MeUandMaddy's Blog

Welcome to our daily adventures with Maddy…

Category: Books

Welcome to summer!

Well, last Tuesday, M finished first grade! FIRST GRADE! Next, she’ll be going into grad school, stop the madness! I know this is so cliche, but where did the time go? My baby is such a big girl now, still a pain in my tookus as usual, but my baby girl nonetheless.

Nothing new to report…I guess no news is always good news, especially for my dad’s end. He goes to see Dr. S, his oncologist mid July and I’ll go with him to this one. I’m not sure if I can handle it, but I have to pull up my big girl undie-pants and just GO. He will get his MRI and a CT scan w/out contrast to see if any of the tumors came back to his liver. I continue to pray, that’s pretty much all I can do at this point. He is happy, seemingly healthy, and in good spirits…what more can we ask for?

Cancer really does suck. Mirt’s close friend has breast cancer and she’s been fighting it for a few months now. She’s doing chemo and radiation, and hopefully she’ll surpass this tough time in her life. Her coworkers at the Sheriff’s office held a fundraiser in her honor on Friday and we were lucky enough to go. We had a great time and Myra looked amazing, she is one tough cookie. When her sister gave the speech, I couldn’t hold it in anymore, even though we are not close friends, to see another woman, another human being suffer and go through this is heart breaking. I pray she overcomes this hurdle, I want to tell her so much that she doesn’t have to be strong all the time, that it is ok and even important to fall apart sometimes…but I don’t know her that well, so I don’t want to overstep the boundries. I can only support her and pray for her and her family.

On a lighter note, a friend of mine from Manchester came to NYC for her second visit this past week. While I’ve never met her in real life – I met her online through the magic of our common denominator, romance novels – it was AWESOME to finally meet in person. As M & I were heading out to the city to meet them, she asked me, “How did you meet her?” SIGH…here comes the sticky conversation. How do I tell a 7 yr. old that I met this stranger online and now we are going to meet in person?! Tread carefully…

I told her the truth, that we met online because we started talking about books and ended up loving the same books…and that it is ok to meet her because, one – I am an adult, and two, we are meeting in the middle of the busiest damn street in all of the small island of Manhattan. But for good measures, I told her sternly, but you don’t ever do this! She laughs…

I met Suz and her awesome sister. We went to Central Park Zoo and then to Wholefoods for lunch, J met up with us after lunch and drove us back to their hotel.  It was a zillion degrees on Saturday, I took the to the zoo via the train but we hopped in a f’ing cab going from the zoo to 96th because I was NOT going to trek back down into the hellholes of the city to catch the train. And you know, between the 4 of us, it was only $2.50 more! It cost me a $10 MetroCard and a LOT of sweat to schelp us in the f’ing heat from 42nd to 59th! After the zoo we were just famished, so I stopped the next cab and we all packed ourselves in, I didn’t care if it cost $30, I was not getting on the train and f’ing transferring! Hell no. BUT, my beautiful UK girls got to go on the subway, see an awesome little zoo, eat yummo foods at Wholefoods AND Mister Softee and ride the NYC crazy cabs all in one day. Who says I’m not a good hostest/tour guide?! Hmph!

I love Central Park Zoo!

I love Central Park Zoo!

This poor, miserable Polar Bear. It must have been 95 degrees and he just looks sad. It broke my heart to see him so sad…gives me mixed feelings about zoos and aquariums…

When we went back to her hotel, Suz gave me a bag of goodies, I swear, M & I are SOOO uber spoiled. My friend (another online friend, mind you) from Ireland sends us packages filled with goodies and now Suz schlepped from the UK a big ol’ bag of goodies for all of us! I am one blessed girl. It was an awesome weekend, but we were famished.

Since summer has started, I did get to read A TON! I don’t get to write reviews for each one, but I do read and rate them on GoodReads. And I have to say, I’ve been pretty darn lucky because I’ve read some great ones so far! I have to add a couple to my TBR list because Suz recommended a few to me during out visit, so I will be reading a whole lot more, woo hoo!

I did recently finish a book that was sent to me, it was a beautiful story, it’s not smut, lol – it’s a beautiful romance and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Beside Your HeartBeside Your Heart by Mary Whitney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this in a matter of hours, I couldn’t put it down! What is it about UK boys that always grab my attention (and my heart)?! Beside Your Heart was so well written, and the story was so…REAL, that it wiggled its way into my heart and staked a claim. Because it shares with us their teenage years, I was worried I wouldn’t like it, but their dialog, the events, and their heart wrenching realities made it such an amazing story that I forget they were in high school! I always say it, but I LOVE when a book can make my heart squeeze and gives me that – annoying lump in my throat threatening to start crying – feeling and Beside Your Heart definitely evoked them.

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Good times!

We finally got to see the Mendez family. It has been quite some time, since August 2012 to be exact. The last time we hung out, I believe was when we took our Reda/Mendez mini-vacation to Niagara Falls, Canada. It was a ton of fun but you can only stare at water for so long.

With all of our busy schedules, we had not seen each other since! It’s a bummer because so much has happened in between for both of our families and even though we keep in constant contact via texts, it’s just not the same, you know? So today, after she finished teaching her semester and I’m done with my semester, we finally met up.

It was SO much fun. Even though we didn’t do anything spectacular, but the boys got to do their short bromance thing and went to get some Blue Moons and lunch for us, while K & M played like not a day has passed between them, and S & I got to chat and catch up. After lunch, we all got to sit and reminesed on HOW we met. S & I actually met online in a mommy chat room. Odd, I know. But we bonded and we took our chats out of the chatroom/boards and we clicked so well. That was many moons ago. So I always have the story of “I met my best friend online!”, then we blindly flew out to Vegas w/ M when she was nine months old to meet them in a ‘mutual meeting place’. Afterwards, we took turns visiting…well, M & I flew to Cali once to visit with them, but they came out to the east coast a few times…eventually, they just moved here! Awesome!

But it was really awesome to catch up, they’re amazing people and what I love is that, even though we haven’t seen each other for so many months, we just picked up where we left off and it’s as if no time has passed. And the kids LOVED it so much, it was bittersweet to hear them giggling and laughing hysterically. They’ve essentially known each other while in utero, so for 8 years, they been buds! And now, they’re almost 8 years old!!! While it was sweet to hear them laugh – it made me a little sad that they’re ALMOST teenagers, eventually they’re not going to want to hang out w/ us…where has the time gone?!?! Both K & Maddy are only’s, so they get along so well, and since they’ve been playing with each other since they were 9/10 months old (when we first met in Vegas), we always joke that they were betrothed before they could walk. Now…watching them play and whispering to each other, I can’t help but giggle. I’m looking forward to seeing them again real soon! My two Kiddos today.

Book club meeting tomorrow!!! And I can’t f’ing wait. I’m most looking forward to this meeting because we get to gab over my MMA fighters in Lori Foster’s series. Oh man, I can’t wait. I did finish another quick book to pass time between the meetings, it was actually pretty good.

Stranded with a Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club, #1)Stranded with a Billionaire by Jessica Clare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had this in my TBR for a while and kept putting it off, the title didn’t wow me very much. I feel like it was another – filthy rich guy falls to his knees in love with a relatively normal girl – title. But I did end up reading through the night and finished it in a day. It was a nice read. The story started out pretty adventurous while they were stranded, it gave him (Logan) the opportunity to be a carefree, “normal” guy, and they had their share of snarky introductions. I did LOVE all the philosophy quotes she (Bronte) shared, it made their interaction so much more fun and sweet. There were a few parts that I wanted to yell into my Kindle – some infuriating parts by both Bronte and Logan, but I’ll leave them out for the sake of no spoilers. I do wish they had a little bit more angst, but I did get a little bit of the achy heart – lump in my throat feeling, which I love so much in a good book. Overall, it was a nice quick read, well written, yummy love scenes, funny banters, and beautiful philosophy quotes. I would definitely read her next story of the Billionaire Boys Club.

OOH, I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but I was accepted to join a research lab at school. I was SOOOO mega thrilled and it’s an amazing study. It is for youth depression and I am really excited to be a part of this research! I did another test run on a lab assessment today. As a junior RA, I had to do a phone interview for an assessment and it went pretty well. This was my second test run, the first one was with a fellow junior RA, this time it was with a senior RA and I was still so nervous. But I was really, REALLY glad I got this senior RA because she’s totally awesome and I was hoping for some honest critiques and she did give them to me. I wanted to really learn how to conduct an interview/assessment, so I was thankful that I was paired with her. She was totally awesome and gave me some great pointers. I’m sure I’ll still be just as nervous the next time around, when I really have to conduct the interview/assessment with participants but now I have a little more experience. But I am glad it is done with, I was so nervous! I had a short interview (questionnaire) with another set of participants and that went smoothly, another rescheduled one me until next Tuesday so we’ll see how that goes. I hope it’s just as smooth as the first one!

Ok – time for me to go sneak in some more reading before bed. Peace and love! xoxo

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…

M joined a flash mob at school this week, they plan to surprise the principal during the talent show next week. They’re doing a song from Les Miserable – Do You Hear The People Sing? The practice was tonight and it was SO awesome! To see kids sing together and be so proud of their talent made my heart all warm and fuzzy. And the older kid can sing!!!

I’m not quite sure if M, at 7 years old understands the idea of a flash mob, so I’ll YouTube some videos for her tomorrow. But she loved the thought of just sitting as an audience and then suddenly break out into a singing number in front of random people. Yeah, that’s my daughter. I cannot wait to see them in action though! This is a group of kids with M & her classmate being the youngest and the oldest is in 8th grade, it’s not a huge group but it will be fun, nonetheless. And it’s a great song!

I’m exhausted, again. I know, what else is new. FUCK – I forgot ketchup. Random, I know…but we went to lunch today with her classmate and her mom, we had an awesome time at Pei Wei, but I specifically thought, “oh, this works out, I can run into Trader Joe’s to grab the ketchup I needed!”  And low and behold, I went to Trader Joe’s, got a bunch of crap and just now – I remembered, I fucking forgot the ONE thing I went in for…KETCHUP. Ugh!

Where was I? Ok, something about exhaustion? Yea. Well, I’m going to crawl into bed and sneak in a few minutes of reading before I doze to snooze land. I mean, damn it, it’s only 11:31pm on a Friday night, I should be able to stay up later than this, wtf?!

So, as some of you know, I am a sucker for romance novels…I don’t care what anyone says – make fun all you want, but hot damn, I love my yummy romance novels. It’s my guilty pleasure. Some people splurge on shoes, for others, cleaning relaxes them (I don’t know what planet they’re from, but I’ve witnessed it, they do exist, J is one of them), me? My pleasure is romance novels. My little local book club from Meetup (although I took it off Meetup – people don’t show up when they RSVP yes!),  we read “Happily Ever After” books and meet up once a month and happily discuss our yummy books.  But in between our meets – I get my fix, I fill up whatever free time I have reading. This month we are reading my beloved Nalini Singh. One of our girls has never read a paranormal before, and so Nisha is “excited to pop Pat’s paranormal cherry”. None better with than Nalini Singh! I can’t wait to hear what she has to say.

But this week, I did get to read one of my favorite stories! Beautiful Disaster’s sequel, Walking Disaster…I mentioned it in my last post, Cara & I giggled like freakin’ school girls talking about this at Tricky Tray last week. I’m going to try and attach my GoodReads review here, we’ll see if it works. I’m NOT tech savvy at all, my techy techie, sigh, my computer guy (aka J) is already snoring away in that warm, deliciousness of a bed…so I’m on my own for this one.

 

Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2)Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, how I love my Travis Maddox! Within 3 minutes of reading, I am already so enthralled in the book, I can’t tear away from it. Beautiful Disaster was amazing, but Walking Disaster made my life whole. A mommy friend of mine also read the book and we both agreed, reading Travis’s POV gave us the insight to complete their intense story. I was nervous going in, I had high expectations for Walking Disaster because Beautiful Disaster was such a great story. I worried if I would feel like I was just re-reading book one…but Walking Disaster was so well written, I didn’t feel the repetition. My short tempered Travis…he still made me cry, even though I knew what was going to happen. He still made me want to hug the snots out of him and yell at him at the same time. My sadness for some skipped parts in the story, were cheered up by ten folds in their amazing epilogue. I just adore Travis & Pigeon’s love story.

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What is that itch?

As we come closer to the end of the semester, I am itching, just itching for something…what it is, I’m not quite sure. A drink? A getaway? A long slumber? No clue. My brain has been racing all over the place, and I cannot wait for the my last class to end on Monday. Then finals will begin the following week, but it’s ok – it’s gotta be done! I want to not have to study or read papers or do quizzes…I want to do nothing but sit in my jammies and read all day. BUT…let’s be realistic here…that will not happen. I still have to get up my normal time to drop M off at school, run my errands/appointments, clean the darn house and take care of the laundry…and I have to go in for my RA lab work on campus. SO…I may get to read a little bit more, but not as much as I would like. Ah well…still nice to have a break. OOH, and I have to study for my GRE. Yay.

I did go see my neuropsych professor during her office hours…not to ask a question about the material, but to discuss my grade. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this class and I adore this professor, she is a genius, cuts to the chase, and pretty funny, too. So…fingers crossed that I do well on my final, so that I can bring my grade up a smidgen.

I did finally finish reading Walking Disaster. At Tricky Tray last week, I was talking to a friend of mine and (we love all the same books) when I brought up the topic, she & I were giggle like little girls. Good God, people thought we won a prize we were squee’ing and giggle so much. But we both loved it. Being able to see Travis’s POV was awesome and brought some closure to some feelings we had. AND the epilogue was AMAZING! For the rest of Tricky Tray, we just talked about books and had an idea to start a local book club within our group. We’ll see how it goes. I’m all for it!

We did Rutgers’ Day last weekend and M had a blast! We went with her friend from school and her mom & baby brother. We got there early enough were parking wasn’t an issue, Erinn drove because I hate driving in crowds and squeezing into parking spots, but luckily – Erinn found us a pretty sweet spot. The kiddos got to feed two baby sheep, which of course were not hungry by the time it was their turn. The M & Bridget insisted they go into the cage with the wolves…who are we to argue. So, we let them go. The girls LOVED the wolves, they got to pet them and talk to them, even met a pup. It was a $3 donation to go in to the cage with the wolves (there were handlers in there, don’t worry, we got this…) and they freakin’ LOVED every minute – did not want to come out!

M & Brady did a clementine eating contest. Granted, he’s only 3 and M is 7, so Erinn had to step in and even out the odds. She helped peel his clementine and may or may not have shoved some wads of clemintines in his mouth…I can’t say…I don’t have proof. But Brady won! And he was SO proud, he finished and threw his hands up in the air just like the young lady told him to do before the contest. He won a little lunch bag and for the rest of the day, he carried that bag like it was his golden trophy, he was SOOO cute!

Bridget wanted to see the horse on the treadmill so we waited around and I have to say, it was pretty f’ing awesome! I haven’t synced my phone yet but once I do, I’ll add it here but WOW, the horse wanted to run and when she finally did get up to a fully gallop, it was SO NEAT! Seeing the horse run on the treadmill was probably the highlight of the event. By the end of the show, we were famished…so we walked around a little bit more and went to an early dinner at The Rainforest Cafe. The kiddos had a fun filled day, which was nice. I love seeing M so happy and carefree – I feel bad sometimes because on most weekdays after school, we’re doing homework and that’s all. When she asks me to play with her, most of the time – I can’t because I have to get this paper out or I have to study or I have to get dinner ready…it’s always something. So on weekends, we try so hard to have fun and play. I don’t want her to grow up so fast that when I’m ready to play with her, she’s out the door on a date with her boyfriend or something. Thinking of that makes me sad…

Ok, enough of that! I’m off to bed – I’m exhausted. These allergies are killing me. Coffee, Zyrtec, and Advil is my daily breakfast nowadays. Breakfast of champions! I will post some pics and the horse video soon.

Peace, love, and happiness to you!

xoxo

Great reads!

So I spent the past 48 hours holed up in bed with a 103 fever, sweaty chills, unproductive coughs, and endless excruciating headaches.  I have no idea how it happened, but this bug knocked me off my feet, I’m usually fairly immune to common colds and germs, but this one was a wicked one.  Thankfully, my super awesome husband was there to rescue the weekend.  He ran my errands, even took M toy shopping for a birthday party she was going to, (of course, along the way he had to buy her a thing…or two…but you pick and choose your battles, you know?) made me his famous fruit salad (my cure-all, I swear it can help grow back a limb) to give me that vitamin boost, and when I thought I was ok enough to take M to the party today, he insisted that I stayed home to relax & feel better.  Is he awesome or what?  To boot, I had promised my friends two things…one was to help W pick up the cake from the bakery before coming to the party (since it was closer to me than for her) and another was to help K watch lil Caleb at the party since she was not going to be able to make it to the party…so just because I’m sick, doesn’t mean I can’t keep my promise!  So J had to do all my bidding for me…and he even took pictures!  I love you, baby! I know this sounds sappy but even in my sweaty, matted hair, booger-snotted appearance, he still looks at me like it was our first date…heehee, he rocks.

Ok, I’ll spare the sappiness – so while I, for one, hate wasting time.  I put my iPad to good use!  I downloaded a few books (for free!) and actually discovered I have a new favorite author! Anyhoo – her name is Nicky Charles, I would totally post a link here for her site, but her ‘site’ is a freebie Goggle’s site and it’s got a hot sweaty guy on the front banner…SOOO…as this is a more…kid friendly blog, I will not post her link here. But you can Google her. Her books could be downloaded to your readers or on pdf format.  The Mating was her first book, awesome read – there are some flaws in it, like the ‘heroine’ in the story is not very strong. She totally fits the damsel in distressed category, but great story, her second book The Keeping is also pretty awesome. The ‘heroine’ in this story is MUCH fiercer, she is a spunky ball of fire and cute!  BUT keep in mind, these are paranormal romance novels, so if this is not your cup of tea, then don’t bother.  I’ve had many debates on Twilight or the Sookie Stackhouse series, so if it’s not your thing, don’t read it but don’t talk trash about any other person’s talent on writing.

Well, it is almost 2am and I need to get M to school in the morning then I have my last day at Eden, since I had to call out on Friday. I did not want to spread my nasitness, whatever it was…or is. I’m hoping by morning, I will be a-ok again.

Hope you had an awesome weekend!