Thursday, December 31, 2020

Top Books of 2020

I may be an inconsistent poster here, but one thing I have kept up with fairly consistently is my end of the year favorite books. I'll also add that 2020 has been a year like none other. There were a lot of lows, but with all the time spent at home I've spent a lot of time reading. I've been tracking my books on Goodreads since 2007 and 2020 was the most I've read in a year, both books and pages in a significant way.

This year I read 88 books. (My previous high had been 71 in 2013, the last complete kid-free year.) I read over 32,400 pages. (The previous high had been 26,800 again in 2013.) Also this year, I've spent a lot more time sharing books on Instagram. I'm pretty sure anyone who may be reading this is already following me there, but just in case, if you're looking for more realtime updates, that's a good place to go. For some of these books I've shared them on Instagram throughout the year, and if that's the case I've included those images here. With that, here's my list of favorites from the year, listed in the order I read them.
1. Becoming Queen: How a tragic and untimely death shaped the reign of Queen Victoria by Kate Williams
Read May 20 - May 26, 2020
I loved this nonfiction book on both Princess Charlotte and her similarities with Queen Victoria. Princess Charlotte is such a fancinating figure. The fact that she died so young in childbirth with such a future ahead of her heartbreaking. Yet if she had lived Queen Victoria would never even have been born. Talk about a crossroads of history!
2. The Library of Legends by Janie Chang
Raed June 4 - June 7, 2020
While I wasn't willing to rank my top 10 in order of favorites, I will say without a doubt, this was my favorite of the year! It takes place in China during WWII. There's a bit of a love triangle in it. But what stayed with me the most is the magic! This is my second book of Chang's and I've really enjoyed them both. She's slowly becoming one of my favorite authors!
3. Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Read June 13 - 16, 2020
I loved this romance set at a Renaissance Faire. I have such strong memories of going to the Faire year after year growing up and this brought me back there. Yes, the love story was cute, but it's the setting that this is on the list.

4. The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin
Read June 20, 2020 (Yes in a single day!)
I know there's mixed reviews on this, but I really enjoyed it. Of all of these books on this list, this is the one I most want to reread (likely because I devoured it so quickly!). There's a pretty big twist in this that I had hoped for, but didn't see coming. It'll be interesting to see how thise reads now that I know what to expect.

5. Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
Read June 27 - June 28, 2020
I made a point to read more Black authors this year, especially after everything that occured this summer. There were several I was a fan of, but loved this one the most. Yes, it's about race and what's it's like being Black in America. But it's also about growing up without money. It just managed to capture the feeling so well of what being a young teenager is like. I believe this is marketed as Middle Grade, but there are some very grown up themes in it. After enjoying this one so much I've started to read through more of Renée Watson's backlist. This Side of Home is another of hers I enjoyed (but not as much as this!); that one is instead considered YA. She has a couple of children's books as well that I'd love to add to our collection.
6. My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
Read August 10 - August 21, 2020
I loved Stephanie Dray's Lily of the Nile books and was excited about this one. Although since I hadn't been into Hamilton, I didn't feel "qualified" to read this. Thanks to Disney+ though, I was able to watch Hamilton on July 4th. A month later I decided to read the book (and then of course once finished watched the musical again). For those reasons my enjoyment of this books is combined with the musical, but I am able to keep the straight in my mind, at least for the most part. Especially if you enjoy the musical, I'd highly recomend this book, telling the story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton.

7. The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan
Read Setember 4 - September 6, 2020
I read two books from Jenny Colgan this year, both from the Scottish Bookshop series. I enjoyed them both, but this one, the second was my favorite. It's just such an adorable story. With the lack of traveling this year, this book transported me to Scotland and I had fun being there!
8. The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig
October 8 - October 11, 2020
Nine years ago I started reading the Pink Carnation books. (Here's my review fom then even!) My mom had lent me the books because she had enjoyed them and thought I would. Of course she was right! I never got to tell her though since I started the first less than 24 hours before she died. Through the years I've read one or two, but this year I comitted to finishing the series. I read books 9 - 12 this year. (It had been a while since I had read any, reading book 7 in 2015 and book 8 in 2017!) I had assumed I'd have the final book on my list, and while I enjoyed it, I've actually included book 11, the second to last. This one has a bit of a Halloween theme to it. (Perfect since I read it in October!) I really enjoyed finishing the series this year, and can't beleive it took me so long to do so.
9. A Most English Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria's Daughter by Clare McHugh
October 19 - October 26, 2020
I read one book on Queen Victoria's cousin this year and then this one on Queen Victoria's daughter. (Of course there were the Pink Carnation books as well taking place around the same time period.) Clearly I read a lot from this time period, but this felt like a new perspective. Partly because while it does start in England a significant portion takes place in Germany. This was a debut book from the author, but I'm excited to see what she comes up with next!
10 Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Read November 4 - November 8, 2020
I know I'm a year late to this one, but no surprise, I loved it too. The love story was awesome. I also loved all the random pop culture bits. It was so much fun! This was also a debut and an author I'm excited to read more from in the future.

Honorary Mentions
American Royals by Katharine McGee
Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
The Sworn Virgin by Kristopher Dukes
The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
Secret Sisters by Joy Callaway
You've Been Volunteered: A Class Mom Novel by Laurie Gelman
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park
The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

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

Monday, October 26, 2020

5 Years Update

5 Years Old
You are 5 years old!
June 24
I remember years and years ago, on Girl's Gone Child, Rebecca Woolf wrote how 5 was the age her kids graduated from the blog. It was when it stopped being her story and their own story started. I've always thought that made sense. It's the year you start school and longtime friends begin. Even before I was pregnant I planned to do the same with my future children. And somehow we're here and I can hardly believe it. Wasn't it yesterday you were born? How on earth have these years flown by so quickly?
July 20
So for one final time, here are a couple of stats for you. At your 5th year check-up you were 44 inches tall (76th%ile) and weighed 35 lbs (15th%ile). You're wearing a mix of 4t and 6t clothes and size 11 shoes.
August 12
In the fall you started Pre-K at a brand new school. A handful of others from your Preschool were there too and while all 4 girls wound up in different classes, one of the boys was in your class. It took you a bit to adjust. Previously you had been a bit of a Queen Bee and it took you a while to realize not everyone would play exactly what you wanted. But after a couple of weeks into the school year you had quickly made new friends, especially with E.
August 31
In the fall you played soccer with one of your old friends from preschool. For the spring you're signed up to play again, this time with a group of girls from your new school. You also doing tumbling on Tuesdays after school and are slightly upset that I never signed you up to play after school basketball as well!
October 9
You still love books. We've been continuing with early chapter book series. Recent favorites there have been Princess in Black and Ivy and Bean. Others non-chapter books that you really enjoy are the Pinkalicious series and Elephant and Piggie series.
October 19
One big change of your new school is that they have a cafeteria. After bringing your lunch initially you quickly insisted you wanted to eat there every day. Doing so has actually introduced you to salads were previous you hadn't really tried. Overall though you aren't a picky eater. Some favorites are gumbo, spaghetti, soup, cereal, and pretty much any dessert.

October 27
You don't watch a ton of tv, but a favorite would likely be Pinkalicious. Instead we're much more likely to be watching movies. You recently saw Frozen 2 in theaters and really liked it. Other favorites have been any of the Toy Story movies or Trolls.
November 10
It's hard to believe this is the last of these type of updates I'll be writing. I want to say that you'll still be on the blog, but that would mean I actually need to sit down and write, which as we've seen doesn't happen often. It's crazy to think that your baby-hood is over and you've basically your own person now.
December 11
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
3 2/3 Years ~ 4 Years ~ 4 1/2 Years

Monday, October 5, 2020

3 1/3 (and 3) Years Update

3 Years Old
3 1/3 Years Old
You're 3 1/3 years old!
August 6
August 12
Or I guess more importantly you were 3 years old in October! At least I'm remembering to take these pictures. Although at the time I'm writing this I have yet to take you 3 1/3 year picture, so we'll see if that actually happens.
August 24
September 15
At your 3 year visit you were 35.5 inches tall (10th%ile) and weighed 24 lbs and 16 ozs (up to the 1st%ile!). Your wearing a mix of 18 month and 2t bottoms mixed in with some 3t tops. For shoes, you're in size 8.
September 21
September 30
You had a blast at your 3rd birthday. You had a bunch of your friends from school there to play with you at the "jump-y place." It was themed "Things That Go," which is perfect for you. All the time when we're driving you're pointing out fire trucks or motorcycles or lawn mowers to me. You have no problem correcting me either saying things like "No that's an backhoe, not an excavator!"
October 12
October 20
This past Fall you played soccer with one of your friends from school and had a great time. In the Spring, you can't wait to play Tball with your cousin. You love LSU sports, especially Joe Burrow. You have a Joe Burrow jersey and if you could, you'd wear it everyday. You'll ask "When I'm a grown-up, can I play baseball with Daddy and Joe Burrow?" and don't quite understand all the reasons why it can't happen.
October 24
October 27
Potty training is still a bit of a work in progress. Some days are better than others, but I figure, you'll get it out eventually, right?
October 31
November 28
Your absolute favorite food is tacos. If doesn't matter what it is, if it's in a tortilla you'll eat. And yes, we've tried it... anyone else ever eat jambalaya in a tortilla?
December 25
January 13
You are all boy. So destructive and constantly on the go. But you have a sweet side to you too. You still give hugs and kisses and will tell me, "best mommy ever."
February 15
February 22
In some ways I can't wait for you to get a little bit older. Maybe you'll listen a little better then... maybe you'll actually be using the potty then... but then again, I think I'd miss how little and adorable you are now.
Here's a comparison with your sister at 3 Years and 3 1/13 Years.
3 Years
3 1/3 Years
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 ~ 22 Months ~ 24 Months
2 1/4 Years~2 1/2 Years ~ 2 3/4 Years