Saturday, January 4, 2020

Top Books of 2019

Why hello there! Yes, it's me. I just wanted to check into this mostly forgotten corner of the internet to share my top books of 2019. I know I'm not writing book reviews here, but I'm still reading! This was actually one of my best reading years in a long time. The best since having kids, really. So here are my favorites, listed in the order I read them. I did manage to narrow my list down to 10, but there were others I was sad to be leaving off that I have included at the end as honorary mentions.
1. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Stephen Brusatte
I was dinosaur obsessed as a little kid and I loved getting back into that world with this book. I was surprised how much research continues to happen in the field. There continues to be many dinosaurs discovered all the time, which I hadn't realized. The author is around my age as well, and I think the idea of being a paleontologist is so cool.
2. Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran
This was so fascinating to read. It tells the story of Queen Lakshmi, one of the last queen's of India prior to the British conquest. It's told from the point of view of Sita one of her female guards. I loved the details and the historical aspects of this one. Months later it's still one that I can't forget.
3. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
This is one that's been on best of lists since it was published in 2017. A Holocaust survival story that almost too good to be true, and yet it is since it was based on the author's family's survival story. There were a lot of siblings and at times it can be hard to keep them all straight. But there's several haunting scenes in it that you can't forget.
4. The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu
I read 3 of Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter books this year. I enjoyed them all by this one narrowly beat out Ghosts of the Shadow Market to make the list. I loved getting to go back in time and see how Magnus and Alec's love story began. At this point there's so many Shadowhunter books it would seem a little intimidating to get started, but I continue to enjoy them! (It also helps that my mom introduced me to them when there were only 3! Little did I know 10 years later they would still be published.)
5. Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
Another of those haunting stories that just stays with you. It's a story of a newspaper reporter and the aftermath of having one of his stories go nationwide. There's a bit of a love story in it, which helped offset the sad mystery throughout. Another one that shows some of the dark times of history that we don't want to forget.
6. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
Such a fascinating story of a culture I knew nothing about going in. This takes place on the Korean Island Jeju starting just before World War 2. I've read several books by Lisa See, but I think this might be my favorite. It has some familiar themes as others, showing the ups and downs of female friendship, but yet it's also so different than her others. Like many others on this list, this isn't an easy one to get through, but it's one that's hard to put down and impossible to forget.
7. We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet
Out of all the books I read this one made me cry the most. It takes place during England and starts with a little girl being sheltered in the midst of an air raid. I wouldn't describe this one as haunted though. For taking place during a war it isn't full of a bunch of atrocities. Instead so much is about love and loss and parts are heartbreaking.
8. Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Out of all the books on this list this is by far the lightest. It was so much fun getting back into the world of Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood). There were times that I was laughing so hard I had to put the book down. This has all my favorite parts of the early Shopaholic books and was especially the perfect read around the holidays.
9. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Another you continue to see on best lists. This was different than I though it would be, but I completely get what all the hype if about! There was a bit of a twist near the end that I didn't see coming at all. (Although it's a little obvious, given some of the clues, I just didn't let myself believe it.)
10. It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories Edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman
This is a collection of YA short stories all with a Jewish theme. There's been several similar Christmas themed books out there and I was so excited to see that this existed. It seems to be marketed as a Hanukkah book and while there are Hanukkah stories in it, it's more of a collection of being Jewish as a teen or young adult now. There were many different perspectives, feeling too-Jewish as well as not Jewish enough. There were stories on Birthright trips and Jewish summer camps both experiences I, as well as many other, have found memories off. I was a little surprised at the number of stories with a LGBTQ-slant, although I get how that makes sense today. I loved reading it so much now, but I think if I had read it in college, I would have loved it so much more.

Honorary Mentions
Daughters of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Disney's Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World by Richard Snow
Front Desk by Kelly Yang

To see my favorite books from years' past go here:
2018
2014
2013
2012

Monday, July 29, 2019

2 1/4 Years Update

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2 1/4 Years Old
You are 2 1/4 years old!
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October 27
No doctor appointment, so no official stats. And all the clothing is pretty much the same sizes (12 or 18 months clothes, size 6 shoes, size 4 diapers).
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November 14
You are such a little person! Seriously, you are no stop, on the go, all the time. You still love tractors, trucks, and trains. Although a current favorite is sports. You love wearing clothes with baseball or footballs on it, and you absolutely love going to LSU baseball games with your dad. We actually signed you up to play soccer this year, and while you love the idea of going to soccer, you're not always as sure when you're out on the field with everyone else.
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December 2
You still aren't a great eater. We can normally count on you to each chicken and it used to be strawberries, but not even that any more. You will normally eat breakfast, depending on the day eating frozen pancakes, croissants, granola bars, or scrambled eggs.
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December 23
You've had some issues listening lately, I think resulting from wanting to do thing your way. Unfortunately that does mean we've gotten a few notes home for hitting or biting your friends.
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December 29
Your favorite thing to do is playing in the toy kitchen cooking food or coloring. Although to be honest, at the very top of that list is whatever your sister is doing. Basically if she's is doing it, you're over there following her wanting to do it too.
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December 31
When did attempt a first movie with you, How to Train Your Dragon Hidden World, unfortunately it didn't go that well. We actually wound up spending most of the movie in the lobby while your daddy and sister finished watching.

January 4
I'm a little in disbelief that you've gotten so big. You're practically a grown up at this point. I know we still have some big milestones ahead (potty training for one), but it's still a little crazy to me that you're not really a baby anymore and are practically a big kid!
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January 6
Here's a comparison with your sister at 2 1/4 Years.
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2 1/14 Years
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Birth Story
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1 Month ~ 2 Months ~ 3 Months
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4 Months ~ 5 Months ~ 6 Months
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7 Months ~ 8 Months ~ 9 Months
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10 Months ~ 11 Months ~ 12 Months
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14 Months ~ 16 Months ~ 18 Months
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20 Months ~ 22 Months ~ 24 Months

Monday, June 10, 2019

4 Years Update

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4 Years
You're 4 years old! I can hardly believe it. Where on earth has the time gone?!?
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August 21
At your 4 year doctor appointment you were 41 in tall (77th%ile). You weighed 29 lbs (6th%ile). You're mainly wearing 4t clothes and are still wearing size 9 shoes.
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September 19
We've started reading chapter books at bedtime, and you're really enjoying them. So far we've read Socks and Beezus and Ramona, both by Beverly Clearly, The Rise of the Earth Dragon by Tracey West, and The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale. On the other hand, on nights where your Daddy puts you to sleep you play board games together. Your current favorite is "Monsters" (Kingdom of Tokyo). According to him you love earning token and exchanging them to buy things.
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October 6
It's finally gotten to the point where your brother is really old enough to play with you. It's awesome for you because now you have a playmate who is willing to do basically whatever you tell him to.
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October 31
We're at the point where we've had a couple of teacher conference, and so far the message is the same, you're a leader, which is good, unless you're leading people to do the wrong thing. You definitely want to be in charge and want to make sure everyone is doing exactly what you want to do.
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November 15
Of course, through this all you have some great friends. I is still a favorite, and C seems to be another great friend as well. And lucky for you a handful of your classmates will be with you when you start your new school next year.
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November 16
You're so opinionated and you know exactly what you want. Of course what you think is always 100% correct. We've already gotten in a few arguments such as when you told me you KNEW you were getting invited to a birthday party even though we hadn't gotten an invitation yet. (Turns out, you were right!) Of course, I can already see what these fights will look in 10 years when you're a teenager!
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December 2
You've gotten so big, and yet you're still so little. You still love being carried around. While you can go to the bathroom by yourself, you'd much rather have company with you when you do so. You still need 3 million things before going to bed (the fan on, the knot game, to kiss your cabbage patch dolls) and as much as I might complain walking back up the stairs each night, I know pretty soon you're going to be too big to tuck in... which is so crazy I can't even articulate!
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4th Birthday Party
1 Month Old2 Months OldIMG_3341
1 Month ~ 2 Months~3 Months
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4 Months ~ 5 Months ~ 6 Months
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7 Months ~ 8 Months ~ 9 Months
IMG_414011 Months12 Months
10 Months ~ 11 Months ~ 12 Months
14 Months16 MonthsIMG_4546
14 Months ~ 16 Months ~ 18 Months
2 Years OldIMG_4963IMG_5104
24 Months ~ 2 1/4 Years~2 1/2 Years
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2 3/4 Years ~ 3 Years ~ 3 1/3 Years
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3 2/3 Years