Friday, December 31, 2021

22 for 2022

Resolutions. I have a few:


1. Go to the library on a regular schedule-- every 2 weeks and/or to pick up holds.

2. Manage library holds so they don't come in all at once or expire.

3. Read my Books of the Month the month I get them.

4. Read with my eyeballs for 22 minutes a day.

5. Exercise 7 days a week.

6. Learn crow pose

7. Run a Thanksgiving 5K

8. Watch all the Oscar best picture nominees

9. Go to Pekin

10. Eat Monicals pizza

11. Take the kids to 22 local parks

12. Visit at least 3 WI state parks

13. Take a family trip to tour Ben's campus

14. Tour at least 4 UW system schools

15. Tour 3 MN or IA schools

16. Throw fun birthday parties for all

17. Print 2022 AND 2021 pictures

18. Finish Minnie's baby book

19. Blog at least 12 days/month all year


21. Buy a new LV bag

22. Either move or refinance the house or BOTH.

I am excited to make progress on this list, and I am going to check up on it here on this blog in March, June, September, and December. I have not been great at keeping fitness resolutions, especially about yoga, so I decided to get more specific. I am also hoping to recruit at least one kid to do the 5K with me because I really hate running.

Anyone else making a 2022 list? I'd love to see it.

Also, sleeping Minnie to close out the year:

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Savor: My word for 2022 and 2021 in review

 I love choosing a one-word theme for the year, but I don't always remember it. Last year, for example, was quiet, and I guess our year was in terms of low highs and high lows and all that. But decibel-level? NOT A CHANCE.

Anyway, on to 2022, which will be the last year I nurse a baby to sleep, get up in the middle of the night with a baby, get to spend my days taking care of a little baby of my own, etc. So, I don't want to take a single second of it for granted. I also want to eat fewer sweets and more savory foods, and! I want to remember that taste is only a tiny bit of how food makes you feel. The word savor is meant to help me remember these things, too. Basically, I just want to remember to enjoy 2022, whatever it has in store for me.

Speaking of enjoying whatever the year can throw at you, let's review 2021 with my favorite picture from each month.








Wednesday, December 29, 2021

What day even IS it?

 We got snow! Finally! The kids have been outside sledding ALL DAY LONG.

Minnie clearly loves sledding.

Ben's parents bought us this amazing steam mop for Christmas, and I love it so much. My floors have 't been this clean in YEARS, and it's super easy to use, and you can use scented distilled water, so everything smells like mint and eucalyptus. I AM IN LOVE.

This baby! She smells like baking bread and coffee, wakes up with Woodstock hair, and I miss her when she's sleeping.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

What I Read: 2021 BOOKS OF THE YEAR

 Thank god for audiobooks, or it would have been impossible to meet my 2021 reading goal of 121 books. As it was, I shattered this goal, logging nearly 200 books on Goodreads, and I listened to many of them, doing dishes, folding laundry, and pounding the pavement with Minnie on our walks. Mostly, I use the Libby app from my library, and I need to be better at putting books on hold through it. I think I am going to clear out the rest of my 2021 holds and start reserving 2022 books (because you can only put 10 on hold at a time). I also joined Audible, but I only get one credit a month, and the unlimited selection is... not great. I have started buying audio books by the dozens, but when I first set a reading goal in 2013, I wanted to meet it WITHOUT buying books, and I would like to buy fewer next year.  

I do have a gaping hole in my reading knowledge, though. I have never read Brontë (any of them!) or Austin and only a teeny bit of Woolf. I can get lots of all of their stuff with my Audible membership, so maybe I should put tackling some classics on my 22 for 2022 list.

Something else I realized about reading myself: I am no good at reading when I don't have any deadlines. I seldom finish my Book of the Month books quickly because I lack a due date. Weird, huh? Also! I find it really hard to prioritize sitting down to read in the middle of the day, but I am usually too tired at the end of the day to open a book, and besides, I often have a bunch of stuff I need to do on my computer that I have literally not had time to do all day. I need to do a better job of refusing to let housework take over my whole day/ any non-actual work time I have.

But! On to the Books of the Year! It was harder than usual to compile this list because there weren't a lot of stand-outs this year. Everything I read was good (even though I am still terrible at quitting a bad book), but not a lot was transformative, you know? Anyway, here are my favorites:

10. Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny: I loved the characters in this book so much. They reminded me of Richard Russo, and you all know he is my favorite favorite.

9. The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny: Okay, full disclosure: this is not my very favorite Inspector Gamache book, but it is the one published this year. I listened to ALL 17 books in the Three Pines series this year, and it was a wonderful use of my time. I cannot recommend these books enough. I also adored the Louise Penny/Hillary Clinton thriller State of Terror. If you, too, adore Gamache, you should read it.

8. The Push by Ashley Audrain: SO ENTERTAINING! I read it pretty early this year and thought of it for MONTHS, which is always a good sign. Plus, ever since The Bad Seed I have a soft spot for books about scary kids.

7. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner: For awhile, I didn't think I loved this book despite all of the glowing reviews and enthusiastic recommendations from friends. But then whole paragraphs would come back to me, and I would remember scenes at odd moments. I haven't been able to get it out of my head, and if that's not a sign of a good book, I don't know what is.

6. No Cure for Being Human by Kate Bowler: Oh, I love this Duke divinity professor so much I have read her whole oeuvre, including her scholarly works, and I now follow her on Instagram

5. The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz: I read this book SO FAST despite having no time to read because that's how great it is. I love books about books and publishing, and a twisty little thriller? EVEN BETTER.

4. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro: This book was sad and haunting and wholly original. Klara's voice is a memorable one.

3. The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.: This story of love between two enslaved men in the antebellum south is doomed from the start, but I read it anyway. OH MY GOSH. It's so beautiful you guys, and, improbably, hopeful.

2. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr: The description of this book makes it sound awful, but really? It is mesmerizing from the first paragraph. If you loved All the Light We Cannot See... I have no idea if you will like this one because it is completely different.

1. The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki: This book is so sad and so perfect. I listened to it, which I think was probably a good call because it is kind of dense, and I might have been tempted to skim if I were reading.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Ho ho ho: A brief recap

 Hi! Long time no blog! I have even less time to myself when I am not working because I don't even get to go to work! Gah!

We had the best time this past week though-- so much baking and cooking and eating and reveling.

Want to see some pictures? I BET YOU DO:

How to prepare for guests in 2021:

Best outfit ever?
Family gingerbread house contest

Dorothy and I could not even get our roof to stay on.
Ben and Coop made a perfect house
Jack and Dennis. Ooops.
Harry and Karen
And then Jack just ate frosting out of a can
Group pic
Apropos of nothing: Minnie subscribes to a magazine, and it is the cutest.
This was supposed to be a Christmas gift, but it doesn't fold up, and we could not put it under the tree. In fact, it had to be built in the room it will live in.
Christmas Eve!
Minnie adored seeing people besides us.
Xmas Eve movie night featured a high stakes, very gluttonous Yankee swap treat exchange.
But then we all shared anyway
I made them change into their Christmas jammies after they ate
Santa brings stocking to their bedrooms, and then they all get together and compare
Minnie woke up early and opened hers with us
An excellent mug
Love this hat
And then we spent literal HOURS opening gifts and eating rolls. It was terrific.

And now? ALL SIGNS OF CHRISTMAS HAVE VANISHED and there is glorious blank space.

Monday, December 20, 2021


 We went back to our old favorite recipe this year, and I am so glad. Our Santa cookies are DELECTABLE. We make an extra half recipe, and we might not have enough for the big man unless we hold back a few right now. THESE COOKIES ARE PERFECT. (I made icing with powdered sugar and milk, and it is also perfection).

Everyone took it very seriously, and the kids are not horrible at decorating anymore. I mean, listen, we are not going to win any awards, but 98% of the cookies are edible. 2% have too much glitter sugar.

Sliiiiight fail when I dropped the bag of sugar in the mixer.
All natural food coloring does a not awesome job of making festive holiday colors

The traditional Christmas dinosaur.
So many! So earnest!
They have infinite patience.

Even these guys loved it.
Yay, cookies!