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I debate this with myself every single year.

I don’t want to draw attention to myself or dig for any sort of sympathy, but it’s also just such a huge part of my life that I sure as heck can’t ignore.

It’s the anniversary of my dad’s passing this weekend (9/14), and try as I might I cannot shake the feelings this year. I don’t know if it’s because the days of the week line up to how they did 17 years ago or what, but it has been a very up and down week. Lot’s of flashbacks in my brain, pretty sure I’ve been dreaming about it, and basically my brain has just been making it difficult for me this year.

I’ve gotten to that point where I feel weird even talking about it. It’s been 17 years, and I feel like with that amount of time I should just kind of let it go. Life had to move on for everyone else, so it should for me too right? But honestly, I’ve realized just how traumatic that was for me as a 13-year-old, and then I think about how traumatic it was for my younger sister and brother. And then I think about how others have gone through so much worse and then I feel guilty for feeling bad about everything, it’s not a fun or healthy cycle.

So yea, I’ve been going back and forth about saying anything at all but then I thought about it…this is how I process the grief. This is how I handle those darker moments where I miss him a lot.

So…what’s left for me to say about my dad that hasn’t already been said.

He was a goofy guy, and I’m sure that at this point in my life I would be hip deep in dad jokes because I remember him being the king of those even the first 13 years of my life. He did the best Grover impression, Near and Far was his jam. Seriously. I can’t see anything Grover related without thinking of my dad. He used to start reading our Berenstain Bears books in funny voices, in which we would laugh and tell him to read it again in a “normal” voice, and of course he would read it again in a different funny voice. This would go on for about 2 more times before he decided to read like a human and not like a robot, etc.

He was super into music. He played in multiple bands as well as did music in the church. He (and my mom) are where our family gets our love for music from. And I would like to thank his (and her) genetics because not a single one of us is tone-deaf (go us!). He had many friends that he would have over for “jam sessions,” so we would then just have company and pizza and it was an all-around good time.

He forced me to watch Star Wars and Indiana Jones when I was sick, which may be why I don’t love these movies that much. Memories? Actually not liking them? I have no clue. He was a Pepsi drinker (sorry Dad, I drink Coke…), a Dots lover (ew), and a fan of plain Hershey’s chocolate (ok, but we used to try to trick the other into thinking the bar was unopened by perfectly wrapping it back up. You can do that with the new wrapping unfortunately).

He shared with me the love of baseball. He and my mom had me playing t-ball as soon as I was old enough and I continued on into traveling leagues in the summer and playing in school during 7th and 8th grade. I was a pretty solid hitter and I loved playing. He made it to every game, even when they were super far away. I would hear him cheering while I was up to bat and I think it helped me out a lot. Even when he was sick he tried his hardest to make it, and I so wish I could thank him for that. If there is anything in my life I would ever take back it was quitting softball after 8th grade. That was my first season of softball without him and it hurt. I cried in my room after almost every game, not really wanting anyone to know how hard it was. I quit after that year, even though I think it was a big season for me. I will forever feel guilty about that. Dad, I’m sorry. I know you and mom never wanted me to quit at anything…but this was too much for me. I try so hard to still carry on the love of the game, of the Twins (which oh hey guys can we get some wins so we can clinch the freaking division. kthnxbye!). I know it’s not the same, but I’m doing what I can.

He was so involved in all of our lives. He was home every day at the same time (my dog would wait for him at the door like clockwork), he was at every event he could be at, my first two years of public school he came to work with my class for Engineer day and I felt so cool because my dad was there and everyone loved him (obviously), he wanted to make sure he was there for us. And while that makes me so happy it also makes the moments he missed that much harder. I hate that my brother and sister didn’t experience him showing up to all their sporting events, I hate that they missed having him at Engineer day (because you better believe he would be there), I hate that they didn’t have the experience of being in plays with him. While I have missed out on so much, they have missed out on so much more…and I honestly feel really guilty about it.

I know he touched many lives. I remember so many old and new faces after he passed, paying their respects to him and telling us some of their memories of him. I love that he left an imprint somewhere in this world and that there are still so many people besides myself and my family that think about him, laugh at a memory, even miss him a little bit. I hope and pray he knew just how much people loved him.

I could honestly go on and on for a while, favorite memories and all of that. But instead, I’m going to share some pictures and other things that make me think of him. If you knew my dad feel free to share some memories. I know this is always a tough time of year for my family and I and those memories mean so much.

Dad, it’s crazy how long it’s been. I still can’t fully fathom it. I miss you a lot and I can’t wait to see you again someday. I hope that we’ve made you proud ❤

emily

 

Setting August Goals

tumblr_n9lxpr2yan1qgxmqno1_500HAPPY AUGUST ALL!

This summer is absolutely flying by. I honestly can’t believe we are approaching the last month of it, and I kind of feel like I have been doing a lot and not a lot at the same time. This summer I have been able to catch some live music, start up a new hobby (kinda), attend some festivals, and honestly just enjoy my time. I mean, I live in the Upper Midwest…you gotta live it up while the temps are above zero!

While I feel like the summer has been going well I do think I have slacked in some areas. I think I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff mentally and it has kind of drug me down. Honestly, I’m really sick and tired of it and I know that if I want to change things I need to make a plan. So today I want to talk about my goals for the next month. I want to write them somewhere where I can see them, I want them to be seen by others, and I want to hold myself accountable. So basically, if you see me in person or around social media feel free to see how I’m doing with these. Politely shame me, please. I need to make some changes and to make those changes I gotta start today.

So…in August I will:

  1. Read more! Ok, kind of broad but hear me out…I’ve averaged MAYBE 1-2 books a month. THAT IS SO LOW FOR ME! I miss reading and am finally feeling like I’m getting back into it while I’m devouring Daisy Jones & The Six by Tayler Jenkins Reid. I am trying to knock out a few more books I own and plan to read these books in particular this month…
  2. Do the Blogilates Booty Challenge! I used to do workout challenges all the time. I found that they made me feel accomplished and that I was challenging an area of my body that I sometimes ignore. I tried her 100 abs challenge, but some days that took up more time than I had. Well, her booty challenge looks great and I am SO in! Starts on Sunday if you want to join!!
  3. Run 2-3x a week. I used to run 3 times a week. I ran a half marathon last year. After that race I just kind of lost my motivation and found lifting. Lately I have found the benefit of doing a short run (1.5-3 miles) after working just to kind of come down from the day. This addition means some days I’m getting two workouts a day, but that’s fine. I had an amazing run the other day. That runners high sure is nice and I am so excited to get back to it! Plan on running later today, which will make it 2 runs this week! giphy
  4. Research my next job step. Ok, anyone who reads this is going to be like “ok, she’s leaving her job she just got last year” AND THAT IS FALSE! I love where I work. Basically, I want to see what I see what else I can do, what more I can add to my job and what more I can do for the company. I can’t remember the last time I wanted to do more than just maintain a steady job and not move forward. This is weird and awesome.
  5. DO SOMETHING! Ok, another broad one. I just basically want to try. I want to try to go out, try a workout class, try a new hobby…I want to do something. Based on what’s written on my calendar I actually have some stuff planned which is great. Kinda leaning on finding that hobby now…hobby
  6. COOK. I cook, but not that often. I always find things I want to try but never do. Over the past month, while I’ve tried to be good about eating what makes my body feel good, I have also found myself eating some not so good things. Cooking from home makes everything better and saves money (seriously Emily make that stick in your noggin). I want to cook more, maybe try a new recipe a week or something like that. Still working on the details of this one.

I think these goals are very reasonable, and I hope that I can give you progress on them as I go (especially the books! I want to talk to you about the books!). This is seriously the best way for me to stay accountable, so please…hold me to these.

What are some of your goals for August?

emily

The possible cause for the blogging slump

I think I have found the cause of my blogging slump.

Yes, it’s not a shock I’ve been in a slump for awhile. My posts have become more sporadic, and the ones that I have been posting aren’t always the discussion type that I really enjoy doing. I don’t do a ton of book chats or anything that really shows opinions, which isn’t bad…but it was something I once loved doing so much.

My biggest thing these days…I’m nervous to voice my opinions.

That sounds absolutely ridiculous when I type it out like that, but it’s true.

I feel like I’m a fairly considerate person. I am always trying to be aware of how others may read what I say and I do my best not to be hurtful to them. I don’t ever want to cause anyone anxiety, stress, or any sort of triggering moments. I want to have a safe space, and I want to give people a safe space. The fact that we can voice our opinions is great, but when it doesn’t promote honest discussion it just becomes harmful.

My problem is that while we all view things differently, so many people use those views to bring others down instead of having an actual conversation. I have seen it happen on Twitter so many times. Someone says something, innocently or not, and it becomes a HUGE thing that negatively impacts the person that said it. There are times where people are rude to be rude, ignorant, or just tearing others down for fun. My thoughts would never be used in those ways, but I fear that people will jump on the negative and go after me for it. Taking the time to discuss with me and inform me on where I might be coming up short in my thoughts in a more polite way is so much more beneficial than yelling at me and telling me I am wrong.

I guess my fear is that I will make one silly mistake and become just that person that everyone goes after. I’m not saying that I feel like what I say is on the front page of everything, but it’s the internet…things get out. One silly mistake, one time that I have an opinion that comes out wrong, one time I say something that shows I may not be as informed as I should be…that could be it. I don’t want that. I want to discuss. I want to see where my shortcomings may be and what I can do to improve my thoughts and opinions. I want to see that maybe I’m not alone in my thoughts and opinions.

Basically, to sum it all up…I fear that I am not able to have honest discussions. I want to have open and honest discussions, but there are too many people who tear you down for just ONE mistake, one mistype, one wording issue…I don’t want that.

I want to have honest discussions, and I want to be able to talk openly about things and have people help me see if I’m in the wrong. I just don’t know if I can do that here anymore.

I’m not quitting blogging. There are times that this is the one thing that helps me relax. I am, however, rethinking things and my approach to blogging.

So tell me…do you ever feel like this, and what advice would you give me here?

emily

Looking ahead at 2019!

Happy 2019!

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I hope you all had a safe, fun, and relaxing start to the year. Whether you went out or stayed in, I hope that you brought in the new year in the best way for you.

I am honestly kind of excited for this year and I really can’t put my finger on the why. 2018 was a tough year for me. While I had a lot to celebrate (and I have made sure to celebrate those accomplishments) I also had some lows. Those lows have definitely helped me see some things I need to change, but it also showed me how resilient I truly am. I am really proud of how far I’ve come. I know I’m not where I could be yet, but I took a massive leap from the beginning of 2018 to the end, and I think it’s only going to go up from here.

I know you are seeing a ton of New Year Resolutions. The phrase “New year, New me” is everywhere, and honestly…not a fan. If you can say that and stick to it, awesome. Unfortunately, I don’t see many people stick to that. I haven’t stuck to it when I’ve used it. Because of this, I feel like I approach the new year a little differently.

Each year I make goals for myself. I find that goals are things I can get to, and once I reach them I reevaluate to challenge myself more. I have found that these evolve more than a resolution would, and making the goals have helped me have even better years (and grow even more).

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So, here are a few of my goals for 2019:

  • Read 50 books. This is down a bit from last year, but my reading slowed a bit towards the end of 2018, so I figured just roll with it and I can always adjust and add more.
  • Buddy read at least 2 times this year. Obviously I’ll go for more, but I do miss buddy reading and did it way less than I had wanted to last year. I started a Buddy Reading group on twitter (let me know if you want to join!) so I’m hoping that it’s a group I can come back to in search of people to read a book with me.
  • Blog 2 times a month. I obviously won’t stop at 2 times a month, but I think trying to establish at least 2 a month will help me get back to it. I miss blogging a lot, but I have found myself not always making the time.
  • Read more diversely. I think I did a fairly good job of this last year, but I can always do better. I want to read from a wide range of authors and in a wide range of stories.
  • Less screen time. I find myself scrolling through my phone all too much. I would love to be able to not look at my phone for at least a half hour before I go to bed, and to try to set more time limits.
  • Budget! We have had some financial bumps, as people do, and instead of just hiding and hoping it goes away I am ready to take it on. My husband and I are cutting some things, limiting other things, and trying to buckle down to pay some stuff down. I am hoping that instead of buying books I will utilize my library more. I am hoping to cook more, do more homemade things, and find more fun date nights in. My husband and I are both fed up and so ready for a change. I think we are finally in the mindset to make it.
  • Do a pullup. I have gotten back into working out over the past few year but my upper body strength is severely lacking. I want to do an unassisted pull-up. Once I do that I want to continue to add more.
  • Take another trip. I haven’t decided where to, but I want to go somewhere new, or explore somewhere known just a little more, with my husband. Vacations are so good for you, and I think taking a trip this past year was so good for me!
  • Focus on eating what makes me feel good. I am a sucker for sweets, a sucker for grease, and a sucker for gluten. None of these things make me feel good unless I watch my portions, and even then they don’t always make me feel good. I want to remind myself that I do like vegetables and food that is a little bit healthier. I want to keep my portions in mind and I want to feel better about myself. Food is such a huge step in that.
  • Journal. I think I need to get back on the journaling train. I want to set aside a certain amount of time each day to write. I don’t care what it’s about, I just need to write. 2018 was a year of some high emotions and a year of some drama. I think I would have handled things better if I could have written things out instead of letting them bottle up in my head.

I have more goals, but I think some are less firm goals and more ideas. I want less drama, I want more connections, I want to do more and collect less, I want to make running fun and try a few more races…I have many personal goals that I want to keep to myself too. I am just really feeling the whole mindset of the new year lately, and I am trying my best to embrace it.

What are some of your goals for 2019?

emily

I’ve Gotta Say Something…

Hey all! Long time no talk.

Yep, I know. I’ve been pretty silent on here. And honestly, that’s why I’m about to issue an apology to each and every one of you, but probably to myself as well.

I’m sorry this blog hasn’t been as active as I had wanted it to be. I have gone down a spiral of craziness in the past couple of months. I’ve had some personal stuff going on that I don’t really want to go into for all the world to read, but with all of that my motivation to do this just lessened. I’ve been in a not so good place this year. The year that I had wanted it to be, the year that I try new things and let go a lot easier…yea, hasn’t been happening. I’ve let myself get buried under my own emotions, stress, and feelings of general helplessness and have found that I haven’t really enjoyed anything. I can’t say I’ve tried to enjoy anything either, so that’s very much on me.

The truth is, this blog has always been an outlet for me. I avoided it because I didn’t want to drag it down with my own personal issues, so instead I have been letting it sit because I “haven’t had time.” I’m sorry, but that’s been bullshit. I’ve been in my own pity party for months and I am so sick of it. I’m so tired of feeling this whole “woe is me” thing. I definitely suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and this never-ending winter we seem to have going on here doesn’t seem to be helping (just spent the last 3 days digging myself out post blizzard and I bet I will have to pick up the shovel again tomorrow at some point). I have been the worst at letting it get to me and I am so tired of it.

But the thing is, I’m not sure what to do to stop it. I’ve let myself get so into this downward spiral that I can’t seem to pull myself out. So, little by little I am trying. Here’s what I have done so far…

  • I continue to workout 3-5 times a week. Endorphins are good right?
  • I signed up for a half marathon in August. I may be trudging through it the way winter seems to be going, but I did it. Training will keep me moving and it’s a goal to meet. And you best believe I am going to meet it.
  • I applied for a job that terrified me. Well, the application terrified me. I worked my butt off and put myself out there to get references and honestly, it was terrifying. Unfortunately I got that fabulous rejection I was expecting, but I’m trying not to let that get me down and to help me move forward.
  • I’m making plans with my husband. Not just saying that we should do something, but actually making plans. A lot of our plans have fallen through due to money, timing, etc…but these should hold up. I hope. Because I definitely need this.
  • I’m working on getting myself on here more. This apology is just one step. I’m hoping that I can come at you with more on this blog. I have things I want to blog about, I just haven’t sat myself down to actually do it. That’s gotta change.
  • I’m journaling. This terrifies me because I feel like there’s a right and wrong way to journal, but the more I looked into it (because that’s how I am) I realized how stupid that was. A journal is so personal to you and there’s no template. It’s for you. For your growth. So I found some prompts to help me get my wheels turning, and it’s been so helpful. I found one that is supposed to help with stress relief and oh my gosh, each day the prompts have made me laugh (like the one day I felt like my entire life was falling apart and the prompt was to write what was going well in your life. Hilarious. I cried while laughing).

I am taking this one step at a time, one day at a time. But I know I can be better. I know I can do better. And I’m sorry I’ve been so silent on here. Please know I take this apology oh so seriously, and really do plan to kick it into gear. I miss this. I really really do.

So now, I have to know….what do you do to get yourself out of a slump like this? Activites? Mantras? Helpful books? In the land where winter doesn’t seem to want to end and the sun refuses to shine I find I am definitely in need of some tips.

Thanks for bearing with me through this all. I promise I’ll be coming back. I will.

emily

Adios 28!

Guess what guys….IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!

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I was asked at work if I was turning 29 for the 3rd time and I gave them that awkward look and said…uhm no this is the 1st time. So yes, I am 29 today and have been thinking about where the past year of my life went and where the next year might take me.

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In my 28th year of life I…

  • Read a lot. Seriously. Even with reading slumps I was able to crush it. My reading tastes have been changing, which has been both fun and frustrating. Learning to roll with it and take it as it comes.
  • Saw the Pacific Ocean! I went to visit my sister out in California for her grad school graduation. While there I tried lots of different foods, wandered around, saw Pawnee City Hall, soaked up some rays at the beach (before the clouds came and it actually got a little cool), hiked the Hollywood sign, and was just a tourist in general. It was so much fun.
  • I ran! I never thought that I would run. Ever. My shin splints have been terrible in the past and I had a doctor legitimately tell me to not run because they were near stress fractures. I was getting frustrated, not necessarily because I wanted to run long distances but because I didn’t like that I wasn’t able to. That and my husband and friend were doing so much running and I just felt useless. With the right shoes and the right training I have been able to run some 5ks, and have done way better than I had anticipated.
  • I have taken in local sports. No, not the Packers. Forget that. Never happening. But I did get to go to some more local baseball games and hockey games. It’s been a lot of fun exploring this area more and seeing what it has to offer.
  • I went to Northern Minnesota for Thanksgiving. And when I say Northern Minnesota I basically mean Canada. We spent some time up there with my husband’s family. Was a pretty good time.
  • I went further into my Christmas spirit and made my own gingerbread houses for fun. The night itself was a little interesting, but it was fun and I do have some good memories from that evening.
  • I went to my first ever show! Last weekend I was able to see Les Miserables and it was gorgeous and I cried. So wonderful, despite the woman sitting next to me that seemed to try everything she could to ruin it.
  • I found time to dedicate to my health. Once I made the switch I honestly have been shocked at how much better my life has been. I have more energy. I’m happier (mostly). I love being active. Who woulda thunk it?
  • I had many adventures with my husband and close friend. Camping, sporting events, trying new restaurants, movie nights…we’ve had many a good time this past year. So so fortunate to have them in my life.
  • I had the best sandwich in the world. Seriously. It was delicious. And I figured it would be much appreciated if I listed it as one of the highlights of my 28th year of life.

 

So, what’s to come before I turn 30!? (eep! I turn 30! I’ve been waiting my whole life for my golden birthday!):

  • READ! Obviously I am going to try my best to read all the things I can get my hands on. And try to get on here more. I am a slacker, and that’s gotta change.
  • Bucket list concert. I AM GOING TO SEE JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE IN SEPTEMBER! I am incredibly excited!
  • Half Marathon. Yes, you read that correctly. I signed up for my first ever half marathon. I am terrified. I am excited. I am all over the place with this one, but I think it’ll be good. My goal? Finish the race.
  • Chicago weekend. My husband and I will be taking a mini-vacation in the Chicago area since we really don’t live that far away. I’m getting pretty excited. I honestly can’t remember the last time it’s been a getaway for just the two of us.
  • More shows! The Lion King will be performed her beginning of next year and I am ready to sell a kidney for tickets. In general I really did enjoy watching a show live (no shocker there, I just never had the chance) so I am really hoping that I can make this one work.
  • Travel. I want to travel. I honestly find I have the travel bug. I went to California last year, so I am hoping to find somewhere to go this year. I am also hopeful that my husband can come with me. It just seems to never work out that way.

Obviously that’s not all that I want to do over the next year. Some are more personal goals. Some are things I don’t want to talk about until they actually happen. But I am really wanting to make this next year awesome. I have ideas. I have plans. And I am going to make it happen.

So here it is. Let’s do this 29!

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emily

 

When Last Words Matter the Most

Please note…this got super personal and a little bit more intense than I had intended. With that being said I feel so much better after typing it and decided I want to share it anyway. It’s a great discussion in how words can stick with you.

If you guys follow me on here you know that I love a good first line to a book. I love the way just one sentence can set the tone and suck you in without much more than a few words. I love that feeling of reading that first line and knowing that I am in for a great read.

First lines are similar to first impressions; both very important. Think about it, the first time you meet someone and talk to them they form an opinion on you (yes, everyone does this and if you say that you don’t then you’re lying). Obviously opinions can be changed, but whatever that person things of you after that first impression is a big deal, and to make that opinion change can be very tough.

But what about last words? Think of the last line of a book. The last line sums it up (or leaves you completely hanging if you are in a series). The last line is closure. The last line makes it final. If it’s not the best last line then do you really feel sold on the book?

In real life last words matter. We read them all the time. I think there are actual books of famous last words. And if the last words that someone says before they die aren’t that great, then we tend to judge the person even though they are no longer with us.

What about last conversations? How much do those matter?

To me, a last conversation is something that I treasure. Forever. It’s something I look back upon during moments of struggle. It gives me strength.

Last year I wrote a post on this day about my dad. I shared with you 13 memories of my life with him, because I was having a really hard time dealing with it. Writing down those memories helped me feel like I had shared him with the world, like I have always wanted to. I have so many people in my life that I would love for him to meet, kind of including my own husband (ok, he knew my husband when we were kids but I feel like that’s a little different).

This year has been difficult. I have had a year with some ups and many downs, and there were so many times I wish I could just run to my dad like I did as a kid. My parents were notorious for making crappy situations better as a kid, and I though I have talked to my mom plenty and she has helped me out I still have this longing to run to my dad. It has gotten to the point where I have been having dreams about him being alive right now (and that is not fun to wake up from). So this year I want to write again. Because I want to remind myself what it is that I am doing, and what it is that I am trying to accomplish.

I want to be the person that deserves the last words that he spoke to me.

My dad had been sick all summer long, but the beginning of August 2002 he was officially diagnosed with cancer. Within days of the diagnosis intense treatments were started. This started our month of emergency room trips, hospital stays, and other general scares as we tried to cope with my dad being this sick and us doing whatever we could to make it better.

I remember one day, about a week before he passed, I came down to the TV room and started watching baseball with him. The Minnesota Twins were always on our TV that summer. Baseball was my dad’s favorite sport; the Twins his favorite team (I apologize for their unfortunate playing this season dad). I spent a lot of time watching them play that year with him, and it was always fun. It became one of the few moments that we were able to do something together and bond, because he really didn’t have the energy for much else. On this particular day we started talking. At this point school was starting up. My sister was entering public school for the first time, and I had joined the 8th grade volleyball team. He and I talked about what was going on at school, the things I was busy with, the Twins game, and his sickness. That last one was not exactly a subject my 13 year old self was super pumped to talk about, so I don’t really remember a lot of that. But this day I remember him stopping and looking me in the eyes. He started talking about me and how I was handling all of these big life changes and scary moments. He said “Emily, you have been such a brick during this whole situation. I am so proud of you and I love you.”

Now I am sure we talked a little bit more after that, but the next day while I was at school he was taken in to the emergency room, the day after that he went into a coma.

Today I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around that sentence. My dad would tell my siblings and I that he was proud of us when we did something to be proud of. He wasn’t one to hide his feelings or anything like that. He wanted us to know that we were loved. But it’s that first part, the part about being a brick. I remember those few weeks from diagnosis to death. I refused to cry in front of my dad. Is that an oldest kid thing? I have no idea, but I refused to do it. That’s not to say that I wasn’t scared out of my mind, but I would go cry in my room by myself before crying in front of him about his sickness. I couldn’t do that to him. I had been helping out even more around the house. Helped out even more with my siblings and was taking on a whole new school year. I guess I did give off the impression of brick-like strength. And to hear him tell me that…it just made me want to prove myself more. This attitude of proving myself went until the day he died, and the brick started to crack just a little bit.

Through all the ups and downs in my life my brain always circles back to that comment. I think about the girl that my dad saw when his life was flipped upside down and the strength he saw in me at that moment. Do I still have that strength? Can I still get that strength? I remember what he saw and I strive to still be that person.

I hope that today, and any other day that seems tough, I can be brick strong.

So today I am going to surround myself with some of his favorite things. Crank some Led Zeppelin, watch a baseball game, eat a Hershey’s bar and then try to cleverly make it look like I didn’t eat it and offer it to my husband (yeaaaaa, my dad and I used to play that “joke” on each other all the time. I was a real funny kid guys), jam to some Petra, maybe watch Princess Bride and quote along with it. I am going to surround my stuff that is very much my dad.

Whoa, so sorry. That got way more intense than I would like. Here’s some fun stuff to end it with…

My dad did a killer Grover impression. As I was looking something else up this popped up and I just knew it was meant to be.

I love you so much dad. And I definitely miss you here down on Earth. Looking forward to the day that I see you again!

Is there anything that anyone has said to you that you, to this day, remember and think back to?

I Grew Up Potter, Did You?

This is a post that I wrote for My Trending Stories (you can find the original here!) I was really excited to share my reasons for being the Harry Potter nerd that I am, because it gets a little more personal than just a general feeling. Feel free to share your thoughts about how you grew up Potter (or any other series) in the comments!

As readers we are always able to look back fondly at a book or series that we felt we grew up with. It could range from the picture books you read as a kid (Berenstain Bears for the win!) or the first chapter books that you remember getting lost in (Little House books!). Whatever that book or series may be, you hold a special place for it. As an adult you may collect it, and eventually hope to pass that love down to the children in your life (your own children, nieces, nephews, etc). While I was a very avid reader as a child, knocking out the Little House books at a pretty young age, I can honestly say that I grew up Harry Potter.

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Shocking right? What “millennial” (blech, I hate that word but I am technically classified as one) hasn’t said that they grew up Potter and that Harry Potter was life, but it’s the truth. I grew up Potter and I am not ashamed.

When we say we grew up with this series I think that we all mean it a little differently. Some started reading it the day it came out in 1997. Now, let me tell you, my parents would not have let their 8 year old read Harry Potter. They were unsure about it and I don’t blame them. There was a lot of talk about the magic and what it would do to children, and I don’t think they were wrong at all to wait. I don’t think I was quite ready then. Thanks for being a bit strict about it mom and dad, I wasn’t fully prepared for Harry Potter.

Others who say that they have grown up Harry Potter refer to the movies. As a child who did get into this series around the same time as the release of the 1st movie I must say, I get it. I didn’t start reading it because of the movie, but I can see the appeal. How many times do we see a TV show or movie and decide we want to look further into it? I do this all the time. But no, this is not how my journey with Harry Potter started.

I started reading Harry Potter in 2000, right before Goblet of Fire came out. I remember it well. My dad had finally said we could maybe read it, if my mom read it first and approved (and that’s how my mom got suckered into the series). This became the rule of the house. My mom always had to read the book before we did so that she could make sure it was appropriate for us (eventually I think she just started using that rule so that she got the book first…). I was pretty excited. I remember starting this series because this was also the year that I stopped being home-schooled and started public school. I was definitely nervous and not fully sure I wanted to start this new part of my life, but I started to feel like I was doing the same thing as Harry (minus being at Hogwarts) and looked on this as a new adventure.

The more I read the more I found that I could relate to this young boy. I started to match up to him in ages as the books started taking a little bit longer to release. I found an escape when I was still trying to figure things out. I found friends, and honestly felt a little more comfortable with being out in this new experience because of Harry. Even though Harry is fighting for the school and against Voldemort he also experienced a lot of the same adolescence that I was going through.

And then…came The Order of the Phoenix.

Now, at this point we knew without a shadow of a doubt that we wanted to continue on with this series. Because we were so sure of this we pre-ordered books from that point on. There was no way we would be able to wait on the library hold list. WE NEEDED THE BOOKS RIGHT AWAY! You know the feeling.

The Order of the Phoenix is the first book I remembered crying in. I started to relate to something way more than I had ever even imagined that I would; the loss of a loved one. This book has been out for 13 years now, do I still need to hide who died here? I mean you have either seen the movies or read the books right? Well…the death of Sirius hit me hard. At this point in my life I was getting close to the 1 year anniversary of my dad’s death. I think that was the moment that I found I related to Harry the most as he watched his beloved guardian die. Now, let me get this straight…my dad was not killed by a death eater. His death was due to cancer, but even so…I understood. I understood the hurt and the pain and the need to try to make it better even though there’s no way to really do that. I could relate and I felt a little less alone.

In 2003 I really felt like I understood Harry. And in 2003 I become 150% more invested in reading his adventures in bringing good to the world and defeating Lord Voldemort.

2007, the year the last book was released…well, that was the year I graduated high school. I read as Harry and his friends fought for their lives, and then I watched as their lives started all over. At that same time I felt like my life was starting all over. I wasn’t necessarily going to the college that I had intended to at that point, but it was still a whole new world. I felt like I ended an era with Harry.

Obviously there were still the movies at that point, which I deeply enjoyed, but I grew up Potter. I grew up with the books. Harry Potter was there for a lot of tough situations in my life, and I am so happy for that.

So naturally, I have been like a kid at Christmas lately. Seeing new books by JK Rowling, a play, a new movie series to look forward to. I am so excited to get to be treated to this world again; a world that gave me temporary relief from the real world when I needed it most.

I grew up Potter! Did you?

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So long Summer 2016!

I still am shocked that summer is over. My summer was not exactly the best, but that doesn’t mean that I want it to end. I live for the long days, sunshine, and endless amounts of summer fun (which I really didn’t get to participate in that much this year). But like all good things, summer must end. And luckily one of my other favorite seasons follows. I am sad to say goodbye to summer, but ready to say hello to apples, boots, crunching leaves, and beautiful fall colors (but get that pumpkin spice out of my face please and than you).

So, to say goodbye to the summer…here are a few moments that I enjoyed.

My summer started off pretty rocky, with a not so fabulous May and unnecessary drama that has since kind of resolved. During this rough month my husband was away, and decided that as soon as he got back we should take our first Door County trip. And boy, was it worth the money. If you are in this area I highly recommend going. It is so gorgeous and relaxing. I came back feeling totally rejuvenated and ready to take on the stress in my life.

After that weekend involved some other busy weekends with graduations and…my husband taking Command of his unit. I am so incredibly proud of him for taking this on because I know it’s not easy. But it is so flattering to have him be selected at such a young age, and I know he will do great things. The ceremony was simple yet so very cool, and his parents were even able to make it out to watch. A very cool weekend.

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We took an impromptu Chicago trip with a friend of ours. We are only about 3 hours away, so we picked a day and went down there. We did the touristy things, like visiting the Bean, and then went to a bar where you could also play arcade games for free. Needless to say, I found my calling in a few of those games and was destroying. It was a lot of fun.

This past month I was able to spend a whole week back in my hometown. Granted, the week long stay was to dog-sit, but all for the fabulous cause of celebrating my friend’s final weeks before her wedding. She was able to fly up and we had an awesome time painting mason jars and walking around in our Minnesota Sports gear. And though these celebrations were a big reason for my stay, I was also fortunate to meet up with Lauren from Live, Love, Read while she was in my hometown area! It was so fun to actually meet in person after having been talking to her for years and to make her try a Minnesota specialty….Caribou Coffee.

 

Other than those few highlights my summer has involved working when I am able, trying to figure out what’s next in my life plan, hanging out with friends when we all actually have time time (I have a busy group of friends), some trips home to see the family, and reading. Here’s just a few more pictures of my summer 2016.

As sad as I am to see summer go, I am so ready to see what this new season has in store for me. I have so many plans already and have some good feelings about where this is going to go. Hooray for Fall 2016!

EXCITING NEWS!!!

Ok, this is going to be a real quick post, but I had some really exciting news to share with you.

I have joined the team on My Trending Stories to bring you some fabulous posts about books!!

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I am so exciting to join this growing website and to watch my writing improve while continuing to think of creative ways to talk about my favorite things…books!

This doesn’t mean that I am going away on here. If anything, I would think that this means I will be doing even more brainstorming for things to feature on here.

I am so excited to write on there and to try to push Midwestern Book Nerd further out in the world.

You can find my profile here!

And…I just posted my first article so please…check it out. I give out a recommendation straight from shelf of personal favorites.

That is all for now. I am so excited for what’s to see where this step in my journey takes me!

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