A Cuppa Cosy Reads – February 2020

“I need books like I need oxygen” – Ellery Adams, The Book of Candlelight

Welcome to my library, my domain, my happy place. It is time to, once again, wrap up the books that I have read in the past month.

SpeierBranding19-77
Photo by Angie at A Cup of Grace Photography

February was a bit all over the place with reading. I read a total of 8 books, listened to 2 books on audio, and DNF’d 1 book and honestly, I felt like my reads were either incredible or mediocre (to bad). Looking at my rating I gave mostly either 3 Star or 5 Star ratings to each book and it was definitely something that played a role both in the books I picked up and in how I felt while reading each subsequent book.

So, let’s just break down all of the books I read in February. Starting with my completed physical books:

A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer: (Goodreads/Purchase) 5/5 Stars. This is the second book in a Trilogy that has really impressed me. In the first book we follow a young girl as she is thrust into a Fantasy world that parallels our own, and she has to fight for her new home to survive. In this second book we follow the same characters as the first, meet some new characters, and have the stakes increased once again. I think I preferred this second book to the first one as we get to delve more into the politics of these different towns, we get to see a different side of our characters as well as continue to see strong female characters navigating society. I loved the first book, but I think I’ve loved this second one even more.

The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay: (Goodreads/Purchase) 3/5 Stars. Ah, I think my most disappointing read of the month. In The Bronte Plot we follow a young lady who seems to have it all, only to have everything crash down around her. As she works to try and pick up the pieces she goes on a trip that will change everything for her. This was my third Katherine Reay novel and I think I’ve liked each one less and less. In this story I did not connect with our main character, Lucy, in any way. I found her to be quite…annoying. I didn’t care for the love interest, nor did I understand why certain elements were added within the book. Quite honestly, the book wasn’t bad necessarily (and wouldn’t be bad if you just wanted something light and fluffy to read), but it felt half assed at times.

Bunny by Mona Awad: (Goodreads/Purchase) 3/5 Stars. I don’t even know where to begin with this book, including how to summarize it. We follow Samantha who feels like she doesn’t “fit in” with the other students in her master’s Program. One day she receives an invitation to join into an exclusive salon held by the other women in her program, called The Bunnies. All is not what it seems though and as Samantha falls deeper she starts to take part in some dangerous rituals with a deadly outcome. (All per the inside flap of the book). Honestly this book had me saying “WTF” from start to finish and I still don’t even know what was really going on. There is something sickly sweet and funny about this book, but also just really out there and really confusing.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer: (Goodreads/Purchase) NR. I really wanted to listen to the audiobook for this book as I had heard such rave reviews for the audio, but alas it was not meant to be. Eating Animals is a nonfiction book talking about the animal industry. It follows one man as he works through his education about the industry, his feelings towards eating animals, and ultimately what he decided. Honestly, I think someone that I really appreciated about this book was that while it was focused on the ethics (which is something that I already knew about going into this book), BUT it shared multiple perspectives. We get to hear testimonial from Cattle Ranchers, Factory Farmers, PETA, and someone who is vegetarian (I believe) but runs a ranch. I think something I took away from this book is that ultimately everyone has to do what is right by their own moral code.

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher: (Goodreads/Purchase) 3.5/5 Stars. Ah this book was a conflicting one- on one hand a wild ride, but on the other a bit of a disappointment. The Wives asks you “What if your husband was married to two other women and what if one of those women shows signs of abuse.” So, this book was an easy read, contained some good twists, and had a really great concept. HOWEVER, I did not care for the main character for 2/3’s of the book and found the ending to not entirely fit with the rest of the story.

The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams: (Goodreads/Purchase) 5/5 Stars. Another sequel has made the list! This is the third book in the Secret, Book, and Scone Series, a series which follows 4 women who have found friendship with each other. Each books presents a mystery in their little town of Miracle Springs and we follow them as they try to solve that mystery. Gosh, I just want these books to continue to come out and we can continue to just live in this little world. I love the vibe of the bookstore and town that these stories take place and I love that are characters are starting to grow and open up more and more.

World Without End by Ken Follett: (Goodreads/Purchase) 5/5 Stars. This is a sequel or companion novel to Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, and I loved it just as much as the first one. In World Without End we are still in Kingsbridge, although we are a couple generations removed from the first story. When a mysterious fight occurs in the forest, 4 young children and one adult end up being bound together for much longer than they ever thought. Let me just say this, Ken Follett knows how to weave a saga. I loved every single page of this 1000+ page book and I loved that we got to follow a few women who worked hard to follow their passion/dream and didn’t cave to demands of others. I really liked the strength of our characters and that we get to see a little bit more of the town politics. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls: (Goodreads/Purchase) NR. Man, Lily was one heck of a woman. In Half Broke Horses we follow the grandmother of Jeannette Walls as she grows up on the frontier. Lily is an incredible woman, from breaking horses at a young age, to growing up learning how to fight for what she believes at a time when women weren’t really fighting. Jeannette wrote this book in first person, which not only makes the book easily readable and relatable, but adds a power and insight to the era’s that she lived in. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would highly recommend.

Now on the books I listened to on Audio:

The Only Plane in the Sky : An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff: (Goodreads/Purchase) NR. This was the most incredible book I’ve listened to in my life. This spans out September 11 and the days following in the words of those who experienced it. You hear from survivors, their families, pilots of other planes, people in the Capital, members of Air Traffic Control, and so many others. I think this is one of those books that is just the greatest tribute and memorial we could ever have. I highly, highly recommend listening to the Audio book, but I will also be purchasing the physical book because it was just that good.

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire: (Goodreads/Purchase) 5/5 Stars. Listen, I just love diving back into these novella length stories, and I don’t think anything will change that. In this 5th installment we get to meet back up with some of my favorite characters and see a new world within this world. The Wayward Children series is a really fun series of novella length stories that talk about what happens when children return from these other worlds (like Alice in Wonderland, Narnia, etc.). They are really just good fun to read.

And Finally, the one book that I “gave up” on:

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson: (Goodreads/Purchase) I’ll be honest, I was hoping that this book would be along the same vein of the Charlotte Holmes series, which is one of my favorite school set mysteries in the Young Adult genre. The premise sounds great, a kidnapping at a school that leads to a famous cold case. We follow two different timelines as our main character tries (with some fierce determination) to solve the kidnapping. I got about 130 pages in when I realized that I just wasn’t connecting to the story or the characters and everything just felt a bit…meh. Instead of trying to push through, I just put it down as the feeling I was getting was one of “the whole story is going to be a bit meh” rather than “maybe I just need to get through this set up portion first”.

So, those are all of the books that I read in the month of February! As of the time that I am writing this I am in the process of deciding what to read next as I’ve just finished Half Broke Horses. What was your favorite book that you read in the month of February?

 

 

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – January 2020

Welcome to my library. My domain. My happy place. In my library I’m in my element. Let’s talk books…

IMG_2735
Photo taken by Angie at A Cup of Grace Photography

I said that something I wanted to introduce a little more regularly on my little slice of the internet was books. I’m an avid reader and while I have an entire blog dedicated to books, I felt like that having such a big part of my life be so separate from my personal blog, was…strange to me. I’ve been sharing my reads as I am reading them on my social media, but I think I am also going to wrap up each month with a little post talking about what I’ve read that month. I’ll have the title, links to goodreads/purchasing options, my rating of the book, and then my thoughts of the book. (If you are curious about my library/office, you can see that post HERE).

In January I read a total of 7 books and listened to 1 audio book. Overall it was what I would consider a really good reading month, the lowest rating I gave out was a low 3 star and on the whole I actually enjoyed most of the books that I read. This month was the month of Dark, Thrilling, In One Sitting reads. I have added a new favorite genre (I’ve always loved it, but I have a name for it now and a narrowed down taste) and I’ve added an author to my “try some more” list. And now, I’m going to stop aimlessly waffling and start talking about the books…

*** I apologize for the Purchase links going to Amazon Audible options, you can select the physical or e-book version using the same link. I will have a different link moving forward***

Untitled Design 31

Desire by Haruki Murakami (Goodreads/Purchase): 4/5 Stars. This is a collection of short stories that revolve around desire (as the title would suggest). Murakami is a new to me author that I’ve been wanting to try for a while now, but haven’t pulled the plug on reading his book. In his own words, he takes quite a bit of inspiration from Kafka, Carver, Vonnegut, and Jazz Music. All of his works are also translated from the original Japanese text. I’ll be completely honest, it was the “inspiration from Kafka” that worried me. I’m not the biggest Kafka fan (which is putting that very lightly) and I have become wary of authors that pull inspiration from him. All that being said, I really enjoyed this little collection! It was a pleasure to read and I only had one Kafka-esque instance. I’ll definitely give another one of his full-length novels a try later this year to see if I still feel the same about his writing in a longer setting.

The Deal of a Lifetime by Frederik Backman (Goodreads/Purchase): 4/5 Stars. I have yet to read a Backman book that I haven’t enjoyed. This book is especially touching as we follow a man who is facing…a crisis of conscience (trying to figure out wording on this without giving away plot). It is written as a father to son letter and allows the reader to question some life decisions within the safety of “knowing the outcome”. Really enjoyed this read, as I always do, and I’m looking forward to picking up the last couple Backman books I have left on his published list.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Goodreads/Purchase): 4/5 Stars. This is THE BOOK of dark academia. The book that kind of “revived” the genre, gave it a name, brought it to the forefront. We are following a group of snobby Classic Majors at a prestigious university as they try to find a life beyond the humdrum. They become very much wrapped in the subject that they are studying (Latin/Classics) and very quickly things start to unravel. This book just has it all, a friend group, dynamic well-crafted characters, a storyline that follows through, a mystery (I wouldn’t go so far as to say Thriller), and some incredibly beautiful writing. This was my second Donna Tartt book and I enjoyed this one vastly more than The Goldfinch (my first of hers). I found sometimes the narrative would be a little meandering, or the writing would get a little too much, but overall I really enjoyed it.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (Goodreads/Purchase): 3/5 Stars. Oh boy. It’s been a couple of weeks; I’ve had my book club discussion and I still don’t know what to really say about this book. Gear up, this is going to be a fun one. So much fun in fact that I am struggling to come up with a good description of what the book even is. We are following a young man who stumbles on a moment from his life that has wound up in a strange book. This book leads him and us down a rabbit hole (not entirely figurative) and into a world of stories. We follow his story, the fairytale stories, and a slew of side characters as they are trying to figure out the story. Confused yet? That’s how I was for a good amount of this book. I enjoyed the world (scratch that I loved the world, probably the one thing I really loved about this book), I enjoyed the characters (for the most part), but it was just too much story for one book. I would have preferred if she had stuck with one storyline and followed that through, instead of going on so many side stories that we, as readers, are left feeling like we’ve been chewed up, spit out, and no real conclusion. Just too much for one book and I think that that is why I struggled with it so much.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager (Goodreads/Purchase): 5/5 Stars. This was the first book that I read in January that I would classify as a “thriller” and I loved every minute of it. Lock Every Door follows a young woman who has found herself in a bit of a tough life spot. That is until she stumbles upon an apartment sitting ad for an exclusive building. After a quick interview she lands the job, but not all is as it seems. Covering the span of just two weeks, the tension amps up quickly and doesn’t let go until the very last chapter. I read this book in basically one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what was going to happen next, and even though I predicted who the “bad” person was, I couldn’t predict how everything would unravel and just how tense things would get. Highly, highly recommend this one if you are looking for a quick, captivating, read.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (Goodreads/Purchase): 5/5 Stars. Dark Academia that is Shakespeare centered? Give me all of it!!!! Pulling a lot of inspiration from The Secret History, If We Were Villains follows a group of Shakespearean Actors at a prestigious college of the arts as they navigate their final year of school. As you would expect, things don’t quite go to plan, and one student ends up in jail. I have to say, this book did it all for me. I loved the Shakespeare references (of which there are too many to even begin), I loved the theatrical element, the school in the woods dark setting, and the twist towards the end. The level of drama was also incredible. I would say that if The Secret History daunts you, or if it you felt like it was too wordy, too long, but otherwise you like it (or the idea of it), then this will be a really good fit. It’s a much more palatable version of Dark Academia.

The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter (Goodreads/Purchase): 4.5/5 Stars. After reading Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter towards the end of last year, I’ve been anxious to pick up another of her books. I found this one by chance in our local library (where I also picked up Pretty Girls) and it sounded along the same vein as Pretty Girls in terms of pacing and storyline (although they are quite different). In the Kept Woman we follow a detective, Will, as he sets to solve a crime that he is way too connected to. As things start to get clearer in regard to the crime, they only seem to get “muddier” in his personal life. This book is excellently paced, and the characters have a depth to them that makes you feel like they are really standing in front of you. I enjoyed seeing the growth the characters showed, even if it seemed a little…forced at times (or easy at other times) and found that the author conveyed their personalities all too well. This wasn’t quite a 5-star read for me, but it is really up there and after reading, I actually found out that this book is part of a larger detective series (although it is not necessary to read previous or subsequent novels). I don’t think I’ll read any of the previous books, but I may end up picking up the next one in the series just to see.

The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy (Goodreads/Purchase): NR (No rating- I do not rate Nonfiction books). This was a random “I really want an audiobook to listen to” pick and I’m not mad about that. A nonfiction selection, this book details the lives of several young ladies (and their moms/families) in the late 19th/early 20th century who would travel to Europe to find husbands in the aristocracy. I don’t have too much to say about this, as it’s pretty straight forward, but I did really actually enjoy it. The author did a great job at giving the insight into WHY each of these girls found husbands in another country, background on the both the woman and man and their respective families, AND a little look at what happened after they got married. Some of the stories are wild and full of drama, others are fairly tame, but all were interesting.

And finally, I figured I would end this post (and future ones) with what I am currently reading. I am currently reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron Foer. I’ve only just started this, so I don’t have any thoughts quite yet, but I hope to enjoy this one. I think no matter what your ideals are, it’s good to see other aspects and points of view. It’s all about continuing to educate yourself and grow.

 

And now, that’s a wrap on all the books I’ve read in January! A couple questions…Did you enjoy this post? Did any of these books pique your interest, and if so, which ones? What did you most enjoy reading in January? Let me know!

Self Care Pt. 2 : My Forms of Self Care

Last week we talked about Self Care, what it means, what it can look like, and how to figure out what it looks like for you. Today I want to share a little bit of what Self Care looks like for me, just to give you an idea of the different forms it can take.

For me, Self-Care is a way to just check in with myself, to check in with my soul, to make sure that I am doing ok, and then to re center myself if I am not doing ok. There are a couple different ways that I do this depending on what my needs are at that time. There are things I do daily, things I’ll do monthly, and things that happen just every once in a while.

Daily:

There are several things that I do daily that I view as forms of Self Care.

Yoga. I start my mornings off with a yoga flow that is typically anywhere from 20-50 minutes (depending on what time I have). I find that this gives me the perfect amount of time of quiet (before my early riser descends the stairs), along with the perfect amount of time to re center myself. I’ve done a whole long post about what yoga means for me and what it has done for me (you can read that HERE), but it is the one time that my brain simply stops. My brain goes quiet and all that I feel is the stretching of my muscles and the calmness steadiness of my breathe. It is pure heaven and I am able to carry that peace throughout the rest of my day. It really just centers me both physically and mentally. I can always tell if I’ve gone even a couple days without doing some form of yoga.

Journal. I try to journal every morning, over that first cup of tea after I’ve gotten ready for the day. Lately I’ve been trying to do my own form of morning pages, which I may share later on after I’ve done it for some time, but basically I try to take a little bit of time every morning to just get everything out of my head and onto paper. Usually Yoga clears my mind and journaling is just the icing on the cake for getting any last little rumblings out. Writing can just be incredibly cathartic, and I find that it really not only helps me gets the feelings off my chest, but I can also go back through and pinpoint various things that I may not have been able to see at that time.

Read a book. This is the final thing that I do daily that I would say is Self-Care. Reading is just everything to me. It is relaxation, education, escapism, a way of communicating, and so much more. I have several reading central posts coming up, but it is on the same level as Yoga for me.

Something I try to do weekly is go for a nice long walk. Now, I’m still learning our immediate area, so rather than walks we’ve just been doing nice long bouts in the backyard, but over the past couple weeks, walks have become a thing again. I found that not only is getting the exercise and sunshine such a mood booster (and a big hit for the kids), but just feeling that breeze, seeing the beauty of the countryside around us, is a really good form of self-care. It ticks all the boxes for me.

Finally, there is one thing I do monthly (almost bi monthly) that is my form of Self Care, it is also the thing that if I really just need to take care of myself I will try and do more frequently. That is take myself out to the shops or a local café. Just me, myself, my current read or my computer or my camera and some quality alone time. Often times I will just go to a local café and sit there for a few hours, eating some fresh baked goodies, sipping on a cappuccino or tea. Sometimes I’ll head to the library or to the bigger shopping center. The key thing is that it is just ME and I (and I alone) choose what to do. Occasionally my husband will take the boys out for a daddy and son day and I’ll get the house to myself, but mostly this form of Self Care is alone time at a café or the library. This to me is the ultimate of ultimate’s and it is one of my favorite things to do. I really crave the alone time (some of which simply comes from this season of life, some of which is the introvert in me) and this is the best way for me to get that. A couple hours to myself and I feel like a new wife, mom, woman.

 

I do want to also mention that I have done therapy before (as someone with my adolescent trauma it was necessary) and I highly advocate for therapy. It is so incredibly important and even if you feel like “I don’t have any issues”, it is still worth going to. A lot of times we use our friends or family as therapists (even if we don’t mean to or realize it) and while that is ok from time to time, that is not really what our entire friendship is for. I find that therapy is just a great form of release in itself and it can really help to have an outside party give you some insight. I wanted to mention it as I know that a lot of what I listed does fit into the “romantic ideal” that I talked about previously, but therapy is one of those forms of Self Care that maybe isn’t shared or pictured, but is so incredibly important and I definitely view it as a form of Self Care for myself.

 

So, that’s my basic self-care. What do you do to practice self-care?

Welcome to Our House: Office and Library!

Good morning and Happy Monday!! I am really excited to be able to start sharing glimpses into our house. It’s a long time in the making as I’ve been wanting to make sure things are just perfect before I share them. Obviously things will come and go to an extent, but when I share these rooms with you they are pretty much settled and no further big changes will be happening to them. I’m not going to be sharing every room as some I would just like to keep private, but I am looking forward to sharing the more open spots in our home. For me, I want our home to warm, cozy, and inviting, without feeling cluttered I try to be very conscious of how a space comes together and how different items can compliment (or contrast) each other.

IMG_9339.jpg

The first space I am going to share with you is our Home Office and Library. I am going to be a bit of a disappointment and only share part of the room as I’ll be keeping my husbands portion of the room private. Rest assured, all your missing is one desk with his computer and such on it. When I think about what I wanted for my home office, natural light was an absolute must for me and I wanted to have minimal things on my actual desk. A couple bits here and there, but for the most part clear for me to clutter up while working.

I used to have a much much larger desk that would get cluttered up throughout the weeks getting cleared out only once in a while when it became unbearable (about once a month). My previous office was in the basement, wasn’t a spot that I really wanted it, and wasn’t set up the way I really wanted either. The piles made sense to me and I could easily access what I needed at any given time, but it quickly became kind of a source of frustration and it look horrible.

I knew that I wanted something a little bit different here, so when we moved, we split my big desk into two smaller desks and I chose to take the smaller of those two. This forces me to actively clear things away and sort what I have going on on a daily basis, rather than monthly.

IMG_9347

Now, I tend to pile books, paperwork, my planner, mugs of tea, and snacks all over my desk while I am actively working, BUT they are cleared out at the end of everyday and the entire look is much more simplistic (which I really love).

On my desk I’ve got my computer, a couple of pictures, a figurine, tea caddy, candle, display mug, and my planner (not pictured). My planner moves around with me throughout the day, but ultimately it makes it’s way back up here.

IMG_9349

I do have some low shelves next to my desk to just give a little extra space when I need it, and then I have an overflow tea shelving unit. I also have my memory boxes which contain all of our photos, photo albums, and other memory items. These are the only boxes left in my house and I do plan on finding a different, better way to store all of these items. It’s on my never ending list haha.

The desk is from IKEA, the planner notebook cover is from Chic Sparrow, the figurine is Willow Tree People, Display Mug is Churchill War Rooms, and the rest is various ETSY shops, Amazon or hand me downs. The pictures on my wall are my own photography from our travels.

So, swinging around, you have my little reading nook. This is the comfiest chair of them all and I like to come up here early in the morning, if I have time, or during naptime during Autumn/Winter and reading here. I use the little plushy almost like a pillow and the blanket is so warm and cozy. Colton will come up and read his books as well. I’ve got a little shelving table for the book that I am reading, a couple little books that are mostly for decoration (but I do read them), and my tea.

The chair is a baby glider from Baby’s R Us, the blanket is from Walmart many years ago, Plushy from Amazon, Books on the table from an Antique Store.

Finally, swing around again and you see what I like to call my piece de resistance, my pride, my joy, my wall of books. Haha…but no really, I am obsessed with this.

IMG_9342

I’ve always had a lot of books, I’m a big reader and it’s to be expected. I’ve also always wanted a home library. I grew up with one and it’s just something that I believe is a necessity in my own home. In our previous home all of my shelves and books ended up in our basement (which had it’s own wall of books, but no real natural light and no good reading set up) and I was so excited that I didn’t have to do that this time.

I’ve got quite the collection filling 4 bookcases full of books. I’ve got 3 bookcases of books that I’ve read or should be grouped together (such as classics) and one of books that I own and haven’t read. They are semi organized by bookcase and I could probably tell you the exact spot of any book in my collection in a second or two.

On top of the bookshelves I have a couple of décor items, and my Harry Potter collectibles. I decided this time around that I would continue with the “minimalist” look that I did on my desk and I am super pleased about it. I’ve found over the past couple of years that unnecessary clutter really stresses me out (any clutter really stresses me out), so to not have a lot of décor, and just letting the books speak for themselves really looks nice.

IMG_9343.jpgI do have a smaller little unit towards the end that has décor, a couple of toys for the kids, and a couple of overflow books (I have a problem) and then next to that is my box of notebooks (another problem I have). I’m hopeful to eliminate the overflow books by the end of this year, although I am probably going to need another bookcase in the very near future (husband is not too pleased about that…).

The bookshelves are from Target from a few years back, little shelving unit is from Amazon, décor is from various spots.

 

 

And that’s it for this first room in our home! I hope that you enjoyed this little peak and I look forward to sharing a couple other spots with you soon!

Round the Kettle Ep 17: Happy September!

Oh September, you absolute bliss of a month…

Hello, hello, hello! How are you? How did August treat you? It was quite the month wasn’t it?! I’m trying to sum up what August was like, but I just don’t think I really can. It was full of the highest of high’s and some really low lows. And honestly, it’s all in the past now. We are at the start of a new month and the possibilities are endless if we only take the steps. Ok, already getting a little hokey.

I struggle sometimes sharing the negative side of things. I have a whole post going up about this that will explain a lot, but also, once that rough time has passed, I don’t really want to think about it or talk about it. Which can be incredibly detrimental. I like to just move forward in a positive light and not focus on the bad that happened. It’s a good way to live life for the most part, except when you actually need to face what happened, so you don’t have the same struggles the next time.

Anyway, that was a fully cryptic way of starting out this Round the Kettle…

The first of September is my happy place. I usually mark it as the start of Autumn (even though Autumn doesn’t officially begin until closer to the end of the month), school is usually in session, the weather is slowly starting to cool down, and everything starts to turn cosy. Autumn is my favorite time of year and I literally start pulling for it the earliest days that I can. The first day we get the cooler, greyer, rainier days, I instantly get excited and start planning all of our Autumnal activities.

IMG_8924.jpg

The first of September is also “Back to Hogwarts” day, which, as a Harry Potter fan, is an important time lol.

What do you think? Are you one of those people who holds on to Summer for as long as you can, or do you jump right into Autumn as soon as you can?

September is shaping up to be fairly similar to August in that my husband will be in an out most of the month for work, but we are planning a little day or overnight trip at the start of the month (likely is currently or has happened when this post is going up) and a couple other fun things throughout the month. I’ve got what is also shaping up to be a fairly regular to busy blog posting schedule. Not quite the three posts a week that August was, but regular and a wide variety of topics.

Even though the month itself is shaping up to be similar, I am hoping that I’ll be in a bit better mindset and shape to handle everything. I think for August I just struggled with coming right off Moving House, Vacation, and then right into a super busy month and I just hadn’t gotten a chance to take a little bit and get my mind together. Ironically, I feel like this post (which has been written end of August…) is fairly all over the place and pretty indicative of my brain currently.

While August was a bit of a lower month for me, I did somehow manage to get a lot of reading done (there was no “somehow” to that, I read 99% of my time), reading a total of 11 books. Part of this was because I was doing a readathon, part of it was because my frame of mind just had me needing to read. The top books that I read were: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison, Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan, and A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. I’ve got quite the stack set up for September as well that I’m looking forward to. ***I am hoping to start bringing reading a little into the mix over here, nothing major as I have a whole book blog, but here and there might be nice, yes?***

Ok, so that’s me caught up. Tell me about you! How was your August? Are you September ready? Are you Autumn ready?

The Day The Books Got Packed

The morning had dawned gray and dreary…quite appropriate weather for what was about to happen on this day. In their home. Today was the day the books would get packed. It was almost as if the sky and Mother Nature were telling her it would be OK (as she loved the rain, it was her comfort weather).

A house is not a home without books, or so she thought. She had been raised surrounded by books. Piled high on the book cases, rows three books deep in some places. Books shoved in nooks and crannies in her room, piled high on her desk, her bedside table. Reading had always been her escape, when life just became too much.

Reading was her life, beyond just a hobby, she desired nothing more than to live her life with a cup of tea in one hand and a book at her side (of course her husband and children fit into that picture as well). She wanted to make a life/career centered around books and she was working towards that.

She formed quite her own collection of books, although smaller than she had wanted at this stage of her life, it was still a very nice start to a home library. Three bookcases piled high, packed to the brim held her treasures. And then, in random corners of the rest of their home there would be books piled here and there, always in a neat and orderly fashion, but piled none the less.

Often times her husband would comment on the sheer amount of books that were coming into the little library of theirs, or when the piles in other places would grow to large ( though by and large he let her be as he saw how happy she was reading her books). Their kids would often thumb through her books, not really ready to truly read yet, but loving the act of thumbing the pages just the same. The kids library was quite substantial as well and they loved being able to pick up a book on a rainy afternoon as well (which is a story for another day).

She may not have read every book in her collection, but the ones she had read had left marks on her soul. Some left deeper marks than others, but each book had a memory of some sort. Her collection was her joy and bringing the collection into each home that they lived in was something special for her.

In fact, the first thing she would do whenever they moved and found a new house (they moved relatively frequently due to job) would be to bring in whatever books that she had squirreled away in their take with them luggage and set them up somewhere in the house. Usually this would lead to enough books for anyone to read in a month.

Their last move had been state to state, and only consist of a month of travel (vacation for her and her husband), but just a straight forward move. This move was different. An overseas move meant that her collection would be packed up and shipped on a boat, they wouldn’t be in a house for at least a couple months, which meant about 4 months without her library.

She didn’t panic (well maybe she did a little), but rather tried to take a practical approach. Pictures of every shelf, then a meticulous sort through to get through of whatever didn’t need to be kept, and then it was time for the hardest step before the movers came…picking the physical books that she would take with her.

This was probably the hardest packing decision there is. As a reader you never truly know what you will be in the mood to read next, where a certain book will leave you when you finish, and ultimately what you want to read will change with each book you read. It’s a tough call to make when you are going to be “in transition” for 4+ months. She wanted to have a bit of variety, but also some chunkier, longer books to keep her going.

**I want to clarify something- I have a kindle. I fully plan on taking advantage of that. BUT there is a difference between reading on a kindle and reading a physical book. I highly prefer physical books and so I definitely wanted to have some physical books on me, not just for reading purposes, but for comfort and home purposes.**

And so, all of her plans and preparations being done, the dreaded day had come. As the movers placed each book into the boxes she found herself feeling a mournful silence. It seemed quite silly in the moment. After all, they were just books, but then again they weren’t just books. They were stories that had touched her soul, some in incredible life changing ways.

And honestly, each book going into the box was a signal to her. This was happening. They were moving. Soon they would be in a new country. In a new environment. Navigating new adventures, new challenges. Learning a new language, a new culture. It was as if everything she had been feeling for the past few months had hit her in this moment of watching her collection get packed and loaded away.

Watching the moving truck pull away from the house (clutching one of her treasured books that would be traveling with her), she felt a sense of calm come over her. All the stress, the nerves, the planning had come to fruition and now they could just enjoy the vacation and travel to their new home. And of course, she had a small collection of books to accompany her and her family along the way.

 

*** Authors Note- I hoped you enjoyed this latest installment in my utterly ridiculous short stories of my life! I’ve been kind of enjoying poking fun at my seemingly innocent, but none the less stressful moments. I do want to say- I wasn’t going to start with “the morning dawned”, but it only felt right considering the last two started that way. Of course, as with the other two, this is meant to be a lighthearted look into an experience that I had and even though we got a little deep at the end, please know the humorous side of it.

Round The Kettle Ep 7 : All The Things to Share

Lord help me, I have so much to say! I have a lot I want to cover, but I don’t want to overwhelm ya’ll and say too much. It’s a balancing act…maybe. First off, as I’m typing this up I’ve got a cup of one of my favorite tea blends steeping. It’s a wonderful raspberry and rose blend that is just so velvety smooth going down your throat…incredible. When I am done with this I am going to take my cup, curl up in my comfy seat and try and finish up my current read, Labryinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

What about you? Tell me what you are doing.

Let’s start with Christmas? Or should we back it up to the week before? Ok, backing up a little further. Quick rundown of our pre Christmas adventures (as they did happen)…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had family visiting from out of town, so first we headed for one last trip to our favorite little antique store. They have such an eclectic selection of items and the owners kindly had sugar cookies baked for the kids. I’m going to miss visiting this place, but I know that I will find a new little antique haunt (or several) in Germany JSecond we headed to the…White House! This was our second trip up, but the only one that we got to see all the Christmas Decorations and what a sight they were! Both boys loved to see all the different trees and we definitely felt the magic of Christmas. Somehow we also ended up at the bookstore (quite the shocker there…) for a few hours and the boys got to do story time and play around in the kids section while we relaxed. The week wrapped up with a “Mom’s Day Out” at the movies seeing Bohemian Rhapsody. If you like Queen, hell if you like music, then this movie is a must see! So so good!

We also did a big move thing and shipped the car off! My car is currently on its way over to our final destination in Germany. This was the first of the big things that are happening for our move (aside from all the paperwork and appointments) and it almost hit me that we are really going.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

IMG_8785

Christmas was a big hit (as always) in our home, even with our lack of decorations and such. The boys loved our little Christmas Eve Boxes, and they loved tearing into the couple presents they did get this year, as well as all of the sugar from cookies, cinnamon rolls, and candy! We had a lovely Christmas Dinner and I loved that it was all so easy and laid back this year (although we will be going big next year). It was nice to re focus on what the season is really about.IMG_7975.jpg

 

Finally, to round out all the excitement, I have officially ended my job!!!!!! What?!?!?!?! I am going to be able to solely focus on my family, my blog, and our travels!!! What is this??? When we got orders and everything was in process for our move out of the country, my husband and I had several long conversations about what that meant for us, what it meant for the kids, for my working, and what his job was going to entail. At the end of the day, we decided that it would be best that I didn’t continue to work and take a little time to focus on educating our children, being able to fully experience another culture, and with the added bonus of us being able to take advantage of random four day weekends that he gets with his job and travel. I am not going to lie and say that I am not excited about this, as I am incredibly excited to be able to not only have the time back with my children, but also to be able to take advantage of everything that another culture and country will offer without anything holding us back. I know that we are incredibly fortunate and blessed to be able to do this and I want to do it all “right”.

2019 is going to be THE year. I can feel it. So much good is coming our way (that goes for everyone, not just me and mine).

I hope I didn’t go on to long with the updates and blabbering! How are you? How have you been? Did you do it up for Christmas or just be laid back? Has anything excited happened lately? Tell me all the things!!