2017 Booklist

One of the line items on the annual year in review survey asks what the best book was that you read over the last year.  For 2016 I couldn’t think of one, let alone think of a book I had finished cover to cover — chances are if I did it was simple no mind “potato chip” book.

So, one of my resolutions is to read a book per month (or average that) for 2017 – so, here’s my starting list for the year:

1// The Time Travelers Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
2// Animal Farm, by George Orwell
3// Small Gods, Terry Prachett
4// Doomsday Book, Connie Willis
(these are all from the NPR top 100 Sci-fi/Fantasy list)
5// The Book Thief. Markus Zusak
6// The Professor, Charlotte Bronte
7// Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor
8// Hillbilly Elegy, J. D. Vance
9// The Nest, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
10// Last Testament: In His Own Words, Pope Benedict XVI
11// The Apostasy That Wasn’t, Rod Bennett
12// The Awakening of Miss Prim, Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

There isn’t any real rhyme or reason to the list.  I just scrolled through the NPR top list I have up there ^^, through Good Reads, Amazon, and some of the blogs I read regularly and tossed together something.  Before last year I used to average 4-6 books per month, which simply didn’t happen last year. Well, I guess it did if you count reading Home for a Bunny and Little Blue Truck on repeat.  I may or may not have a few of Bernhard’s favorites memorized now….

Obviously if I finish all of these I’ll add to the list — and that’s my hope — so dear readers, if I get through this list what else should I read in 2017?  Leave me a comment 😉

Reflecting on 2016 (end of the year survey)

It’s that time of the year again.  And look at this, hey hey, I’m actually posting it somewhat on time this year.  Go me… it’s the little things in life sometimes.

Without further ado, 2016 in review folks:

  1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? Let’s just leave it at it being a medical procedure that one doesn’t discuss in polite company. On a better note — we attended GenCon!
  2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Nope, and I meant to make some when I turned 30, but turning 30 really threw me for a loop. Then I had a health scare, then things got busy at work, then, then, excuse excuse excuse.  2017 will be different.  Resolutions include being more patient, moving more and reading a book/month.
  3. Did anyone close to you give birth? yup.  Tis the season of life.
  4. Did anyone close to you die? we lost JP’s grandmother the end of May, and his grandfather last week. It’s been a rocky year.
  5. What countries did you visit? none! I would like to see that change for 2017, but maybe we’ll look into exploring more of the US? We’ll see!
  6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? No credit card debt.  We’re working on that 🙂
  7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory and why? June 18 — I turned 30.  Lame, but there you have it. November 9th gets nod too.
  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Does just getting through it count?  It was not an easy year for us.
  9. What was your biggest failure? Something I previously wrote about — I wasn’t as patient as I could be with John Paul and Bernhard.
  10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Yes. It was NOT a good year for us in that regard. Marathon of colds, wicked stomach bugs that took all three of us out, we all got hand foot and mouth disease, I ended up in the ER a week after I turned 30, B ended up at urgent care on Christmas Eve. Most of my pto was used on sick days.
  11. What was the best thing you bought? GenCon family day tickets.
  12. What did you get really, really, really excited about? GenCon! We finally made it after 7 years of missing out.  And was awesome.  We’re looking forward to the big 5-0 in 2017.
  13. What song will always remind you of 2016? R.E.M.: It’s the end of the world
  14. Compared to this time last year, are you: Thinner or fatter? About the same. I’m determined to be more active this year, which means at LEAST one Blogilates video every night, even if we go for a family walk or hike during the day.
  15. Richer or poorer? We racked up some debt, so poorer. But that’s ok.  Some of that came from expenses we knew would be coming eventually, but we didn’t think they’d come as soon as they did.
  16. What do you wish you’d done more of? Played more board games. It’s hard with a toddler… but I wish we had done more of it.  Also hiking.  We’re in a great geographical position for it.  And blogging.  I wish I had written more about life this year.
  17. What do you wish you’d done less of? Being angry.  It was a really tough year, and I spent a good portion of it angry with myself, with JP and with life in general.
  18. Did you fall in love in 2016? Always.  Deeper in love with JP, and more in love with Bernhard.
  19. What was your favorite TV program? The Crown! Though Stranger things is a very close second. John Lithgow put The Crown over the edge with his performance as Churchill.
  20. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Not really.  I already disliked certain people and this year with the high level of emotion with the election cemented a few in their places. *coughcoughlenadunhamcoughcough*
  21. What was the best book you read? Ugh, 2016 was NOT a good year for reading — I honestly cannot think of a single book that I started and finished…
  22. What was your greatest musical discovery? A-Wa:
  23. What did you want and get? Heh… lips are sealed because it’s something personal. So let’s go with GenCon attendance.
  24. What did you want and not get? Health.  And rest.
  25. What did you not want and get? Hand Foot and Mouth disease. My case was severe.  I would NOT wish it on my worst enemy.
  26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? We went to Mass, picked up wings and went camping. The site involved pit toilets and a crazy sounding raccoon who woke us up in the middle of the night. Turning 30 really weirded me out for some reason.
  27. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not having a chunk of debt – but also being able to use my PTO for an actual rest/vacation instead of all the sick days.
  28. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? Attempting to dress my age. It involved purging a good chunk of my wardrobe -including things from college!- and a failed attempt at StitchFix. I think I’m in a better place this year than I’ve been before.
  29. What kept you sane? The usual suspects.  Plus the BVM.  My devotions to her ramped up a bit this year trying to wade throught postpartum gumbo.
  30. Which celebrity/public figure did you follow the most? Lots of deaths.  Mother Angelica, Carrie Fisher… it was a year where a lot of big names departed.
  31. What political issue stirred you the most? The terror in Europe — including but not limited to the martyrdom of Fr. Hamil, the attack in Nice, multiple attacks in Istanbul, and the Berlin Christmas Market attack. (bet you thought I was going to say something about the 2016 presidential election — nope. Already said what I plan to say on that.)
  32. Who did you miss? Family and friends we don’t live near.  The usual suspects.  Not a person, but I’ve been missing Germany a lot this year.
  33. Who was the best new person you met? I’m going with my friend Hannah — she’s got two awesome little kids, and we met them through the coop.  We need to have another wine and whine soon 🙂
  34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016: Self-care and rest are important — they aren’t selfish, in fact they’re something that hugely benefits everyone else in your life at large.  It’s not selfish to ask JP to take B when said toddler wakes up so you can sleep a couple more hours.  No one benefits from mom acting like a martyr.
  35. Quote a song lyric or something that sums up your year:

    “Team by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped.
    Look at that low playing! Fine, then.
    Uh oh, overflow, population, common group
    But it’ll do. Save yourself, serve yourself.
    World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed,”
    R.E.M., It’s the End of the World.

A Very Merry Christmas

From our little family to you!


As you can imagine, for JP and me it was boardgame year – we had a bunch of kickstarters come in and decided to save them for Christmas. My sisters even surprised us with a few awesome games — including the Imploding Kittens expansion!

At this moment Bernhard has only opened about half of his gifts — being 19-months old means that as soon as you open one awesome toy you have to take a few minutes to play, which is perfectly fine. He’s been excited about everything he’s opened so far 🙂 Eventually he’ll get around to opening the books mommy and daddy got for him.

While our little mister naps we’re doing dinner prep — I’m reading Julia Child’s directions for roasting a duck, and JP is about to start peeling sweet potatoes that will be scalloped with Gruyére cheese. We have a chocolate cake with chocolate caramel and sea salt on top, and I’m sipping my final cup of coffee for the day with a splash of egg nog.

Again, Merry Christmas! We hope that everyone has a joyous season.

Beauty of Motherhood (give-a-gift)

This year we’re doing a few little giveaways, or as I like to call them give-a-gifts to my lovely readers!  One contest will be open each Thursday of advent, and will close the following week.  All prizes will ship on December 30, 2016.

The final advent give-a-gift this year represents two things that have been forces in my motherhood journey, not only because of how I’ve felt both have been essential to getting into the parenting grove, but also because of the communities and tribes I’ve found within these two things.

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Tea, GLORIOUS tea! (give-a-gift)

This year we’re doing a few little giveaways, or as I like to call them give-a-gifts to my lovely readers!  One contest will be open each Thursday of advent, and will close the following week.  All prizes will ship on December 30, 2016.

Tea.  Oh my goodness I love tea.   I drink at least a cup, more like alt least 5, a day.  Yesterday I may or may not have had 7 in addition to two cups of coffee… mama was tired.

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