Book Nook: Catching Fire

Two down, one to go!

 I can see why people obsess about these books - I can't put them down!  After reading the first book, I was into the series, but wasn't sure how I felt about it entirely.  Now, after reading the second, I am tapping my foot waiting by the door for the UPS guy to arrive with my copy of the 3rd (I got a notification saying it was supposed to be delivered today, but nothing so far... COME ONNNNNN!).

While I was waiting at the airport to pick Matt up on Tuesday night, I was reading my copy of Catching Fire, when a lady sat down beside me and started to talk my ear off about how much she loved the second book and the "second one is the best."  Usually I'd be into the conversation, but seeing as I was reading a really good book I didn't want anything to do with it.  I wasn't rude to her, just kept slipping back to reading when she would pause to take a breath...  Thankfully her luggage arrived at baggage claim just then and she left me shortly after to peacefully continue reading my book.

Its a fast read, and I can't exactly say if it was "the best one" yet, but I enjoyed the book a lot.  This was actually the book that Kate read a chapter from that got me hooked on wanting to read the series.  Once again, I knew how the book ended before I began reading it (thanks, Kate...), but was still able to get into the book.  Thankfully, (spoiler alert!) Peeta doesn't exactly die at the end of this like I originally thought, but Collins leaves it up to the next book to explain what is going to happen to him and the people of the now destroyed District 12... which may be why I am so darn impatient for it to arrive already!

Also, I'm not 100% positive on who I'd rather see Katniss end up with: Peeta or Gale.  I think the majority of me is pulling for Peeta... Hmmm...


Book Nook: The Hunger Games

It may seem strange that I am posting another "Book Nook," but you wouldn't believe how much reading I have been doing lately!  I've knocked off Plain Truth and now The Hunger Games in one week!

I was skeptical to read The Hunger Games after all the ridiculous hype the movie caused.  I actually resented it a bit because I was so sick of hearing about it!  I gave in and decided to read the book after Kate read me a portion of the second book for a school project.  All it took was an 11-year old's summary of the book/series and I was hooked!  Despite knowing the outcome of this book (thanks, Kate...), I still wanted to read it and will eventually see the movie.  I stopped in at Target tonight and picked up a copy of the second book to begin next.  I thought about breaking them up by reading other books in between, but I realize that wouldn't make much sense and would bother me to no end!

I'd take the time here to try to explain the book briefly, but there is so much detail and reasoning for certain parts of the books that it would take longer than I'm sure anyone would be willing to read.  

While it isn't "Lauren's Top 20 Favorite Books" list worthy, I liked the story - it was creative and interesting - and look forward to what the author does with the next two books.


Book Nook: Plain Truth

Ladies and gentlemen... I have found a book that I LOVED and could NOT put down!
Presenting Jodi Picoult's Plain Truth!

I cannot wait to read this book again, despite knowing the outcome!

Jodi Picoult's Plain Truth tells the story of Amish girl Katie Fisher who has gotten pregnant and given birth out of wedlock.  When the baby is found dead in the family barn, lawyer Ellie Hathaway defends and befriends Katie by staying on the Amish farm with her to build her defense and find out what really happened the night Katie gave birth.

  I love Jodi Picoult's books, especially The Pact and Nineteen Minutes.  Her style of writing is captivating - I struggle to put each book down at night!  Plain Truth was no exception!  Obviously, as a writer, Picoult was not trained in legal matters or Amish culture, but as I was reading this book, it was clear to me that Picoult did her research on both topics very well.  I'm no professional on legal stuff, but I do know a good amount about the Amish - after all I do live in Amish country AND I took a class at Penn State... one could call me a pro at all things Amish ;)

Speaking of Penn State: the book mentions Penn State/State College several times since it is where Katie's excommunicated brother goes to college (and also where Katie got pregnant during a visit to her brother... but that's all I'm saying!).

I HIGHLY recommend this book!


Sew Inspired

If only the fun of being a full-time "Pinner" existed as an actual career!  Pinterest has turned me into a monster - all I have wanted to do lately is DIY crafts and projects.  Lately, a lot of my pins have included some DIY sewing tutorials, but in that lies the biggest problem of all: 
I don't know how to sew! :(

Despite having half a year of "valuable" 8th grade home-economics education, I don't know the first darn thing about sewing!  If I remember right, I wasn't too horrible at it... although the foot-shaped pillow I chose to make received a "C" grade because I had accidentally sewed 4 toes instead of 5.  Oops!  Sewing in general intimidates the crap out of me.  Well, I suppose I'm more intimidated by the sewing machine itself rather than the actual sewing. 

I may just be looking at sewing through rose-colored glasses.  The whole concept seems so thrifty and fun - being able to make and alter your own clothes (finally! no more too-long dress hems!), saving money, and making things for the home.  I have such a strong desire to learn though, and added a sewing machine to Matt and I's wedding registry as a result (although I don't know if THIS would be a good starter machine...).  I guess my desire to learn is all I can work with at this point! 


Wedding Cupcakes!

I am so excited to introduce our wedding cupcakes!

Okay, so they aren't anything spectacular at the moment.  This batch was simply a test run to try out the flavors and to use the leftovers at my bridal shower on the 24th.

I was REALLY disappointed at first glance.  The icing looked flat and smooshed and the icing band was too thin - I wanted a really thick, fat icing line and this was too thin.  I was also hoping the icing would be higher and fluffier, but this looked like they were sat on and way too spread out on the cupcake.  AND they smelled like spoiled milk/a foot.  It was probably the buttercream icing, which was good when you ate it, but if you got any on your finger and wiped it off, your finger smelled like old milk later.  Gross.  So, yea, not the best first impression... Fortunately, this all can be changed with a quick call to the cake lady - hopefully she will be able to use a MUCH thicker icing tube thing, use a whipped icing rather than a buttercream, and place the icing more in the center of the cupcake and have it higher, so they don't look like grocery store cupcakes.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm picky!

But once Mom and I actually cut apart the cupcakes to taste test them, I was so happy!
Ignore the black mess on the bottom cupcake - the cake lady was showing us another sprinkle option.  Also, sorry for the poor picture quality... my iPhone wasn't up to performing today.

 The cupcake below is carrot and was the first one we tried.  I had never had carrot cake before (this was Matt's choice), but I fell in. LOVE.  It was so similar to pumpkin (which I love), but had more spice to it and soooooo good - good choice, babe!!!  I actually think I'd rather have carrot cake for our personal tier if it could be just a liiiiiiiittle bit more moist.

Below is the banana cupcake, which was SO moist, very sweet, and decadent. 

And here is the chocolate and peanut butter - it has a white buttercream icing (like all of the rest), but has the peanut butter inside.  This was definitely good too!

There you have it!  Now I'm just waiting for Matt to get home to try these out and pick which one to use for our personal tiers.


Book Nook: The Time Traveler's Wife

Hooray! Another book down!  I have just finished The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (no, seriously, I JUST read the last word, like 3 minutes ago...).  

This was a random, close-your-eyes-and-point book selection from my book shelf, but I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.  I remember that I bought the book after I saw a preview for the movie.  The plan was to read the book and then see the movie... I have yet to see the movie, but am certainly motivated to now!

To summarize...
Henry and Clare met when Clare was 6 and Henry was 40-something.  Henry, time traveling from the future, became a regular fixture in Clare's life growing up.  The two developed a deep friendship, despite the sometimes awkward age gaps.  After not seeing each other for 2 years, the pair meets in Henry's "real time" and begin a relationship that Clare has anticipated since she was a teenager.  The novel tells of the struggle of Henry's unpredictable absences (since he cannot control his time traveling) and their love, marriage, and attempts to conceive a child.  

It took me awhile to get into the book.  I found it confusing at first, especially since the plot jumps all over the place - it is about someone who time travels, after all! - and I still I don't think I quite understood some things...  Nonetheless, I enjoyed the book.  For being Niffenegger's first novel, I found it to be well-written and a beautiful story.  Although frustrating and sad at times, I would certainly recommend this to someone who has the patience to understand and time to read the 536-page novel.


If You Have Nothing Better To Do...

The weather today is gray and rainy (similar to my mood), so I felt the need to spend my downtime filling out another pointless survey that will probably have you guys wanting to throw a book at my head.  I feel as if I am reverting back to my old MySpace days...

Are you young at heart, or an old soul?
Hmm… I’m going to take the easy way out and say I am an appropriate mixture of both.
What makes someone a best friend?
 I have to feel comfortable with the person and be able to trust them completely.
Not having feelings of judgment or being judged is important as well.
It helps to have common beliefs and interests, but not always necessary.
Unconditional support is essential.

What Christmas present do you remember the most?
 I'm starting to forget what I even got at last year's Christmas!
I guess we will go with my Tim Tebow jersey or Tim Tebow FatHead...

Tell me about a movie/song/tv show/play/book that has changed your life.
Click above to learn more about it.
I honestly cannot put into a concise amount of words how true the BoM is or how it has changed my life... I would be typing for days!

Name one physical feature that you like about yourself and one you dislike.
Like - teeth
Dislike - definitely da boobs...

Would you like to reconnect with any friends you’ve lost contact with?
 There are a select few, maybe two or three?  
All of the others, I hate to say it but... I can do without.

What’s more important in a relationship: physical attraction or emotional connection?
 Obviously both are uber important in a romantic relationship!
But for simple friendship, I'd say an emotional connection.

Name a movie that you knew would be terrible just from reading the title.
 Nothing is coming to me off the top of my head, but most Will Ferrel movies are awful.
(ex: Semi-Pro, Anchorman, Talladega Nights)
They have some classic quotes, but are horrible movies.

What holiday do you most look forward to?
 A given is always Christmas, but Halloween is just spectacular, in my opinion.

How is the relationship between you and your parents?
 I think I answered this same question or a similar one a few posts ago...

You’ve got the TV on, but you’re not really watching. What channel is the TV on?
 I almost always have TLC on as background noise.
I'll occasionally jump in and watch a show.

Name a song that never fails to make you happy.
 Hey, Soul Sister by Train is pretty happy.

You know at least one person named Michael. Tell me about him.
 Wow, what a chump...
just kidding.

Have you ever read the “missed connections” on Craigslist? Have you ever posted one, or wanted to?
 I've never posted one or wanted to, but I have seem them.
Some of them are creepy and embarrassing, but others seem sincere.

If you could pick anywhere to live the rest of your life, where would it be?
 Somewhere on the beach
I think I answered that in a previous post too...

Can money buy happiness?
 No, but it can buy candy... and that's kind of the same thing.
Haha just kidding!
I don't think money should be the source of your happiness, but it is nice to have and provide with.

Do you drink? Smoke? Do drugs? Why, or why not?
 Absolutely not.
There was a period when I thought those things were acceptable, whether I did them or not, but now I have a very strong conviction and testimony of the importance of NOT partaking in drinking, smoking, or drugs.

Is there anyone close to you that you know you can’t trust? You don’t have to give names.
 Sadly enough, there are members of my extended family who I don't consider trustworthy.

Where was your favorite place to go when you were a little kid?
 Probably to an amusement or theme park, such as Knobels or Sesame Place.
Or to my grandparents' houses.

Have you ever spent a night in the hospital?
 Yes.  Most recently the night before Matt and I's first date.

Do you enjoy being with only one or two friends, or with a large group of people?
 Only one or two, preferably just one.

Do you like the type of music your parents listen to?
Do your parents like the type of music you listen to?
 Yes and yes.
I mostly listen to country and pop, and so do they.

Have you ever been bullied?
Have you ever bullied anyone else?
 I'm sure the answer is "yes" to both questions, but no explicit examples are coming to my mind.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
 Oh my gosh, don't make me choose...

If your partner wanted to wait until marriage before having sex, would you stay in that relationship?

Do you believe in God?

Of all the social networks in the world, why use Facebook?
 I'm not really sure anymore.
I've considered deleting it many times.
I guess it has it's purpose in allowing me to stay in contact with those who I want to stay in contact with.

What’s your favorite Pinterest category to browse?
 "Wedding and Events" or "DIY"

Would you call yourself/your family “middle class?”

Name a TV series you didn’t enjoy until after it ended.
 Will and Grace
It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it while it was on the air, I just didn't watch it that often

Have you ever bought a product from an infomercial?
 Not directly off the infomercial itself, but I have tried "As Seen on TV" items.

If you could give up your car and never have to drive again, would you?
Um... no.

If you go back to one point in time to give advice to yourself, when would you go and what would you say?
 I'd probably go back to my freshman year of college and reassure myself everything will be alright and just keep breathing.

What’s your “quirkiest” habit?
 I HAVE to wear earplugs when I sleep?
Is that quirky enough?

What is “normal?” Are you normal?
 "Normal" is relative, but according to MY interpretation, yes I am.

Someone close to you is dying. You have the choice to let this person live for 10 more years, but if you do, you cause the death of 10 strangers. You don’t have to see them die. Do you take the offer?
 Iiiiiiiiiii'm going to be a bit of a jerk here and save my loved one.

What is one thing you could never forgive?

Would you rather be in a relationship after the "honeymoon" period ends, or be single?
 In a relationship after the "honeymoon" period

Is it possible for guys and girls to be just friends?

Where do you and your friends go to hang out?
 Somewhere with food.
Always with food.

Write the first paragraph of your obituary.
 No. No, thank you.

What is the best TV theme song ever?
 The Golden Girls - so catchy!

When you were young, what would you dream you would be when you grew up?

When you’re alone in your own home, do you walk around naked?
 No. I'm usually in yoga pants/leggings and a sports bra

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
 Nothing short of a natural disaster...
or chocolate.

Do you want to have more friends than you have right now?
 I guess?
I mean, I feel pretty content.

What part of the past year sticks out in your mind?
I think that pretty much sums it up haha

You win a scratch-off lottery game that gives you $2000 a week (after taxes) for the rest of your life.
Do you keep your job?
 Probably not
Well, maybe.
I would continue working part-time at VS, for sure.

Could you be in a long-distance relationship?
 Well, I guess you could say Matt and I are in one right now...

What’s the best route to your heart?
 Accept me
Open up to me
Trust me

Have you ever met someone through the internet, then met them in real life?
 Yes! Melissa! She is awesome!

What is your favorite sport?

What has been troubling you lately?
 Matt being so far away

Did you enjoy your high school prom? 
I'm pretty sure I enjoyed them all?

What do you use more often: your intuition or logical reasoning?
 I'm not a very logical person, but can employ that quality when need arises.
I'd go with intuition

Do you know what makes you happy?

Tell me about the last book you read.
 I'm currently reading The Time-Traveler's Wife.
It is kind of confusing, but a decent read.
Like I said in my previous post, I am a critical reader...

What is the nicest compliment you’ve ever been given?
 I've received many nice compliments.
My brain is mush right now and I cannot think of any, sorry.

Who was your first crush?
His name was Blaze
(I kid you not. Awesome name, huh?)
and it was in kindergarten.

Do you believe that there is life on other planets?
 I don't think there are the green guys with big heads floating around out there, but I know is life in the form of bacteria or plant life.

Predict what your life will look like a year from now.
 These questions are exhausting...

Often, people will ask how your last relationship ended. I want to know how it began.
 It doesn't matter.
The only one that matters is the one I am in now.

Where is your favorite place to go out and eat?
 Olive Garden or Chili's

What is something you want to change about your current situation?
 The distance between Matt and myself

Early bird or night owl?
 Night owl
If you have had the pleasure of seeing me early in the morning, bless your heart...

Are there any childhood possessions you still hold on to?

Give me an unpopular opinion you have.
 Lady Gaga is weird.
Not an "artist", not an "icon"... just WEIRD.

What was the last song that was stuck in your head?
 Great... now its a Lady Gaga song...

Where do you live? Be as general or specific as you want.
 On Earth
In North America
In the United States
In Pennsylvania
In the middle of it
Between a corn field and cow pasture.

Do you believe in giving kids medals and trophies for participation?
 Sure do.
I also believe in giving them medals and trophies for winning, not losing.
Never hurt me or my brother as a kid, but now everyone is so sensitive...
I'm sorry, but when my kids play youth wrestling, baseball, football whatever... I am keeping score whether the other "socially correct" moms like it or not!

What was the longest car ride you’ve ever taken?
 The 12-hour trek to St. Louis in March of this year

Have you ever taken part in a protest?

Would you ever use an online dating service?
 Nope. No need to now anyway!

What is your ethnic heritage?
 I'm 100% mutt - mostly German and Greek.

Describe a person that inspires you.
 I'm losing focus on answering these questions...

If you earn minimum wage doing what you love, would you?
 Whaddup, Victoria's Secret?!

Do you believe in luck?
 Not particularly.
I do refer to myself as "lucky" or having "bad luck," but I really know that luck has nothing to do with it.

Describe the last time you were very angry at someone.
 No thank you

Do you want to live until you’re 100?
 As long as I have Matt with me the entire step of the way

Do people change?
 Yes, people "change," but I see it more as a maturation process rather than a complete 180.

Have you ever risked a friendship by telling someone you liked them?
 Why do guys use the bathroom, turn the bathroom fan on, and then leave it on for 4 days afterward?!

Would you rather be alone doing something you enjoy, or doing something you don’t like with your best friends?
 I'm sure the company with friends would help, but I'd rather be alone doing something I enjoy.

Do you practice what you preach?
 I try to

If you take precautions to stay safe, do you ultimately act more recklessly?
 Stay safe, for sure.

What do you value more in a significant other: Attractiveness or intelligence?
 Intelligence since very few people are intelligent these days...

Are you hard-headed?

Have you ever laughed uncontrollably when it was socially inappropriate?
Yes. All the time.
It seems 90% of my laughing occurs at socially inappropriate times.

When have you felt most alive?
 After my baptism

Would you prefer to live in a city? The suburbs? The countryside? The mountains?
Middle of nowhere.

Do you often skip breakfast?
 Yes, or have something entirely unhealthy
a.k.a. Subway cookies...

How do you know what true love is?
 I see it and feel it when I look at or think of Matt.

Would you want to know the exact date and time you were going to die?
 No. Way.

Where is “home” for you?
Where Matt is...
and my cats...
and my parents/brother...
So, currently? Pennsylvania and Portugal.

What song best describes your life right now?
 "The Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars

Do you want to be perfect?

What have you never tried but would really like to someday?
What’s holding you back?
I don't have the money...

How do you express your creativity?
 Making things I found on Pinterest

Describe your neighborhood.
 You know what the worst thing is...
when you're craving a type of food and realize you have that same type of food up at your apartment at school, but not where you currently are.

Name something you only liked because it was popular.
 I went through a PETA phase.
I thought they had the right idea protecting animals and whatnot, but those people are CRAZY!

Give me the story of your life in six words.
No. One. Is. Still. Reading. This.


Book Nook: Mars & Venus - Together Forever

I actually finished this book about a week ago, but am just now getting around to reviewing it.  The shame...

I read this book in an obvious attempt to learn more about what I could do to improve the skills necessary to maintaining a healthy, lasting relationship.  I'm certainly not concerned that there were or are any problems in Matt and I's relationship, but thought it would provide some good information and helpful tips.

I guess my main complaint is that the entire book is fairly redundant.  A few good tips/topics are presented, but then unnecessarily exaggerated upon for the duration of the book.  How many examples do women need to comprehend a man's need for and benefit from having his own personal space (a.k.a. "cave time")?!  I could probably summarize what I've learned in a few short phrases for both men and women:

listen to your wife when she talks;
don't try to solve her problems - just listen;
don't be offended when your wife complains;
"duck" and "dodge" her complaints;
appreciate what she does;
have "cave time" to feel at ease and "balanced";
let your wife know when you are done with "cave time"

let your man know you appreciate him and his listening skills;
let your man have his "cave time";
pause and prepare;
warn him if you are about to complain;
maintain female-female friendships to feel "balanced"

I shouldn't make this book out to be as terrible as it sounds.  I'm sure the information in it is or would be valuable to some couples or individuals, but I am unhappy that I wasn't able to get more from the book.  I feel that men could GREATLY benefit from reading this since it gives some accurate insight into how women think, feel, react, and communicate, but didn't feel the same benefit as a woman reader.

(Side Note:  You'll find as I review more and more books that I can be very picky/critical!)


Updates (Life, Wedding, & Then Some!)

I have been slacking on the blog posts again!  Sorry!

I am finished babysitting Ryan and Kate, and they are headed to Arizona for the summer to spend time with their mom and family out west.  I know Scott will miss them terribly while they're gone, and it will certainly take some time for me to get used to not having to pick Ryan up from school every day or running Kate to her various activities! Heather, Scott's girlfriend, has two kids about the same age as Ryan and Kate and has asked me to "nanny" for her 3 days a week for the rest of the summer.  Heather is a such sweet lady who is battling cancer and has been needing extra help to entertain/watch the kids and help her out or drive her around when needed.  How in the world would I have been able to say no to helping someone as nice and as deserving as her?!  Her kids - Paige and CJ - joined Ryan, Kate, and I at the pool on Thursday.  It was nice to get to know her kids.  Paige is such a cutie - she's going into the 4th grade next year and is so innocent and shy; CJ is going into the 7th grade and is so eloquent and mature.  I never would have thought that I would be nannying or babysitting to ANY extent... and ENJOYING it!  This whole experience has taught me so much about what type of parent I would like to be and how I want to raise my kids.   For example, the issue of letting a kid play video games has come up quite often since Ryan LOVES those darn things!  I'm not a fan.  I've witnessed the explicit language and violence on those things enough to know that I will not allow any video games in my house... unless they are educational or Wii games!  But I also see how active and involved Kate is and I admire that she is able to do all the things she wants to pursue without being overwhelmed.  She loves taking horseback riding lessons and guitar lessons... and is great at them both!  

So... now what?

I am home for a week to relax and get some more wedding stuff figured out.  Here are some of the latest accomplishments/things to look forward to:
  • 2 MONTHS UNTIL THE BIG DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Mom and I have an appointment tomorrow with the florist to see what they can do with my brooches for my brooch bouquet.  I also hope to get some ideas of what they would be able to do for boutonnieres and corsages.  
  • On Thursday, Mom will be picking up cupcake samples for us to try (don't worry, babe - we're freezing some so you can try when you get back!) before officially signing on with Linda Hill, or the "cake lady," as she has become known to us.  Matt and I have chosen to do cupcakes in three flavors - banana cake, carrot cake, and chocolate with peanut butter filling - and a small, square tier for our personal cake to cut into (in chocolate and peanut butter, of course).  He and I both decided against cream cheese icing for the carrot cake cupcakes (I have a STRONG fear and hatred of anything with cream cheese!), but realize that a lot of people enjoy it, so we may have to revisit the idea of having some with cream cheese icing and some without.
  • I have found the perfect pair of shoes, strapless bra (thank GOODNESS!), and garter to add to my outfit for the day.  All that needs to happen now is my dress fitting, which will take place on the 23rd.  I had one last month, but wasn't prepared - I didn't have my "final" pair of shoes or strapless bra, so the seamstress refused to do the fitting.  That was an awful experience...
  • My bridal shower looks to be tons of fun on the 24th, but Mom, my grandmothers, and I still have to research some fun games to play.  
  • We have decided to do a sparkler send-off (meaning every guest will get sparklers, light them, and we will walk out - simple enough, right?!). 
  • I think Matt and I will see each other before the wedding.  I know it goes against tradition, but I really like the idea of having time to enjoy each other privately before the hectic day ensues.  Plus, it will be a great opportunity to take pictures beforehand that would otherwise eat into our reception time.  They say it is "bad luck" to do this, but I would like to tell whoever "they" are to deal with it.  I don't believe in bad luck when it comes to love; well, TRUE love, at least!  I am very secure with Matt and I's relationship - when you're entering into marriage with someone, shouldn't you be 110% confident you will be spending eternity with this person?!  Therefore, I don't think seeing each other before the wedding ceremony will really hurt our chances at having everlasting love haha 
  • Mom and I have sent out all the invitations!  Thus far, we have received about 50 "yes" RSVPs and 10 "no" RSVPs; however, we may have over-invited people (if that's correct "wedding terminology").  I am now realizing it will be difficult to fit the estimated number of guests comfortably in the reception space.  Oops!  We'll just have to make it work.
  • Until we get everyone's RSVPs, we are limited to what we can do.  The "big things" that I'd like to accomplish soon (such as seating arrangements, the menu, favors, etc.) will have to wait.  I am impatiently awaiting for the arrival of June 30th to see the final count!

Speaking of "impatiently awaiting" something...

Only 16 days until I am with Matt again!  I will pick him up at the Harrisburg airport on the 26th at ~7 pm, and I. CANNOT. WAIT.  I'll be honest - I have NOT been handling being away from him well at all.  People keep telling me "absence makes the heart grow fonder."  While I find this to be true most of the time, it is just extremely unsettling to be away from him this long!  I don't know how the wives/fiancees/significant others of deployed military men do it (nor do I ever hope to find out!), but they certainly have my respect!  Luckily, where he is at now he has a decent internet connection.  We have been able to e-mail, use Voxer, and even Skype, but that may change when he moves to his next location.  I thought I would be able to keep my mind busy babysitting the kids, but even when I'm chasing 4 kids around a community pool, making sure each one of them is above water and breathing, my mind is on Matt.


Final Devastation

Rough night!

I woke up at 550am on the dot this morning trembling and crying from an awful nightmare I had.  I felt like such a baby!  I don't know if any of you are familiar with the Final Destination movies, but that was basically the theme of my tortured night.

Ryan, one of the kids I am babysitting, was watching the 5th FD movie while home sick one day.  I had come over around 2pm to check on him and keep him company.  I had never really heard anything too in depth about the Final Destination movies, so I thought I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and watch it with him.  Little did I know it was 1) rated R and 2) a bloody, gory, graphic mess of a movie!  I hate those types of movies!  To summarize the plot of these lovely films: these Final Destination movies are all about cheating death.  However, once a person or group of people cheat death, death then decides to "get its revenge" and kill them off one-by-one.  In this particular installment, a man had a "vision" that involved the bus he was on crashing and everyone dying.  The man was able to evacuate the bus and saved everyone, but death was mad.  Ryan decided to fill me in on what I had missed by rewinding the movie to each death scene that I had missed. (WARNING: GRAPHIC) I saw a girl fall over a bridge and be pierced through the chest by a boat's mast, a man was impaled by an industrial hook through his jaw/skull, another man was killed by a wrench to the head in a warehouse almost splitting his skull in two, a man burn alive in an airplane crash, and a woman split in half on the wing of the airplane after losing her grip on her boyfriend's hands and flying out of a gaping hole in the side of the plane.  After being graciously briefed on the movie, I excused myself and ran into the bathroom to cry profusely and splash cold water on my face.  

After getting over the initial shock of a 12-year old watching a movie like this (or the film industry ALLOWING this type of movie to be made...), I left the comfort of the bathroom to read in a quiet corner, away from the sickening noise of bodies splattering and blood-curdling screams.  Since that day, I have been haunted by this darn movie!

I haven't been sleeping well at all lately to begin with.  Restless nights of sleep seem to fall into sync with being away from Matt.  Even when he would need to travel for wrestling, the entire weekend he was gone I would experience fitful nights of half-sleep.  Not having him a 5 minute walk away would throw me for a loop - now, being thousands of miles away from each other is obviously taking its toll on me.  However, I didn't really experience nightmares in the past... the occasional weird dream, yea, but nothing to this caliber.  Despite not living or sleeping together, I get extremely uneasy being away from him.  When he's close by, I can sleep through the night without a problem... but once he's gone, it goes to crap!

Yesterday, Matt left Fort Knox for Portugal.  We weren't sure how we were going to be able to communicate for the next month, so I went to bed uneasy and sad.  I don't like missing him!  It took me awhile to fall asleep, which I'm no stranger to, but once I was asleep, I began dreaming as if my life were a part of this Final Destination movie...

I remember my dream self was part of a group of people who had just escaped death somehow.  I remember knowing a few people had died already, although I didn't see how they died and I didn't know any of them; I was left alone to die in the presence of strangers.  In the beginning of my dream, I had a flash of a woman being pierced with tent stake through the face (graphic, I know... I don't know HOW my mind came up with this).  Sure enough, at this point in my dream, I was sitting under a white tent playing cards with these people I didn't know.  One of the people I was playing cards with (I am assuming it was the guy that had the vision and saved us all from dying) confirmed that I would die next, but didn't say how.  I immediately thought back to the vision I had of the women dying via tent stake and realized that the woman I saw dying was me, so I stayed put under the tent and continued playing cards.  At that point in the dream, my actual, sleeping self was terrified and distraught since I KNEW I was going to die.  I remember telling everyone I was playing cards with about Matt and how in love I was with him and how excited I was to be marrying him this summer.  I knew I had to tell them so, in the off-chance they all survived, maybe they would be able to tell him how I felt and that would bring him some comfort.  
Then... I woke up.

I don't know if my body was telling me "you had enough stress for tonight" and was trying to protect me, but I was so grateful I woke up when I did.  When I woke up, I was trembling and crying uncontrollably and I immediately rolled over to see if Matt was there.  I don't know why I did that, but I reached for my phone and remembered I couldn't call or text him either.  So, I mustered up enough courage to walk to the bathroom and then to the kitchen for some water.  The darkness of the small apartment just made me more paranoid and I ended up almost in hysterics again.  When I was finally able to fall back to sleep, I was subjected to smaller, less intense nightmares following the same Final Destination theme.

I think what scared me the most was that I was among strangers and not among family or Matt.  In all of my nightmares, I knew no one and had to rely on others for comfort and for them to relay to Matt and my family how much I loved them before I was to die.  How incredibly morbid!!!  I normally like creepy, semi-morbid things, but this took it WAY too far.  Here's to hoping tonight's sleep will be a tad bit more enjoyable...