book · reviews

We Were Mothers: A Novel– Book Review

We Were Mothers: A Novel by [Sise, Katie]I  recently finished reading the book We Were Mothers: A Novel, By Katie Sise.

What you see on the outside isn’t always the whole truth! Cora seemed to have the perfect life. Married to Sam and mother of twin two year olds, Cora’s life was about making everyone else happy. But, was she?

On the day of her twins birthday, Cora’s life was turned upside down. Cora finds a journal in her bedroom that will shake her world, but that isn’t the biggest revelation in the story. The information in this book is just the start of the ball of yarn unraveling. Cora, her family and friends will soon find that nothing is as it seems, and may never have been!

I really enjoyed this story. I do not want to put much more information into this review as you need to read the book and watch the truth come to life through the eyes of the characters. This is an intense suspense novel that shows that not everything is at it seems.

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family · life · through my camera lens

Richard!

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Today is Richard’s birthday. Richard and I have been together over 15 years now. He is my rock. I know that no matter what is going on in life, Richard is there for me. Together 09_30_r_01we deal with life so much better than we do apart.

Most people talk about finding someone who makes them whole. Richard and I have never felt this was the case. We do not complete each other, because we both had our lives together before we got together. I feel that instead we bring out the best in each other.

I love seeing Richard with our sons. He is showing them not only what a good father looks and acts like, but what it is like to be an honest, caring and responsible man.

Happy Birthday Richard. Thank you for everything…. and so much more!

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family · life · through my camera lens

Mary Poppins Jr.

The boys had their performances this weekend of Mary Poppins Jr. They had a blast working with the cast in this play. There is something special as a parent to see your child up on stage singing and acting. But, even more important seeing them smile and their personalities shine.

Colby had so much fun and was improvising in all of his background rolls. Blake you could see was super focused and hit every mark he was given.

This is just one of the costumes that the boys wore in their performance. I can’t wait to share the pictures of them in their “park” costumes, but those were taken by the professional.

family · life · through my camera lens

Blake is 12!

This post is much later than I expected it to be, but today was busy AND the internet was out almost all day.

12 years ago today I became a mom. Blake has changed my life in so many ways, but I can’t imagine our life without him.

12 things you may or may not know about Blake! 2018-11-11 16.41.44.jpg

1- Blake loves to read. He reads everything and anything… and he reads it over and over and over again. I think he would read in his sleep if he could figure out how.

2- Blake is a walking sports encyclopedia. He loves to learn facts about sports, it doesn’t matter the sport or the fact he needs to know it.

3- He is an audiophile. Blake loves music and always has music on. He can tell you the name of the song, artist and often the album after only a few notes of hearing the song. There are only a few genres of music that he does not enjoy.

4- Blake is a huge history buff. He loves all things about the USA especially presidents.

5- If you ask Blake anything about his birthday the first thing he will tell you is that his birthday is on a holiday. He is proud to share his birthday with Veterans Day.

6- Blake has decided the wants to be a sports lawyer when he grows up. This encompasses his love of sports and his love to debate. Blake enjoys a good debate on any and every topic.

7- Blake loves pizza and would eat it for every meal if I let him. His latest kick is deli meat he will eat this for breakfast and lunch most days.

8- He loves chocolate. Chocolate ice cream. Chocolate cup cakes and today Colby even made him chocolate cookies! 2018-11-11 18.31.59

9- Blake loves technology…. of any kind! He has to have control over the remotes. He enjoys creating technology for his teachers to use in class. He creates power point presentations for fun.

10- Blake lives inside his own box. He is a black and white/right or wrong kind of kid. This effects him in so many ways, but it is also makes Blake… Blake

11- Blake is harder on himself than anyone else. He pushes himself and has had to work on understanding that perfection at all times is unrealistic. He is starting to see that we grow and learn from mistakes. That a mistake, a wrong answer, a misstep is not a sign of failure, but a sign of being human.

12- Blake defines himself as a bookworm, a nerd and a gamer. I’m not sure I’d call him a gamer, but I will say he is a bookworm and in his own way a nerd. He is a learner. He is a seeker of knowledge and information. He has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and I can only hope that continues. Blake loves to challenge himself and others to be the best. It doesn’t always work, but he tries.

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Blake has challenge my intellect since he learned to talk. He needs to ask “Why” “What’s next” and “How”. I’m proud to be Blake’s mother, to be able to help him deal with the bumps in the road. Richard and I are excited to see where his life path takes him. We love you Blake, and are proud of you!

life · through my camera lens

Thankful for- places

Home is where my family is, where we sleep each night. In my married life I have lived in 3 houses. Before I married Richard, I owned my own house in Orlando. Before that I owned a condo in MA. I also lived in Rochester, NY and grew up in different area of MA.

I still talk about going home to FL even if I feel like our house here in PA is home. There are so many things that make this house a home. We have done so much in the year we have lived here. We have explored the area and enjoy everything if offers.

I am thankful for the house we live in, but I talked about that last week as a “Thing”.

I’m thankful that we live so close to North Park. This is a county park that we go to whenever we can. I have watched the leaves change the snow fall and the floods comes. My sons have learned to ice skate, mountain bike and kayak in North Park. We love the trails, wild life and scenery we can enjoy there.

I’m thankful for the city of Pittsburgh. This is the city where Richard works. But, more than that it is the city we get to explore. We have experienced a variety of cultural activities there. We have gone to baseball games, monster truck races, street fairs and many more things. It is know as Steel City from all of the steel factories that were located here back at in the last century. This steel is present in the many bridges that crisscross the city.

I’m thankful the memories we have from our years in Orlando. It was the city where my sons were born and had all their “firsts”. We miss going to Disney World and the year round summer.

But, for now… Pittsburgh (well really Wexford) is our home… and for that I’m thankful.

 

food · life

Chocolate Chip cookies with melted butter

Today was one of “Those Days” at work. One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to bake. I didn’t decide to bake until it was too late to soften butter, so off to the web I went in search of a recipe.

I found the recipe for “The Best Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies” on Pinch of Yum

I pulled all the ingredients together and got to baking.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies with melted butter

  • 8 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli’s grand chips)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Melt butter
  3. mix together butter and sugars
  4. incorporate vanilla and egg
  5. mix in dry ingredients
  6. when mixed to the proper cookie dough consistency, add in chocolate chips
  7. bake 9-11 min (do not overbake) I let mine go a bit under actually
  8. enjoy!

 

family · life

Thankful week 1 -things

thankful blog

For the month of November, each Friday I will write a thankful post. I think it is important to stop and think about the things you are thankful for. Those things/ people/e vents in your life that just make your life a bit better, a bit more meaningful.

This week I will focus on things.  What objects am I thankful for having in my life? How do they make my life more meaningful?

Our House

Image may contain: house, sky and outdoorI’m thankful for our home. We have lived in our house for a bit over a year now. It is now home. Granted home is wherever I spend most of my time with my family. It is the place where my children soundly sleep in their beds. It is the location I see my guys first thing in the mornings. It may not be the first home we lived in as a family, but it is the home we are loving and growing in now…. for that I’m thankful.

Technology

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Many people think I am anti-technology since I limit the amount of technology the boys use. I’m quite the opposite. I enjoy technology, but I understand the needs for limits. I enjoy the connections that technology allows. I enjoy being able to dance my fingers across the keyboard and access a huge variety of knowledge, products and so much more.

Food

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I love food… ok who doesn’t? I love to cook, bake and explore with foods. I have been working very hard the last few months on being more proactive in my food selections. It is often easy to say… this tastes good, so I must eat it. But, thinking that way can get you in trouble. So instead, I think this is healthy AND tastes good… so I can eat it.

Changes

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There have been so many changes in the last few years. I know that change is hard, but change is good. Change brings about growth. Changes brings out the best and the worst in people. But, it is important to be flexible enough to deal with change.

 

I have decided to have the boys join in this thankful process.

Blake is thankful for our house. “Without it we wouldn’t have the life we live”

Colby is thankful for nature. “Nature shows us there is more to life and change. That the real world happens beyond technology”

Join in… What things are you thankful for?

 

 

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Rainy Days and Halloween

Last night we had the builder in trying to fix our stairs. Richard was home, but on working still. The boys carved their pumpkins and then we headed out to grab dinner. 2018-10-31 18.22.04While we were driving home (before 6pm) people had already started trick or treating.  Why you ask? Because there was finally a break in the rain.

The temperatures we perfect yesterday, but it was far from dry. So I think as soon as there was any kind of break in the weather, people just said… go!

Well my boys had to come home and eat dinner, then finish prepping to go out. No worries, at least it was almost dark when they left. But, they both decided to toss their rain coats over their costumes. It was mainly drizzling, but there were a few patches of down pours.

Richard and I sat in the garage and handed out the candy. It was nice that the boys were 2018-10-31 18.15.43able to join another group of kids their age and head out trick or treating.

Richard and I popped across to some of the other families who were handing out candy and chatted between lulls in the crowds.

We certainly do not get the huge groups we got in FL. We could easily have just used 1 Costco size bag and that is with giving 3/4 candies to each child. Oh well, the extras and all of Blake and Colby’s candies that they didn’t want was dropped off at their school today. Their school collects candy and other treats and makes stocking to ship off to the troops.

All in all, it was a good night and the boys had a blast… that is all that matters.

Education · family · life · PreK class

Happy Halloween!

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Today has already been very busy for me. Today in my class we wore our pajamas. My class already went trunk or treating on Friday. This meant that  my class was not wearing their costumes to school today. I wanted to do something different and fun. So, pajama day!

Since we were in our pajamas and finishing up our unit on the night sky, I decided to schedule a special snack for today… pancakes! The children had fun making pancake from scratch. I made a double batch of pancakes and they were gone when we were done. There was only 1 out of 17 children who did not eat the pancakes.

I also brought in a variety of sugar based candy (opposed to chocolate based… yes I know ALL candy is all sugar) to dissolve. We used gummy bears, sour patch kids, skittles and sweet tarts. We put them into water and vinegar to see how they reacted to the liquids. On Friday, we are going to do a similar experiment with candy pumpkins and candy corn. That time we will use water, vinegar, salt water and sugar water. I’ve done this in the past and it is really cool to see the candy pumpkins react… the wax coating will separate!

The boys came home from school and then carved their pumpkins. They were so excited that this year they got to wear their costumes to school. It sounds like there were a lot of fun activities for the kids and it went smoothly!

I’ll post pictures of the boys in their costumes and with their pumpkins tomorrow.

Hope you have a great Halloween… stay safe. We will try to stay dry!

family · life

Indoor Block party?

The street we live on is finally complete. We decided this was a good reason to celebrate. A few of us got together and tried to coordinate a weekend date in Oct to have our first block party. This was back in September, and the best we could do was this weekend. So we planned our first block party for yesterday. It was all planned out. We were going to block off the cul-de-sac, drag out tables, chairs, the grill and fun things for the kids to do.  Yeah well I guess no one consulted with mother nature. Starting Friday night we had rain on and off all weekend. Finally Richard and I decided we would just move the party into our house.

Friday night we began the process of company cleaning the house. You know that feeling of everything that is always out and about needs to actually be put away in the right places. We began in the basement and worked our way upstairs. It felt good to get everything cleaned and know I didn’t have to clean during the week. This also forced the boys to help clean beyond their basic cleaning. Ok they still didn’t do it willingly, but it was done.

Saturday I sent out a message saying that we would make a final decision on Sunday, but that we could move it into our house if needed. We kept putting it off, but finally gave in and said… ok inside it goes. Right after we sent out that message, the sun came out. I felt like mother nature was messing with my head. We also decided that since it was wet and only in the 40s that even with sun…. inside was better.

The party was planned for 3:30pm. Around 3:29 the skies opened up and I felt better about the change in plans!

There are 6 houses on our street (4 in the cul-de-sac and 2 on the straight part of our street). Everyone showed up! It was nice to get everyone together. The people in the house next to us, the last to be completed, were able to meet the rest of the neighbors. We had a 13 month old, an almost 3 year old, a 4 year old (it was actually his birthday), Colby, Blake and another 6th grader, a middle schooler and a high schooler. This was a decent mix of kids. The children are all boys except the one high schooler is a girl. The kids were down in the basement. They had red zone on the tv and were playing on the PS4. Colby set up a hot wheels track and got out the monster trucks for the little boys.

The adults hung out in the kitchen and chatted. The groups were pretty fluid and no one seemed to be left out of the conversations. Each family brought food and there was a lot of food and drinks consumed and leftover.

We already scheduled our next get together. Another family offered their house this time and we picked the date while everyone was together. We hope to do this every couple of months, especially through the winter!

So while it didn’t turn out like we originally planned it was a lot of fun and worth it.