to ask their teachers if they don’t understand something, because that is what they would be doing at school. And that is not me being lazy. I would have a tendency to help too much or do more for them than I should. And that doesn’t benefit then at all. And it helps them to communicate with their teachers as well.
So the girls are doing well with this (they are in 3rd grade and 1st grade). My little guy (who will be in Kindergarten next year) has been having a little bit of a harder time. It is hit and miss about what he wants to do. The excitement has worn off for him. He will only work on activities for a few minutes at a time, says he wants to see his friends, and it is hit or miss whether he actively participates in virtual meetings with his class. The girls went through this as well, and now he is catching up and realizing this is what life is going to be for a while. After the girls are done with school work, though, he’s much better when he can play with them. So, I do what I can with him and try to make him excited, but we are just working with it and adjusting as we go.
Now that we have been told that this will continue for the rest of the school year (which I already expected and had been preparing the kids for this as well), it kind of feels like a relief in a way. Just to know what will be happening and we can move forward with this.
I definitely commend the teachers for all their hard work. I know it’s a strange time for them as well. I think they are doing the best they can and I’m thankful we have teachers who are involved and are very dedicated to their kids. I have heard that some other people aren’t having as good of an experience as we are. We have good and bad days and I am sure they do as well. Technology doesn’t always do what we want it to and problems arise. But the teachers have been really good above having some lenience and making sure the kids know that they are doing well and it’s ok if things aren’t perfect.
As I said the other day, I think there will be some lasting changes from this. I am not looking forward to tearing my kids away from screens when all of this is done. I feel like that is a huge downfall of all of this right now. They are just so addicted to screens. Getting outside as much as possible has definitely been helping and I am thankful this didn’t all happen in the dead of winter. The walks and sunshine (or PE time) have been great!
If (when?) we have another pandemic, teachers (and kids) will be prepared for it and have a better idea how to work remotely. I also think that this has the possibility to drastically change school in the future. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have kids do work online instead of cancelling school on snow-days. Or kids could do some work from home if they are sick and not fall behind. I think this could be a very positive thing for schools in the future.
How is distance learning going for you and your kids? Are there ages you think are well-suited for this? Ages that aren’t?
I’m having a hard time today staying happy and feeling useful. I just feel like no matter what I suggest to my kids, someone whines about it or gets upset with me. I’m feeling kind of useless today.
I know that we are all going through feelings like this right now, but I’m just struggling today. I’m sad about all the changes and what the coming months and next school year are going to look like. I’m having a hard time knowing that everything is ending in Rosemount in a way we weren’t expecting or hoping for. I wanted to have a going away party with friends and neighbors and have promises to keep in touch. I’m disappointed we can’t have that.
I just feel like everything that is happening is happening so abruptly. Just ending.
But I am not looking for a pity party. I know we are so lucky our house sold and so lucky that things are falling into place fairly well to make this move happen. And I know we are lucky for having all of this going on. But it just feels like a lot today. A lot on my mind, a lot of my shoulders and I’m just having a hard time being the optimist and being happy every second for the kids.
I’m trying to do motivating things for them (playing outside, going on walks/bike rides/rollerblading, reading fun books with cousins, running through sprinklers…), but it just doesn’t feel like good enough….or enough at all. I know this will pass. It always does, but today it just feels like a struggle. The kids are kind of tired and cranky, and I’m finding it difficult to be happy enough to counteract their emotions today. So then we are all crankier. Yuk.
So I am going to take the kids and go read our book in the fort of our swing set. Even if only 2/3 of them are interested right now. I’m going to keep doing things even if I have to take two extra minutes between activities because I am crying and just mad at myself for not being happy today.
I don’t want to hide all my emotions from my kids either. I know this is all hard on them and I want them to know that they aren’t alone and that I am sad and mad and struggling, too. I think it helps them to see that their parents have emotions and that things bother them, too.
Things are hard right now, for a variety of reasons that change every day. I can do hard things, but I’m in the middle of a time that just feels
It will get better. I know this. But in the middle of it, it is ok that it is hard.
I have been thinking a lot about how we will act after all of this is over. So many people are so hopeful this will be over soon and go back to normal. But I fear what normal will be after this.
I have noticed this in simple things. While reading a book, while watching tv…I see (or read about) people gathering and I get a sudden panicked flutter “You shouldn’t be doing that! You are supposed to be 6 feet apart! That is dangerous! You’re going to get sick!” And I don’t foresee this bit of PTSD going away very quickly.
Yes, for some people, I think they will just immediately go back to normal as soon as they are told it is ok. I will definitely be much more hesitant. I will still want groceries delivered and I think it will be a while before just randomly wandering around stores. The idea of hanging out at the Mall of America freaks me out. So many people!!! I don’t think this will help my dislike of large crowds.
If they say our kids can go to school (which I don’t think they will), I don’t know that I would send them back. It’s just too risky. Just because kids have lesser symptoms, doesn’t mean they can’t get it and pass it on to others (parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.) and many of those are immunocompromised.
I am so glad to see that so many businesses are doing what they can to adjust. Online shopping, curbside pickup, delivery services, helping people work from home….It’s such a nice thing to see. And so many of these companies will now have better policies implemented in case this happens again. This is also a good time to see which companies are doing a good job and which companies maybe aren’t doing such a great job.
I don’t think this will be the last pandemic we will see. I believe that everyone will be better prepared if it does happen again, though. We will have a better idea of how to live and work virtually and how to function with minimal contact. I think this will ultimately change us. Hopefully for the better (help us to appreciate everything we have when we were so limited to what we could do). I hope we appreciate time with our family and friends more and I hope the lasting repercussions of this are not too harmful.
I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy. Continue to do the best you can, because we aren’t alone. We are all going through this in our own ways and there’s no right way to do so. Hang in there!
I’ve always been an extrovert. I need to be around people to thrive. This means this quarantine time has been hard for me. But not as hard as I thought it would be….let’s figure out why.
I think if this had happened during a time where social media wasn’t so prevalent and we weren’t able to communicate so easily with phones/iPads, computers, this would be a very different situation. I think we should be so thankful we are able to stay in touch with friends and family via video chats, phone calls, texts, emails, and social media.
Along with being an extrovert, I am a huge people pleaser. I know I have talked about this on here before. Maybe these go hand in hand. I always feel the need to schedule things with people (play dates, hang outs, dinners, book clubs, family gatherings, etc.) and it can become stressful and time consuming. I never really thought about how much time I spent on all of the scheduling until I couldn’t do it anymore. It’s a weird feeling, but also a little freeing.
I am the person that my friends always thank for planning a gathering or get-together. But I also stress if I don’t make everyone happy with what is chosen. This is the case with book club as well. If not everyone can make it, I feel like I might be disappointing or letting someone down.
I am still missing my friends like crazy, but not as much as I expected to. Which kind of freaks me out.
I still connect with many of them via social media, video chats (on Duo), text and I have seen a couple from a distance. And these things have been very helpful and so much fun. It isn’t that I don’t miss them. I do, but I am not missing the in-person interaction like I thought I would.
On another note, with our pending move, I am having a bunch of emotional breakdowns about leaving friends. There’s a pretty good chance we will end up leaving the house before quarantine is over. I know we will still see each other and I can come visit (and they will probably want to visit the new house sometime), but we were supposed to have all summer together to hang out, let our kids play together, drink by the pool, make stronger friendships that are more likely to last with a move…it has just been emotional. And I have tried not to let my kids see how it makes me emotional because I know they are having similar feelings with their friends and not being at school and sports.
I am really curious what things will be like when we are done with this quarantine. I know there will be lasting consequences on all of us. But to what extent it is unknown. I know that I am still going to be very hesitant for in-person interactions for a long time after this. Because it will be what we have become accustomed to.
I guess all of my rambling was to say that yes, I am definitely an extrovert. But I’m finding that being secluded is not all that bad right now, due to all the ways I’m finding to be “with” people and help me thrive. I’m looking forward to a video chat with a friend tonight. And just realized there’s a few others I haven’t talked to in a few days…so I better go do that!
I hope you are finding ways to connect with those who are important to you during this hard time. What are some of your favorite ways to keep in touch? What do you think this time would be like without digital connections?
When all of this started, weekends were such a sought after time. You work all week to get to the weekend and get to play and make plans and do whatever.
But now, I don’t really look forward to the weekends.
What is there to look forward to? You don’t have plans. You can’t make plans. You don’t have sports or activities. I found myself almost dreading the weekend because we had to find so much time to fill up.
I told my hubby this weekend that I was looking forward to Monday. And he agreed. There’s a schedule, there’s a plan, there’s school work and actual work and things to accomplish. It just feels so backwards.
We thought about going to a local park to walk on some trails this weekend, but as I drove by one, it was packed. Because everyone had the same thought. Having so many people on these trails sort of defeats the purpose of what we are supposed to be doing. But there just aren’t that many options to stay active and stay away from people.
When our boat gets in the lake, we will have that as an option of something to do. And that will be nice. I am thankful for our new lot so we can have somewhere else to go for a change of scenery.
But honestly. I am so thankful the kids have some school things to work on and a semblance of a plan for the week. It makes the days go more quickly, more smoothly and helps keep me from going insane. This monotony is going to make us all a little batty as time goes on I think.
Some day, when this has all passed, I think we will be excited about weekends again. But for now, I am going to continue to be more excited about the weekdays than the weekends.
What are you doing on the weekends to stay busy and away from others?
Chuck and I have always had a dream to have a place on a lake. We weren’t sure if that would be a cabin or living on the lake. When we first started considering living on the lake, we made lists of pros and cons for cabins vs. lake houses. The more we thought about it and considered everything, a lake house seemed more like what we would want. A cabin would be hard for us with all the sports the kids are involved in and we really weren’t keen on the idea of owning two places.
So we started looking at lake houses last year while we were out on our boat. We got the boat to see if the kids liked boating and to make sure this was something we enjoyed as much as we thought we did. And it turns out the kids LOVED being on the boat and asked to go on it any time we could.
So our hunt for the perfect home started.
We put in an offer on one house that we really liked and it fell through. At the time, it was such a disappointment, but we are so thankful it didn’t work out because we are so excited about all that is to come.
We ended up purchasing a lot (it currently has a house on it that we are tearing down) and we will be building the perfect house for us. It checks all of our boxes and we couldn’t be happier.
During quarantine, we decided to get our house ready to sell because we weren’t sure how the market would be later in the summer (which was when we originally planned to sell the house). We had some time on our hands and got the house ready to sell and were able to sign a contract in under a week after 8 showings in 3 days, with 3 offers. It was more than we could have hoped for!
So we will be in this house until August and hopefully have a better idea on the state of our house by then and decide where we will live until our house is ready.
The kids are really excited for this new adventure and can’t wait to make new friends and go to a new school. They are really being wonderful about all of the craziness in our lives and all the changes.
To say this has been a stressful time would be an understatement. We were stressed about all of this working out BEFORE the pandemic. So it feels like a nice relief to be rewarded for our hard work and preparation with the house and the ability to move forward with our dream.
If you are interested in our adventures, you can follow my posts at @haysonthelake on Instragram.
We’ve been under quarantine and social distancing for almost 6 weeks now. The coronavirus (COVID19) has taken over our lives here in 2020. Every waking (and sometimes even non-waking) moment is spent thinking about what going on. Worrying. The repercussions of this will be lasting. This won’t be something anyone will forget.
Everything has been cancelled. From schools, to stores, to parks, to gatherings of any sort. Grocery stores and doctors are still working tirelessly for all of us. We just need to stay away from each other. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard. Yet some still aren’t taking it seriously.
The only way this will work is for everyone to socially distance themselves. Some people don’t see it as important or don’t think this is that big of a deal. Well, it’s huge and the biggest thing our generation has seen.
My kids are already going through a huge life change with the plans of moving (that will be another whole post). But now their school is cancelled (most likely until the end of the year even though it hasn’t been said yet), their sports are cancelled, they are being forced to be homeschooled by parents who have to teach them (or at least guide them through what their teachers have been assigning). It’s been a huge challenge for teachers to try to figure out what the hell they are going to do for students. How will we reach the students? How will we teach them [well] remotely? How do we feed some of them that desperately rely on school for nutrition? How do we…? How will we…? OMG…WTF…we don’t know what to do.
Businesses are doing all they can to help employees work remotely. They are struggling to stay afloat and pay employees where they can. Some people are just out of work because their jobs are not considered “essential” right now. So many are struggling. And scared. And people are scrambling for toilet paper. Seriously. Who would have though a couple months ago that toilet paper would be so readily on everyone’s mind?
Once we started shelter in place a number of weeks ago, things just felt different. Not that it wasn’t already real, but it all felt MORE real. I have a lot more thoughts on this, so I won’t make this go on forever. But I just needed to get some thoughts out and journaled about.
I hope you are all doing well and staying safe. If you are considered essential, Thank You! If not and you are working from home (or are not able to work), Thank You! Staying home is keeping all of us safe.