My face is puffy. Like really, really, really puffy.

My eyes are all swollen.

My lips are all swollen.

My throat hurts...

This can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 2AM last night balling my eyes out!!!!!!!

Ok, and if we're going to be honest, this week has been a tad emotional for me.

More than a tad. It's a bit on the rough side of everything that makes my heart hurt. (More on that in a minute, because even though this week is rough, it is not the reason I was up until 2 in the morning crying...)

And if we're going to be honest. I am really pregnant. And could possibly be considered emotionally unstable at this point.

I cried yesterday when I was telling Zach a story about Scarlett.

He asked me if I was crying.

So I lied and yawned and told him I was yawning.

There wasn't even a reason to cry. My eyes were just leaking fluid....

I can't control my emotions anymore! I have a Dental Consultation today and I'm very, very afraid it will bring me to tears. Somewhere between promising that I take the BEST care of my teeth and they are still like this and arguing with them on my theory that bad teeth are IN FACT genetic... (No dentist believes my by the way....) I will shed tears and prove just how irrational and emotionally debilitated I really am.

Thanks to this baby.


But last night's tears might have happened pre-pregnancy. They might have happened post-pregnancy. I can't really say. I do know they definitely happened DURING pregnancy.

And for good reason.

There is this book that has been recommended to me over and over and over. And not just by Amazon... No by people I really trust. My editor, one of my dearest author friends, other Indies I know are singing the praise! Plus, I kind of adore the author that wrote it, even though we're not besties yet, I'm sure it's only a matter of time!!! :)

But right now, in this two-book-writing-frenzy in the middle of the craziest spring of my life I just don't have time to read.

I wish I did.

But I don't.

And so I haven't been. In fact, there is a book that is seriously on the top of my TBR List that I have been dying to get to!!! Ahem, Chance Encounters by J. Sterling....

And so I pushed this book, thinking I would get to it after my June releases. Except then.... I knew I would have another set of releases coming up. And after that more. And I really need to start spacing my deadlines out better!!!!

But last night I had TWO live author chats. Two of them!!

Do you know why I had two of them??? Because I definitely got the times mixed up in my muddled brain... Yep, I promo'd a Live Chat for 8-9, which was really happening from 6-7... I'm awesome. Or confused... Seriously, seriously confused...

Like the kind of confused people talk about when their grandparent gets Dementia....

So, anyway, I think it actually worked out really, really well in the end. After I got over the initial horror of being a complete and utter airhead!!! And after Zach had a seriously hard, long laugh.

He was like, Rachel, we're EARLIER than the East Coast.

And I'm like theoretically I know that.

Apparently in practice, I forget... I mean, I just get a little confused. (It sounds like someone's about to ship me off to a Memory Support Center doesn't it???)

Anyway, after two of those experiences and having the best time, I was honestly exhausted!!!!

It wore me out!!! My head was spinning like crazy!!!

So, I sat down on the couch and opened the Fire and found Slammed by Colleen Hoover. I had read the first chapter, so I decided to just read a little bit more.

I had also already cried during the first chapter, and I wasn't even all that emotionally involved yet....

But the whole premise of the book is that the main characters dad has just died.

Yep, that will get me every single time. Someone's dad dies. I cry. Someone's dad almost dies. I cry. It's just what happens.

Anyway, I got SO wrapped up in the book I stayed up to finish it. Balling my eyes out the ENTIRE way!!!! Zach went to bed, the kids stayed silent in their slumber and I cried. And cried. And cried.

It's a beautiful book. And I really mean that. Absolutely beautiful.

There are these heart-wrenching, moving, gorgeous poems throughout. The book reinforced my love for the Avett Brothers. And each story, primary or secondary throughout the book caught me... moved me...

Fantastic read.

I so highly recommend it.

And I cannot say enough good things about it. And you probably won't cry like I did!!! Don't let the tears scare you off. Remember?? Emotionally leaking over here!!!!

That being said... This was the WRONG week to read it!!!

Oh this week.

It was hard to watch my dear family celebrate Mother's Day without my cousin Bobbi. It was really hard to watch her young children carry on through life, celebrating with their family without her. Sometimes life is put sharply into focus when those that mean so much to you have to approach something so "normal" differently. When a generally happy day means heartache and pain for those that you love.

That was hard.

And it's been getting harder. The more time passes from when she was with us, the harder it gets.

It's also been hard to watch as one of my lovely dance moms faces one of the hardest times of her life. Her father is dying, her sister-in-law is suddenly riddled with healthy problems, her sister has a tricky pregnancy that has to be constantly monitored and last night her niece of that same sister had to be life-flighted to a different town because her body was just shutting down. Just out of the blue, she was sick and in a lot of medical trouble. It's hard to watch as someone you care about has to suffer through that. But mostly my heart is breaking for her! And if you think about her and her family, please pray, their cup is full. Oh. So. Full.

But the hardest this week. The hardest reality to face is approaching recital without Joey.

Honestly, let's be really honest, I didn't know him super well. I mean, I did to an extent. I saw him three days a week. There was a friendship there. I respected him. Enjoyed his company. Laughed with him. Trusted him with my children and not just in class, but with their future. I was shaken, just like most of our dance community, by his death.

And I knew moving on would be hard.

But I didn't expect this kind of hard.

And I really, really didn't expect this kind of hard for my kids.

Competition Season brought back all kinds of memories of Joey and laughing, stressing, poking fun at the crazy side of the dance mom world.

But it's nothing compared to the connection Joey shared with Recital. (Probably because I only went through One competition season with him and several Recitals.)

So here I am sorting through my own emotions over the whole thing, and really just missing Joey and the light and ease he brought to our studio.

The skill he taught with. The perfection he demanded. Even from four year olds. :)

His good sense of humor.

And then my children come again and shake me to my core.

Last Saturday, we spent the morning at the studio, just like every other Saturday and then we had some things to pick up at Target. Well, the kidlets were STARVING, as they usually are after a morning of dance and so we picked up a quick and easy lunch in the Target Cafe.

I know. We're classy folks.

But I could order whilst Stryker stayed strapped in the cart. So for me that is one seriously IDEAL situation.

Anyway, we sat down and were eating talking about this week. Stella finishing up the school year on Wednesday and then on Saturday we finish up the dance year.

Not that we get the summer off or anything, mind you... Oh no! But, technically the year is over.

So we were talking about Recital and how many dances they are both in and what the day would be like and Scarlett, my little three year old Scarlett who I was certain had all but forgotten about Joey, says, "But mommy, Joey won't be there, he's in heaven with Jesus...."

I think I mumbled something like, "That's right honey...." while I tried to process how much of an impact someone would have to make on a two-year-old-at-the-time for her to remember him so long after the fact.

We fell silent for a few seconds when Stella looked up from her gross microwaved macaroni and cheese and said, "Mommy, I miss Joey."

And I said, "I know honey, I miss him too."

And Stella said, "No mommy, I really miss Joey. I want him to come back and teach me again."

And as I was about to respond to her broken little heart while her eyes filled with tears, Scarlett spoke up, comforting her sister and said, "Don't worry Stella, we'll see him again when we go to heaven!"

And if I wasn't already on the brink of tears....

Stella replied with, "But I don't want to wait that long, I miss him NOW!"

Yeah, I'm sure it's perfectly normal for a mother of three and hugely pregnant to breakdown in the middle of Target.... The security cameras probably didn't even think twice about it! I know the grumpy old man a table away did his best to ignore us.

But really, truly, I was heartbroken all over again for my kids. My children that I thought moved on.

And not in a callous way, but in a they're-way-too-young-to-really-be-affected kind of way....

Plus, my girls are not like the other girls in their class. They are NEVER overly-affectionate with anyone!!! The other kids in their class will talk to Fran(Joey's mom who still runs reception and owns the studio now and is there daily) about Joey and hug her and interact with her. My kids are way too shy. They just kind of smile and nod when she talks to them.

They're like that with EVERYBODY. They are total hide-behind-mommy's-skirt kind of kids.

And that's how they were with Joey. I knew Stella loved Joey's class but it wasn't like she was ever going to tell him that.

So I was floored by their heartache. I really was. And it both makes this week so much harder and so much more special.

There were t-shirts made for recital and they have a picture of Joey dancing on them and the girls TREASURE those shirts. They really do. And they treasure their time spent with Joey and their memories of him. Memories that they cling to and are apparently going to be around for a while.

So anyway, as we head toward Saturday and what is surely to be a very emotional weekend at the studio, Slammed was actually exactly what I needed.

I cried.

A lot.

But better to get it out now.

No, better to just get it out. I wasn't allowing myself to cry like that before since I'm already so over the top emotional. But I did need that.

And I can hide under the pretense of a great story and feel better about myself!!! :)

Sorry to dump on you. I didn't actually mean to share all that.... But Joey deserves a tribute. And my heart is filled that my children can be part of it.


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  1. Slammed is sooo good and you need toread the second book right away. And if I was pregnant I know I would have been crying the whole book, too. Maybe they are not books for the expecting mothers, or maybe it was just what you needed. Book 2 is the same so keep a box of tissues handy.

  2. Barnes and Nobel told me to leave a comment with you. They have your first 3 starcrossed books on e-books but the 4th has not been submitted to them....why? I am dying to finish the series and am thinking I am going to have to borrow and read fast someones Kindle. Thanks for a wonderful week or two of great reading!!

  3. Thanks to you, I bought Slammed yesterday. I finished it last night. O.M.G. When I finished reading it, I purchased Point of Retreat and finished it about an hour ago. Another O.M.G. As anxious as I was to read Endless Magic, I think it was a blessing in disguise that I couldn't get it on my Nook yet. I don't think I would've found your blog, and I wouldn't have read Slammed. So thank you! I'm anxious again for EM, but that was the best way to fill my time while waiting. I'm not pregnant, but I cried. And cried. And laughed, then cried some more.

  4. Ok gonna order slammed as soon as finish writing this. Basically your awesome u remind me of me and all my friends when pregnant basically ur brain turns to mush then when baby is out if ur lucky u get a bit of brain back however with each child u loose more n more brain till u end up over emotional and slightly crazy (not in the cute way) 4 babies i A LOT and your doing it whilst writing so just be proud your not sitting in a white padded cell rocking. Anyway I CAN'T WAIT for eden/kiran spin off books and will be reading your new book this weekend !! Also just looked who remided you of characted or my god selma / eden sooooo perfect and kirans was good but omg no avalon was so different in my mind n jericho and thats the FAB FAB FAB thing about books is we can all use our own imaginations !! Love Amy G x

  5. Finally finished Endless Magic (took me longer to figure out how to get it on my Nook than to read it probably). It ended just the way I should have...except for the part where it should have never ended because I'm having sorrow because I miss all of the dear friends. Don't want to go into it, too much. Spoilers & all.

    On another note, sorry for what you are going through & your hard week. It's hard to watch people suffering especially if there's nothing you can do about it.

    Will probably check out Slammed since I'm at a loss of what to read now. Have a good week.