Thursday, December 31, 2015

EOY 2015 Wrap Up

At the end of every year and the beginning of the next, I go into contemplative mode. I think about the past year. What happened? What changed in my life? What were the big things that I accomplished? What did I spend my time doing or thinking about? And then I think about the upcoming one as well. What do I want to see happen? What do I want to change in my life? What big things do I want to accomplish? What do I want to spend my time doing and thinking about? What things about last year do I really want to see change in the upcoming one?

The first thing that I think of when reflecting on this past year is all of the family changes that happened throughout the year. Husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for approximately 18 months (including one miscarriage) when the year started. I found out that I was pregnant the middle of the second week of February. So very early on, we know this year would involve some majorly drastic changes to our lives. Also very early on we became very baby focused. Because of the difficulties we had getting pregnant and the prior miscarriage, my mind was focused solely on getting past week 12 when chances of miscarriage decrease. In March, I lost a cousin who had been fighting breast cancer for quite a long while that had eventually spread to her bones and other areas of her body. She had the most positive attitude through her entire fight. Husband’s parent’s celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary also in March and we partied for them in April where we also announced their upcoming grandchild. Late May, my aunt and uncle were involved in a car accident that killed my uncle and left my aunt with broken bones throughout her entire left side of her body. On July 4th, my husband’s father died somewhat suddenly. He’d been in the hospital for a week but we were getting positive news about his progress. In July, my grandfather was also hospitalized for a hernia in his intestines that required surgery. By October, we welcomed our new baby girl, Ever Lael (meaning “Always Belonging to God”) into the world and into our family. Needless to say, our family has truly been through a lot this year. But everyone goes through hard times, and we celebrate our blessings as well as we mourn our losses.

Pregnancy was a good bit different than I expected it to be. One thing I noticed off the bat was how extremely tired I was. In the first trimester it wasn’t unusual for me to sleep 10-13 hours a day. I noticed early on that I was just not making much progress in my books because I couldn’t stay awake. Prolonging the length of time it takes to read a book also tends to affect my overall enjoyment of the book. So on top of noticing that I wasn’t reading as much as normal, I also noticed that I wasn’t enjoying the books I was reading nearly as much as I hoped or as usual. Throughout the year and my pregnancy, I noted to my friend Paula that “either it’s me, or the books I’ve been reading this year just aren’t as good as other years.” She quickly informed me that it was in fact me. Truthfully, I shouldn’t have been surprised. While pregnancy did leave me more emotional than normal and in a much easier place to cry, I also found myself more annoyed and easily irritable than normal. Hormones. Got to love them. So things that might have been minor annoyances or things that I didn’t even really mentally note in prior years became things that I zeroed in on and would find myself beyond annoyed with. During my EOM Wrap Up posts, I found that I where last year I regularly read between 11 and 14 books, I was doing extremely well to read 8 this year.

My frustration with the books I was reading combined with my lack of progress in reading led me to a bit of a blogging slump as well. My slower reading progress meant that I wasn’t as far ahead on blog scheduling. And I also didn’t have as much of a backlog of reviews already prepared to pull from. I had to cut my reviews from 3 per week back to 2 per week. I told myself that this was fine because I was still reaching my overall goal of 104 books for the year (2 books per week), and I could always supplement a review post with a discussion post.

Now that I've had 2 1/2 months of being a mom I've realized that it's likely that I just won't be able to read as much as I thought or hoped I would. Even though I'm now a stay-at-home mom, I still just don't have as much time as previous years to read. Being home full time doesn't mean I don't have a job. Instead I have the best job in the world. A job that doesn't pay in cash but in smiles and snuggles and a heart full to bursting with love. I realize that Ever's first year will be full of changes and my time to read will likely vary as much from month to month as it does from day to day. However, since this is my first time doing this mom thing, I have no idea what is a good goal for reading or blogging for 2016. That being said, I rather hate having vague goals. I like my goals to be specific and measurable. But truthfully, I think my goal for 2016 will simply be to read some and blog some. I'm not going anywhere. I just have to do some readjusting. And so far the biggest lesson that I've realized I need to learn since becoming a mom is being a bit more flexible and letting go of my imagined control--I don't truly have any control anyway. This year has taught me that for sure.

EOM Wrap Up Posts for 2015


Blogging Highlights from 2015

  • Holly and I successfully hosted the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge. This was our second year. We are returning for 2016 also.
  • I participated in the March Take Control of Your TBR Pile and read 5 books from my TBR pile.
  • Celebrated my 4th Blogoversary.
  • Participated in Armchair BEA for the 4th year in a row.
  • October was my 3rd annual All Things Halloween event of Halloween-ish book reviews and such.
  • I continued features created in previous years: Upon Further Review, From the Ashes, and Discussions Only We Know. Although, I didn't get any Series DNF or Cover Doubles posts done.
  • I reviewed one movie: Insurgent.
  • I listened to 15 audiobooks. A significantly less number than last year.
  • I re-read 4 books that I've read in previous years.
  • Books Read in 2015

    *These qualify for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge.
    Burning Glass - Kathryn Purdie (review coming soon)
    Assassin's Heart - Sarah Ahiers (review coming soon)
    Sword and Verse - Kathy MacMillan (review coming soon)
    *Paradise Road (Paradise, # 2) - CJ Duggan
    Kate and Alf - Carrie Stone (DNF @ 6%)
    Kiss Kill Vanish - Jessica Martinez
    November 9 - Colleen Hoover (review coming soon)
    The Praying Woman's Devotional - Stormie Omartian
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, # 1) - Laini Taylor (re-read)
    The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, # 2) - Mary E Pearson (review coming soon)
    Faking Normal - Courtney C Stevens (review coming soon)
    Cage of Deceit (Reign of Secrets, # 1) - Jennifer Anne Davis
    Whisper - Heather Hildenbrand
    The Fill-In Boyfriend - Kasie West (review coming soon)
    The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, # 3) - Julie Kagawa (DNF @ 64%)
    *War (True Reign, # 3) - Jennifer Anne Davis
    Red (True Reign, # 2) - Jennifer Anne Davis
    The Key (True Reign, # 1) - Jennifer Anne Davis
    The Lies About Truth - Courtney C Stevens
    Until Friday Night (The Field Party, # 1) - Abbi Glines (review coming soon)
    The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E Smith
    The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter, # 1) - Melinda Salisbury
    *Surviving Ice (Burying Water, # 4) - KA Tucker
    Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy, # 2) - Pierce Brown
    *The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 3) - Michelle Hodkin
    Velvet Undercover - Teri Brown
    Stealing Third - Marta Brown
    Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, # 1) - Rae Carson
    Truest - Jackie Lea Sommers
    *Sweet (Contours of the Heart, # 3) - Tammara Webber
    A Thousand Nights - EK Johnston
    The One (The Selection, # 3) - Kiera Cass
    Awakening You (Unraveling You, # 3) - Jessica Sorensen
    Raveling You (Unraveling You, # 2) - Jessica Sorensen
    Unraveling You (Unraveling You, # 1) - Jessica Sorensen
    Deliverance (Defiance, # 3) - CJ Redwine
    My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door, # 1) - Huntley Fitzpatrick
    Unbreakable (Unbreakable, # 1) - Rebecca Shea
    *PS I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, # 2) - Jenny Han
    All Played Out (Rusk University, # 3) - Cora Carmack
    The Elite (The Selection, # 2) - Kiera Cass
    *Deep (Stage Dive, # 4) - Kylie Scott
    Chasing Impossible (Pushing the Limits, # 5) - Katie McGarry
    The Selection (The Selection, # 1) - Kiera Cass
    Lead (Stage Dive, # 3) - Kylie Scott
    Forbidden (Forbidden, # 1) - Kimberley Griffiths Little
    Beautiful Sacrifice (The Maddox Brothers, # 3) - Jamie McGuire
    Deception (Defiance, # 2) - CJ Redwine
    Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between - Jennifer E Smith
    For the Love:Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards - Jen Hatmaker
    *Champion (Legend, # 3) - Marie Lu
    Things I Can't Forget (Hundred Oaks, # 3) - Miranda Kenneally
    Prodigy (Legend, # 2) - Marie Lu
    Chasing River (Burying Water, # 3) - KA Tucker
    Never Never Part 2 - Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
    Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks, # 2) - Miranda Kenneally
    Faking Perfect - Rebecca Phillips
    Jesse's Girl (Hundred Oaks, # 6) - Miranda Kenneally
    All the Rage - Courtney Summers
    Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, # 1) - Katie McGarry
    Paper Towns - John Green
    Catching Jordan (Hundred Oaks, # 1) - Miranda Kenneally
    Crimson Bound - Rosamund Hodge
    *Asa (Marked Men, # 6) - Jay Crownover
    *Ignite Me (Shatter Me, # 3) - Tahereh Mafi
    The Night We Said Yes - Lauren Gibaldi
    World After (Penryn & the End of Days, # 2) - Susan Ee
    What If - Rebecca Donovan
    7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess - Jen Hatmaker
    Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, # 1) - Susan Ee
    Vanishing Girls - Lauren Oliver (DNF 25%)
    Unrequited (Woodlands, # 4) - Jen Frederick (not reviewed)
    *Ruin Me (Nova, # 5) - Jessica Sorensen
    Wreck Me (Nova, # 4) - Jessica Sorensen
    Confess - Colleen Hoover
    All Broke Down (Rusk University, # 2) - Cora Carmack
    All Lined Up (Rusk University, # 1) - Cora Carmack
    *The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, # 6) - Richelle Mead
    Paradise City (Paradise, # 1) - CJ Duggan
    A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice & Fire, # 5) - George R R Martin
    The Summer of Chasing Mermaids - Sarah Ockler
    Breathe Annie Breathe (Hundred Oaks, # 5) - Miranda Kenneally
    Divided We Fall (Divided We Fall Trilogy, # 1) - Trent Reedy
    Riot (Mayhem, # 2) - Jamie Shaw
    The Body Electric - Beth Revis
    Legend (Legend, # 1) - Marie Lu
    That One Summer (Summer, # 3) - CJ Duggan
    Beautiful Redemption (The Maddox Brothers, # 2) - Jamie McGuire
    City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, # 3) - Cassandra Clare (re-read)
    *Until the End (Sea Breeze, # 9) - Abbi Glines (not reviewed)
    Becoming Rain (Burying Water, # 2) - KA Tucker
    Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, # 1) - Pierce Brown
    Carter Finally Gets It (Carter Finally Gets It, # 1) - Brent Crawford (re-read)
    99 Days - Katie Cotugno
    Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, # 1) - Robin LaFevers (re-read)
    Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum, # 21) - Janet Evanovich
    Invincible (Invincible, # 1) - Amy Reed (DNF 40%)
    Never Never (Never Never, # 1) - Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
    The Secrets of Attraction - Robin Constantine
    Things We Know By Heart - Jessi Kirby
    Mayhem (Mayhem, # 1) - Jamie Shaw
    Twice in a Blue Moon - Cate Masters

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