What's Up January

Blogger went down yesterday so I am just now able to join up with my girl Mel for What's up Wednesday today.

So what is new in the new year?

What We're Eating This Week: A lot of cold weather comfort food -- chili, ice cream ... wait a minute, ice cream? Little Kid received an ice cream maker for her birthday from her buddy and it is seriously fun. We also celebrated her birthday -- at Dairy Queen. That is what she wanted so that is what we did. I am always in the mood for a Blizzard.

What I'm Reminiscing About: Little Kid's arrival eight years ago.

We celebrated her birthday with a Softball Skating Party a few weeks ago.

As this is the 30th anniversary of the Challenger explosion today, I am also reminiscing about where I was that day. I was eight, the same age as my daughter, and didn't understand what had just happened. I remember thinking (not comprehending rocket science all that well in the third grade -- or now, to be honest): "Surely they had some sort of escape hatch?" Our teachers at school were so excited because this was the first teacher in space. The Challenger explosion was a definitive moment for my generation. We were not alive for Apollo 1, so space was cool and exciting. This was a sobering reminder that it was also enormously perilous.

What We've Been Up To: Basketball is winding up for the Big Kid and hopefully we will have a few weeks to breathe before baseball season is underway. But before then: Tournament Time. Big's team is currently in first place so the heat is on. Last week, he faced his BFF on the court.

via Team Skelley on Instagram

He and I made his first trip to the orthodontist this week. He has a crossbite which means braces are a definite, but his new orthodontist said that he is not quite ready yet. So 2017 will be the year for braces. He will probably get them the summer before eighth grade, like his mom did.

I am also in the middle of trading my car. We have a Ford Edge and if you are looking for a new car right now too, it has been a fantastic car -- very reliable and comfortable with lots of space to haul kids and dogs and sports equipment. But it is long in the tooth and has accumulated quite a bit of mileage so I have been scouring the internet for a trade. It is funny how your priorities change as you get older. I bought my first car as a senior in college. I wanted cute (of course), good gas mileage and a CD player, which was quite luxurious in 1998. I bought a black Chevy Cavalier and drove it until the wheels fell off. Seriously, I did drive it until the transmission went out. I loved that car. Now that I am buying a kid hauler, my biggest concern is safety. I have become quite knowledgeable in crossover safety ratings. If anyone has a crossover they recommend, I would love for you to leave a comment and tell me about it!

What I'm Working On: The special issue of the Newspaper for National Engineers Week is upon us and I am knee deep in it. Although my last interview was yesterday so hooray for that. This is the hardest insert of the year for me because it is very technical and I am not.

What I'm Dreading: The scale. I have ramped up my workouts this month to counteract the inactivity and foodpalooza of the holidays but the pounds don't melt right off like they did in my twenties. That is a hard pill to swallow.

What I'm Excited About: Our upcoming Disney Cruise! We are down to just a few weeks now. What I am extra excited about is that our friends the H family will be on the same cruise as us, so that will be lots of fun. Their kids are the same age as ours so Little and Big will have friends to pal around with on this cruise for the first time.

What I'm Watching: Well, I have bad news. We have been watching nothing because our rec room television went boom this weekend. Now luckily, we have other TVs so we haven't gone into electronics withdrawal yet but this television was especially meaningful to The Engineer. Five years ago, he went out to eat for lunch with his coworkers to a local restaurant, which was celebrating their tenth anniversary. They were giving away a ton of prizes and The Engineer walked out that day with a free 50 inch LG flat screen TV. He LOVED that TV.

Thanks for the memories, China Buffet.

What I'm Reading: I have been so excited to share this book with you guys.

This book already has a guaranteed place on my Top Ten list for 2016. Writing for the Army, our staff feels a strong responsibility to tell the stories of the amazing people who serve in our armed forces. When I read Hover, I felt that same care.

Synopsis: Kristin Hannah meets Tom Clancy: a thrilling, emotional women’s journey written by a groundbreaking former Navy pilot.

Helicopter pilot Lt. Sara Denning joins a Navy battle group with little fanfare—and that’s just the way she likes it. After her brother Ian’s tragic death, her career path seemed obvious: step into his shoes and join the Naval Academy, despite her fear of water. Sara’s philosophy is simple—blend in, be competent, and above all, never do anything to stand out as a woman in a man’s world.

Somewhere along the way, Sara lost herself—her feminine, easygoing soul is now buried under so many defensive layers, she can’t reach it anymore.

When she meets strong, self-assured Lt. Eric Marxen, her defenses start to falter. Eric coordinates flight operations for a Navy SEAL team that requests Sara as the exclusive pilot. This blatant show of favoritism causes conflict with the other pilots; Sara's sexist boss seems intent on making her life miserable, and her roommate and best friend, the only other woman on the ship, is avoiding her. It doesn’t help that her interactions with Eric leave her reeling.

The endgame of the SEALs' mission is so secret, even Sara doesn’t know the reason behind her mandated participation. Soon, though, the training missions become real, and Sara must overcome her fears before they plunge her into danger. When Sara’s life is on the line, can she find her true self again and follow the orders of her heart before it is too late?

This story is engrossing and features a kick-ass heroine, which I love. The story is so well-crafted it is astounding that it is a debut novel. From start to finish, Hover is exciting, dramatic, but also heart-breaking and it has a strong component of romance without going over-the-top with the sex scenes. I am no shrinking violet when it comes to the sexy stuff, but if it does not service the story, I have little use for it. I also really admired the pacing in this story. Many books lose steam around the 2/3 mark but not this one. Hover was one of the rare books that I slowed down my reading because I did not want it to end. Wilson is definitely an author to watch.

Check out my Top Ten Books list for 2015 and my Goodreads page for more reviews! I am a speed reader (drives The Engineer nuts) so I usually add books frequently.

What I'm Wearing: Orange and blue!

Regular readers of the blog know that we are Tennessee born and bred. The Engineer is a University of Tennessee grad twice over and and as such, we are huge Peyton Manning fans. My university, while possessing a solid basketball team, did not have a big football following, so even many of us Middle Tennessee State students were Vols fans back in school and I remember rooting for Peyton at UT when I was a college student. Needless to say, we are super excited about the Super Bowl this year. I was so stressed watching the playoffs this weekend that I hid in our bedroom and watched it on Twitter. #weenie

What I'm Doing This Weekend: Finally celebrating Christmas with part of my family! We were supposed to get together on Christmas Day but was rained out in the Christmas Day flooding. So we rescheduled for last weekend but were snowed out! Knock on wood that no other weather calamities hit this weekend.

Thanks for dropping by! I would love for you to leave a comment and introduce yourself. Stay warm out there.

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