Monthly Wrap-Up

November 2017 Wrap-Up

monthly wrapup

Moving right along…

Dom 👦

Dom continues to delight and amaze us (and of course, try our patience!). His hitting issue seems to have gotten better, though still occurs from time to time. His vocabulary continues to grow with funny variations on things. He now calls bananas “bamanas” and M&Ms are “Benny M’s”. I forgot to mention last month that he was obsessed with Mickey’s Monster Musical (the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Halloween special) and we watched it so much (he continued to ask for it through all of November. I recorded it on the DVR in October but deleted it once the month was over). His alphabet and counting are improving and he’s saying more in order than out, which is fun to hear.

He loves to use the big MegaBlocks and loves to build towers, just to knock them down (what kid doesn’t?). He likes to have other people build with him, but of course, he happens to need every block we pick up.

November is my birthday month so he kept saying “Happy birfday mumma” which I loved but then had to keep explaining that mumma’s birthday was over. I had the week of Thanksgiving off from work and that Monday was my birthday and we had such a great day. My husband had to work, but Dom and I walked down the street to a local restaurant for breakfast, did some playing, he had a nap, and then we did a little shopping. After hubs got home we went out for dinner (he had taken me out to a birthday dinner just the 2 of us the Saturday before). Though a far cry from how I spent some birthdays in college, I loved spending the day with my little guy and it was a perfect day.

I’ve started using the monthly coloring table pages as my Facebook cover photo each month, so if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ve already seen November’s artwork:

you might be able to see my “turkey” toward the top left haha

 

Books/Reading 📚
Books completed: 2
Books in progress: 3
Year Goal: 24/24
Historical Fiction Challenge: 8/5 (Completed in August)
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

I still have a few books in progress, so I’m thinking I’ll get at least two more finished by the end of next month.

 

Crafts 🎨

Sewing
Sewing projects completed:5
Sewing projects in progress: 2
Sewing projects to start: 4

It was actually a pretty productive month as far as sewing was concerned! I completed 4 of the initial pillows on my to-do list (see below) and have 3 more to do. Originally, there was only one left, and I actually have the fabric and everything, I just need to make the stencil for the letter. The other 2 are for friends are having babies soon (one is imminent and the other is due in January but I can’t make them until I know the babies’ names! One set of parents is keeping it a secret until the baby is born and the other is being surprised by the sex of the baby). The 5th item I completed was one of the pieces to my #stitchingsanta parcel, so I’ll keep that a secret for a bit longer. 🙂

   

The items in progress are the Colette Sorbetto tunic, but I’m not sure I can really call that “in progress” since I haven’t done anything in a long time. The 2nd item is a Rita Blouse (Charm Patterns by Gertie). That one has all the pieces cut out for my muslin and I sat down to start sewing it, but of course, that’s when Dom decided to wake up from his nap. 😉 I’ll be posting about each of those eventually, so you’ll see lots more pictures then. For now, here are a couple of pictures from the Rita Blouse:

my “helper” while I was cutting out the pattern pieces
all the pieces are cut out!

Sewing projects to start are the 3 initial pillows mentioned above and 1 more item for my #stitchingsanta parcel. That one needs to take priority because I’ll need to send that out soon!

Knitting
Knitting projects completed: 0
Knitting projects in progress: 1 (2)

Almost done with the hat for my friend’s baby. I haven’t done much with it recently, but I am more than halfway through. I need to get back into my routine of doing a bit of knitting on the chair/couch after I’ve put Dom to bed, that’s when I made the most progress on it. (the 2nd item is still the hat for me — but now I’m struggling to remember where I left off in the pattern, and I think I was following a digital copy on my Kindle Fire, so didn’t make a note of where I stopped…)

I’m pretty pleased with the progress I made in November and I’m looking forward to finishing my parcel for #stitchingsanta as well as the rest of the letters and making progress on my Rita muslin. I have the last 2 weeks of the year off from work, so I’m hoping I can use some of that time for some things! (Though I’m hoping to get my #stitchingsanta parcel out the week of December 11th).

Bring on December and Christmas! (but maybe not too soon….) 😉

Monthly Wrap-Up

October 2017 Wrap-Up

monthly wrapup

How are we in November already?

Dom 👦

Well, October is a big month for Dom: it’s his birthday month! He turned 2 this year and I’m struggling to fully realize how quickly time has passed since he was born. We had a small get-together with family this year, rather than an actual, full-on birthday party. The weather was perfect and we were able to hang out outside and the kids could play in the yard and it was a really great day. We did it the day after his birthday, so he heard the “Happy Birthday” song two days in a row, so can you really blame him that for a couple of days after that he kept saying “Happy birfday Dom”?

He’s still into his music, and we’ve added “Happy” by Pharell, “Dominck the Donkey” by Lou Monte, and “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake to his playlist, along with the Fitz and the Tantrums songs and some of the Mary Poppins soundtrack. He’s also getting closer to saying “supercalifragilisticexpealidocious”, he says “supa-calla-ecca-docious”.

He’s still in the hitting phase, though, so if you have any experience/have any advice to share, please do so!

He’s also starting to say some of the alphabet on his own, which was surprising and exciting to hear. He can associate certain letters with people (such as “D” for “Dom”). However, when he does that, he calls every letter “D”, even if he’s matching the letter with a correct word. For example, he a has a friend at school named Wyatt. When he sees the letter “W” he says “D-Wyatt”. He also says the letter “T” is for “Papa” since Papa’s name is Tony. So we’re working on that. 🙂

HIs monthly color table was special as we had people write some happy birthday messages:

He was a Christmas elf for Halloween and had fun trick-or-treating. We went to my cousin’s place (first Halloween in the new neighborhood) and we all had a really great time. 🙂 I’m thinking of starting a mini-scrapbook just for Halloween over the years…


Books/Reading 📚

Books completed: 0
Books in progress: 2
Year Goal: 22/24
Historical Fiction Challenge: 7/5 (Completed in August)
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Outlander update: my friend and I are in the 5th book, but it’s slower going, and season 3 of the tv show is about halfway over.

I have a Book of the Month membership and need to start being better about reading those books when they come in – I have 11 that still need to be read! (top of bookshelf in the picture below is only unread books from BOTM). I think I may focus more on those books in the new year.

Crafts 🎨

Sewing
Sewing projects completed: 0
Sewing projects in progress: 3

I’m still working on the initial pillows. It would have been completed except when I was putting the stuffing in, I tore the fabric — and not on the seam where I could easily fix it. 😦 So I need to get new fabric for Dom’s letter. I have the letters cut out and pinned for 3 other pillows though.

I haven’t done any more with the Colette Sorbetto I mentioned in my last wrap-up, but I’m hoping to carve some time for it. It’s going to be a knit version and Colette has a great tutorial on their site for tweaking the pattern to work with knit fabrics. However, I did also just get the Rita Blouse pattern from Gretchen Hirsch (Charm Patterns by Gertie) and I’m really excited about it (so many awesome versions posted in the Rita Sewalong Facebook group). I already have fabric picked out and really want to do it right. I’m going to start by making a muslin with a cotton bedsheet we don’t use. 🙂 Most likely, I’ll end up moving the Rita blouse ahead of the Colette tunic. Posts will follow for each of them, once they’re actually done… so I mean, stay tuned, but also, don’t hold your breath. 😉

Knitting
Knitting projects completed: 0
Knitting projects in progress: 1(2)

I still haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho, so I don’t know if I should actually count it in the “in progress” line above (that’s what the 2 is for).

Still working on the other hat for my friend’s baby. Hoping to wrap that up in the next week and will post.

 

Weight Loss🏋
Aside from noting either weight loss or gain, there really hasn’t been anything else to share in this space, so I’ll be removing it from future posts… so I guess I’ll be back to Dom, Reading, & Crafting. 🙂

 

Are you ready for the fall and all the fun holidays coming? Or are you wishing it was still summer and you were sitting on a beach somewhere?

Monthly Wrap-Up

July – September 2017 Wrap-Up

monthly wrapup

I’m a few months behind, so I’ll sum up July, August, and September here to catch up. So be prepared for a longer post than normal…

Dom 👦
Man, the downside to being behind 3 months of updates is that there’s so much going on! Dom is so funny. I know I’ve said that every month, but he really is. I think he likes to make people laugh. His little personality is totally shining through and he’s a lovable and loving little guy. As noted in past months, his vocabulary continues to grow at an amazing rate (his daycare teacher says she’s surprised by all of his words). He’s saying numbers in order (oddly enough, it’s usually the later numbers: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13). 8 seems to be his favorite, he says it all the time.

He also likes to ask for “one more” with his little finger up in the air, which sometimes turn into “I want 8.”

He likes different juices, which is good for variety. And he loves all kinds of fruit: blueberries, bananas, watermelon, grapes… those are his favorites. He also continues to eat his veggies without a fuss (corn, carrots, and peas being his favorite). He loves pizza. Thursdays at the daycare are “pizza day” so all the kids yell “Pizza Day!” And now Dom calls all pizza “pizza day.” He does go through little fussy periods from time to time, but they usually only last a couple of days.

We did some blueberry and apple picking and had a lot of fun!

He enjoys Mary Poppins, and often asks to listen to or watch “Super,” “Step in Time,” “the animals,” (when the animals sing in “Jolly Holiday”), and especially the penguins. He’s still a big fan of Fitz and the Tantrums and still loves listening to “Handclap,” though “Roll Up” is his preferred Fitz song right now.

He did get an upper respiratory infection in July and that wasn’t fun to deal with (we also had to do albuterol nebulizer treatments at home), and that whole ordeal lasted a couple of weeks, along with some really crappy sleeping. Since then, our sleeping hasn’t really been great/back to normal (we’ve been having stretches of nights in a row waking up in the middle of the night).

“Mickey Clubhouse” is his favorite show. He has Crocs with Mickey Mouse heads on them and he calls them his Mickey Clubhouse crockies.

He’s also currently in a hitting phase 😔 which we’re dealing with, but it makes me a little sad that it’s happening  (though I suppose it’s better than biting…)

We kept up with our monthly table coloring, which you can see below.

July
August
September

I think I may need to start doing Dom updates separately from these monthly wrap-ups…

Moving along…

Books/Reading 📚
Books completed: 12
Books in progress: 0
Year Goal: 22/24
Historical Fiction Challenge: 7/5 (Completed in August)
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

I haven’t read any books toward the Back to the Classics Challenge, and I don’t anticipate reading anything to qualify anytime soon, so I’ve removed that from here.

One of my best friends started reading the Outlander series at the beginning of the summer, which I read a number of years ago. She started asking questions about things I didn’t really remember, so I started re-reading them along with her. We finished the 4th book in September. And truth be told, there was a lot of stuff I had forgotten, so it’s been good to re-read. And we’re also watching the 3rd season of its television counterpart.

Crafts 🎨

Sewing
Sewing projects completed: 1 (1 in progress)

I finally made another one of the diaper pouch/changing pad combos! It was waaay overdue (2 years overdue, to be exact) for the intended recipient, but I think she liked it when she got it. ☺Wasn’t even my intention for the pouch fabric to match the changing pad fabric so closely.

The project I’m working on is an initial pillow for Dom. You may recall I made some a few years ago for some nieces and nephews. I’m finally getting ’round to making them for Dom and a couple of nephews/friends. They’ll be Christmas gifts.

I almost said 2 in progress because I started getting the pattern sorted for the Colette Sorbetto top, tunic version (I’ve been drafting a separate post on that, but can’t tell you when it will go up since I haven’t done more than trace & cut out the pattern)

Knitting
Knitting projects completed: 1 (2 in progress)

I still haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho.

But I did make a hat intended for a friend’s new baby. But I think the yarn I chose was too bulky because it came out almost fitting me. So I thought about who I could give it to and ended up giving it to the little girl that the above diaper pouch was made for! And she loved it (she wore it during her nap in the day I gave it to her).


So I’m working on another hat for a 5-month-old. I’m trying a new pattern and like it so far. Will share pictures once it’s done.

Earlier in the summer, I made a plan of what I wanted to do (for both sewing and knitting) in 2-month chunks of time (though I did lump June-July-August together). Needless to say, that plan went out the window, as I really haven’t dedicated any time. However, I do plan to re-organize myself (and the sewing room) and will work in bits and pieces and take my time, rather than expecting to complete x number of projects in a given amount of time. I hope that helps me work through some things but also improves my construction.

Baking/Cooking 🍽
Still nothing new here. I’ll probably remove this as a category for the rest of this year…

Weight Loss🏋
Weight lost as of September 30th: 1.5 lb gain (since June 30th, some fluctuation each month). Need to have better focus. Will figure it out… (I hope)

Life is busy, but I hope to get back on here a little more regularly (again).

Happy fall! 🍁

 

How was your summer/beginning of fall?

Monthly Wrap-Up

June 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

How have we already completed the first half of this year?!

Dom
I’m beyond being able to keep track of all the words he’s learning. It’s incredible to watch his brain process everything and I love when he “tells a story.” For example, when we go to daycare, we have to take an elevator in the garage and occasionally see a bunny outside. So Dom says bunny, his version of elevator, and Nonni (my mother-in-law works at the same place so we carpool together). So he’s telling us that we saw a bunny near the elevator and Nonni was with us.

He’s still obsessed with trucks and we’ve added a new book to our bedtime routine: “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site”. I’ll write more about our books and reading time in a separate post (I can’t believe I forgot to write about his favorite book in last month’s wrap-up — stay tuned!)

It wasn’t all fun and games this month though. Dom had some sleeping issues later in the month that we struggled with. He was waking up in the night for a few nights over the last week/week-and-a-half of the month. One night, we were up for around 3 hours (~1:30 to ~4:30 am). He wasn’t fussing/crying for that whole time (pretty much only for a bit at the beginning), but just wouldn’t fall back to sleep. Thankfully, it wasn’t a work night but it was still really rough (I had to take a bit of a nap when he napped later that day). We’re not sure what was going on there (my sister suggested maybe it was a sleep regression). Whatever it was, it has passed, thankfully!

And here’s our June artwork:
(we didn’t do as much coloring this month)

June 2017
July 1 – ready for a new month!

I may need to consider having Dom posts separately from this monthly wrap-up as it can get a bit long…

Books/Reading
Books completed: 3
Books in progress: 0
Year Goal: 10/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 3/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 1
I finally made another one of the diaper pouch/changing pad combos! It’s waaay overdue for the intended recipient, but I’m still going to give it to her next time I see her (hopefully, soon!). Wasn’t even my intention for the pouch fabric to match the changing pad fabric so closely.

 

Knitted projects completed: 0 (2 in progress)
I still haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho. But I did start a hat for a friend’s new baby, so I’ll finish that up soon.

For crafts in general, I’ve started to make a plan of what I want to do in 2-month chunks of time; though I did lump June-July-August together to start. So for this summer, I plan (hope) to make another changing pad/diaper pouch combo, finish the 2 knitting hats in progress, and make an insulated market tote bag. I also want to make the updated Sorbetto top tunic version that came out recently. So with June gone, I now have 2 months to do all that — good luck to me. Haha! (I’m planning to use Dom’s nap times as some time I can dedicate to these things, so hopefully, I’ll see more work and finished projects over time.)

Baking/Cooking
nothing new here.

Weight Loss
Weight lost since last month: 1.5 lbs
I got the 12-week weight loss program from Spotebi and had a bit of a false start at the end of June, so will attempt to kick it off again on Sunday. I’m also planning to be better about my use of the It Works! products I currently have (I was a bit better about using the supplements a few times this month).

Overall, I’m generally pretty happy with progress on all fronts. One thing I’m considering is re-naming/re-branding my blog as it’s not only about books anymore (hasn’t been for a while now). Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome! 🙂 (I’m not that creative!)

 

How was your month?

Monthly Wrap-Up

May 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

Let’s get right to it!

Dom
I feel like a broken record when saying “new stuff again this month!”, but it’s so true. His vocabulary is growing exponentially. It’s getting harder to capture all the new words. He’s starting to repeat after us pretty quickly and then retaining the words (so now we’re definitely being more careful about what words we say around him). He started the month saying “gub” for love (as in “I love you”) but by the end of the month, he was stringing together “I love you” into one sound (which I can’t even begin to figure out how to type) and it’s super cute. He’s also starting to say “I don’t know” and “what happened?” (not perfectly clear, but understandable to us). He still loves all things that go: cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, and especially planes and helicopters; he always gets so excited and shouts “pane!” or “cocka!” whenever he sees one. The way he says Sonny’s name has evolved from “Sa” to “Sushee”. He’s even stringing words together to make a story. For example, he says “nonuts (donuts) – bike” (and sometimes includes “dada” and “sushee” — telling us that he rode his bike to get donuts with dada and Sonny; we took a walk to Dunkin’ Donuts and he rode on a tricycle that we push). Whenever he sees letters (on anything – t-shirts, store fronts, etc.) he says “O-P-Shee” (his version of A-B-C, I assume). And he just started saying “otay” (for “okay”).

I’m having so much fun spending time with him and watching him learn and discover. We took him to the Children’s Museum a couple of weeks ago and he loved it (the large animatronic dinosaur there, not so much, but everything else he was totally into).

For the past few months, I’ve been taping coloring paper down to his little table in our dining room and keeping crayons available so he can go over and color whenever he wants. At the beginning of the month, I put a new sheet down and kept it for the entire month, to see what kind of doodles we would collect. And after about a week, I decided I want to do this each month, so I’ll be sharing our monthly masterpieces (and anyone can color, doodle, draw on the sheet — grown-ups and kids alike).

Our May Masterpiece

Books/Reading
Books completed: 0
Books in progress: 2
Year goal: 7/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Still aiming to complete that farmer’s market insulated tote I mentioned last month. (and the farmer’s market did start this month and goes through October; I’ve been once so far)

Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)
Haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho in a couple of months, and haven’t done anything else.

I want to make a monthly plan of what projects I’d like to work on – no pressure to complete quickly, but really just trying to set aside a little bit of time each week to dedicate to projects. We’ll see how it goes.

Baking/Cooking
I followed a recipe for regular pancakes (no buttermilk) that I found on Pinterest, called Easiest Pancakes Ever (I only just realized it was a Martha Stewart Recipe as I was pulling the address to hyperlink to this post). They were decent. They weren’t very fluffy (not like the pictures) but they still tasted good. I added blueberries (Dom and I both enjoyed them)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 1.5

Last month I mentioned I was going to start Spotebi again after we finished watching Sons of Anarchy. We finished watching it pretty early in the month (disappointing season finale, by the way! I knew what was going to happen, but it was an overall disappointing episode, but I digress…) but I haven’t restarted Spotebi yet. I did upgrade my Fitbit to an Alta that I’ve been wearing for almost the entire month now, and I did have 7 days in a row where I did over 10,000 steps each day! I’ve used the treadmill workstation at work a couple of times to get more steps in, too.

But I still need to get more activity going in my day-to-day and also focus on better eating. Feel free to send along any healthy, easy recipes that you enjoy! 🙂 (easy being the operative word!) — and if you have any suggestions for at-home workout routines that you find effective.

Work
Work is definitely picking up so I’m glad for that! There’s a lot to learn in my new role and group, but I’m really happy to get into it.

All in all, it has been a good month, but still hard to believe it’s over already and that we’re nearing the end of the first half of 2017 — time really is flying. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds and I look forward to weekend getaways and vacations we’re planning!

How was your month?

Monthly Wrap-Up

April 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

Let’s get right to it!

Dom
Last month I mentioned that my sister and I signed up my nephew and Dom for swimming lessons. We have the last one on Saturday. The boys love it! They have so much fun playing in the water and making lots of noise to hear the echoing in the pool. I may consider signing him up again in the fall when they have their next round of classes.

He has added some new words to his vocabulary, including color, pizza, cookie (that one is very clear!), moah (“more”), and doah (“door”), bittie (“binky”), ankoo (“thank you”), peas (“please”), Goo (“Goofy”), pane (“plane”), and cocka (“helicopter”). He also has been giving kisses, which melts my heart (there’s always something new each month that melts my heart). A new animal he likes to imitate is the penguin (he says “wah wah wah” and sort of waddles — really, he’s imitating what I do when referencing a penguin).

He’s become obsessed with the song “Handclap” by Fitz and the Tantrums, always saying “clah clah” and clapping his hands so we can play the song in the car, or the music video on the TV. He sways/steps side to side and claps his hands the whole time. However, I am getting a bit tired of the song, so any recommendations for new fun songs are welcome!

Books/Reading
I read 3 books this month
Books read: The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister, Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Year goal: 7/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
I bought some farmers market fabric and insulated lining as I’d like to make a market bag to use when I go to the farmer’s market that’s set up near my work on Wednesdays (I think it starts in May). I bought the fabric back in March but still haven’t done anything yet… need to get on that.

Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)
Haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho in quite a while, and haven’t done anything else.

Baking/Cooking
Nothing new 😦

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: gained 1.8 lbs

I’ve promised myself I’m going to restart Spotebi at home (as soon as we’re done watching Sons of Anarchy — which, if I’m being honest, is what totally threw me off back in March; we should be finished with it by the end of this week).

I’ve been making a shake with the It Works! protein powder a few mornings each week at work. But I need to be better about remembering to take the supplements after meals. I also started using the wraps on my sides and am starting to notice a difference, so I just need to keep up with those (aiming to do them weekly; I have 3 left in my supply).

But what I really need to do is focus on eating better and being active, more than anything else. I’m hoping with the better weather, we’ll also get outside and walking more on the weekends, at the very least.

Work
I’m settling into my new role and am enjoying it so far. I’m currently less busy than I was in my previous role, so I’m hoping that changes soon, as I feel more motivated when I’m busy. I like working with a sense of urgency and always having a to-do list.

General
We hosted our first holiday (Easter) at our house and it was great. Hubs did an awesome job with the food and the weather was gorgeous so we were able to be outside and the kids got to play in the yard and the sandbox and this sprinkler thing we got and everyone had a really nice time.

This past Saturday I had my sister, 2 cousins, and their kids over and we had a great time. It was so nice to see all the kids playing together (5 under the age of 5). The weather was awesome so they were able to enjoy all the things mentioned above. We talked about trying to do something like that monthly, and rotating whose house we go to.

How was your April? If you have school-aged kids, did you do anything fun on their school break?

Monthly Wrap-Up

March 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

OOF — March was an insane month, so much going on! Can’t believe we finally made it to the end.

Dom
Dom continues to amaze us, with his ever-expanding vocabulary and understanding. A few of his new words this month include “buh-buh” for bye-bye, “caw” for cough, “truh” for truck, “nigh-nigh” which is night-night — and he’ll grab a blanket and pat the couch to lay down – but not sleep –  (he’ll also grab the blanket we use for Sonny and say “nigh-nigh” as he carries it to Sonny, at which point one of us needs to take the blanket and cover Sonny); and “tra” for trash, and he loves to help us throw trash away, whether it’s a tissue, diaper, or piece of fuzz he finds (one time he even took a tissue from my mom mid-nose blow so he could throw it away). He also says some colors (“blue” and “purple” being the easiest to understand), and we practice saying a bunch of words and names of family members every day. He tries to jump, which is hilarious, and he likes to dance around, too. He also started to do a bit of crawling, which he had skipped in the general order of things (he went from scooting on his bum to walking). So I was pretty excited to see that, despite the fact that he’s a very capable and sturdy walker (and he likes to run, too).

He did get a second ear infection, 5 weeks after the first one. But despite that, he still remained fairly cheerful. My little champ.

My sister and I signed up Dom and her son, Will, for a baby swim class, which starts on April 1st. Can’t wait to see how he’ll do!

Books/Reading
I read 1 book this month. (and I have 1 in progress)
Books read: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
Year goal: 5/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 1/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)

Still working on a cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho.

My leadership team at work got me some sock yarn and a book with 10 different sock patterns, so I’ll be checking that out soon, too!

Baking/Cooking
I forgot to post about banana muffins I made back in February, see the post here. I made the banana muffins again in March, and they were just as good as the first time. 🙂 (except I put the chocolate chips in all of them!)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 2.7

I continued with the 4 week beginner at home workout plan from Spotebi. You’re supposed to do the workouts Monday through Friday with the weekends being the rest days, but there were times due to tiredness or lack of time (and if I’m being honest, laziness), that I ended up taking a day or two off and pushing out the schedule. I still haven’t finished the 4 weeks (did about 2.5 weeks worth of workouts over a 3 week period), so I need to get back into it, ’cause I liked doing them.

I also purchased some items from a company called It Works! (discovered through a friend & his wife, hey Jimmy & Kim!). I wanted to get back into Shakeology, but was interested to see if there were cheaper options out there and It Works! has a cheaper and still tasty chocolate protein powder to make shakes (my favorite being a chocolate, peanut butter, and banana shake! — do you have any combos you like??) Along with the protein powder, I got a couple of supplements and 2 body wraps. The wraps have a lotion on them that is supposed to help firm and tone your targeted area. Obviously, I tried it on my mid-section first. You’re supposed to wear it for 45 minutes for the first time and can do it every 72 hours. I did it 2 Saturdays in a row, the first time for 45 minutes and the second time for 2 hours. I haven’t noticed a significant visible difference after the 2 wraps, but I have noticed my jeans feel looser, so that’s good (and I’ve lost about a pound since trying the wraps). I ordered a few more wraps and will see how it goes. (My rep, Kim, says that it usually takes about 3 wraps to really notice a visible difference). I just have to get into the habit of remembering to take the supplements to get maximum results.

Work
So as I mentioned at the beginning, it’s been a really busy month. We had our annual team face to face meeting this past week and its was really busy planning and prepping for it. At the same time, I was also transitioning my responsibilities to a new person I am taking on a new role within another group in my department (and it starts on Monday!).  Though I’m sad to leave my current team (I’ve been working with them for almost 5 years), I’m really excited for the new opportunities, projects, and challenges that comes with this new role. And I’ll still have opportunities to work with my now old team, just in a different way.

Bring on April!

How was your March?

Monthly Wrap-Up

February 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

I can’t believe February has come and gone already. This year is flying by. (I know it might be funny to say that after only the 2nd month of the year, but the weeks really are moving!)

Dom
It really is incredible to watch him grow. So often I watch him walking around and think “when did we get here?” He’s learning more words (most recently started saying “up”, “no”, “no more” (like “no more monkeys jumping on the bed). He gives kisses and hugs, and blows kisses (along with a “mwah” noise). He makes funny faces, does silly dancing, and is all around a bunch of fun. We’re loving watching as he discovers and does new things.

He did get an ear infection earlier in the month and that was no fun at all, though. He was on a 10-cycle of amoxicillin and he liked it. Whenever I said it was time for his medicine he would make an “mmmm!” noise, and then go sit in his little chair so I could give it to him, so at least there’s that. But we had 7-8 nights in a row of waking up in the middle of the night for extended periods of time (I had to take a few days off from work). I’m happy to say that all has passed, but it was getting really tough with all the waking up!

Books/Reading
I read 0 books this month. (I have 1 in progress)
Year goal: 4/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 0/6 (the 1 in progress will fit this category)

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)

I’m working on a cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho. I’m excited to see how it turns out since this is the first time I’m really working with cables. I’ll post about it when complete.

I do want to start another sewing project, just not sure what yet. (Suppose I should just get those diaper pouch combos out of the way…)

Baking/Cooking
I made buttermilk pancakes from scratch for the first time (and made them twice)! I’ll have a post up about those soon. 🙂 (and will update with a link here after)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 1.0 pound
I thought it might be a bit more, but I’ll take it!
I started an at-home work out plan from a site called Spotebi. They have many different plans to choose from (some free, some for purchase). I decided to try the free 4-week beginner workout. I’m really liking it so far. There’s variety in the exercises, and a mix of HIIT workouts and yoga sequences. (you may have seen some of my instagram posts to the right on my blog here). But I’m in my second week and still going strong, so that’s a plus for me. Now I just need to get better about eating (though I’ve noticed I’m eating smaller portions, and taking my time, but I need to focus more on what I’m eating, too.)

How was your February?

Monthly Wrap-Up

January 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapupJanuary had me off to a good start for 2017! Let’s get right into it:

Dom
He’s 15 months old! We had his 15 month check-up near the beginning of the month and he’s doing great. 25 lbs and a little over 30″ tall. He’s learning new words all the time (such as “Papa”, “Pooh”, “poo-poo”, and sounds like he’s trying to say “key” and “tool”) and understanding more and more each day. He transitioned from Infants to Toddlers at the daycare over the last 2 weeks of the month. Exciting, and a little sad that he’s already moving up! (But more exciting; I can’t wait to see what new things he learns!)

Books/Reading
I read 3 books this month. I don’t expect I’ll keep this pace through the year, but it was a nice start!
Year goal: 3/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge:1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 0/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0
Time spent sewing: I’m not going to track this in hours as I originally thought I might, but will really just re-cap if I spent any time during the month focused on any aspect of a sewing project. I am probably about 85% finished with a project that I was hoping to complete before the month was out, but the last steps took more time than I remembered  when I first made it a few years back. I just need to finish some bias binding and a hem and then its done! I hope to post about it in early February. But despite not finishing yet, I’m really pleased that I actually got as far as I have. And I will not pressure myself to finish projects by a certain self-set deadline. (And with The Monthly Stitch introducing Amnesty Day, I can still have a chance to participate in the monthly challenges!)

Baking/Cooking
Aside from some pre-packaged mixes, I haven’t done anything new here.

Weight Loss
This wasn’t previously listed in my goals, but it is something I am tracking, so what better place than my monthly wrap up? I weighed myself on January 1 and again on January 31. I’ll proceed to weigh myself on the last day of each month and track the (hopefully) loss each month.
This month’s weight loss was: 1.1 pounds — have to start somewhere! 🙂

Overall, I’m happy with how January kicked off 2017 for me. How did January treat you?

Book Review · Monthly Wrap-Up

July Reads

Well I definitely got my reading mojo back in July, completing 11 books! (That’s only 3 less than what I read January through June combined!) It’s really surprising since this was a really busy month for us (more on that later). I think part of it was because I read a “boxed set” on my Kindle (a 4 book bundle for the Spellmans series so it was kind of like reading one long book as opposed to 4 separate ones).

But since I read so many books, this is likely going to be a lengthy post, so feel free to skim/skip to books you’re interested — or read the whole thing if you really want to! 🙂

15. Still Alice, Lisa Genova
This has been my favorite book so far this year (and the first book I’ve given 5 stars since December!). I’ll be posting a separate review for it.

16. Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3), Gail Carriger
The next installment in the Finishing School series. Light reads, some plot points typically predictable for sure, but still enjoyable. I read the first two last year but never posted about them. The story is from the steampunk era and I’m kind of fascinated by it just because of how the mechanicals are described and used. Imagine if things like these actually had been available back in that time, how much different would technology be today?

Sophronia is a 16-year-old girl attending finishing school, but it’s actually a school to teach girls how to be intelligencers. Some of it can be kind of funny (talking about how letter openers and fans can be used as weapons, and how to use seduction techniques to control a man to get the information you need, etc.) She is gifted at learning the various aspects of the “finishing school” and always seems to get mixed up in bigger issues, along with her group of friends, and helps solve them.

Oh did I mention that vampires and werewolves are also in the books and considered legal species? (some of them are teachers at the finishing school). It just throws in a supernatural aspect into the mix.

They’re light reads that you can get through quickly. The next book is expected some time this year.

17. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (The Mysterious Benedict Society #3), Trenton Lee Stewart
I didn’t realize this was a trilogy, thought it was a series, but as far as I can tell, there are only 3 (plus a couple of short stories that fit in between the main books). Like the Finishing School series above, I read the first two Mysterious Benedict Society books back in 2013 but never wrote about them.

This is a story about 4 extremely intelligent and gifted children who help a benevolent Mr. Benedict thwart a bad guy (who happens to be Mr. Benedict’s twin brother) from trying to control the world. Definitely a kids/young adult series. What’s great about the series is that it shows kids that it’s OK to be smart and there is always a chance for happy endings (3 of the 4 kids are orphans).

18-21. The Spellmans 1-4
A fun, witty series about a family-owned detective agency. I’m pretty sure I read the first one ages ago at the beginning of college, but am not 100% sure, as I didn’t really remember the content (but had remembered the title).
Izzy Spellman is the main character, in her mid-20s at the start of the series. They family is definitely neurotic and some of the stuff they do/get away with is amazing; I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t happen in real life!

The series follows the family over a few years and all the shenanigans and jobs they take on. Light, fun reads for the most part. I flew through reading these 4, mainly because it was a “boxed set” on my Kindle.

I recommend it if you’re looking for something quick, easy, and fun.

22. Emerald Green (Ruby Red #3), Kerstin Gier
This is the last book in the Ruby Red trilogy. We meet Gwen again, who only has a limited knowledge of the time-traveling group that she was born into. As noted in the first book, it was her cousin everyone thought would get the traveling powers, but it ended up being Gwen instead. The three books cover a very short period of time, each picking up exactly where the other left off.

Gwen knows something is up and has a feeling the head of the time traveling group is up to no good, but can she expose him and thwart his plans?

Another book/series on the lighter side and quick to read. (maybe that’s why I was able to get through so many books this month — they’re mostly “light” reads)

23. The Tea Rose (The Tea Rose #1), Jennifer Donnelly
I really enjoyed this book and was delighted to hear that it was part of a series. The cast of characters is really well-developed. There were definitely twists and turns and the “I can’t believe they just missed each other!” moments (more than a couple) that spans a number of years and 2 continents. There were also some sad, heart-wrenching moments that made you wonder how so many bad things can happen to one good person/family. But the story was a testament to following your dreams and not letting things hold you back (though sometimes you wanted to smack them upside the head for being so stubborn!), despite the fear.

24. The American Lady (The Glassblower Trilogy #2), Petra Durst-Benning
I stumbled upon the second book in this series. The last time I looked it up, it wasn’t available on the Kindle through either library that I’m a member of. So imagine my delight when I discovered I could get it!

I really enjoyed the first book and so was happy to continue the story of the glassblowing family. I think this was better than the first. Well-written and great characters. It picks up about 15 or so years after the first book ended. It was an interesting location change from Germany to New York and Italy. However, I was so upset with the way the story ended. I was not expecting it at all (sign of a good writer, I think). I definitely shed a tear or two (and probably can’t even blame it on pregnancy hormones since I’m generally an emotional person and tend to cry at books all the time). I got so wrapped up in the story and the characters and it broke my heart to read the ending.

I am looking forward to reading the last installment of this trilogy, I’m just waiting for it to become available at the library in Kindle format.

Book Review · Monthly Wrap-Up

June Reads

Another 2 books in June…

13. A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5), George R R Martin
As mentioned in my May reading post, I read this back to back with book 4. This was another re-read for me. I read book 5 when it came out in 2011. So it’s been a few years since I last read it. And again as mentioned in the May post, there was a lot I had forgotten but I wanted to refresh my memory so I could keep up with the show.

Now that the show has basically caught up with the books, I really can’t wait for Winds of Winter (#6) to be published. And I really hope it comes out before the show does; I don’t want to find out major plot points via the TV show, but as it was originally intended through the books. However, I’m not saying that they show is bad by any means. I think the producers have done a great job with the show and with the resources they have available. But I just want to be able to get the new parts of the story from the books.

This is really such a great and well-written series and you really get attached to characters (which is dangerous in the world of Westeros!). But the depth of the characters and the details really make it stand out from other stories.

I highly recommend you read this if you haven’t yet!
14. The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3), Deborah Harkness
It’s been some time since I read the 2nd book (back in 2013 when it came out), so my memory was a bit rusty at first when picking this up. But I was able to remember enough to keep up with the story and not feel lost. Despite the length (500+ pages), it was a quick read.

This is the last in the trilogy starring Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont and the rest of their family and friends. (I did write a review on the first book back in 2013, but never got around to writing one about the second book). This installment did provide a fitting ending to the story. As with the other two books, there was a bit of action, more science and discovery included in the story. It was nice to see the aunts’ house again too. As I noted with the first book’s review, it was definitely refreshing and interesting to see a science spin on the supernatural.

Book Review · Monthly Wrap-Up

May Reads

As you can see in my reading list for this year, it’s been slow going and I didn’t even finish any books in April. I found that for a chunk of time early in my pregnancy, I didn’t feel like doing much, even reading. I watched a lot of TV, actually.

I started picking up the reading again in May, though there were only 2 books completed.

11. Titanic: Voices of the Disaster, Deborah Hopkinson
This was a really good book looking into the Titanic from the point of view of her passengers. My dad is a huge Titanic buff so growing up I learned a lot about the Titanic. So from time to time I still catch myself reading a book about it or watching one of the TV specials on History Channel, Discovery Channel, etc.

It was also a sad look into the tragedy, reading the hope and excitement from letters of the passengers and knowing what was coming. Definitely eye-opening though to see what people were like at the time and on the ship. (and I must say that Bruce Ismay was quite a coward!)

A sad fact of the Titanic is that it’s really only famous for its sinking. Had it gone smoothly, it would have only gone down in history as the largest and grandest ship of her time.


12. A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4), George R R Martin
This is a re-read for me. I only read it once when I bought the first 4 books back around 2006, and though the 5th book didn’t come out until 2011, I did not re-read book  before reading book 5 (I should have). It was definitely a good refresher as there were some details I definitely didn’t remember. I also wanted to re-read this one because it was being reflected in the newest season on HBO. And to be honest, I really wanted to re-read it more to see where the books and TV show diverged (and there were many places!). A couple of my friends watch the show but do not read the books and we’d do recaps within a day or 2 of the episodes and more often than not when they’d ask a question I found myself saying “well it’s different in the books so I’m not sure how they’ll play it out in the show” or “that doesn’t happen in the books so I have no idea where they’re going with it.”

It’ll be hard for me to separate this from book 5 since I read them back to back (finished it n June, so I’ll write a little more in that post). But there was so much that happened and like I said above, a good amount of stuff that I didn’t remember well. It definitely got me back on track and hoping for book 6 even more now!

Book Review · Monthly Wrap-Up

March Reads

Turns out March was a month for reading odd books. These were all books on my To Read list on Goodreads and I was able to get them all from the library on my Kindle around the same time, I guess.

Anyway, I am writing these mini reviews quite sometime after reading them, so bear with me as I struggle to remember specific details!

8. Cinema Lumiere, Hattie Holden Edmonds
I’d say this was probably the one I enjoyed the most of the 3 I read this month. The cast of characters was good, they were well-developed. I enjoyed the main character, Hannah, as well as her shy new office assistant Ian. Their interactions were really good and helped pull Ian out of his shell. The other main character to enjoy was Victor, the elderly gentleman that Hannah had befriended but lost connection with prior to the start of the novel. The novel bounced back and forth between past and present which I thought was a nice build up to the end of the story (albeit, slightly predictable by a certain point). However, it was a story to make you think about your life and make sure that you learn to trust, let go of past disappointments, go for what will make you happy, and keep the ones you love close.

9. The Museum of Extraordinary Things, Alice Hoffman
This one was harder to enjoy. Coralie is one of the main attractions in her father’s freak show on Coney Island set in the early 1900s. She has webbed fingers and so her father makes her play the part of a mermaid. She had to endure spending time underwater to improve her lung capacity so she could sit in a tank of water. As the freak show popularity dwindles, Coralie’s father insists he needs to find something that will bring everyone’s attention back, and has a horrible plan to do this.
The story flips between 2 characters’ points of view, Coralie and Eddie Cohen, a young photographer who photographs death and destruction for the newspapers. After a tragic factory fire, he is pulled into the mysterious disappearance of one of the factory workers. As he searches, he and Coralie cross paths and eventually connect in this search.
It is difficult to read some of the passages, such as the description of the factory fire, and how Coralie’s father treats her and his employees (the “freaks”, a cast I liked) and what he makes them do (especially Coralie). He is a strict, harsh man.
In the end it was an OK book.

10. The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton
Another one that had a few harsh characters. Nella has just joined her new husband whom she doesn’t even know. His severe and serious sister acts as his housekeeper. He works a lot and so to keep Nella occupied he buys her a miniature cabinet, which is their house in miniature form. She finds a miniaturist’s ad and reaches out to get small items made for the house. In addition to the ones she requests, she also gets some odd ones (like actual miniature versions of the people in the household and her husband’s dogs). Then strange things begin to happen and she starts to wonder if the miniaturist is predicting or causing what’s happening. She’s afraid to tell anyone what she’s receiving. Some bits of the story were predictable but it was still a decent read. (It’s now July when I’m writing this one, so I can only really do a very light synopsis…)

Book Review · Monthly Wrap-Up

January Round-Up

So apparently I drafted this post in early February, but then I dropped off the blog and completely forgot about it! So, better late than never I suppose…. But I won’t be doing this to recap all the other books I’ve read since this list!

 

I’ve been really slow this year in getting the blog up and running. For January, I’d like to do short reviews of the books I read during the month (total of 8).

1. Let’s Talk Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris
More humorous essays from hilarious David Sedaris. I got this for Christmas. It had been a while since I last read anything by him, so I was looking forward to reading this. (I own just about all of his books). I really enjoy his story-telling and voice

2. The Summoner, Layton Green
This is a book that had been on my Kindle for ages, and I finally got around to reading it. It wasn’t a terrible story, but it was kind of weird with the whole cult thing. I began the second book with this character, but have only read a couple chapters, and I wasn’t really into it so I stopped reading and read a few other books instead. I wouldn’t be surprised if I never got around to picking it up again, to be honest.

3. Someday, Someday, Maybe, Lauren Graham
Yes, this is the same Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood fame. (I do enjoy both of those shows; loved the Lorelei character and her interactions with people, especially w/ Rory). Anyway, I could kind of see a similar echo of the Lorelei in the way the character talked.  It was a bit predictable, but an enjoyable enough read.

4. Rita Hayworth & Shawshank Redemption, Stephen King
I borrowed the Different Seasons collection of short stories from the library but only read Shawshank (my plan all along). This was one of the rare times I enjoyed the movie more than the book – but this could be because it’s one of my favorite movies and I’ve seen it a bazillion times. (plus I love Morgan Freeman in this). I couldn’t stop noticing all of the discrepancies between the two and I kept picturing Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, etc. Which do you prefer?

5. The Rook, Daniel O’Malley
I’ve wanted to read this for a long time, forgot about it, and then rediscovered it again (it had been on my Amazon wishlist for ages). I finally got around to borrowing it from the library. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but it grew on me quickly and I really enjoyed the dry humor and quick wit. Really liked the post-amnesia Myfanwy, though I wish we saw her in the first person, rather than third. Pre-amnesia Myfanwy was a good character that seemed to develop on her own through her letters. I guess I understand why both weren’t first person narratives, but I found it kind of distracting that post-amnesia Myfanwy was third person. It was definitely an interesting premise and there were some curious names.

I also enjoyed that O’Malley included reading suggestions at the end of the book as well as a recommended soundtrack for parts of the story — I’ve never seen the soundtrack before. I thought it was fun, especially his description of when the songs were appropriate.

I really enjoyed his writing and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

6. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart
I guess I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book. It was alright, but I wouldn’t have been disappointed if I hadn’t read it. I really don’t have much to say on, to be honest.

7. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
I really enjoyed this book. I had a feeling it would be a tear-jerker, given the premise, but I wasn’t expecting so much humor and quick wit. I loved Gus and the conversations he and Hazel had together. It was a really great story that highlights the suckiness of terminal illness but also the ability to still live life and enjoy the time we have.

8. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, James Thurber
Definitely did not realize this book was SO short! I started it on the train on the way home and just a couple train stops later I was done. I thought I got a sample instead of the real thing! I was definitely expecting a lot more to this, a deep dive into the Walter Mitty character. I figured if I ever saw the movie, I’d recognize some of the daydreams, but now I’m wondering if any of them make it in the movie? I wonder how they made a full length movie out of such a short piece of work!

Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap Up: December 2013

monthly wrapupI’ve decided to do my December wrap-up early since I have a few other posts I’d like to get out before year-end and I don’t want them all posting on one day!


Reading

Number of Books read: 6
I’m currently reading 2 others, and since it’s mid-month as I write this, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’ll finish them by year end. So let’s say 8. (and that’s the number I’ll use below in the challenge progress)

Favorite book read this month: A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron (sequel to A Dog’s Purpose whose main character made it on my top 10 all time favorite characters list last year at number 4 but if I had to pick between the two, I’d pick A Dog’s Purpose)

Number of 5 star ratings: 1 (A Dog’s Journey)

Reading challenge progress (% complete)
What’s In a Name 6: 100%
Historical Fiction: 100%
2013 Reading Goal: ~107% (goal was 75 and I’ve read 80)

Reading Challenges Completed: ALL!
I’m excited – I finished all my challenges this year — but didn’t really do much blogging. I’m pretty pumped that I went over my 2013 reading goal, and am kind of amazed that I’ve read that many books this year!

Crafts

Completed Knitting Projects: N/A

Completed Sewing Projects: Initial pillows for nieces and nephews for Christmas! I don’t want to post pictures before Christmas so they can be surprises to everyone. (At this point in time, I’ve finished 2 of the 4 pillows, but 4 will be completed by Christmas.) Also planning to finish fabric gift card holders in time for Christmas gifts…and I definitely have enough time! Pictures will be posted after the holiday.

Get Fit!

I’ve decided to remove this section, but I will restart my way to a healthier me anew in January. I really need to in order to get in better shape, feel healthy/better, have energy, and look my best for the wedding in October!!!!