Saturday, December 29, 2018

Best Books of 2018

There's a lot of things I miss about blogging regularly. I use to love sitting down and writing book reviews after finishing a book, as something to refer back to on why I might have loved it so much. (But the last one I posted was back in 2016!) Also, I used to love wrapping up a year reflecting back on what occurred. (The last time I did one of those was even longer in 2015!) So on a whim I decided to bring them both back with a list of my favorite reads from the past year. In years past I've actually ranked books where #1 was my absolute favorite, but for simplicity sake, I just have them all in the order I read them.

1. Apprentice by Maggie Anton
I LOVED Anton's Rashi'a Daughters Trilogy and was so excited to read another one from her. It's a time period that I haven't read much about (Persia in 300s), and I found everything fascinating. There is a sequel to it, which I can't wait to pick up.

2. Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon by Kelley Benham French and Thomas French
This is such an incredible memoir about a couple recollecting their duaghter's premature birth. Thankfully, everything worked out for the family and they now have a healthy daughter years later. I just remember not being able to put this down, because even though you know how it works out, you just had to see the journey there.

3. The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Lauren Willig, Beatriz Williams
This was a fun book written by 3 different authors told over three time periods. Of the authors, I had only read Willig before (whose Pink Carnation series I love!), but I've heard great things about Williams especially. It was definitely fun trying to match either author up with the story they likely guided the most. Each story centers around a room in a NYC house and features a different love story. It was so fun trying to figure out how the characters and stories were all interwoven.

4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
So far, I've loved everything I've read by Rowell. Which actually is now only two, but I'm still excited to read the rest. I felt like this book so captured the feeling of being in college. I also loved the fan fiction aspect of it, which brought me back to when I used to read and write it back in high school. (Yes, seriously! Backstreet Boys fan fiction in case you had to know! Sadly, or maybe not so, anything I wrote no longer exists.)

5. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
I feel like I'm so late to this one! But like everything else, reading has also dropped off lately. I picked this up just in time for The Royal Wedding. It really was just as good as everything said, and I'd love to read a sequel to check in on Nick and Bex.

6. Somerset by Leila Meacham
After reading Roses by Meacham years ago, I've been meaning to read more by her. This was actually the second by her I read this year (the first being Titans), but the one I liked better. It had such an interesting perspective. It is another epic family story. I loved some of the details, things like the discovery of dinosaur bones and the idea of adoption in the early 1900s. Actually this was one of many books I read this years that discussed adoption in the early 1900s, definitely a bit of a rabbit hole I fell into.

7. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Another epic family historical story. This one though taking place in Korea and Japan. Like many of the others, it's a period I knew little about which is part of the reason I loved it. There are a lot of characters and a lot of time passing in this book, which meant certain aspects weren't as developed as they could have been. Still I absolutely loved the book and getting to hear the family's story.

8. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I remember being intrigued by this one when it came out, and can't believe it's taken me so long to read. It's an interesting perspective of WWII, one I hadn't read before. There's 2 separate stories told throughout, and I loved how they finally intertwined at the end.

9. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Another one I know I'm crazy late on! I haven't seen the movie yet, but based on the previews, I'm not sure it can compare to the book. The title of this one definitely lives up to its name. I've since gone on and finished the trilogy and while I loved them all, I think the first is the best because you really go into it not knowing what to expect.

10. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Remember a couple of paragraph's ago mentioning how I read several books about adoption, this is one of those. (The other big one was The Orphan Train, which just missed this list.) It's another one with two story lines that intertwine by the end. I actually loved the historical one so much more than the present day story, although I do realize the importance of having the other perspective.

11. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
I just couldn't stop at 10, and for those of you that have read this, you understand why. It's a book you start and don't quite get, but as you continue to read and understand the story it's heartwarming and one you can't put down.

I feel like 2018 was the first year in a while where I really, really loved what I read. Hence the reason I wanted to write this post. I didn't hit my goal of 52 books in a year, although assuming I finish the book I'm currently reading, will be only 7 books away. I'm hoping that now that the babies are getting older and I'm starting to feel a bit more like myself again, I can get back to reading and blogging more often!

To see my favorite books from years' past go here:

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

3 2/3 Years Update

3 2/3 Years
You're 3 and 2/3 years old! Practically a grown up!
April 17
Based on our scale at home you're almost to 30 lbs. You're wearing a mix of clothes from 2t to 4t. In shoes you're currently in a size 9.
May 9
Your favorite movie is currently Trolls. You go in phases of watching the same movie over and over. So before Trolls it was Toys Story 2, and before that Baymax (Big Hero 6), with a few watchings of The Little Mermaid and Pinocchio thrown in there. You don't normally watch tv, but when you do, you want to watch Paw Patrol or Shimmer and Shine.
Watching Incredibles 2
June 16
You started Pre-K in the fall at your daycare. (Although based on your birthday, will wind up needing a second year next year.) Starting Pre-K you were so excited because that meant you were able to sign your name each day on the white board. Through practice you've actually gotten quite good at writing out your name.
July 6
You are really enjoying school right now. Each week you're so excited to tell me what your job is. (This past week you were the gardener.) I'm always so impressed by what you now seem to know, things like The Pledge of Allegiance. You best friends at school are still I and N. Although there are several girls in your Pre-K class you mention as well (C, A, and H for instance).
July 7
You love playing board games and doing puzzles. Each night after Bear goes to sleep you know it's time to do something special. Most night that means you want to play one of your board games, but occasionally you'll want to do a puzzle. Less often than either of those, it's playing with your Playmobils.
July 12
You're playing soccer again this Fall and you absolutely love it. You had swimming lessons over the summer and were a big fan of those as well, even swimming a few strokes on your own by the end.
July 13
Also you went to a week of cooking camp over the summer which you really enjoyed. Coincidentally the week after camp ended you wound up going to a birthday party at the same cooking school, which again you had a blast at.
July 22
You are such an awesome kid. Yes, there are moments of meltdowns or sassiness coming out, but no more than what you'd expect from any other 3 year old. You really have gotten to be such a little grown up that I can barely believe it.
August 1
1 Month Old2 Months OldIMG_3341
1 Month ~ 2 Months~3 Months
4 Months ~ 5 Months ~ 6 Months
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
2 3/4 Years ~ 3 Years ~ 3 1/3 Years

Monday, December 17, 2018

22 Months Update

22 Months
You're 22 months old! And by that I mean you're a week away from turning 2, but I'm not actually late yet.
July 6
You've gotten so big! Well, I guess not in terms of size, since you're still wearing 12 months and size 6 shoes. (Although I have tried out a few 18m tops, which are big, but work.) On our home scale, you're right around 20 lbs.
July 7
Otherwise though, you are talking up a storm! Putting words together, saying small sentences like "I wanna come!", "I'm climbing," or "Geaux Tigers!" You are constantly on the go. Spinning in circles, jumping from the coffee table to the couch, just non-stop. There have been times where you've literally run head first into the wall, and you're still ready to go.
July 25
You love lawn mowers. One of your favorite things is to just stare out the window watching our neighbors mow the lawn. Or if you're at home depot, you're in absolute heaven getting to try out all the riding lawn mowers. (Both of which are pictured below!)
July 29
Your other favorite, My Little Ponies. They fit perfectly in your hand, and they have hair. Currently you have both a pink and purple one, and assuming we can find both, you sleep with them at night.
August 4
You have several books we seem to read over and over again, specifically, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do you Hear, Usborne's Big Book of Things That Go, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah.
August 5
You love playing with your sister and want to do everything she does. One of the favorite games you two like to play is getting bags, filling them with a ton of stuff, and then carrying them all over the house to go on a picnic.
August 8
You really aren't a baby anymore, and I can't hardly believe it. It's just crazy to me how quickly times flies by. I just know I need to cherish all of the big hugs I get from you, because in no time at all you're going to think you're too big for them.
August 11
Here's a comparison with your sister at 22 months.
22 Months
Birth Story
1 Month ~ 2 Months ~ 3 Months
4 Months ~ 5 Months ~ 6 Months
7 Months ~ 8 Months ~ 9 Months
10 Months ~ 11 Months ~ 12 Months
14 Months ~ 16 Months ~ 18 Months
20 Months