A Day in The Life: Maternity Leave

Trish from Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity is hosting the Day in the Life event again, where we record a typical day and share it with one another.  This was one of the highlights of my blogging life last year, so I’m back to participate again.

I recorded the happenings of Wednesday, March 16, 2016.  I’m currently on maternity leave with my 7 week old baby, Malcolm, and also have a newly 3 year old (her birthday was Sunday), Lydia.

3:40am- Malcolm stirs, I go heat up bottle and change his diaper
3:50am- feed Malcolm
4:06am- put him back in his crib with a pacifier and some white noise, I have to get up to put the paci back in his mouth a couple times
4:12am- I go back to sleep
5:50am- Lydia wakes up and comes into my room, I walk her back to bed
7:23am- Lydia is up again, this time I let her in my bed for wake up cuddles
7:36am- I get up, feed the dogs and let them outside, I make Lydia breakfast (frozen waffles), and heat up a bottle for Malcolm who is now waking up
7:46am- I settle Lydia down for breakfast in the living room with an episode of Doc McStuffins, I ask Zack (husband) to get Malcolm up and change his diaper
7:50am- feed Malcolm
8:11am- take Lydia to her room to get her dressed, she is stalling so it takes a while
8:27am- Lydia is finally dressed, I change Malcolm’s diaper and put Lydia’s hair up

Lydia 03162016
8:35am- put on another episode of TV for Lydia and help her get her shoes on
8:50am- Lydia and Zack are off to school/work, Malcolm starts getting sleepy, so I settle on couch with him and a paci and play on my phone while he falls asleep
9:03am- put Malcolm in his swing, so I can grab coffee and a bowl of Cheerios, I eat breakfast while reading (Wild by Cheryl Strayed)
9:21am- put away some laundry
9:31am- Malcolm wakes, but is quiet, so I put white noise on and grab a shower
9:47am- he is fussing when I get out, I give him paci and that helps for now
9:54am- never mind, he’s back to fussing, so I put him on his playmat (which he loves) so I can finish getting ready
10:00am- we play together- he is having fun, cooing too himself and looking in the mirror

Malcolm 03162016
10:10am- he is getting tired of playing, so I change his diaper and get him dressed, get the diaper bag ready so we can go out
10:23am- feed Malcolm a bottle and watch the end of an episode of Melrose Place
10:48am- get ready to go
10:54am- we are on our way, Malcolm’s quiet so I put on my audiobook (rereading Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid)
11:10am- we reach the chiropractor and I get adjusted
11:23am- head to Target, pick up a few items I missed at the store yesterday
11:52am- text my mom to ask if she wants to walk later, head out and remember I have a book on hold at the library for Lydia
12:10pm- stop at the library to pick up the held book
12:15pm- go home
12:23pm- we get home! Malcolm has slept most of our outing! I make myself some lunch, turn on the air conditioner, pray Malcolm stays asleep so I can eat
12:37pm- I eat lunch and read some more Wild
1:01pm- Malcolm is stirring, I reheat a cup of coffee, warm his bottle and change his diaper
1:10pm- bottle time and another episode of Melrose Place
1:30pm- Malcolm falls asleep, I trim his nails, then play on phone and watch TV while he sleeps on my chest

Malcolm and Elizabeth 03162016
2:00pm- put him in his swing so I can attempt to do some chores, unload dishwasher, start cleaning guest bathroom
2:30pm- Malcolm fussing, I change his diaper, he’s still fussy, give him paci and put on Hey Jude (which is the song that magically calms him down almost immediately)
2:49pm- he falls into a light sleep on my chest, so I play on my phone and put more Beatles music on
2:54pm- he’s awake, but quiet, my mom texts to say she’s ready to walk, I tell her to come on over
3:10pm- my mom arrives, she and Malcolm play while I finish cleaning the bathroom, then she feeds him and we chat
4:10pm- my mom and I take Malcolm in the stroller for a walk, he is quiet and awake, while my mom and I chat
4:50pm- we get home, I feed the dogs, Malcolm fusses and I give him a paci, my mom and I talk a little more
5:11pm- my mom leaves, Malcolm is sleeping, so I put him in his swing and pick up a little bit
5:18pm- Lydia and Zack are home, I get Lydia out of the car at her request, Lydia comes in and finds the book I got her at the library and asks Zack to read it to her, I check my email on my phone and see something I need to follow up with on the computer, deal with that and also find a promo email for a free Hello Fresh box, so I sign up for that (we’d been talking about renewing our subscription to one of those meal in a box services so this was good timing!)
5:45pm- we decide on sandwiches for dinner, Zack goes and gets sandwich stuff on the table
5:50pm- Malcolm starts fussing, I grab him, have Lydia wash her hands, and we sit down to eat, I rock Malcolm and eat one handed with him snoozing on my chest
6:30pm- Lydia and Zack serve us ice cream for dessert, Malcolm wakes up, gets hungry, and I realize he ate an extra bottle at some point that day and we’re all out, Zack goes to the kitchen to make bottles and I entertain the kids with songs
6:57pm- I give Lydia a bath while Zack feeds Malcolm, Lydia and I listen to Frozen songs, brush and floss her teeth, put on her pajamas

Lydia bedtime 03162016
7:53pm- Zack puts Malcolm in his swing asleep and goes to read to Lydia and tuck her in, I clean up dinner, load the dishwasher, and prep coffee for the morning, the hot water is running low so I decide to save hand washing dishes for a little later
8:10pm- I put on my pajamas and send texts to my dad and sister regarding plans for Lydia’s birthday on Sunday
8:25pm- I go back to the kitchen to wash bottles, Malcolm wakes up, but Zack gets him
8:50pm- I sit on couch with the husband and a beer, Malcolm is restlessly sleeping, Zack puts on the first episode of Master of None (we just decided to get with the times and are on a free Netflix trial), he’s already seen it, so he leaves the room
9:23pm- the first episode is over and I want to watch rest with Zack, so I play on my phone for a bit
9:39pm- Zack comes back in the room and we browse Netflix for a while
10:10pm- Malcolm wakes up, I change his diaper, find out he’s had a diaper leak so I change his clothes
10:25pm- Zack feeds Malcolm while we watch Brooklyn 99
10:50pm- I talk a little with Zack and go get ready for bed, while Zack gets Malcolm ready for bed and they go out to relax together in living room
11:07pm- I settle in bed with Wild, intending to read for just a couple minutes, but get caught up in it
11:33pm- I finally turn the lights out and go to sleep


Where I’m At: December 2015

I want to try a new thing for me.  I’ve seen these sorts of “what’s up with me right now” posts around and it just seems that that would be an easier way for me to get some thoughts onto a page than anything more coherently organized.


I’m reading, but I am going through another one of my low points with books (I get these every few months) where I just don’t know what to read, am prioritizing other things over reading, and just kind of slow down in terms of excitement about what I’m reading.  In September and October, I went on a rash of REALLY great books and reading non-stop and man, it is hard to return to the average after all that.

Currently I’m reading Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos and I don’t really know how I feel about it.  It’s a slow read for me, has taken a while to get into, but I’m like 80 pages from the end and actually finally starting to care where things go.  My hold of Cinder came in from the library and I need to get to that soon because I fear it will expire before I can get to it.  I’m in between audiobooks, which is not actually something I want to be, but choosing my next book has been hard lately, so I am trying not to force myself into anything.

I did pick up a couple of Cyber Monday Kindle deals– Kristan Higgins’s If You Only Knew and Jesse Andrews’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.  I bought them kind of intending to read them on maternity leave, but we’ll see how that pans out.


It’s been really quiet here.  I keep starting posts and then never finishing them and letting them sit in drafts until they go stale.  I haven’t been feeling the urge to write reviews and my inability to finish a post has even extended to posts with prompts (e.g. Top Ten Tuesday, surveys, etc.).  Basically, I’ve hit a bit of a blogging slump that I can’t seem to break out of completely.  I can’t get myself to compose a coherent review.  I try to write about the personal stuff bouncing around in my head, but it never feels right.

I have seen some of the end of year surveys that I LOVE to do come out, so I will maybe, hopefully get some of those drafted.  I love going back and reflecting on my year of reading, so I hope to do at least a couple of these.  They are fun to look back on, to see how my reading has changed over the years.  Also, I am hoping this grab bag sort of post gets me somewhat more motivated.

The Small Child:

Lydia is now on the downhill side of 2.5 years old and so far I’m liking 2.5 better than just plain 2, which means I pretty much always add the half to her age when I talk about her.  She talks constantly and if she’s not talking, she’s probably singing.  It’s kind of interesting when your kid is big enough to have a conversation with.  It’s also kind of boring because our conversations go in circles of her asking me the same questions over and over and me getting flummoxed on how to explain that we might not get to make snow angels like the little kid in her book because it doesn’t snow here every year.  (Her response to that was that it would snow at school and she could make snow angels with her friends.)

While she is mostly delightful to be around, she is testing the limits of my (already pretty short) patience in some respects.  It’s impossible to get her dressed in under 10 20 minutes.  I need to readjust my expectations here and try some new things in the mornings and evenings and find a more positive way to deal with stalling other than just saying the same thing over and over again until I go crazy.  Patience.  Time.  I need more of both.


Well, I’m now 32 weeks pregnant and things are going pretty much as one would expect.  The chiropractor has been a miracle worker and my back/hips feel tolerable to good most days.  I sleep erratically.  I’m hot.  I get heartburn.  I’m tired.  But everything seems to be within normal ranges.  There still feels like a ton of prep work to do to be ready for the baby’s arrival, but the husband and I both have time off for the holidays coming up and I’m hoping that actually can be used productively.

Unfortunately, I’ve had some anxieties niggling at me the last couple days.  I went in for my usual OB appointment Tuesday and got scheduled for 4 ultrasounds in the next 6 weeks.  Due to complications in my last pregnancy (IUGR/low birthweight baby/low amniotic fluid), they want to keep a close eye on the end of this pregnancy to make sure the same problems don’t repeat themselves.  That, combined with the fact that I measured “a little small” on fundal height (a measurement the midwife reminded me doesn’t actually mean much), has landed me in a sea of anxieties, anxieties I know won’t be quelled until I have a healthy and growing baby in my arms.  My daughter was born at 37 weeks by induction due to the fact she’d pretty much stopped growing in utero.  I knew that was a possibility this go around, too, but mostly I’ve been finding myself imagining going into labor on my own and having that happen closer to 40 weeks.  I hadn’t realized that those hopes would make me feel disappointed at the idea of having a repeat experience of last time.  I have been trying to put it all in perspective and to remind myself that the worry is unfounded at this point, but that is so hard.  I know if I get news in my ultrasound next week that growth is not on track or amniotic fluid is low, it will just prompt a period of wait-and-see as it will be way too soon to induce.  I also know that if everything looks good next week, I’ll feel some relief, but also be left in a holding pattern because we won’t know we’re in the clear until I go into labor on my own.  They’ll just keep checking until I deliver, making sure no problems present themselves.  I’m trying to be optimistic, but I also need to be realistic.  It just basically hit me this week, I could be having a baby in about a month and I need to get stuff done NOW (buy diapers, wash clothes, set up the crib, etc.) and that I might not have time to do all the stuff I’d hoped (make freezer meals, deep clean the house, be able to work the busy first couple weeks of the semester, etc.).  In any case, I just need to keep up the hope that everything will be okay, if not what I’d expected.

Other Stuff:

I’ve been getting out for walks around campus on my lunch breaks as much as I can and that has become a real highlight of the day for me (it has also reduced my reading time, since that is primarily what I did on my lunch breaks in the past).  I’ve been staying up late talking to the husband about nothing in particular (and also baby names, since little dude is still nameless, oops).  I’ve been trying to watch at least the Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football games on the weekend and keep falling asleep during the former (evening games are hard for me) and don’t know why I even both with the latter.  I am going to see Mockingjay Part 2 this weekend and that should be fun.  It’s also time to get the Christmas tree up this weekend and I’m hoping that Lydia will be able/excited to help me decorate.


Anyways, what are you all up to these days?  Hope your Decembers are feeling a little less stressful than mine has so far!


A Day in The Life

Trish from Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity has posted a couple of these Day in the Life posts and is hosting this event so other bloggers can share a bit of their lives with one another, too.  As a kid, I kept really boring journals accounting for my days, but I always loved going back and seeing what I did on a particular day, so I thought this would be a fun way to kind of recapture that spirit.

I recorded the happenings of Thursday, March 26, 2015, which wasn’t a totally normal day because I had to take Lydia (my 2 year old) to the doctor and to school (school drop off is usually the husband’s job), but other than driving all over town in the morning this is pretty much how an average weekday goes for me.

5:45am- My alarm goes off, I hit snooze twice

5:55am- I get up, shower, do my hair and makeup

6:30am- Lydia wanders into my bathroom as I’m finishing up my makeup, startling me since she’s only ever gotten out of bed on her own in the morning one other time, I finish getting ready

6:33am- Lydia and I feed the dogs and let them outside

6:38am- We go to change Lydia’s diaper and get her dressed, we also end up playing with her new Minnie Mouse nightlight that she discovered in our living room while I was letting the dogs out

6:48am- I make breakfast- frozen waffle for the kid, Honey Nut Cheerios for me

6:52am- Ask Lydia to go wake up Zack (my husband)

6:55am- Sit down to eat breakfast with Lydia

breakfast with L

7:04am- I’m done eating, so I go to pack lunch while Lydia finishes eating

7:07am- I realize that the husband hasn’t gotten out of bed yet, so I yell at Zack to get out of bed and also get harassed by Lydia for not sitting and watching her eat

7:11am- I clean up breakfast dishes and pour coffee into travel mugs

7:14am- We go to brush our teeth, the toddler whines, I get dressed, we both put our shoes on, give kisses to Zack, and get loaded into the car. Carseat drama is minimal, which is rare.

7:33am- We leave for the doctor’s office.

7:56am- We arrive at doctor, check in, and wait

8:04am- We get called back, the nurse gives Lydia her shot (and she doesn’t even cry!), we check out and get loaded back into the car. Some carseat drama this time.

8:14am- We leave for school.

8:45am- I drop Lydia off at school and that goes very smoothly.

8:50am- I finally head to work, listening to my audiobook, Debt: The First 5000 Year

9:15am- I arrive at work and park the car

9:25am- I start working, checking email, chatting with my coworker

10:01am- Another coworker comes over to chat

10:17am- I go to grab water, say hi to a third coworker

10:28am- Back to work

11:55am- Time for a snack break, I check my email and Twitter and renew my library books

12:05pm- More work

1:00pm- I go eat lunch in the Student Union and I read Carnival at Bray

2:00pm- Back to work, intermittent Twitter/email checking

4:24pm- Start drafting this post

4:42pm- Do the couple of work items that have come in since I last checked

5:00pm- Head home, deal with construction-related traffic

5:40pm- I arrive home and notice our sprinklers are on, but shouldn’t be, Zack resolves that quickly, Lydia comes out to the garage to get her stuffed giraffe which was left in my car, we all go inside and I turn the oven on, and change into comfy clothes

5:50pm- Zack and I reheat dinner (leftover lasagna and garlic bread)

6:05pm- We sit down and eat dinner as a family

6:38pm- I give Lydia a bath and brush her teeth

7:02pm- Put Lydia into her pajamas, she says good night to Zack

7:08pm- I read Lydia several books, get her tucked into bed and sing her a few songs, kisses and hugs good night

7:21pm- Lydia is down for the night (though she fusses a bit), I play on my phone, talk to Zack, we joke about the jungle in our backyard (it has rained constantly the last few weeks) and he decides to mow the backyard

7:34pm- Zack mows and I decide to watch TV and cross stitch, Dirty Dancing is on TV so I put it on to watch for the millionth time

8:25pm- After mowing, Zack ran to Sonic for a snack, so we eat a snack and watch more Dirty Dancing, Zack makes fun of me for knowing all the songs (even the mambo routine one)

8:41pm- I go back to cross stitching and watching the movie, my sister and I text about her plans for her first anniversary

9:20pm- I boot up the computer and attempt to finish up this blog post for tomorrow, while watching the end of Dirty Dancing

10:00pm- Get ready for bed, I stayed up too late blogging/watching TV so I won’t bother trying to read

10:??pm– Go to sleep

Statistics Survey 2014

Statistics Survey 2014

Umm, as soon as I saw tweets about a stats survey, I was like I AM IN.  I totally geek out on this stuff.  So… thanks to Brittany at The Book Addict’s Guide and Andi of Andi’s ABCs for putting this together!


  1. Number of books under 250 pages (not including novellas): 6
  2. Number of books read between 400-449 pages: 10
  3. Number of books read between 450-499 pages: 6
  4. Number of books read over 500 pages: 4
  5. Number of books read over 1000 pages: 0
  6. Number of novellas read: 0
  7. Number of books that made you cry: No idea!  More than 1, less than 20?
  8. Number of books from a female POV: 34 (including some with multiple female POVs)
  9. Number of books from a male POV: 6 (including one with multiple male POVs)
  10. Number of alternating or multiple POVs: 27
  11. Number of DNFs (did not finish): 5
  12. Number of five star reads: 4
  13. Number of one/two star reads: 7 (I also included 2.5s)
  14. Number of authors met in 2014: 0
  15. Number of book events attended in 2014: Uhh, 2 or 3 if you count the library sale and story time
  16. Number of books you read in one day: Depends on how you define read in one day… I had 0 books started and finished on the same day, but 3 finished after one day (for example, started on the 1st, finished on the 2nd)
  17. Number of audiobooks: 10 (new record for me!)
  18. Number of 2015 books you have on pre-order: 0
  19. Number of re-reads: 2


  1. Book with the highest rating on Goodreads: Funnily enough, my least favorite book of the year, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, gets a 4.44 on Goodreads.
  2. Book with the lowest rating on Goodreads: Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close has a ranking of 3.07… I gave it a 4.  Haha, I really don’t jibe with the Goodreads average, I guess.
  3. Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?): Wild Child by Molly O’Keefe– read it while I was in NYC visiting my sister!
  4. Book that took you the longest to read: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill took me 29 days to read on audio
  5. Book that you personally connected with the most: Either Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close because it was such a perfect depiction of modern life in your 20s or Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty which just hit home in its depictions of parenthood, marriage, and friendship.
  6. Book that made you love the villain: Hmm, maybe Stay by Allie Larkin… by the end of the book, I understood some of the bad guys a little better
  7. Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again: Eventide by Kent Haruf… couldn’t do it on audio and just haven’t felt like reading literary fiction much.
  8. Book you read waaaay before it’s publication date: N/A since I don’t do ARCs
  9. Book you read on your birthday: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  10. Book with a character who shares your name: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith has a character named Elizabeth.
  11. Book you weren’t entirely truthful about when rating (Fluff up any ratings? Rated even though you didn’t finish?): Haha, I gave Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier a half-point boost (3.5 to 4) just because I love Marillier and don’t have the heart to not LOVE her books.
  12. Book you read in 2014 but already want to re-read: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close, anything and everything by Sarra Manning… etc.
  13. Book you borrowed from a friend a long time ago and still have: I… don’t think I have any of these. (I hope.)
  14. Book by a foreign author/originally published in another country: I read a bunch of Liane Moriarty books and she’s Australian, so is Juliet Marillier.  And I read some British writers, too– Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling, Sarra Manning.  But nothing outside of the English-speaking world, unfortunately.
  15. Book you wish you could go back and read for the first time again: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  16. Most books read by one author this year: 3 books each for 4 different authors- Liane Moriarty, Sarra Manning, Rae Carson, and Juliet Marillier

Stat Survey This and That

  1. Happiest & saddest:
    Happiest- mmm, this is hard, I’d say the most joyful book (though it had a lot of angst) was Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.
    Saddest- One Plus One by Jojo Moyes… so many things go wrong, but it was kind of hopeful sad if that makes sense
  2. Longest & shortest:
    Longest: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin at 801 pages
    Shortest: Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice by Phillip Hoose at 133 pages
  3. Best & worst:
    Best: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
    Worst: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  4. First & last reads of 2014: First was a reread of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins and the last was Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern.
  5. First & last books on your bookcase (1st book on the top left and last book on the bottom right):
    First- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
    Last- The Beatles Anthology (one of my husband’s books… we share shelves)
  6. The most disappointing & the biggest pleasant surprise:
    Most disappointing: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
    Most pleasant surprise: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  7. Bandwagon/fandom you joined & one you abandoned:
    Fandom Joined: Juliet Marillier… love her writing
    Fandom Abandoned: Mmm, I think I am done singing the praises of Erin McCarthy… I have only really liked one of her books, the others have been ridiculous.
  8. Most lenient & harshest ratings:
    Most lenient: I gave The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz a 3… but I didn’t really like it.  I inflated the rating because I felt it taught me something even if it was not enjoyable to read.
    Harshest: Hmm, maybe Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning? I gave it a 3.5 because it was a really depressing book, but when I reviewed it I found I probably liked it a lot better than just a slightly better than average book.
  9. Most hyped & furthest under the radar that you read:
    Most hyped: I read a lot of hyped stuff this year.  I’m going to go with Shadow and Bone.  SO MUCH GRISHA HYPE.
    Furthest Under the Radar: Uhhh, probably The Sundial by Shirley Jackson which was out of print for quite some time and definitely not one of her well-known works.

Stat Survey Grab Bag

  1. Book you read that is red: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  2. Book you read that starts with M: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins and The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
  3. Book you read that you may have hugged when you finished it: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  4. Book you read that you may have wanted to throw across a room: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  5. Book that has the letters Q, X, or Z in the title (bonus for one of the words in the title beginning with those!): The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen and The Drake Equation by Heather Walsh
  6. Book that suffered some damage this year (food? water? ripped pages/cover? Ouch!): Umm, how about my Kindle Fire?  It got covered in fire extinguisher gunk after a minor kitchen fire.
  7. Food you craved while/after reading a certain book:  Chex Mix after reading Rainbow Rowell’s story in My True Love Gave to Me
  8. First book you read in 2015: It’ll probably be I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.
  9. Number of books read that end with a 6 in the page count: 6!  How perfect is that?!

Stat Survey Blogging Life

  1. Number of posts in 2014: 65
  2. Number of reviews posted this year: 41 (some posts included reviews of multiple books, so more than 41 books reviewed!)
  3. First post of 2014: My review of We Are Water by Wally Lamb
  4. First review of 2014: We Are Water by Wally Lamb
  5. Last post of 2014: My 2014 End of Year Book Survey
  6. Last review of 2014: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
  7. Least coherent review: Hahaha, probably my review of All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill.  I totally did not remember the book well enough to write a review of it.
  8. Review with the most views (regardless of post date): My review of Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt got the most views this year.  Anything that gets read in middle or high school classes always gets tons of search engine hits.  Come on, kids, do your own homework.
  9. Post with the most comments: My TTT for Top Ten Books I Read in 2014
  10. Post you wish you could re-write: Maybe my review of Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier.  I felt like I was overly harsh in it, when I actually mostly loved the book.
  11. Most popular post this year (that was posted in 2014): My review of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (for some reason the spambots love this post and also the kids not wanting to do their own homework)

My 2015 Goals

I wanted to post this with the Top Ten Tuesday last week, but I was just not in the right frame of mind to be coming up with goals.  But now I’m feeling it, so let’s go!

Reading Goals

1. Read 60 books.  This was also my goal for 2014 and it was manageable, yet challenging at times.  I think I’m just going to keep with that number as it seems to be realistic for my current reading life.

2. Attempt the Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge.  I’ve actually never done a book challenge beyond the Goodreads one and this one sounds ridiculously hard.  But the more I think about it, the more I could use the challenge.  And this pretty much covers all the bases in terms of stretching myself.  I’ll be impressed if I can manage to complete 18 of the 24 challenge tasks… some are REALLY outside of my comfort zone (A book of poetry? Blech.)

Blogging Goals

1. Continue posting regularly. I don’t really want to put a metric of success on this, but I do enjoy my blog for the most part, so I want to keep up with it in the coming year.

2. Make better blogging connections.  I’ve been blogging for nearly 3 years now and people come and people go and it gets easy to fall behind on reading and commenting on other blogs and it can be hard to meet new bloggers who share your interests.  My interaction with the book blogging community has waned a bit and I would like to try to make a point to visit new blogs, tweet with new people, and just generally be a little more involved with the people in this world.  For me, this is one of the harder aspects of blogging.

Life Goals

1. Do some yoga.  I did quite a bit of yoga in 2014 and I just feel better all around when I am keeping up a practice.  I’ve kind of fallen off the wagon since Thanksgiving, but I’m already planning on signing up for some classes through the city, just to try to change up my routine.

2. Get organized at home.  I might be putting this on the list because I’ve been promising myself I will clean out my closet for over a year and it still hasn’t happened.  But also I have been thinking about reorganizing our dining room, getting rid of furniture to make room for toys, and on and on.  It’s time to tackle some of these projects.

3. Make a budget.  We paid off a lot of debt in 2014 and would like to make some progress in saving for a down payment towards a house.  I think it’s time to sit down, crunch the numbers, and come up with a plan we can live with that actually puts us on track towards our greater financial goals.


What are your goals for the upcoming year?  Are you participating in any crazy book challenges?


Revisiting My 2014 Goals

It’s time to take a look at how I did on my 2014 goals.  Please note that some of my numeric goals might be off as I drafted this post a couple weeks before posting.

Reading Goals

1. Read 60 books.  Done as of December 9!

2Of those 60 books, 25 should be audio-ebooks or ebooks.  43 of the 61 books I’ve finished have been ebooks or audio-ebooks (33 ebooks and 10 audio).  So, knocked this one out of the park.

3. Read at least 1 classic.  I’m going to give myself credit for this one.  I read The Handmaid’s Tale earlier this year and a bunch of people on Goodreads say it’s a classic, so it’s a classic.

4. Participate in Dewey’s ReadathonFirst goal on my list that I didn’t complete.  April Readathon I had company and October Readathon I was out of town visiting my sister, so I wasn’t able to participate in either one.  Maybe in 2015?

Blogging Goals

1. Post weekly.  I’ve definitely skipped a week here or there (I apparently only posted once in November), but I have made up for this with extra posts in other months, so I have averaged at least one post a week.  I’ll say I did it.

2. Get personal.  I did do a few more personal posts early on in the year, but I haven’t really kept up with it.  I wonder how much someone wants to read about my new yoga practice or how work is.  I’m ok with being somewhat informal and personal in reviews and on Twitter and in posting things like goals lists.  But most purely personal posts just don’t feel right to me.  So I tried it and didn’t love it.

3. Give the blog a facelift.  I chose a new template and updated my bio and contact pages early in the year.  I also recently revamped my review index.  I’m pretty happy with how things are looking around here.  Much neater than it was a year ago.

Other Goals

1. Master 5 new recipes.  Well.  I almost burned my kitchen down in February working on this goal and have been a bit gun-shy in the kitchen ever since.  I have been cooking a lot more, trying new recipes here and there, but still a lot of the meals I cook are convenience meals.  I wouldn’t label this a success, but it’s a work in progress.

2. Get some exercise.  I’ve done better on this point that I thought I would.  I’ve been practicing yoga semi-regularly since February.  Sometimes it was going to a class a week, sometimes it has been doing videos at home several mornings a week.  It’s not perfect.  I fall off the wagon sometimes (like right now, in fact!).  But I’m finding that exercise is itself a journey.  It’s not about perfection, it’s about trying to get some movement in my life.  And it’s ok to fall off track or push myself only 50% some days.  If I am only getting guilt and pain out of a process, I don’t want to (and won’t) keep doing it.  So this has really been about finding peace and acceptance in what I’m willing to give on a daily basis.


All in all, I did pretty well.  I am actually quite proud of myself for trying some new things, sticking with blogging, and cutting myself some slack when it comes to how I live my life.  As I approach 30 (I will be 30 in May 2015), I find myself wanting to both be kinder to myself and to find some peace, contentment, and joy in how I live, work, and play.  I know this sounds cheesy, which is a thing I hate being, but my teens and 20s were (often) tumultuous and it’s nice to reach a more steady place.  Anyways, I am really looking forward to 2015 and what that will bring.

It’s Friday and I’ve Got Nothing Bookish to Talk About

I just finished reading and really enjoyed Jamie’s If We Were Having Coffee post.  I have wanted to get more personal in my blogging while still remaining mostly a book blogger and I think I managed that in my It’s Monday and I’ve Got Nothing Bookish to Talk About post so I hope to do this sort of post on a semi-regular basis.  And I promise I will not sugarcoat my life.  Because, as you will read, I can be a real dummy sometimes.

One thing I had hoped to start doing more this year was cooking.  In my last life update, I excitedly told you how I had successfully made a delicious and easy beef stir fry and couldn’t wait to try it again.  Well, I did try the stir fry again last week.  And I almost burned my kitchen down.  The last time I’d made the stir fry was my first time using a cast iron pan and my husband told me I could warm it up a little before starting the stir fry.  He did this part for me and I guess I didn’t notice he put the burner on super low and added the oil, too.  So this time, I tried warming up the pan beforehand and set the burner on medium and after it got good and hot poured the oil it.  It immediately started smoking and then burst into flames.  I panicked and could not remember how to put out a grease fire (I could remember how not to put out a grease fire, so at least I didn’t pour water on it) and my husband came in to help and the flames were huge and threatening to catch things on the counter.  So I grabbed the fire extinguisher and husband put out the fire with that.  There was tons and tons of smoke and tons and tons of mess from the fire extinguisher.  It took my husband and me around 8 hours and the help of my mom to clean everything up.  Let’s just say, this has made me a little shy about trying any new recipes at the moment.  I’ve been sticking to frozen ravioli this week.

Another thing I had been hoping to do more this year is exercise and I’m happy to say that this has been going rather well.  I have made it to Saturday morning yoga every weekend this month!  I would like to add in a second yoga class per week, but am having trouble finding a weeknight class time that doesn’t mean getting home after the baby is already in bed.  I haven’t given myself permission to miss that evening time together yet.  I don’t know that I ever will.

Speaking of the baby, Lydia turned 11 months old yesterday!  She cut her first tooth and wasn’t even a drama queen about it.  She has been really into rolling and scooting these days and likes it when you help her stand holding onto a table.  She “talks” a lot and has recently started saying “bye bye, ” though very selectively.  She loves taking baths and is really mischievous in the tub, scooting all around, grabbing anything in sight, and pulling the plug so the water starts draining out.  She also likes to eat her solid foods and is way more into the jarred baby food than the homemade stuff.  But really, I can’t figure out how to puree chicken into a texture that isn’t gross or how to effectively hide peas in carrots, so I don’t really blame her.  I am sure toddlerhood is right around the corner, but I am really enjoying these last few months (weeks?) of babyhood.

And finally, the husband and I went on a lovely date last weekend for Valentine’s Day and ventured down to Dallas proper and had dinner and went to a concert.  Dinner was awesome because we happened upon a restaurant that serves spiedies, a delicious food native to my hometown in upstate New York and not really found anywhere else.  And the concert was Neutral Milk Hotel, a band my husband introduced me to when we first met, so it has some real sentimental value for me.  We saw NMH last year, too, when the tour was a man+guitar acoustic set and it was brilliant and intimate and really awesome.  This time, they had the full band and it was much more loud and energetic and maybe even joyful.  The diversity of instruments they used was cool.  I have never seen someone play a saw before and that was interesting to see/hear.  There were a few rude concert-goers at the show this time around and it dampened my enjoyment, but still, it was a good show.

What have you all been up to?  Got any fun plans for the upcoming weekend?

It’s Monday and I’ve Got Nothing Bookish to Talk About

This isn’t reading-related, but I really didn’t do any reading this weekend, so let’s talk about some other things.

One of my goals for this year was to get more confident in the kitchen and to master some quick, easy, fresh, and healthy weeknight recipes.  I was watching The Pioneer Woman the other morning and she was making 16-minute recipes, including this Beef with Snow Peas stir fry.  I happened to have a bag of snow peas in the fridge, so I figured this was a good way to use them up.  This recipe was actually pretty easy to make and while it was more like a 30-minute meal for me (I am the slowest at prep, especially because I like to clean as I go), I definitely think I’ll be adding it to the rotation.  The only complaint we had was it is a bit sweet, so I need to figure out what I can do to balance the sauce out a little better.  Also, next time I need to do rice in the rice cooker instead of using the 90 second microwave rice (I love you, Uncle Ben, but holy cow, the sodium).  But all in all, this was a good starting point for a weeknight family dinner.

Another one of my goals for this year was to get some exercise.  I ended up with a couple credits at the yoga studio where I did prenatal and mommy and me yoga classes, but we’ve kind of outgrown both of those, so I decided to do a drop-in yoga class on Saturday morning.  It was a challenging class and I left feeling like I got a good workout.  I definitely want to go back and would like to try to incorporate a yoga class into my schedule once a week.  My biggest concern is with scheduling, as it is hard to have to make the choice between time with my daughter or exercising.

And while this has nothing to do with my goals for this year, I’ve been binge-watching Game of Thrones lately and am getting into it more than I thought I would.  The characters are complex and interesting.  It is a fascinating study of leaders and leadership tactics.  It’s just way more exciting than I thought it would be.  Now I am actually considering reading the books.  Are they worth reading if I like the show so much?

I Don’t Want to Sell Books

I’ve been thinking about posting on this topic this for some time, but didn’t really want to offend anyone.  But I think it is an interesting topic of discussion, so here goes.

I have only been approached a couple of times by authors asking me to review their books.  I have declined, but it is only more recently that I could articulate why I felt so uncomfortable with the concept.  Simply put, I don’t want this blog to be used to sell books.

I feel like life is becoming one big advertisement (okay, maybe I read Feed too recently) and well, I don’t want my creative outlet to be a part of that big ol’ marketing machine.  I know there are more generous ways at looking at this issue.  Bloggers help match readers with books they love and authors get to make a living doing what they love and publishers get to make money off of all that love and it stimulates our economy and our brains and our hearts all at the same time.  It’s about LOVE and SHINY BOOKS and not money and greed and the corporations.  I just can’t help but see that the bottom line is the bottom line– helping a company rake in the profits without being given a stake in those profits.

Whenever I stop to think about what I want from my blog, it really has nothing to do with helping authors or publishers hock their wares.  I want to read whatever I feel like.  I want to take advantage of my library as much as possible.  I want to feel free to talk about a book like its creator isn’t sitting in the corner, listening.  I want to do it on my own timeline, free from the pressure that anyone cares what I say or when I say it.  I have no illusions about making money off my blog, so I don’t like the idea that someone else might be (although WordPress is putting ads on my blog because I choose to use the free version of their services, so well, someone is whether I like it or not).  I don’t really care if I have to wait another month (or year) to read a book; if I’m really interested, I will pick up the book when it’s available.  Ultimately, I just want to talk about books and reading with other people, as readers, not as consumers.

Obviously, my reviews are intended, at least in part, to help people decide whether a book is for them or not.  I know that if they decide the book is for them, they may purchase the book.  I suppose in that regard I am speaking to my audience as consumers, but I hope that I am speaking to them as readers first.  I hope that I am sparking discussions and thoughts about language and humanity more than I am urging someone to purchase a particular book.  Perhaps that is a lofty goal for my little book blog, but I usually spend a paragraph or two or three of my reviews talking about a book and its strengths and weaknesses and about one or two sentences on who the book would suit.  So hopefully I’m not reaching too far to say I am more in the business of thinking and talking about books than I am in the business of promoting them.

Most of the other book bloggers I know and follow receive books from publishers (though some because it relates to their professional capacities, not their blogging ones) and that is fine.  I don’t question that they are providing honest reviews (for the most part, but that is another can of worms).  I am not jealous of the number of ARCs they get or that they get to read an awesome book months before I will.  I don’t mind that they see their role in the blogosphere and the marketplace differently than I see mine.

At the end of the day, we all got into book blogging because we love books.  How we express that love, is up to each of us, individually, to decide.  I, for one, have chosen not to express that love in the form of free advertising for books at the request of an author or publisher.  I don’t want to sell books.

How do you feel about accepting books from an author or publisher for review on your blog?  If you do accept books for review, how do you feel about being used as free advertising?  What do you see your role as a blogger being, in terms of selling books vs. talking about books?  Can you do both at the same time?

My 2014 Goals

I am a little late to the game in getting up my goals for the 2014 year, but having a baby seems to mean I am late to the game on just about everything, so I guess that is not too unexpected.  It also doesn’t help that the first time I wrote this post I had a bunch of overly general goals, the sort of thing that I couldn’t really measure, so I would never be able to tell if I completed them or not.  Anyways, after some reconsideration, here are my goals for the year…

Reading Goals

1. Read 60 books.  This should be a pretty easy target for me to hit.  I read 52 books last year even with adjusting to a new baby, so if I keep up my reading patterns, this should be no issue at all.

2Of those 60 books, 25 should be audio-ebooks or ebooks.  I want to do less reading on paper this year.  It’s partly a matter of convenience (fewer trips to the library) and partly a matter of personal preference.

3. Read at least 1 classic.  I managed to read a couple classics last year and it was a good exercise for me, so I plan on doing it again this year.

4. Participate in Dewey’s ReadathonThis might be too much to expect of myself, but I think I might be able to readathon while the baby sleeps and for maybe a couple hours while she hangs out with her dad.  But this was my favorite blogging event to participate in, so I would like to at least attempt it.

Blogging Goals

1. Post weekly.  I’m not really good about posting when things get super busy for me, but I think posting something once a week is attainable.  Now, if I actually follow through is a whole other question.

2. Get personal.  I’ve noticed a lot of book bloggers expanding into more personal content, as interest in reviews seems to be waning.  I know that I tend to read and interact with personal posts more consistently than I do reviews.  So, I’m going to try to come up with some sort of non-review, personal content.  I have no idea what this will be yet.  I’d love to hear how you incorporate other content in your book blogs, so please share ideas with me!

3. Give the blog a facelift.  I really haven’t ever done any aesthetic work on my blog.  I am also pretty sure my review index and bio need to be updated.  I’ve been at this almost two years.  It’s time.

Other Goals

1. Master 5 new recipes.  I have been cooking more on the weeknights than I used to, but my repertoire is pretty limited.  I tend to stick to convenience-type meals and these aren’t the best health-wise, so I really need to take the time to look for some quick, easy, healthy recipes to master.  I am not super comfortable in the kitchen and I would like to be at least competent enough to feed my family a couple nights a week.

2. Get some exercise.  I am not feeling very good about making this happen right now, but I would like to find a way to be more active.  It seems a little overwhelming trying to fit anything else into my schedule, but I would at least like to put it on this list so I can put it out in the universe.  Sometimes that motivates me to do things.