Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: Play Me

Title: Play Me (A1pha #1)
Author: Blue Ashcroft
Source: Netgalley

From Goodreads: Living in a mansion with three hot dudes could be any girl’s dream…it’s just not Kira Wilson's. Not when Alex Dumont is one of them.

Other girls know him as A1pha, a beautiful, arrogant pro gamer and newly minted billionaire. Kira knows him as an ex crush and a major pain in the butt. But he’s also an old friend and gaming buddy, and when she needs to hide from her abusive ex, she knows that Alex and his roommates Ethan and Ollie (her former gaming teammates) are the right friends to depend on.

Despite the rocky history between them, Kira knows Alex is right when he states that no one can protect her better than he can. Kira's just not sure that physical safety is worth the danger the grudge-holding, haunted, and utterly delicious pro gamer poses to her heart.

But with her ex hot on her trail, and Alex looking at her in a way that’s hard to resist, she'd better figure it out soon.

My Thoughts: Play Me is the first novella of three being released by Blue Ashcroft. I saw it on Netgalley and was intrigued, despite the fact that I usually avoid novellas. I don't like how short they are. When a book is good, it doesn't take long for me to devour it, so novellas make me cranky.

Overall, I enjoyed Play Me. I thought the writing was good and helped to keep a steady pace that didn't lose my interest. The author used enough detail to create the world for me but not so much that I got tired and bored. Some books have so much detail that I end up doing more skimming than reading, because the details take over the story itself. The characters were developed pretty well considering this is the first of a three part series. I'm on the fence as to how I feel about Alex. He seems hot, but his controlling side makes him unattractive to me, especially considering where Kira is coming from. 

Play Me was a good read. I'd like to read the next part of the series, even though it's just a novella. :-) 

Monday, July 7, 2014

New Beginnings

Source: Google
Today is my first official day as a stay-at-home mom. Well, technically last Tuesday was my first day. But I was on vacation, so I didn't really count that.

I made the huge decision, with my husband's support, to leave my full-time job as a therapist for a therapeutic foster care agency. I had only been there for a little more than a year, but there were a number of factors that led to my decision. The demanding schedule required a lot of time away from my two little girls and husband. It prevented me from enjoying the things I've always loved, such as reading and writing. There were a lot of steps we've had to take in preparing for this, but I'm ready for all of the sacrifices and struggles that will come along.

As my last day of work approached, I found myself thinking of how I would fill up my extra time. Of course, I'd be spending more time with my girls. But I also thought of the things I'd been wanting to do and just hadn't found the time for. Overall, I knew I wanted to simplify my life and fill it with only what is important to me. I've decided that I want to devote more time to decluttering and organizing my house. I know that clearing my house of junk we don't need will make it easier to keep up with cleaning. My writing has been put on the back burner, and I have a story that has been sitting unfinished since I completed NaNoWriMo in 2011. Time to get back to that. Time to get back to what makes me happy. Everything that makes me happy.

This blog will be a journal of sorts for me. A way to chronicle my journey from being a working mother stretched thin and barely keeping it together to a stay-at-home mom who embraces life instead of going through the motions. Readers can expect stories of my successes (and failures) as I figure things out and some book reviews, since I LOVE to read.

It's nap time for my toddler as I sit here writing this. My first day as a SAHM is ticking by, and I've been thinking about how the rest of the week may go. Normally, I plan everything out, but I've decided to just see how this first week goes. I know what I'd like to be doing and what I need to be doing. This week is about adjusting and getting a feel for being home. I'm also still trying to get my brain out of "rush" mode and realize that I don't need to cram everything into what little time I had leftover after work.

Here's what I know I need to do this week:
- Snuggle my babies
- Spend time with my husband
- Unpack from our vacation
- Write some book reviews
- Think about how I want to structure my days

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Balance. That magic word that we moms tend to search or strive for on an almost daily basis. How do we balance our families, jobs, and hobbies or interests that allow us to still be ourselves? Is it even possible? I'm pretty sure I've read way too many magazine articles, newspaper articles, books, and blog posts suggesting ways to achieve that balance I often crave so much. And yet I still feel completely unbalanced and out of control. Is it because there's no such thing as balance? Or is it because I'm just terrible at balancing my life?

Honestly, I don't know. What I do know is that I probably won't ever achieve a perfect level of balance in my life. I'm someone who likes to compartmentalize things, including the different areas of my life. I thrive when my life is structured and predictable. Unfortunately, I'm at a point in my life where my job and children prevent that structure and predictability that I want (and maybe need) so badly.

So, what am I working with?

1. My family. I'm happily married with two little girls, ages two and (almost) 2 months. They are my world. Perhaps it came with motherhood, but I've found myself dreaming of being a stay-at-home mom and being able to spend more time cleaning, cooking, and doting on my littles. My reality is that I struggle to keep up with the housework and cannot cook a decent meal to save my life. My poor husband has had to lower his standards when it comes to the quality and taste of food, and I love him for that. My time with my girls will often be cut short thanks to my job, which you'll read more about next.

2. My job. I work full-time as a therapist with children in foster care. My schedule has me working most evenings during the week thanks to needing to see my clients after school hours. Most of my foster homes where I see clients are about an hour from my home, which means a lot of travel time for me. The job also seems to require more than 40 hours most weeks. It's not unusual to have crises or important meetings pop up for my clients, and then I don't have much choice but to carve them into my schedule. Working evenings often leaves me getting home around 8:00 or 9:00 p.m., which limits my time with my family. My older daughter is now at an age where she realizes I'm not home a lot, and her behaviors show that she misses me. She often refuses to go to bed when I get home late and can be clingy on days when I'm home.

3. My part-time Avon business. I joined Avon two years ago to make some extra money. In that time, I've been able to use my Avon earnings to buy things for my daughter and have a little extra spending money for myself. My business isn't as big as I'd like it to be yet, but that's my own fault. In the last two years, I haven't been putting much time into my business, but I'm changing that. I have goals to reach with my sales and team, and I'm going to work it like the business that it is.

4. Me. I'm a hot mess. For real. There are many days when I have to question how I even managed to get myself out the door. I consider myself to be pretty smart, but there seems to be a large deficit when it comes to common sense. Some of my bigger flaws that I'm constantly struggling with are insecurities, laziness, and a short attention span. I rarely ever finish anything, except baked goods and books. Anxiety has become a close friend of mine over the years as I've constantly worried that I'm not good at (insert anything here.)

After much reading, thinking, and freaking out, I've come to the conclusion that what I need is to simplify my life. I need to cut out the unnecessary. Give up what is bad for me. Focus on what is most important. Give my life some sort of routine. This blog will be like a journal for me while I do that. I don't know that people will read it, but that's okay. If they do, they'll be able to follow along with me as I try to simplify my life and focus on the most important things, which is something that I think quite a few people can relate to.