Saturday, June 30, 2018

Weekly Mews: June 2018 in Review & Mid-Year Freak Out

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by the wonderful Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by the great Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently. I am linking up to Nicole of Feed Your Addiction's Monthly Wrap-Up Post, where any book bloggers who write monthly wrap-up posts can link up and visit other bloggers to see what they have been reading. 





Happy July! We are at the midpoint of the year, can you believe it? I am not sure I can. Two thousand eighteen has been a roller-coaster of a year so far. Both globally and personally. I started writing this post several times, but realized I was sliding quickly into despair. Suffice it to say, it has been a rough first half of the year--socially, politically, health-wise, job-wise, and financially. I would like to say it will get better, but I am not sure I believe that, try as hard as I might to do so. Thank goodness for my family. And books. And chocolate. And cats.

This is how I feel a lot lately-
although, little Nina has a lot better balance than I do.

There have been bright spots--many of them. We still feel the hole that Parker has left in our hearts with his passing last fall, but our new kitten has brought so much joy into our lives as well. Her energy and playfulness cannot help but bring smiles to all our faces. She's such a joy to have around. Even Gracie has warmed up to her some. They play more than they fight these days, and Gracie seems to be relaxing more when the kitten is around.

Mouse finished out a great school year and had an amazing teacher. I am so proud of Mouse. She played a dove in her school play, and definitely has a flair for the stage.

The show! Not a week goes by that we aren't doing something related to the musical. We picked up the costumes this past week, bought Mouse's performance shoes, and now I just need to master the required hairstyle. Our lives will continue to be consumed by rehearsals this month as we race to showtime. It has been a fun experience over all, even if stressful at times.


June itself was a full month. More rehearsals and dance classes. The Celebration of Dance event. End of the season Girl Scout parties. Lots of kitty cuddles. Tense work moments. End of school events. Doctor appointments. And not as much reading as I would have liked. I finished three books. Just three. There is always one month each year like this--and I guess June was it for me this time around. I hope it is the only month this year like it. At least I enjoyed my reading quite a bit. All the books were winners.

Here is what I read in June:
  • The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire
  • Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
  • Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley
June Posts:
Challenge & Read-Along Updates:

With everything going on in my life right now and the direction my reading and blogging have taken as of late, I am making the difficult decision to pull out of several of the challenges I committed to for the year.  I made a little progress in each one and am so glad I had the opportunity to do so. I want to take some of the pressure off myself though, and felt this was one of the ways I could make that happen.

Saying Goodbye to:


I am determined, however, to continue on with my two read-a-longs.

Les Misérables Read-Along ~  I have been doing so well with this one, but June found me falling behind. I am about three weeks behind in my reading.  I have not quite yet met Marius, but I have met Gavroche, one of my favorite characters in the musical version. How did I not know who his parents were?! Well, now I know.

War and Peace Read-Along ~ War and Peace has me hook, line and sinker. I am all caught up with this chunkster, and am eager to read on. I could not turn the pages fast enough to find out how Natasha's situation would turn out with Anatole. 

I am also sticking with the 2018 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge, because, well, witches.
I am unsure about whether a few of the books I have read that contain magic qualify, but I think it is fair to count these toward the challenge so far:

  • Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  • Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
  • One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Dawn of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson
  • Demons of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire
  • Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

New to My Shelves In June: 

Gift cards are a booklover's best friend sometimes. Especially when we are in need of a little retail therapy. Here are the books I purchased in June, most of which have been on my wish list for quite some time:


Sins of the Son (Grigori Legacy, #2) by Linda Poitevin
Sins of the Lost (Grigori Legacy, #3) by Linda Poitevin


All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Wolfskin by W.R. Gingell
Snow White Red-Handed (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery #1) by Maia Chance
The Mother by Yvvette Edwards
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Discount Armageddon (InCryptid #1) by Seanan McGuire
Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School #1) by Jen Calonita
Murder on the Last Frontier (A Charlotte Brody Mystery) by Cathy Pegau
Beastly (Kendra Chronicles) by Alex Flinn
Prisoner of the Crown (The Chronicles of Dasnaria #1) by Jeffe Kennedy
Need You for Keeps by Marina Adair
Death Overdue (Haunted Library) by Allison Brook
The Things We Don't Say by Ella Carey

A Hole New World by Pat & Jen from PupularMMOs, illustrated by Dani Jones
Too Many Cats (The Wish Fairy #1) by Lisa Ann Scott


Have you read any of these? What did you think? What new books did you borrow or buy this past month? 

*
Mid-Year Freak Out

So far this year, I have read 32 books. Of those books, two were audio books. Sixteen were new-to-me authors. Four of the books I read were written solely by men and three by a husband/wife team. Eight books earned 4.5 paws on my rating scale. And two books earned only 2 paws.

It was hard fitting just one book into these categories (and in two instances I did list two). I forced myself to though.

1 - Best book I've read/listened to so far in 2018: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

2 - Best sequel I’ve read so far in 2018: Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

3 - Biggest disappointment: Dawn of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson

4 - Favorite new author (new to me): Victoria Gilbert

5 - Newest fictional crush: Sean Evans from the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews

6 - Newest favorite character: Rose Marshall from The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire

7 - Book that made me cry: The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor & The Book of Unknown Americans by Henríquez, Cristina 

8 - Book that made me happy: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

9 - Favorite book cover of a book read this year:


10 - What books do I need to read finish by the end of the year?: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy


How has the first half of 2018 been to you? What made your favorites list? 

*

What I Am Reading: I am in the middle of Seanan McGuire's Sparrow Hill Road, the first in her Ghostroads series. It is really more of a mash up of short stories, loosely connected, than an actual novel. I accidentally read the second book first, but I think it worked out better that way since that was an actual novel. I am also reading The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa, a collection of three novellas. I have read two in the collection so far and am still making my mind up about them.

What I Am Watching: We recently saw the second Incredibles movie and enjoyed it quite a bit. My daughter made us watch The Wizard of Oz again. And I think she's seen it twice more since then--and that's just this past week.

What I Am Worried About: My brother relapsed and has pleurisy again. It is especially concerning given his heart condition. I dropped by phone on my toes and now have bruised and swollen toes on one of my feet. The only shoes my foot is comfortable in are my running shoes, which aren't exactly up to the work dress code. I am not in a lot of pain, but there is some minor pain and discomfort, especially if I put too much weight on them. My toes are doing much better now than they were--but still taking their time to heal. The night it happened, I texted my mom and told her I wanted to be like her. She recently dropped something on her foot and has a small fracture as a result. On a lighter note, I am worried about whether or not I will be able to master the required bun for my daughter's upcoming dress rehearsals and show (I am NOT at hair person).

What I Am Grateful For:  Reassuring dance moms, Iburprofen, my daughter's laughter and love for life, my husband's hugs, Gracie's cuddles and Nina attacking my feet.

Playing Dress Up

New Hiding Place

No kitty is left out of cuddle time.

Treats at the Princess Tea Party at the Dance Studio



Tell me about what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your week? Your month? Do you have anything planned for this coming week?

For those who celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!


 © 2018, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

63 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about how 2018 has felt, and I'm right there with you. Hopefully the second half of the year will be less chaotic for both of us. Have a good week! :)

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    1. Anna - I sure hope so. I wish I was feeling more optimistic. At least I have a vacation coming up. That's something to look forward to. :-) Thank you for visiting Anna.

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  2. I'm sorry to hear that you have such conflicted feelings about 2018 so far. Hopefully the Summer will give you some needed stressless moments and lots of reading.

    Also your kitties are so cute. <3

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    1. Annemieke - I am not sure I will see many stressless moments until the end of summer, but one can hope. :-) Thank you for visiting!

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  3. 2018 has been one strange and it only half over. I know the feelings of it all. Best of luck and hopeful you can read a bit more. Check out https://nrcbooks.blogspot.com/2018/06/monthly-wrap-up-june.html when you have the time

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    1. Lindsay - Thank you. I hope I can read more as well as it might save my sanity. Haha. Thank you for visiting!

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  4. As usual, your kitties are the cutest things in the entire world <3 <3 <3 I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. I hope things get better in the future for you. Also I hope the rest of the year gets better for you as well! Your posts with kitties always brighten my day <3 :)

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    1. Elle - I love my kitties. :-) Thank you for your kind thoughts for my brother and for me. My kitties always brighten my day too. They always make me smile. Thank you for stopping by, Elle!

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  5. I truly and very honestly enjoyed this post, mostly because of all of the cats (the one in the dress? XD), but I'm sad to hear that life has been tough. June was an incredibly hard month for me too, stressful and some of those things are still unresolved. So I can relate. However, the story about the toes, I can't believe it synchronized like that!! I hope you both get better soon, and of course that your brother does too (my grandma is struggling with health problems currently too). Glad to hear the books you read were good though.

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    1. Evelina - The cats have a way of bringing a smile to my face. :-) Just now the kitten was all over me, wanting to play. She's a bit rough with those teeth of hers, but she'll learn. I hope. LOL I hope your grandmother is better--or will be soon. And I hope July is better for you. Thanks for visiting!

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  6. You're very right, it's been a tough year so far! I agree. Let's hope things pick up in the second half and into '19! Cute cat pic BTW! Glad she's settling in. :)

    Flunked looks fun. And so does Scandal Above Stairs ( I need to read that first one).

    Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way for your brother.

    Have a great Fourthh!

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    1. Greg - Thank you for your prayers and kind thoughts. My brother says he is feeling better. Hopefully the meds will continue to do their job. I love my cats. :-) I hope you get a chance to read Jennifer Ashley's Kat Holloway series. I think you would like it. Thanks for visiting, Greg!

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  7. Those costumes look adorable!

    I completely understand what you mean about the first half of 2018 going by too quickly! I hope that the second half of the year is kinder to you and your family (:

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    1. Eustacia - Thank you! They are cute costumes. :-) Thank you too for the well wishes. I hope it will be a good second half of the year for everyone. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. This year is going by so fast! Little Nina is growing so fast, she adorable too. Goddaughter sounds like a busy girl. I'm sure she has a blast with her dance classes and performances. Have a great week!!

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    1. Jenea - She's almost double the size she was when she came to us. She's still as playful as ever. :-) Yes, my daughter loves performing. I don't know where she gets that from. Haha Thanks for visiting!

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  9. Oh my gosh, little Nina in that heart dress is everything! Have fun with the musicals, awesome dresses.

    I know it can be hard to fit blogging in with everything else going on. It is good to take the pressure off yourself though.

    I am trying to get two books read this week and have the reviews set to post before I go on vacation, this way I don't have anything pending on the blog. I don't bring review books on vacay, I only bring "for me" books, otherwise it feels kinda like work.

    I hope the second half of the year bring less stress, I can relate!
    I hope your foot is better and enjoy the rest of the weekend.
    xo

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    1. Naida - Mouse wants to dress her up again, but I'm not sure Nina will let it happen now that she knows. Haha.

      I am trying to decide what I want to read on my vacation. I don't know how much reading I will get done while on it, but one can hope . . .

      Thank you for visiting, Naida!

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  10. It has been a roller coaster of a year so far.

    FOUR costume changes?! Oh my! My daughter only ever does one a year and I find that stressful enough. (I hate being a backstage mom, but ...)

    Your new kitten is absolutely precious! Torties are always so beautiful.

    Here's to hoping for a better second half of 2018.

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    1. Shannon - We seem to have jumped right in to this theater business, feet first. I won't be backstage during the show (I'm working concessions), but whoever is will have their work cut out for them. At least her hair style doesn't change for three of the four roles . . . I don't know if I'm cut out for this, but the things we do for our kids, right?

      Nina is growing into such a beautiful cat. :-) I love torties. She's so different than my last one though.

      Thank you for visiting!

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  11. Congratulations to Mouse on another great year! She's growing up so quickly.

    I know what you mean about falling into despair. I avoid the news for that reason.

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    1. Kathy - Thank you. We are very proud of her. :-) She's growing up way too fast. The news these days is just awful. I try to avoid it as much as I can too. Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. I, too, have suffered the chaos of the world around us, and how it all could get even worse...but these are the times to add up our blessings, and you did a great job of doing that.

    Enjoy all your family fun, and especially Mouse, with her great attitude.

    That Princess Tea Party looks great...and I love the cute places kitties find to hide.

    Enjoy your week, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

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    1. Laurel-Rain - I figured it would be better to focus on the positive. It can be hard sometimes, that's for sure. Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. aww your new kitty is super adorable <3 hard losing pets. I lost my kitty last spring so I can understand. I am glad to hear the kitten has bought more joy into your lives.
    The tea party looks like a lot of fun :D
    Also enjoy your new books, some really interesting titles up there

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    1. Lily - Thank you! I love my animals with all my heart and each loss stays with me. I wouldn't trade my experience with them though. I am sorry about the loss of your kitty. They really do become an integral part of our lives, don't they?

      Thanks for visiting!

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  14. It's unbelievable how fast the year has already gone. There have certainly been highs and lows in the first half.

    I love those pictures. They are so cute.

    I have Death Overdue to read too. Looks good.

    Hope you have a great week! My Sunday post is here.

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    1. Yvonne - I am looking forward to reading Death Overdue. It does look good! I hope this year gets better as well. Thanks for visiting!

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  15. Aww, cute kitty. This year has been difficult for me, too. I hope you enjoy your new books! Happy July!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. AJ - Thank you. She had us laughing quite a bit today, tumbling around the room with one of my daughter's little stuffed animals. She's quite an acrobat, our kitty. I hope the year gets better for you as well! Thanks for visiting!

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  16. Glad that Mouse had a lovely year! I can't believe it's the middle of the year already too! Have a lovely week!

    Here’s my Sunday Post!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog and join in this week’s Book Photo Sundays and Cover Spotlight!

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    1. Ronyell - Thank you! And thanks for stopping by!

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  17. This year has been going by too fast. I will add your brother to my prayers. Such adorable costumes and I love the photos of your daughter and kitties, too cute. Have a great 4th!

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    1. Ellen - Thank you for your prayers for my brother. He is in good spirits and hopefully this time can get the infection out of his system for good. My daughter and kitties are the bright spots in my life. :-) Thank you for stopping by!

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  18. Kitty in a dress! lol. Yeah, it's been quite a year so far. Ohhh you're reading War and Peace? I've always told myself I'd read that one day. I'm doing the Mid Year Freak Out too, but mine will post later this week. Here's to 2018 getting better! :)

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    1. Christy - She was not at all happy about wearing that dress. LOL I look forward to reading your Mid Year Freak Out. It was fun to put together. It took me awhile to get into War and Peace, but I'm all in now. :-) Thanks for visiting!

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  19. I hope the second half of 2018 will be better, Wendy.

    Sounds like Mouse is busy with all the activities and I'm so happy for her. Those dresses are lovely!

    Hope you enjoy those books and have a great week, Wendy!

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    1. Melody - Thank you. I sure hope so, but I am not feeling very hopeful these days. :-( I am trying to focus on the good though. Mouse is keeping us very busy and having fun doing it. :-) Thanks for visiting, Melody!

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  20. I love The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, too. :) And good luck with your daughter's hair. A bun? It would defeat me! But then, I'm not a hair person either. :)

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    1. Lark - It was so delightfully surprising! I am trying to convince my daughter she'd like it too. Especially since she makes us watch the movie so often. LOL Thank you for the good luck wishes. You would think a bun would be simple. Not for me. Haha Thanks for visiting.

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  21. Sorry it's been such an up and down year - I hope the rest of 2018 is more up than down... Pleurisy is so unpleasant - all the best for your brother's speedy recovery! I needed to get my daughter's hair in a bun for a show and a bun ring saved my life! I know you can get them on Amazon. Those costumes look fantastic. And I quite understand your latest crush - I LOVED the Innkeeper Chronicles! Have a good week, Wendy.

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    1. Sarah - Thank you for the well wishes for my brother. His doctor is being a bit more aggressive this time around with the medications and hopefully that will make a difference. I have a bun ring for my daughter's hair but still find it challenging. LOL I really have no talent for hair at all. Thanks for stopping by!

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  22. This year has been a roller coaster for me as well, so I totally feel you. Hope it gets better for you.

    Those costumes are adorable!

    Hope you have a great week!

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    1. I do hope things will settle down for both of us. Thank you. I just love those costumes--thank goodness I am not the one wearing them. Haha. Thank you for visiting!

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  23. The dance costumes are amazing! I was a little relieved that Emma was really a dance girl and the Tornado was a boy because the buns would have been the death of me! I've been really gearing up to read War and Peace. I think I'm going to tackle it in 2019. I'm so sorry to hear about your foot and your brother's Pleurisy. I hope both feel better soon. Have a great week!

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    1. Katherine - You would think a bun would be simple to do . . . Even watching You-Tube videos, I'm terrible at it. I hope you do like War and Peace if you give it a try. It took me awhile to get into it (and a few tries), but I'm attached to some of the characters now. Thank you for your kind thoughts for my brother and me. My foot is doing better, although still giving me a little trouble. Not too bad though. Thanks for visiting!

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  24. I really hope the second half of 2018 is better for you in every way. Your kitties are so adorable. Just looking at them makes me smile. And OMG, those costumes are precious.

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    1. Suzanne - I hope so too. I really do. I love my kitties. They always bring a smile to my face. :-) Aren't the costumes cute? Thanks for stopping by!

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  25. Sorry to hear the first half of your year has been so hard but fingers crossed that the second half does get better. :)

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    1. Nicola - Thank you! I hope so too. Thanks for stopping by.

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  26. LOVin' those dance costumes and it looks like kitty got in on the dress up, too :D

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    1. Donna Marie - Much against her will, I'm afraid. LOL My daughter wants to get the kitten an outfit, but I doubt she will let us put another one on her after that first one. Thanks for stopping by!

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  27. It has definitely been an up and down sort of year. I try to stay positive but sometimes it is so hard. On the other hand, Mouse's costumes are so cute! And the kitty in the dress is probably my favorite. I've been thinking about pulling out of some challenges too just because I feel like I overwhelmed myself. I hope your toes feel better, that sounds painful.

    I hope you have a wonderful July!

    Tina @ As Told By Tina

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    1. Tina - I know what you mean. I try to stay positive, but it really is hard. We're in crunch time for the show. We've been preparing for it for so long, I think I'll feel a little lost when it's all over. LOL And relieved. Very relieved. Thanks for visiting!

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  28. (((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))) Hang in there. You are right the most important things are family and kitties, and books. Sending all the good energies for your brother again. 💜

    All of mouse's costumes are lovely. I hope you had a good holiday for The Fourth. 🌞

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    1. La La - Thank you for the hug! It is much appreciated. My brother is managing. Feeling better, I think, but he isn't quite where he wants to be healthwise again yet. I know it's hard for him as he's a very active person. Thanks for stopping by!

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  29. I am glad you decided to take some pressure of yourself with the challenges. I have decided that in ANY aspect of blogging, if it's not fun for me right then, I ain't doing it!

    Your kitten's eyes are beautiful! And so are the costumes.

    2018 has been super rough at my house too. It's been about 8 years since my group of old friends and I decided to stop saying, "Next year will be better," because after a certain point, life just throws more challenges. Hang in there, and look for those moments of joy.

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    1. Wendy - I think that's a great attitude to have. Blogging should be fun! I want to keep it that way too.

      I am sorry to hear your 2018 has been so rough too. Sometimes I feel like all I am doing is waiting for the next shoe to drop. You are right though, we need to look for and enjoy those moments of joy. Thanks for visiting!

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  30. I love your photos! Sorry to hear this year has been a challenge for you but am glad you have a support system; that makes all the difference. I hope it gets better for you!

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    1. Karla - Thank you! And thanks for stopping by!

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  31. My July is slipping away too fast, but as they say, time flies when you're having fun and I'm having a great month. The tea party looks fun and delicious too. That's quite a spread of treats. You are keeping very busy and I admire your ability to prioritize and let go of things/commitments that are too much right now.

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