Goodbye 2020!

I know we’re supposed to hate 2020, but if I’m being honest it was a relatively ok (dare I say good?) year for me… Compared to 2019, I would do 2020 again in a heartbeat. 2019 chewed us up and spit us out. Then stepped on us and lit us on fire.

I know that 2020 was an awful year for many many people, though. I don’t discredit that and if you’re someone who suffered terribly these past 12 months please know I’m thinking about you and praying for you. I, too, am looking forward to hopefully never having another year like that again.

But as I said, 2020 wasn’t the worst year I’ve had. We got to spend SO much time with Moo. We got to hog her for holidays and witness so many milestones. We had a forced slow down with work (through which we tried so hard to maintain and take care of employees) and we didn’t travel one single place after March. After years of professional go-go-going, it was weird. And it was eye opening. And it’s helped us to prioritize a little more going forward.

We are lucky that our family has been mostly healthy and safe. A few of us have had COVID, but we haven’t had any loss in our family and I am so grateful for this. My heart breaks for those who’ve had a year marked by death.

I still haven’t convinced K to get me a kitten. We bought a camper. We cancelled countless trips. We fought over whose mask was whose. We survived sleep regressions and teething. We had groceries delivered and quiet holidays. We had a slow year that I very ironically wished for at the end of 2019.

So here’s the normal pic recap…

New Years! | Finished nursery | Baby Moo | Fender Bender | Fly to TX | Moo at the Alamo | K drumming | Swiss relative visit | Pandemic yoga w/ best friends
Lots of family walks | Baby Moo | Easter | First taste of cereal | Green beans fail | Hike w/ Bristol | Anniversary pic | Kayla’s Matron of Honor! | Off to buy a new truck
Aub engaged! | Cousin graduates | Family cookout | First Moo swim | M actually likes food | K takes up cooking | Moo 6 months! | Lots of front porch time | K’s 1st Father’s Day
Bike trailer for M | Zoo | 4th of July | 1st camping trip | Bought a camper | Family front porch time | 1st time in our camper | Family fun | F&C buy a house
Purple hair | Fall | Kayla’s dress!| Social Distance get-together | Baby Cooper | Bday hike | Halloween | COVID | Corvette pics
Big girl! | Friday’s with AJ | Outdoor hangs | Thanksgiving | 12 month pics | Moo’s 1st Bday! | Xmas tree | Merry Christmas! | Christmas morning

It was a weird year, but looking back it seems we made the most of it. Here’s to 2021 being better than its predecessor. Honestly… it shouldn’t be tough.

Hopefully you find some bright spots when looking back on your year, too!

What I Read… 2018 Recap

This is my favorite post to write every single year! I love making the charts and answering the book-related questions and combing through my GoodReads list to see what worlds and decades and countries I visit via print!! 📚

Today I am linking up with Steph and Jana (of course) but also borrowing a book recap tag from Jamie (The Perpetual Page Turner) as I do each year! Also, I made my graphs here.

I read 40 books this year. To some that’s a lot, to many that’s a few. To me it’s mostly perfect. I went through lulls and spurts. I’m 100% good with 40 books in 2018. Here’s how they hashed out:

I need to be more picky with my star ratings. How I have zero “2 stars” is unbeknownst to me… I ALSO finally finished one of Erin’s Book Challenges! Finally!! A new one starts on Tuesday and I’m pumped.

Alrighty, on to the year end review tag.

Number Of Books You Read: 40
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: SciFi/Fantasy, Romance, & HistFic

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Best Book You Read In 2018
I read some great ones, but the best was The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t
After Alice by Gregory Maguire & The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

 Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. I didn’t remember what the movie was about AND the book takes a different tone than the film anyway.

 Best series you started or best Sequel or best Series Ender of 2018
I started The Three Dark Crowns series. I plan to tackle books #2 & 3 in 2019.

 Favorite new author you discovered in 2018
Mariana Zapata and R.S. Grey

 Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimanamda Ngozi Adichie

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018
A Holiday By Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

Most memorable character of 2018
I loved Juliet & all the people of Guernsey (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows)

 Most beautifully written book read in 2018
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff was lovely. It was nonfiction & reading those letter, written by real people, made time seemingly stop.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read
Guernsey & THUG

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata – 673 pages
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – 52 pages

Book That Shocked You The Most
An Act of Villainy by Ashley Weaver. It was a mystery and I did NOT solve it.

OTP OF THE YEAR (One True Pairing- you will go down with this ship!)
Vanessa & Aiden (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Meredith & Edith (Arrogant Devil by R.S. Grey)

Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
All the illustrated Harry Potter books.

Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018
Aiden Graves (Winnipeg) and Nate (One of Us Is Lying)

Best 2018 debut you read
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (a 2017 debut read in 2018)

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read
Arrogant Devil by R.S. Grey

Hidden Gem Of The Year
Winnipeg – although not-so-hidden since Kristen sings its praises 😉

Book That Crushed Your Soul
And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

Most Unique Book You Read In 2018
A Tyranny of Petticoats (various authors) – love it, though

Book That Made You The Most Mad
Until Harry by L.A. Casey- not a good book OR romance

Goodbye & Farewell 2017

It’s a week of recaps, my friends. First and foremost, this is my last post of 2017!

I hope you have a wonderful, fun, safe, exciting (or relaxing) end of the year!!

Happy New Year!

(You can either read on for my year-end recap or peace out from here 😉 )

My goals for 2017 were as follows:

Be Healthy. FAIL. Same weight and habits and vices going strong. *face palm*

Feel Less Guilty About Downtime. While I still enjoy multitasking, I definitely don’t feel guilty about indulging in some downtime.

Read more. I read 25 books in 2016. I read 33 this year.

Become a Morning Person. No… this didn’t happen. I’ve only recently started rolling out of bed a little earlier and a little less rushed…

Get on Schedule. Eh. Meal planning happened and all the holidays fell into place. This is a work in progress, but I’ll take it. *shrug*

In my opinion, 2017 was a challenging and transitional year…

The political climate this year was tense and frustrating and volatile. I don’t see that ceasing in 2018, but I’m going into the new year hopeful and hungry for equality and change and progress.

At the start of 2017 I join K at PI. We sold our first home together over the summer and moved into a new one in October. We went to some weddings, watched a lot of NASCAR, and took a family vacation to the beach. K brought home a new vehicular baby and we checked some concerts off our bucket list. I quit biting my nails, I blogged consistently, and we hit a new milestone with the business. K turned 30, Enzo turned 4 (!), and Lylee turned 6 (!!). One of our favorite babies was born this year & lots of friends announced pregnancies, engagements, and new significant others. For us, it was a stressful year full of learning and change, but I wouldn’t take any of it back.

Baby Tobin | New Vette | February Brunch Date | San Antonio | K’s 30th Bday | Orchestra for Mom’s Bday | Family Pic | 4th Anniversary | Landscaping

Buckeye Country Superfest | Lylee turns 6 | Mid-Ohio Race | 4th of July on the USS NC | Bridal Brunch | Family Vacation at Sunset Beach, NC | Bridal Shower | Enzo turns 4 | Bridal Party

New house | Cedar Point with Honda | In-laws New Kitty | Rehearsal Dinner Pic | My Bday | Goofy Wedding Pic | Not-So-Baby Tobin | Halloween | The Babes

I remember coming out of 2016 feeling terrible. The end of 2017 doesn’t feel so bad.
Personally, I’m grateful for the year I had. I’m hoping 2018 proves to be an even better one.

(Recaps from 2016 and 2015. And 2014 for good measure, lol.)

How was your 2017?

What I Read… in 2017

Hi ya. Let’s get to it. Linking up with Jana and Steph per usual!
(Also, borrowing portions of Jamie‘s year-end book survey again.)

What_I_Read_blog

No. of Books Read: 33
No. of Re-Reads: 1
Most Read Genre: Fantasy

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Best Book You Read In 2017?
Uhhhhh… I just don’t know.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Westing Game
. I wanted it to be a little more sinister than it was… I guess I should’ve read it when I was younger. I didn’t really enjoy A Wrinkle in Time, either. Once again, I should’ve read it when I was younger.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
The Last Runaway
. This book was edgier than I expected. Also, I found myself disagreeing with the main character through most of the second half, but I still liked her. That doesn’t happen often. (We’d have made different choice and I actually think I’d have made the wrong ones… lol.)

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I think I pushed Heartless and The Bear & the Nightingale on people. Whether or not they read them, I don’t know.

Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?
I finished The Lunar Chronicles this year. Sigh. I wish I could read it all again with virgin eyes.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?
I started reading Agatha Christie books and found out that I really enjoy her writing style. I mean… she’s not new, but she’s new to me. Taylor Jenkins Reid blew me out of the water, too.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
. I usually avoid contemporary but damn. So good.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I give the series overall three stars, but The One was pretty fast paced and “unputdownable.” I also devoured The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
None. I rarely reread books. (I’ll reread HP & the Sorcerer’s Stone but not in 2018.)

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?
The Sisters Brothers
.
I bought this book for someone for Christmas and I refused to buy it with the alternative cover.

Most memorable character of 2017?
Enzo from The Art of Racing in the Rain ❤︎

Most beautifully written book read in 2017?
The Bear and the Nightingale
.

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?
Without contest, The Handmaid’s Tale.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 
Definitely The Handmaid’s Tale again.

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
Intrigue in Capri
(54 pages) & Winter (827 pages).

Book That Shocked You The Most?
There was some serious violence in The Sisters Brothers.

OTP OF THE YEAR?
Other than all the couples in Winter/The Lunar Chronicles, I didn’t really have a favorite romance this year.

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?
Vasya and Alyosha from The Bear and the Nightingale.

Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
I read three from Ashley Weaver this year, but I liked A Most Novel Revenge the best.

Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?
I think Jana & Erin both recommended The Sisters Brothers. And everyone recommended The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?
I was so in love with Frost while I was reading The Bear and the Nightingale. It was a weird attraction. Haha.

Best 2017 debut you read?
I loved Meyer’s graphic novel debut Wires & Nerve.

Best World-Building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Heartless was amazingly descriptive, as was The Moonspinners.

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Book That Crushed Your Soul?
The Art of Racing in the Rain. First of all, the dog’s name was Enzo. Secondly, I started this book right after we lost our family dog Heidi. This book straight up destroyed me- I was sobbing on Sunset Beach in the middle of a hot July afternoon.

Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?
A Boy Called Christmas. It was a holiday book and a kids book (I think) but it was sweet and sad and wonderful. Last January I made a note in the December section of my planner to read this book and I’m glad I did!

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Wrath and The Dawn. I know people loved this one, but it had allll my YA pet peeves tied into one story. *shrug*

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One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?
Just one? HA. Probably Three Dark Crowns (Kendare Blake) & Girl Waits With Gun (Amy Stewart) since they’re a part of Erin’s challenge. I also plan to read One of Us is Lying (Karen McManus).

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?
I’m hoping to start the A Court of Thrones and Roses series this year.

The 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I’m not sure… Any suggestions?

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?
I’m pretty excited for Wires & Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue (Marissa Meyer) due out Jan. 30th.

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?
I’m planning to finish one of Erin‘s challenges- hopefully the 8.0 one.

graphs made here



What did your reading year look like?

Life According to Steph

The Last Bit of 2015 Confessions

Hi ya! It’s the last Wednesday of the year, my friends! I’m pretty focused on straightening up my house and keeping up with my work load and visiting with my baby brother while he’s home so I didn’t prep much for today… so how about some confessions??
(Linking up with Laura, Lauren, Kathy, and Nadine, of course!)

I am already planning 2016’s Halloween Party. I have the theme, date, and tentative guest list done. #WantAHint? #Let’sPartyLikeIt’s1999

I will have amazing hair when I become an old lady. First of all, my hair is already turning a metallic grey color. Secondly, when I let it air dry it gets all fluffy and old lady-like. #OldLadyFrenchTwists #GoingGreyAt25 #HairGoals

grey hair

Sometimes I catch myself sitting really weird… Like, chest out and my chin up. Or my chin down and I’m looking up with my eyes at the screen. Or my head is sideways… #WhyCan’tIAccidentallyHaveGoodPosture? #NoWonderMyBackHurts

So… on Monday I realized our electric bill was due so I very calmly logged onto the website and paid the +$2 fee to make an instant payment. I was feeling good until I remembered that I’d already sent in the payment last Wednesday. Oops. #ChristmasBrain #I’veGotNextMonthCoveredIGuess #Dammit

A few nights ago my dad, my brother, and I got into a heated political/religious debate. It’s so confusing how my dad (& mom) raise two people who have totally different beliefs from each other AND our parents… (K and my mom safely silently sat in the living room with their phone/iPad.) #AtLeastWeAllRejectTrump #ItEndedPeacefully #WhatHappenedToTheDaysWhenIWasTheControversialOne? #MyBrotherHasMeBeat

And now some Christmas confessions…

As the day progressed I got some amazing gifts and I was happy with everything, but I was especially looking for the illustrated HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone. When it didn’t show up under our tree or my parents’ tree I was a little sad… but then my mother-in-law gifted it to me! #Yaaaaaas #HappyChristmasHarry #BestMILEver

celebrate

I played Star Wars Monopoly on Christmas against my teenage cousins and my grandma… I dominate that galaxy, guys. I even held back a little and still dominated. #RealEstateMogul #JustCallMeTrump #ButActuallyDon’t

Let’s pretend like humility doesn’t exist for a hot second… I feel like the mother-loving Queen of Gifts this year. I bought my husband the cymbals he’s been wanting, I sent my niece and nephews their official Hogwarts letters, and I outfitted my brother and his fiancee with niffy, often-forgotten cooking and baking tools. #QueenOfChristmas #IKnowThat’sNotWhatIt’sAbout #ButILoveToSeeTheirFacesLightUp

Bow Down

I also got my father-in-law a Gryffindor quidditch bathroom… #BestDaughterInLawEver #ItWasTheOnlyHouseLeft #ButHe’sABraveGryffindor

Did you guys see the moon halo/rainbow/ring on Christmas?? #What’sTheOfficialName? #ItWasPrettyNeat

My Christmas tree died halfway through December… #CarpetOfNeedles #ISwearIWateredIt #IKillPlants #It’sComingDownToday #Dammit

But I will never surrender to the fake tree. #RealTrees4ever

Never

How about some of my favorite holiday photos?

Christmas_Eve_Service
The engagement gift K & I made for my brother and Christina

Christmas_morning_gift
Lylee was in heaven and my cute little husband was so happy with his cymbals!

Christmas_gift
When the excitement of my dad’s Christmas gift finally sank in… (My mom is also an A+ gift-er.)

Christmas_gifts
All but one pillow were Christmas gifts to me!

Christmas_dinner
On Sunday night we took the PI team out to dinner at Bravo for Christmas!

And now we’re on the eve of NYE! Enjoy the last two days of 2015, guys!!

-Louise

Hashtaghumpdayhump