Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Stepping Away For A Few

Why the heck would a blogger do a media fast? It's like an oxymoron, right? I laugh myself but this is probably the best decision I could make. Here is how I got to this point.

As many of you know, our military guy is approaching retirement next year. After 20 years, we finally get to pick where we live. It's the weirdest best thing to ever happen to us in our adult life :) But, it's also probably the most difficult decision we are going to make. 

We have so many options on the table. And honestly, I keep adding more as I scroll through Facebook and Instagram. You all live some pretty great lives in some pretty great places. I could see our family there too. However, that isn't realistic and adding more places to the list isn't helping to narrow things down. 

Therefore, I am taking a break from all the media that I feel is contributing to my confusion. I want to gain a little clarity and be prayerful about it. Don't think for a second this isn't going to be a ginormous challenge for me. I rank right up there as the biggest Instagram and Bloglovin' lover in America :) At the end of this media fast, I hope best case scenario we have our forever home picked and worst case we have a united list of goals and ideals for our forever home. And a concise list of possibilities that we agree on :)

Until then, I will miss you!! Send all the positive vibes this way (because I won't be reading comments :( for awhile...unless I cave. Which I won't, so positive vibes please.

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Hodge Podge of September Books

It's October! Have you done all the Fall things by now? I'm running a little behind. I haven't even indulged in my first Pumpkin Spice flavored anything.  Am I even an American? It's hard to say! Fall is an exciting time in the South. Yes, I will always refer to North Carolina as the South because humidity. To me, real humidity can only be found in the South...and on islands in the Pacific Ocean. But seriously, I'm not sure if North Carolina is technically the South to Southerners, but it is to me :) Anyways, Fall or mainly October, means the weather is bearable and we can spend more time outdoors. Hallelujah!

You know what goes perfectly with Fall weather and Pumpkin Spice? Books! Let's talk about that shall we? September was such a weird reading month for me. I just couldn't figure it out. I think I'm ready for a really good book. Do you know of one? I want a book that sucks me in pretty early on and  doesn't let go. It has been awhile since I had that. I miss it. My weird mix of books was a hodge podge. Nothing in the bunch was amazing but they weren't horrible either. Here they are:

#1 Sarah,  Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachan. A Newberry Award winning children's chapter book from ages ago. Sometimes, I feel the need to catch up on great children's lit that I should have read as a child. This book is about a motherless family living on the prairie who exchange letters with their father's potential wife. The author uses both characters to educate readers about life in two different areas of the United States which would have been important  way to glean that knowledge before the Internet ;) Not a page turner but it's a classic.

#2 The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This is a comical "dystopian" sci-fi book about the ins and outs of surviving in an intergalactic world. Aliens and humans co-exist and life is explained through the non-human perspective. It really is humorous in a clever and sarcastic way. This was my second attempt reading Hitchiker's; the first time I quit the book. I think you just have to commit to see it through :)

#3 Holly and Ivy by Fern Micheals. Fluffy Christmas novels are one of my all time favorite things. Every year I only read Christmas themed books in the month of December. It's a thing I started about a decade ago when I picked up reading as an adult. This year I was ready for Christmas reading early...way early. Netgalley to the rescue! The novel is about a single woman who is confronted with a motherless child and a relationship begins. Old wounds are healed and life evolves into a magical happy ending. Could we expect anything less? It's a feel-good novel. I liked it. You are in luck because the publication date is October 2017.

#5 Taking The Lead by Derek Hough. Another favorite genre of mine is celebrity memoirs. Derek Hough as a celebrity is another guilty pleasure as wel. ;) He is such an incredibly creative talent and he uses and continues to perfect those gifts. Years ago, I had a brief encounter where I was able to observe him in real life. That sounds creepy but bear with me :) I went to Dancing With The Stars taping and as we were leaving down the stairs he was walking up the stairs. A group of teen girls in front of us mulled him with hugs. "We love you. We love you!" He was taking aback but he was genuinely kind to them.  I had to give him credit because it was a little much :) We also stood on the stage right above him and Kellie Pickler and they waved and interacted with the audience during commercial breaks. I promise you, watching those celebrities during commercial breaks...you can see some celebrities put on a really good show. You can definitely tell who does not like their partner or who is a diva. Once filming resumes they put on a fake gracious attitude. Puh-lease. If you like Dancing With The Stars or Derek Hough, you will most likely enjoy this short read.

#6 Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman . Remember that book I abandoned 70 pages in? Yep, it was this current popular bestseller. My apologies to all who love this book. I just couldn't do it. The first chapter I laughed so many times. I was so excited to read the whole thing in two days. By page 40, I was not wanting to read it at all. The book is about this quirky socially awkward woman who finds a love interest and begins to pursue a relationship. It really is funny. There seems to be an underlying story that (I believe) helps us to understand Eleanor. I kind of felt like that storyline was a little too dark for my taste and it wasn't progressing quickly enough for me. I might attempt it again in the future.

Looking forward to spooky October reading in my sweaters with hot chocolate in hand ;) 
How was your reading month?

Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Favorites

Hello Weekend! Hello end of September. And finally hello to some fall-isa temperatures. I just spent the morning in New Bern needing a jacket. By the time I returned home, it was 81 :( We take what we can get but October better be bringing the real fall weather. Until then, I'm pretty sure I'm slowly melting.

Enough of all that, let's talk Favorites on this Friday! My number one favorite is shorter hair. I was ready to chop that mess right off and I did. It takes me 6 minutes to do my hair now. I really like that. I also went a little lighter and now none of the kids in my classrooms recognize me. They all give me that puzzled look like I think I know you :) Kids are so cute.

Books are always a favorite. When our local library does their bi-annual book sale, we are all in. This time I took my child who loves to read. Yes, he found some things :)

We also found some books for the Little Free Library.

My Little Free Library is still going strong in the neighborhood. I don't quite get the traffic I had hoped for but a handful of books get taken every week.

Marching Band is a current favorite taking up all weekends. It's fun to see the kids improve week after week. I know they work hard and it shows. Their first competition is next weekend which is exciting for them. 

My last favorite this week is the 6th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap hosted by Kristin and Rebeckann. I participated last year and enjoyed my experience so much. If you follow the links I provided you can signup there. I believe signups end on Friday, October 6th, 2017. If you love a blogger swap, I encourage you to check this one up. It's a simple fall themed swap in October. Swaps are a great way to connect with other bloggers. I am still connected in some way with all of my swap partners I've had in various swaps since 2012. You definitely get to know people on a deeper level.

I hope you are enjoying some favorites lately too!

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Lake Day at Cliffs of the Neuse

Growing up, when we went to the beach, we were referring to the lake. Times have definitely changed and when our family goes to the beach, then we go to the beach :) But there is something very nostalgic and relaxing about floating in an inner tube on the glassy surface of a spring fed lake. My worries just melted away and we had the best time. I would definitely put Cliffs of the Neuse State Park high on our Best of North Carolina list.

Of course, there was also hiking. Our favorite outdoor activity has been very limited on the coast. We miss our Southern California mountains. It was so easy to hop in the car and hit up a multitude of trails on the weekend on the West Coast. Not only did it keep us in shape but it was a great way to clear our minds. There is nothing better than to stand on the highest point to put everything in perspective! Western North Carolina is more hiking terrain than the sandy flat coast. Thankfully Cliffs of the Neuse delivered on the hiking trails for us. Honestly we miss it so much!

The kids not so much. Two out of three love to complain majority of the trail. I hope one day they realize all the benefits getting out in nature provides, especially living a completely connected life. 

Surprise! There are bears here in North Carolina. Isn't that strange? I don't associate North Carolina with bears but rumor has it ;) I have yet to see one outside of the zoo or dead on the road (which broke my heart). We live in a forest, so you would think we would probably have a pretty good chance but we have never. The visitor center at Cliffs of the Neuse reassured us the rumor is true.

 Not Real! *insert eye rolling emoji*
This is what I call the Disney Kid syndrome which plagues many California kids.
Extroverted dramatic types *insert another eye roll*
They make life fun(ny) though.

If anyone comes to this blog post looking for more info on Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, here is a picture of the concession stand. They have a picnic area as well if you bring your own food. I would recommend it because the concession stand sells mostly frozen convenience food they will pop in the microwave for you.

And this is where they get the Cliffs part. One lonely bluff overlooking the Neuse River. 
We had to see the "Cliffs" for ourselves. I think the lake and hiking trails were a much bigger attraction for us. But, now we know what the cliffs look like when people mention it or we see the tourist signs on the roadside.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Dear Texas, You Rock!

If you've been around any Texan for about 5 minutes (or more like 3 minutes), you soon learn how highly they think of their state. Don't get me wrong, I love all my Texas friends. They truly are the kindest and most genuine people that I have every met. And a fun but strange fact, most of the blogs I read are also Texans. So, clearly I am drawn to their Southern hospitality :) When we started to think about retirement, Texas was always on the short list. The problem was Texas is not California. And I do love California.

However, the past 10 days has shown me and the whole world why Texans think they are the best and  why that is probably true! The way people and businesses have stepped up to help others has been no less than heroic. I don't remember ever seeing a hurricane hit city with people so willing to help and seemingly sacrifice for those in need. It's the epitome of what American should be about. All I can say is WOW. Thanks for being the example Texas!

And don't forget $5million dollars the store owner donated as well. My wonderful cousin lives in Austin and every day she updates me on the amazing things HEB store is doing to help hurricane victims. I've never been to HEB but apparently it's pretty great! 

I've watched countless videos of people helping. A mix of people like you and me and people you might think are above getting their hands dirty in flood waters. I watched an athletic team unload a semi trailer of donated goods into a gym. I thought isn't their coach having a fit over possibilities of injury or exhausting their muscles before a game. I mean we know how highly esteemed athletes are in America. And yet, the people who decide postponed the game so the players could help. I loved that!

The donations were amazing too. I hope the amount of money raised helps many people to rebuild. Although the dollar amount rises, there has been significant widespread devastation. Hurricane Harvey was unique.  The amount of rain that fell on the coast was unbelievable. I have faith the same giving and helping spirit will be seen in months to come.  

Although, we may not have decided this week where our forever home will be. Texas is more of a serious contender. Those people on the television are our kind of people. I think we could fit in :) Texans you have rocked life these past weeks. You deserve to brag a little :)

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